Thursday, November 15, 2012

Jamie Goldstein on Boston as a Tech Hub, the unCon, and Solving Tough Issues


Jamie, what makes you excited about Boston as a technology innovation hub?

We've got the greatest entrepreneurs in the world here. They are focused on solving important problems. They're educated, they're hard working, they're tenacious and they're trying to make a difference in the world and those are exactly the entrepreneurs you want to partner with.

Tell us about your involvement in the MassTLC unConference
I am excited to be part of this year’s MassTLC unConference because I believe that it attracts the entrepreneurs who matter.  I think that there are two types of entrepreneurs: those that want to make a lot of money quickly and make themselves famous in the process, and those that actually want to make a lasting imprint. We have a lot of entrepreneurs here that want to make a lasting imprint, with higher ambition, goals and vision, and I know I will be meeting some of them at the unConference.

What are you hoping to share at the unConference?

I'm excited to meet a lot of new entrepreneurs that are passionate about their ideas and brainstorming with them about ways to make these ideas successful. I've been helping entrepreneurs for over 16 years now - I've seen lots of companies succeed and fail. The business I am in is very much a pattern-recognition business - we see things that work and we come across things that don't work, so I'm excited to share those insights and learnings with the entrepreneurs attending the unConference, or any entrepreneur who is interested to hear them.

You are focused on companies solving the tough issues – infrastructure and communications networks challenges.  Can you tell us more about where these markets?

Yes, most of my work at North Bridge is concentrated in communications and infrastructure and for a good reason –Boston has for a long time been a hotbed of breakthrough innovations in these areas that have had a ripple effect throughout the world.  Mobile and cloud are two areas for the Boston ecosystem that will continue to grow in 2013 – both at the infrastructure level and at the applications and services level that mobile and cloud enable. Most of our investments have some level of cloud computing built into their models - either leveraging cloud computing or enabling cloud computing. Those range from switching and routing companies, storage, network services companies, and software infrastructure businesses.  A couple of New England companies that deserve a shout-out include Plexxi, which is a new switching company targeted at the largest data centers and cloud computing environments. Actifio is another, which is a storage company, and Acquia, which is a platform as a service for Drupal.

What should we expect in the infrastructure markets and cloud markets in Boston in 2013?

My prediction is that New England companies are going to continue to do extremely well, because they are leveraging the growth of cloud computing and cloud infrastructure. I think we are going to see record growth for the New England companies servicing this area. The growth will come from a combination of big enterprises big Internet companies, and cloud providers, all of whom are building large data centers.


Can you share with us what’s makes companies successful and why some of them fail?

I think many companies fail because they're solving today’s problem instead of trying to solve a problem that may emerge two or three years from now. You have to work very hard to solve such problems. If you're smart enough to see where the market is going a few years out and you start investing now in a problem that is difficult to solve, you willchave that space to yourself. Many companies fail because they don't have a grand enough plan and they have an undifferentiated approach to solving tactical, small problems.

The converse of that is that companies that have a vision, and communicate that vision to the world of are the ones who succeed and who set the conversation agenda of tomorrow. They have the benefit of describing the world as they want it to be and that's the way to dominate a new category.


You are the President of the New England Venter Capital Association. How can entrepreneurs get involved?

NewEnglandVC.org should be one the stops on their entrepreneurial journey. The website has an up-to-date events section listing the various seminars and opportunities for entrepreneurs.  We just announced a new internship jobs initiative with BostInno – www.bostInno.com/internshipsabout. Part of our mission is to carry out initiatives that make Boston the best place in the country to start a company. We're reaching out to young people while they're still in college and getting them involved in local startups. If there are any entrepreneurs out there that need an intern for the summer, they should log on and submit their internship opportunity.


Jamie Goldstein is a Partner at North Bridge Venture Partners investing mainly in communications and infrastructure but as in his earlier entrepreneurial career, he is willing to reach into various sectors to grab the intriguing idea. When the founding North Bridge team recruited Jamie Goldstein in 1998, he became the first of a new generation of investors at the company. Jamie's venture interests are diverse: data center infrastructure, wired and wireless communications technologies and advanced materials. Jamie is President of the Board of the New England Venture Capital Association. He is actively involved in the MIT Deshpande Center for Innovation, serves as a judge for the MIT 100K Business Plan Contest, and a Trustee of the MATCH School, a Boston-area Charter school.

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