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About this blogAt Koa Labs, we love start-ups. And we really love the start-up community in Cambridge, Mass. We think Cambridge is the best place in the US to create and grow new Internet, info-tech and biotech companies. On this blog, Koa Labs founder Andy Palmer and others their share ideas, insights, and practical advice to help founders and first-time CEOs build better start-ups. How to get funded. How to work the ecosystem to get unfair competitive advantage. How to remain independent as long as possible. How to have fun doing all this while working insanely hard. Please let us know what else you’d like to read about. See you around Harvard Square.
Thanks to everyone who provided their support last week regarding the Patent Troll reform legislation that is working its way through Beacon Hill. We have good news to report!
The bill S.2622 passed in the Senate, and now the focus is on the House of Representatives.
emails and phone calls will be effective in helping to reinforce the importance of this bill for the long term economic health of our state and our commercial ecosystem.
If you are not sure who your representative is?
Here is a tool to help determine who to contact based on your street address: https://malegislature.gov/Search/FindMyLegislator
You can email or call both the state rep where you live and where your company is located!
In addition to your own, please also email the following three reps, as they have the most influence :
Speaker of the House, Bob Deleo – Robert.DeLeo@mahouse.gov
Chair, House Ways and Means, Jeffrey Sanchez – Jeffrey.firstname.lastname@example.org
House Chair, Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies – Joseph.Wagner@mahouse.gov
The email that I sent is below – feel free to use as a reference:
Hello Representative __________,
I have spent my career in the high-tech industry and seen first-hand how the sector has generated hundreds of thousands of well-paying jobs and billions in revenue that has enriched our state. I believe the sector is at risk from “Patent Trolls” who use fear, obfuscation, and the threat of remote trials to squeeze money from emerging startups and needlessly distract the leading companies that power our economy.
As a constituent of yours, I urge you to use your power in support of legislation that would curb these bad actors and preserve our ability to serve as an innovation capital of the world. Please make sure this important legislation that is included in the Senate version of the Economic Development Bill also is supported by the House.
Co-Founder and CEO, Tamr
Co-Founder, Koa Labs
This 2016 open letter was a call to action to fight patent trolls in Massachusetts and protect our innovative companies. The best people in the startup ecosystem in Boston are supportive.
Senator Eric Lesser has provided leadership to get a new bill passed. The bill S.2622 is being debated on Beacon Hill this morning and has a strong chance of passing with the right support. A refresher on the legislation is TechCrunch interview with Eric Lesser on the legislation.
Please lend your voice to the conversation. Here is a tweet you can use as template:
Protect innovation in Massachusetts by supporting patent troll reform, which is being debated by the @MA_Senate right now! Learn more: https://malegislature.gov/Bills/190/S2622 HT @senjasonlewis @cindycreem @karenspilka @jamieeldridgema @soniachangdiaz @wbrownsberger @sen_chandler #MAEcoDev
From the moment I met TJ and Elliot back in 2013 – I believed that if anyone was going to reinvent pharmacy it was going to be these two amazing entrepreneurs. As one of the very first PillPack customers – I’ve believed from day one that PillPack is the future of pharmacy.
It was an honor to have the opportunity to spend time with TJ, Elliot and the PillPack team over the past five+ years. Their entrepreneurial journey is a case study in how to build successful, mission-driven company from the ground up and I’m thankful to them for including me.
The future of our heathcare system in the US is a bit brighter today as the world recognizes the benefits of PillPack’s innovative approach to improving the lives of patients.
I look forward to seeing many more great companies from the Boston startup ecosystem that will have a dramatic impact on our US healthcare system – some of my favorite people/companies include :
- Rushika Fernandopulle – Iora Health
- Atul Gawande – Amazon-Berkshire-JP Morgan healthcare startup
- Todd and Ed Park – Deovted Health
Congrats to Veer, Vinay and the entire team at Maxwell Health on their acquisition by Sun Life.
More stuff from the spring cleaning…great memories from early days of XML and RESTful services.
Going through my old files/spring cleaning and turned up a bunch of old Trilogy/pcOrder.com stuff. Thought that Trilogy/pcOrder alums would get a kick out of these.
Fantastic post here from Alex Oppenheimer on software IPO’s over the past decade. Amazing how quickly our industry changes and how companies that looked dominant 10 years ago have had to change dramatically or risk being left in the dust.
It’s been almost 3 years since my last post on Seed Funds – figured it was time for a refresh.
As I talk to entrepreneurs, I am often asked about the best sources of seed funding.
In Boston over the past 15 years (in addition to a great core group of individual super-angels) there are now at least 8+ great institutional seed funds in Cambridge/Boston. I’ve worked directly with many of them and highly recommend these excellent active funds and partners:
- Founder Collective – Eric Paley & David Frankel
- Pillar – Jamie Goldstein
- One Way Ventures – Semyon Dukach
- The Engine – Katie Rae
- Avalon Partners – Brady Bohrmann & Rich Levendov
- Boston Seed – Nicole Stata
- NextView Ventures – Lee Hower
- Raptor Group – Jim Pallotta
One of the many benefits of working with institutional seed funds is that you avoid the negative signaling effect of taking seed funding from a venture firm. When most Series A/B venture firms invest in seed rounds – it’s usually either driven by a trusted relationship (entrepreneur who has made them money before) or they are essentially taking an option on the Series A.
Depending on the situation it can make sense to work with venture firms on a seed round. However, increasingly, my default advice to entrepreneurs with a new project (especially first timers) is to start with the institutional firms that specialize in seed funding (like those above) who generally invest < $1-2M in Seed and then take their pro-rata or step back a bit as you do Series A+. IMHO – ideal combo is often 1-2 super angels + 1 institutional seed. With all the usual caveats that each startup is unique and that bootstrapping/capital efficiency should ALWAYS be the desired path.
Congrats to the team at Firecracker on the announcement of their acquisition by Wolters Kluwer. The Firecracker team has worked incredibly hard over the past 5+ years to bring a modern learning experience to medical school students. Special congrats to Co-Founder Frank Lau, MD who built the first version of Firecracker while @ Med School, Ben Williams who has been heads down cranking on Firecracker for the past 8+ years and Mark Watkins who joined the BOD four years ago and has been a thoughtful and supportive partner for the team.
It’s been a privilege to be part of the journey at Firecracker.
The combination of digital and traditional therapies is the future of the biopharmaceutical industry and Joris is leading the way with the support of his colleagues at Novartis.
I suspect this is the first of many to come.
Well done JVD – you rock.