TechCrunch Live took a virtual visit to Boston this week at our special City Spotlight: Boston event. During the special, extended event, influential Boston founders and investors spoke, including Boston Robotics founder Marc Raibert and MassChallenge CEO Cait Brumme. The event started with Greg Dracon, of .406 Ventures, and Matt Caulfield, founder and CEO of Oort, with a conversation around cybersecurity companies in Boston.
Caulfield started Oort in 2018, and to date, has raised $18.05 million to support the company, including from Dracon at .406 Ventures.
But why Boston, I asked in the video embedded here.
"I live out in the boonies," Caulfield said, laughing while adding, "in the town over, there's a prototype fusion reactor from Commonwealth Fusion, which is out of MIT, and you're not going to find that anywhere in the country."
Both Caulfield and Dracon made Boston home and started companies in the area. To them, the area's rich history in deep tech explains why high-tech startups, from biotech to cybersecurity companies, find success in the region.
And the Boston area keeps growing. As explained in this TechCrunch article on Boston, success begets success. In 2022, the area was the fourth most active venture capital market in the United States, trailing just California's Bay Area, New York City and Los Angeles.
Greg pointed to the flywheel effect to explain the scene: "We [Boston] have companies that are exiting for nice amounts, and spitting out entrepreneurs. We were early investors in Carbon Black, and we've backed two companies that spun out of Carbon Black... There are probably five or six companies that spun out of Carbon Black alone." He explains that it's important for a region when people feel success together and points to other large Boston companies like HubSpot, Wayfair and Klaviyo that saw projects turn into spun-out startups.
The Boston area requires a specific type of entrepreneur, the two say. "You have to be networked into the tech communities and a bit of a combination of an introvert and extrovert," Dracon said. "We find good founders who are introverted enough, often have a technical background, but they can get out there, build up networks and turn it on when when they have to sell."
"If you're solving a hard technical problem," Caulfield said, "I can't think of a better place than Boston to do it."