Despite being the birthplace of Facebook and the home to Trip Advisor and other Internet successes, Boston has not managed to become the tech giant that it could be. The new mayor, Marty Walsh, is determined to make this change. In fact, he has recently announced plans to transform Boston into the “tech capital of the world.” To that end, he has challenged entrepreneurs to look for ways to keep tech talent in the city of Boston. The reality is that the city already has many of the elements that are needed to achieve Walsh’s goal of becoming the tech capital of the world. Here is a look at just a few of them.
The Mayor’s Chief of Staff is Tech-Savvy
A tech-savvy attitude starts from the top, and Daniel Koh was specifically brought on by Walsh as his chief of staff due to his tech skills. 29-year-old Koh previously worked as the general manager of Huffington Post Live, which is the live streaming arm of the news site. Some of his ideas include increasing investments in tech resources and supporting accelerators and incubators in order to create the necessary infrastructure.
Institutions of Higher Education
MIT and Harvard are still among the most revered higher education institutions in the world. Both universities, as well as other higher-education institutions in the area, place an emphasis on entrepreneurship. Boston University, for example, requires its students to take one semester to start their own business. The Berklee School of Music has also recently opened an entrepreneurship institute that helps students build businesses that fuse art with technology.
Venture Capital Firms are Growing
Venture capitalists within the state of Massachusetts raised $5.4 billion in annual funding last year. This is three times the amount that was raised the previous year. This is made even more impressive by the fact that these figures dropped on the national level during this same timeframe.
An Increase in Networking Events
Boston’s innovation community has largely been scattered in the past, but the tech world has demonstrated time and again that it works best when those involved with the industry are close together. Tech movements within the Seaport District and Cambridge’s Kendall Square neighborhood have started to bring these entrepreneurs closer together. Paypal’s Start Tank, the two new WeWork spaces and the city-based MassChallenge have also helped to provide hubs for people within the industry to come together and network.
Small Tech Companies are Ready to Grow
Major tech hubs throughout the country are anchored by large companies. For example, Seattle has Microsoft and Amazon while New York has Tumblr. Boston, on the other hand, is comprised of several smaller companies. Some of these companies, such as the e-commerce company Wayfair, are on the rise. Other businesses that look as if they are ready for significant growth include HubSpot and Rethink Robotics.
Perhaps the biggest reason why Boston may realistically become the tech capital of the world in the near future is the fact that its residents support the movement. With the city backing this movement, there is nothing left to do but to become the tech juggernaut that the city has long been poised to become.