News & Buzz

Grasshopper is everywhere

Original Article

WorkBar Boston and Grasshopper Partner to Rev Up the BeIn Initiative for Boston’s Startup Community

Last night was the Summer Entrepreneur Launch Party to celebrate the awesomeness of the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Boston and Cambridge. At BostInnovation, we feel it is our duty to empower the entrepreneurs of Boston and support this kind of cross-pollination events where everyone spreads the word about what they’re working on.

Over a hundred people came out to celebrate at WorkBar Boston,  a modern, loft-like co-working space in downtown Boston near South Station. Accommodating everyone from drop-in nomads to monthly tenants, WorkBar recently opened up additional space to meet burgeoning demand. Last night’s event was a collaboration with Grasshopper aimed at connecting Boston’s innovative minds over beers and mini burritos (thanks to Boloco). What better way to kick start the summer on a Wednesday night?

As the second event to carry the BeIn moniker, the Summer Launch lived up to its billing, connecting entrepreneurs with investors, supporters, and each other in a supportive and fun environment.

Antonio Rodriguez of Matrix Partners was on hand to provide advice and take questions. Matrix Partners has funded the likes of Gilt Groupe and Rodriguez’ previous company, Tabblo. Rodriguez, who claims to be an “accidental entrepreneur,” sees Boston as a hub of innovation, undergoing a resurgence spurred by innovative young minds that he sees is likely to continue. “I chose to have an impact here in Boston,” he said, comparing the process of building an ecosystem to baking a cake. “There are universities, a young incumbent work force, oodles and oodles of capital and we have enough people who have been through it before. I believe in the vibe here,” says Rodriguez.

Jonathan Kay, the Ambassador of Buzz at Grasshopper, sat down in an Oprah-like setting and kept the crowd engaged with short quips and “stalker-ish” questions. The key takeaways from Rodriguez’s talk were:

  1. Even if your group of engineers and business development people think your idea and product is the best thing in the world, the coolest idea…it might not go as far once you bring it to market as you would think. Describing it as a problem of “short view, long distance,” he warned that what’s technically possible in a controlled environment often isn’t feasible in the marketplace.
  2. Entrepreneurs should seek to conserve equity every step of the way when looking for financing.
  3. To get the MBA or not to get the MBA? If you’re an aspiring consultant, looking for time off, or have $140K to blow, go for it – but at the end of the day, an MBA on the resume is “at best, neutral” when it comes to judging an entrepreneur’s likelihood of success. (Read: for most entrepreneurs, it’s unnecessary and not recommended. It should be noted, however, that Rodriguez does hold an MBA from Stanford).
  4. Lean startup methodology is helping entrepreneurs think about the process of going to market in more sophisticated ways, but it’s important to remember that there are multiple paths to market, not all of which lead directly to the consumer.
  5. Starting a business involves making mostly wrong decisions and getting a few key decisions right.

Jonathan’s entertaining and informative interview style was well-received and is indicative of Grasshopper’s commitment to supporting the startup community in Boston. Grasshopper is empowering entrepreneurs by providing tools like virtual phone systems that help them sound bigger and more professional to their customers at a fraction of the cost of traditional telephony solutions. The company’s enthusiasm for supporting the BeIn initiative and providing entrepreneurs with work space and resources is admirable and contagious. For those who are interested, signing up for space at WorkBar and opening an account with Grasshopper will save you $25 on each.  The company also awarded two prizes for 3 months of free Grasshopper services last night.

Check out the hashtag #SummerLaunch on Twitter to catch up on the chatter from last night. We were proud to be a part of such a killer even and will continue to be a media sponsor of events that support the BeIn Initiative. If you think you fit the bill, please reach out to us at info@bostinnovation. We can help you to turn your organization’s event ideas into reality.