In Central Mass., a Growing Opportunity for Tech Innovation, Entrepreneurship

Venture capital funding is hot right now with $1.2 billion in financing deals in Boston closed in Q1, marking the strongest fundraising environment for tech startups in that city since 2009. All of this activity just points to the opportunity to increase innovation across the region.

As the market heats up and VCs look for more opportunities in the region, many are turning their gazes outward from Boston and Cambridge, as they should. In addition to the high-tech belt around the city and in Southern New Hampshire, Central Massachusetts has a lot to offer. Worcester Polytechnic Institute’s (WPI) Tech Advisor Network program at the School of Business is helping to bring greater awareness of the untapped resources in the region, specifically educated professionals and outstanding higher education resources.

As a proud WPI alumnus, I’ve gotten involved in the Tech Advisor Network (TAN) and Dean’s Council of Strategic Advisors to WPI’s School of Business, and I’ve seen a lot of leaders step up to help make Worcester an innovation and entrepreneurial hub. Mark Rice, dean and professor at the WPI School of Business, and Catherine Usoff, dean at Clark University’s Graduate School of Management, are just some of the key people helping to create a virtual technology and business incubator in Worcester. As a contributing member to these organizations, I am privileged to be working with some amazing leaders from the Massachusetts and New Hampshire communities.

Central Massachusetts has tremendous potential to bring together multiple forces such as UMASS Medical Center, WPI and Clark University to support a new generation of innovators that are doing research in medicine, biotech and engineering. At a recent TAN meeting, we heard a success story from Worcester’s startup scene. Acoustic Stream, founded by Bob Bean (who was my major qualifying project advisor at WPI in 1985) recently raised its seed money via Kickstarter and is making a wireless device to help guitarists perform, tune and protect their wooden instruments. Now Bob is looking for my help (along with that of others) in building his plans to launch his product and company to eagerly awaiting customers who want to try his technology with their guitars and violins. It’s an exciting project that exemplifies Worcester’s status as a startup community that is, indeed, a true community.

With a company based in Southern New Hampshire and an educational background in Central Mass., I know that ground-breaking technology is happening outside of Boston and Cambridge. By sharing my startup experience with entrepreneurs in Central Massachusetts, I hope to contribute to a chain reaction of new projects and funding in this burgeoning innovation center, providing guidance to budding entrepreneurs and tech leaders from the region where I spent my youth and grew academically.

Someone recently left a fortune cookie slip on my desk. It reads “Don’t wait for your ship to come in; swim out to it.”  How true! At the end of the day, it’s about giving back to people.

 

Want to learn why tech companies outside of city centers have the advantage when it comes to talent recruitment? Read John Joseph’s article “If I was…recruiting for a remote location” (registration required) in the Financial Times.

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John Joseph

John Joseph

President and co-founder of DataGravity, John Joseph leads company’s sales, marketing, operations and customer initiatives. John previously served as vice president of marketing and product management at EqualLogic, leading these functions from the company's initial launch through the successful acquisition by Dell in 2008. He subsequently served as vice president of enterprise solutions, marketing at Dell for three years after the acquisition.