To determine what topics will be discussed during TC City Spotlight: Boston, an extended TechCrunch Live gathering allowing startups to discover Boston’s plentiful tools, we collected insights from five investment experts in the area.
It appears as though Boston is doing well, something which appears to be in part due to the ongoing trend of remote pitching. According to Russ Wilcox, a partner at Pillar VC, fundraising has changed remarkably, with founders at all levels holding many first talks on Zoom.
Go to the TechCrunch City Spotlight: Boston gathering on February 27th, 2023.
Sign up for the complimentary online event here.
Nevertheless, physical gatherings are also reappearing, and are often preferred. Lily Lyman, general partner at Underscore VC, commented that “The development of innovation hubs around academic settings in Boston has led to the revival of in-person events, so we are expecting more unpredictable events.”
Boston’s tech sector, which is closely linked with one another, often follows ‘serendipity’. As Brian Heater commented, many startups are situated near the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University within a walking distance of five to ten blocks.
This also clarifies why Boston startups are identified with ‘tough tech’. Sanjiv Kalevar, a partner at OpenView, stated, “Boston and its exceptional universities are commonly linked to hard tech.”
Rudina Seseri, the founder and head of Glasswing Ventures, believes that Boston will remain a prosperous hub for start-ups and venture capital in 2023 even if the economy is stagnating and people are feeling pessimistic. Boston’s strength in this situation is its combination of elements, leading to its resilience to the ongoing financial slump. Seseri is confident that the city will experience a fresh wave of entrepreneurs venturing forth with new companies.
We had a conversation with:
- Rudina Seseri, creator and head partner of Glasswing Ventures; Lily Lyman, partner of Underscore VC; Sanjiv Kalevar, associate of OpenView; Katie Rae, controlling partner of The Engine; Russ Wilcox, partner of Pillar VC.
Rudina Seseri is the originator and main partner of Glasswing Ventures.
What would be your assessment of the speed at which venture capital deals have been made in Boston in 2020?
Boston will still be a booming place for startups and venture capitalists in 2023. Although financing activity has slowed down since 2021, promising businesses and entrepreneurial minds are still able to procure needed funds.
It appears that the amount of venture capital (VC) deals obtained in Boston has stayed consistent from 2021 to 2022, and it is anticipated that this trend may even progress in 2023, particularly with regards to AI and security. This is according to data released by the Pitchbook-NVCA Venture Monitor.
Does the Boston-based founder still have to rely on a lot of video conferences if they are fundraising in 2023? Does the necessity of video calls depend on how far along the startup is?
We are maintaining the use of Zoom calls during our inspection venture. They are advantageous in making the most of a founder’s time and being sensitive to their location.
We emphasize that it is essential that we get together in person when possible. Developing reliable and lasting connections between founders and investors is a crucial part of our mission. We take pleasure in creating strong relationships with our founders while furnishing them with the chance to interact with the people we collaborate with.
Do Boston technology employees have experienced the same amount of job losses as those in the San Francisco Bay Area?
Tech from every angle has been impacted. Even though the markets are tough, there is an economic downturn, and feelings of despondency about businesses, I am certain there will be a new wave of founders launching businesses in Boston.
In these difficult times, creative solutions can be found. The technologists who have been let go from some of the major tech companies have been given the opportunity to recreate themselves and establish ideas they have long wanted to carry out. This is the perfect time for budding entrepreneurs to realize their projects.
Is gathering in-person for networking and startup community events in the Boston area back to the same level it was prior to the pandemic?
We have noticed a rise in events within the community and are thrilled to remain productive in joining the group back together as we make progress into the spring and summer seasons. We are making an effort to have a wide selection of ecological proceedings, from networking within the Artificial Intelligence and cyber security sectors to intellectual seminars regarding hiring a first-time marketer. We are devoted to propelling the sphere of our eco-system with group sessions in the heart of Back Bay, afar, or online.
Do you observe any connection between Boston’s “Tough tech” ability and university spinouts?
Boston’s educational excellence and demanding standards are vital elements to creating the kinds of technologies that drive us forward as a society and are essential for our economic growth.
We collaborate intensively with universities and research laboratories in the region, particularly within the MIT and Harvard environment. Moreover, we support talented entrepreneurs who are founding AI and cutting-edge technology businesses intended for use in enterprise and security sectors.
Which Boston-based firm have you invested in recently that you found to be the most intriguing?
We have recently invested in FeatureByte, a business created by the same people who created DataRobot’s infrastructure. FeatureByte is a platform particularly designed for data scientists in order to make constructing, delivering, managing, and checking machine learning functions easier.
Do you accept unsolicited proposals? How can start-up personnel contact you?
We accept both cold and warm pitches, however we have a preference for warm pitches if a founder is able to provide one. We are focused on seeking out strong founders utilizing AI and cutting-edge technology to create applications and infrastructure for the enterprise and security industries. If you would like to contact us, my email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lily Lyman, a general partner of Underscore VC.
What would you say has been the rate of venture capital transactions in Boston this year?
Examining the information, it is obvious that venture deals in Boston declined in the third and fourth quarters of last year, conforming with the trend in other places, as financiers and entrepreneurs were assessing the current conditions.
In the first quarter of this year, there are a great deal of valuable investments available at the seed stage. Now is a fantastic time to put resources into initial stage startups. Talented founders are putting together businesses that are cost-efficient and considering their market approaches from the beginning, which enables them to recruit strong employees at a more economical cost, compete less ferociously, acquire clients at a better rate, and address big issues.
The current situation has caused some shifts in the length and scope of due diligence activities, particularly in later stages. Hasty timetables for late-stage investments, which were commonplace in 2021, are no longer the norm. Investors are now putting more effort into examining the business fundamentals and looking closely at estimated outcomes. The pricing in this market is more challenging to establish, and late-stage investors are wary of paying too much.