Learnings from Boston – the “right” coast

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Every year, DanBAN plan and offer at least two international study trips for investors. Over the past few years, we have been travelling to; Helsinki, San Francisco, Tel Aviv, Riga, Berlin, London, Paris, Brussels and most recently to Boston, MA. DanBAN, alongside Nordekon and angel investors, had the chance to visit Boston and see, meet and learn about the startup and investor ecosystem at first hand. 

Boston has undoubtedly proven its value as a centre of innovation. In fact, a 2019 survey by KPMG ranked Boston in the top 10 cities in the world to become the “leading technology innovation hub outside of Silicon Valley over the next four years”.

While often overlooked in favour of larger tech hubs such as New York or San Francisco, Boston has long been cultivating its own strong sci-tech ecosystem. In particular, the city has emerged as a global leader in biotech, with the Greater Boston area estimated to be home to at least 1000 biotech enterprises, from early-stage startups to billion-dollar pharmaceutical companies. In 2018 Boston beat New York in terms of overall start-up investments. In recent years, the city has churned out a number of unicorns, including online auto marketplace CarGurus, which went public in 2017, and online prescription service PillPack, which was acquired for $1 billion.

“Boston is a remarkable hub for innovation. MIT and Harvard are only two of the 52 institutions of higher education in the area, hundreds of start-ups live alongside those who already made it and are now listed companies, and business angels invest the money they have made on their own businesses. And capital is abundant. Just see my photo from our visit to Battery Ventures: Their latest fund is investing $750 million – and this is their 9th fund, meaning that to raise that kind of money, the investors in the fund will have had to be happy with the performance of the previous funds. Battery Ventures is merely one of many venture funds and hundreds of business angels in the area.” – Søren Houmøller, Managing director & owner 1st mile.

Read Søren Houmøllers Boston post on LinkedIn here.

On our trip to Boston, we had the great pleasure to be accompanied by the former US ambassador to Denmark, Rufus Gifford who joined us for an exclusive dinner with Boston Habour Angels and for a two-hour session taking us through the political landscape.
The main goal of the trip is to create social relations and connections among the participating investors and to match Nordic business angels with the Bostonian startup and investor ecosystem. We asked some of the participating angel investors about their experience going to Boston.
“It is always fascinating to see how you work with entrepreneurship and innovation elsewhere. I just returned from a DanBAN trip to Boston, filled with impressions and inspiration. We visited the newly established Danish Innovation Center and met with incubators, matchmakers and knowledge centers who all left the impression of an integrated eco-system consisting of top education, research, leading players from the global business community, as well as a vibrant entrepreneur and innovation environment. A ecosystem that not only leverages technology to create new business models and opportunities, but simply powers to define and create the technologies themselves. I am convinced that we (Denmark) need to focus on power centers like Boston, to be able to advance at all what was emphasized by a yielding right with the Danish startup success IMOTIONS, which has gained relevance by moving to Boston.” More of that! – Ole Andersen, Business Angel.

Thank you for a great trip to the east coast, or as local ecosystem players call it – the “right” coast.

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