Friday, June 26, 2009

2009 Awards Finalists Reception Draws Big Crowd

We had a fantastic crowd turn out last evening for our first of two Award Receptions being held this summer! Thank you to UK Trade & Investment for hosting this event. We would also like to extend a thank you to all of our other sponsors of the evening: Invest Northern Ireland, Ropes & Gray, Silicon Valley Bank, Microsoft and PricewaterhouseCoopers.

The finalists were announced in the following five categories last night:

2009 Private Sector Company
Glasshouse Technologies
Phase Forward
Starent Networks

2009 Public Sector Organization
Babson College
City of Boston - MIS Department
Town of Brookline

CEO of the Year
Colin Angle, Chairman, CEO and Co-Founder of iRobot
Brian Halligan, CEO and Co-Founder of HubSpot
David Patrick, President and CEO of xkoto
Michael Simon, CEO of LogMeIn
Brian Zanghi, CEO of Kadient

2009 Innovator Award
danah boyd, Microsoft Research and the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University
Rich Miner, Managing Director of Google Ventures
Timothy Rowe, CEO of Cambridge Innovation Center
Dharmesh Shah, Chief Technology Office and Founder of HubSpot

CIO of the Year
George Brenckle, CIO of UMass Memorial Health Center
Bill Fandrich, CIO of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts
Jay Leader, CIO of iRobot
Anne Margulies, CIO of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts
John Polizzi, CIO of BJ's Wholesale Club

"We are very excited to have announced this year's first set of finalists, who have set themselves apart by exemplifying the spirit of innovation and the future promise that defines the Massachusetts technology community." - Tom Hopcroft, President of the Mass Technology Leadership Council

Congratulations to all of the finalists!!

Please join us for another spectacular awards reception being held on July 16th. On this night, the finalists will be announced for the final four categories: Emerging Innovative Company, CTO of the Year, Investor of the Year and Emerging Executive of the Year. For more information, and to register please visit

More than 160 submissions were received during the open nomination process. Council trustees, local thought leaders and local media were involved with the selection process. The winners will be announced at the Mass Technology Leadership Council's Fall Awards Gala being held on November 5, 2009.

Post Contributed by Jillian Hegarty, MassTLC Relationships Manager

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

SAAS Renewals - the Most Critical Piece of the SAAS Business Model

SaaS: Increasing Renewal Rates to Maximize your Company's Growth and Success

Recently at our SaaS Forum: Overcoming the Challenges to Deliver Successful Sales and Marketing Results, SaaS renewals rose to the surface as a hot topic for the audience. Today's event was a deep dive on the topic. The panel shared many metrics and techniques to help increase customer retention across a broad spectrum of company sizes and contract terms.

Moderator, Peter Cohen from SaaS Marketing Strategy Advisors, kicked off the event and shared two graphs that demonstrated how extending the life of the customer's subscription is critical to the success of the SaaS business model. It's bad business to lose customers you've already paid for. View Peter's presentation for more information.

Panelists included Jim Driscoll - CFO, Kadient, Jonah Lopin - VP of Customer Operations, Hubspot, Brian Martin - VP of Client Management, OpenAir and Teri Shipp - SVP of Sales,

Key insights included:
- Jonah Lopin discussed Hubspot's use of "The Customer Happiness Index" or CHI rating to rate customer's satisfaction level and the likelihood to renew. It is a 1-100 scale that takes into account many different indicators including, who is using the technology within the company, how many people are using it, which parts of the solution are they using, etc. Hubspot is changing from a 30 day contract to a one year contract. This will provide Hubspot the opportunity to fully engage and demonstrate to their customers the value of the entire solution.

- Jim Driscoll's experience is that it is much easier to close the 1 year deal than the 3 to 5 year deal which requires a higher level of approvals. Once they are engaged for the year, it is up to Kadient to prove the value of their solution and upsell from year to year.

- Brian Martin said the key to their success is a very high touch rate. They are constantly communicating with their customers to keep them happy and have an active user community on their website.

- Teri Shipp stated that one of the keys to success is to make client interaction and the renewal process programmatic vs. serendipitous. Any data or metrics around customer usage can be tracked in Salesforce -- it is a critical tool for's success.

In addition, the panel discussed compensation plans for renewals. The companies do compensate the account management group on renewals but not at the same level that a Sr. Sales executive would have to be compensated. If they were to compensate the sales executives, the customer acquisition costs over 3 to 5 years would skyrocket.

The Advisory Board met briefly following the event to discuss plans for the fall. Topic ideas for fall events will be circulated -- we welcome your input!

Post Contributed by Jillian Hegarty, MassTLC Relationships Manager

Friday, June 19, 2009

Double STEM Degrees and Teachers by 2010

The Challenge:
The countries with whom we compete for workers, for ideas, and for new innovations are identifying their best math and science students, nurturing them, and educating them in STEM fields so they are prepared for the global marketplace. To remain competitive in the future, Massachusetts business and technology leaders are expressing urgency that similar investments be made in the U.S. and Massachusetts. Currently, they are not.

The Coalition:
Given the underpinnings of the Massachusetts economy, and projections for its future growth, a public policy focus and investment in the STEM fields are of primary importance for many of the state's employers. In "Tapping Massachusetts Potential: The Massachusetts Employers' STEM Agenda," 15 of the state's leading business and technology organizations have formed a unique, collaborative call-to-action for STEM to become a statewide policy priority.

The goals:
The group has challenged state government, industry and educational institutions to double the number of STEM bachelor degrees, with a special focus on currently underrepresented groups, and double the number of STEM teachers, grade 7 through 12, by 2020.

The Recommendations:
1 - Build public support for making improvements in STEM performance a statewide priority;
2 - Motivate Massachusetts students and adults, using a variety of incentives, to study and enter STEM careers and remain in the state after graduation, with a special effort geared to those in currently underrepresented groups; and
3 - Improve K-12 STEM teaching to foster student achievement and meet increased demand, including differentiated pay scales for mathematics and science teachers. United States is down 20% from the peak year of 1985 (Tapping America's Potential).

For more information view the Full Overview or Executive Summary.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Legal Issues: Navigating the New Massachusetts Data Security Regulations

We would like to extend a special thank you to Rob Fisher from Foley Hoag LLP for sharing his insights into the new Massachusetts Data Security Regulations at our Legal Issues roundtable event. View Rob's slides

Friday, June 12, 2009

Raising Capital for Innovative Ventures in Today's Economy

Over 50 people attended MassTLC's Entrepreneurial Cluster breakfast seminar: Raising Capital for Cutting Edge Ventures in Today's Economy.

Participants included: James Geshwiler, Managing Director of CommonAngels; Michael Greely, Chairman of New England Venture Capital Association and a General Partner of Flybridge Capital Partners; Thomas Ryden, Founder and COO of North End Technologies and Bill Sweeney, Managing Director of Comerica Bank, Venture Capital Group. The panel discussion was moderated by Jeff Stoler who is a Partner at McCarter & English.

Several key points continually rose to the forefront...

- The first being the fact that the Venture Capitalist Community is highly segmented. Michael Greeley drove this point home to the audience by explaining the extreme importance of the firm that you, as the entrepreneur choose to meet with. It is crucially important to pick the right firm based on your industry and the amount of funds you need to raise. What every entrepreneur needs to take away here is this: Only talk to firm associates who really understand your market, always keep in mind that your time is more valuable than the time of the Venture Capitalist. The VC is paid to meet with you! Choose your primary meetings carefully.

- The second key point made this morning is just how up and coming the robotics industry is! All of our panel members agreed that Robotics is the next big thing, and is definitely the area everyone will have wished they invested in. This shift has occurred most likely because the cost has come down dramatically while the processing ability has come up, and one result of this is we are beginning to see more consumer robot products.

- One final observation to share from this morning's event... Bill Sweeney could not stress enough the importance of exploring government funding. If you take the time and effort to locate these funds, there is loads of it available for your venture. Almost every group within the government will fund development, and if you are looking to start new technologies this option may be the best option because you will own your technology. Consider all groups, even those you would never think would provide funding; as an example the Departments of Veterans Affairs will often provide small amounts of technology funding. Government funding is the most unused source of funding.

This event was sponsored by Comerica Bank and McCarter & English, LLP, Attorneys at Law.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

MassTLC 6/5 unConference bursts with ideas and attendees

Topics at MassTLC's Spring unConference on the Future of Software and the Internet ranged from, "What kind of capital do you need?” led by Simeon Simoenov of FastIgnite Inc., to "How to make sure your business model doesn't land you in jail", led by Jason Kravitz, of Nixon Peabody. Cloud Computing, Crowd Sourcing, Health IT, Broadband expansion and more were discussed in more than 40 interactive participant led sessions.

Highlights from the 6/5 Mass High Tech article:
Following up on its first unconference in October, the second Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council Unconference featured, “The Future of Software and the Internet.” Just as in the first unconference, the 220-person space was straining to hold all the attendees (there were over 250 in attendance).

The ideas were flowing faster than the coffee, soda and bottled water at the second Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council Unconference, held today at Sun Microsystems Inc.’s Burlington campus. Following up on its first unconference in October, this year’s overall subject was “The future of software and the Internet.” As an unconference, the event started with no real structured agenda, and after the process was explained to the crowd, any of the various attendees who wanted to run a session were invited to come up to the front, grab a sheet of paper, and write down a topic on which they wanted to lead a discussion. Just as in the first unconference, the 220-person space was straining to hold all the attendees, and the opening session was standing-room-only with the crowd spilling out of all doors into the hallway.
See more coverage on participant blogs including Jeff Kaplan , James Hall , and Dana Harris

A special thanks to our Sponsors: ColoSpace; Levine Katz Nannis & Solomon; Microsoft & Nixon Peabody for their generous support and thought leadership prior to and during the event.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Don't Do It Alone - How to Leverage Social Media to Power Behavior Change

MassTLC's healthcare and social media cluster collaborated on an event called "Don't Do It Alone - How to Leverage Social Media to Power Behavior Change." Over 80 people gathered to hear our experts discuss opportunities and issues surrounding patient and physician communities to support health decisions.

Moderator, Lynne Dunbrack, IDC Health Insights, shared an overview of social media opportunities for healthcare companies given the significant increase in the use of social media tools by both consumers and clinicians in the past year. Health Plans are proactively putting social media applications into action. "Approximately 10% of surveyed health plans offer social networking opportunities to members today, and another 44% have plans to do so in 2009 and 2010" (Health Industry Insights Payer Survey, February 2009). Lynne's Presentation

Panelist Insights:
- Dan Pallestant MD, founder and CEO of Sermo emphasized the importance of “your business model being in harmony with your community objectives” and shared ideas to extend the "arc of your community." Dan's Presentation

- Chris Cartter, SVP of Innovation at Healthways and creator of Quitnet, walked us through the history of the successful Quitnet community. Chris also displayed the social network graph highlighting the correlation between quitters and their strong connection to others within the community. Chris's Presentation

- Bill Hartman, Director of Research at Essential Design, addressed the need to understand the attitudes and behaviors of the target audiences before designing the community. Those “newly diagnosed” for example, have a unique and different set of needs than those who are in control of managing their condition but check in when there is a problem. Bill's Presentation

During the event, we also mentioned a new class being offered through Tufts Medical School in July called "Web Strategies for Heath Communications" with a $100 discount for MTLC members by using the code MTLC when registering.

Based on the feedback from the attendees, we are considering a follow up event with the healthcare & social media clusters.

Posted contributed by Sherri Dorfman, CEO, Stepping Stone Partners

Monday, June 1, 2009

June is Innovation Month in New England

At MassTLC's Annual Meeting, BusinessWeek Chief Economist Michael Mandel declared that technological innovation is the wild card for getting us out of the current economic resession.

Scott Kirsner dubbed June 2009 "Innovation Month" in New England and set up a website encouraging "EVERYONE who wants to support innovation here to get out and attend at least one event."

Following are just a few (more at
6/5 - MassTLC - Future of Software & the Internet unConference
6/9 - MassTLC - Tech Tuesday: Robotics
6/10 - MTC - IT Collaborative
6/17 - MassNetComm - Innovator's Summit
6/24 - xconomy - XSITE 2009
6/25 - MassTLC (members only) - Awards Reception
6/25 - Future Forward - What's Next in Tech

So join us in June: make new connections, share your expertise, find out about and support new ventures. Help accelerate some of the important, cool, life-saving, world-changing innovations being developed here in New England.

See Innovation Month press:
Boston Globe - This June Let Ideas Bust Out All Over
xconomy - Commemorative Day, Innovative Month
MassHighTech - More Than A Month Of Celebrating Innovation