Working in Boston Tech

Next to technological hotbeds like Silicon Valley and New York it can be easy to forget that innovation can happen in your own backyard.  If four years at Boston College have provided any insight to undergraduates eyeing the tech industry, it should be that Boston has incredible potential as a progressive environment with its top universities and top technical talent.  Industry giants by the dozens such as Apple, Google, Microsoft, Uber, and Spotify have all opened offices in Boston.  Perhaps more exciting than the industry giants are the start-ups in the Boston area whose entrepreneurial spirit and daily innovation from robots to medication delivery is changing the way Boston is viewed by the rest of the country.  Here’s a look at just a few different companies whose employees wake up every day, sit in endless Boston traffic, and fuel the tech industry, east coast style.

HubSpot

Founded just about eleven years ago, HubSpot provides marketing software solutions to businesses of all sizes, helping them market smarter and integrate with many other critical tools.  Its all-in-one approach to enabling marketers to manage contacts and leads in CRM, take control of their inbound marketing campaigns, and manage day-to-day sales operations all in one integrated place.  Having used HubSpot during an internship, I found it to be incredibly intuitive and absolutely necessary for managing potential customers.  As soon as website visitors sign up for a newsletter or provide their name and phone number to download a whitepaper, that information is stored and every time that same person clicks a link in an email or visits a certain page on the company’s website, those actions are added to the visitor’s profile and paint a picture of how engaged that customer is.

In addition to its success with its software, HubSpot has been widely recognize as on the best new tech employers in Boston.  Glassdoor and the Boston Globe have consistently ranked HubSpot among the absolute best places to work in Boston.  With unlimited paid time off, tuition reimbursement, 401k matching, and an on-site coffee garden, the company seeks to attract the best talent from all over the world by being the best tech employer it can be.  With entry-level positions in sales and marketing, HubSpot offers a tempting future to anyone looking to start at a tech company.

GaggleAmp

We have discussed in class before newer marketing methods aimed at broaden a corporation’s reach on social media, and a local company has provided a trendy new solution.  Aimed at harnessing the latent social support of its passionate employees, GaggleAmp allows companies the ability to write up blog posts and other social content, and then allow employees to select a piece of curated content to share on their behalf.  The program, which is usually offered on an opt-in basis, gives complete control to the employee about what articles they choose to share and when, but with scheduling capabilities to auto-post and point values that are assigned each piece of content, gamification and rewards from employees ultimately keep the content flowing.

Imagine if a company could not only tweet out to all its corporate accounts, but also all the accounts of participating employees.  Through this new marketing method, a company can also bolster its hiring efforts by directly reaching its employees’ colleagues on LinkedIn and other networks.  At my internship, full-time employees could share job postings from HR and not only gain points through GaggleAmp, but if a friend they referred got hired, they would both be rewarded monetarily.  Coupling traditional HR referral programs with direct social media engagement could prove incredibly valuable in the quest for great talent.

Drizly

Founded by two Boston College grads, Drizly emerged locally as Uber for liquor.  This tech start-up had its roots in local liquor stores that BC students would probably recognize by name and after six rounds of funding has raise nearly $35 million.  Sixty employees now work at Drizly’s Boston offices, but the company now has operations in 18 different markets across the country thanks, in part, to their alliance with Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of America.  Drizly business model centers around a monthly licensing fee to liquors stores to provide its cashflow and with more and more vendors signing on, Drizly’s operations continue to expand in what is likely to become a competitive space.  With the uber-for-X model developing and encompassing more markets than we have ever seen, I can see this space quickly becoming flooded with more specialized services like Club W which, based on an online taste quiz, will send specially-selected bottles of wine to ship to your door on a monthly basis.

 

Companies like these are changing the landscape of the industries they serve.  HubSpot is changing the way marketers market, GaggleAmp is changing the way recruiters hire, and Drizly is delivering 30’s of Natty to eager college students nationwide.  Each one of these operations started out as an idea that worked in Boston, and is now being tested all over the country in new markets.  While it is very easy to look to Silicon Valley on the other coast for innovation, it’s important to remember innovation can happen anywhere, and around Boston, its influence is both clear and visionary.

8 comments

  1. Cool post! HubSpot and Drizly sound like great companies, but I’m not sure if I like all of the implications of using GaggleAmp. With advertising as prevalent as it is on the internet today, I’m just not sure if it’s a good idea to be part of a system that pushes corporate content from personal accounts – can you imagine what it would be like to scroll through Facebook if all of your friends were using GaggleAmp for their jobs? Employees are stuck between selling out on social media and having to pass on all of the benefits provided by using GA. I’m not a fan! Drizly sounds like a great idea, and I might just have to try it out for myself when I turn 21 in January (although I bet it’s a pretty expensive service). Great idea to focus this post on Boston-based companies!

  2. Awesome post Chris! I’m actually working at HubSpot next year, and I’m super excited to join a company that is changing the game of how businesses can utilize digital marketing technologies to effectively reach customers. And I’m also really excited to live in this growing tech hub of Boston. I’ve heard of Drizly before, and it seems like a great business model, but this is the first time I’m hearing about GaggleAmp. I wonder if HubSpot could also eventually incorporate automated posts into their tools? One of my favorite tech sites is called the Hitchhiker’s Guide to Boston Tech (http://bostontechguide.com/), which I highly recommend reading if you haven’t already. It includes information about all things tech in Boston, including names of tech start-ups, podcasts, and networking events. I’m excited to see the list of tech companies in Boston keep growing!

  3. This was a really interesting post. Each one of these companies seems to be changing the way digital marketing technologies can be used. I personally did not really understand what the Tech scene was like here in Boston. It makes sense for this industry to be strong in Boston, given all of the college students and prestigious schools. Drizly sounds like an incredible and convenient app. Since the company was founded by BC students, I might have to give it a try!

  4. Nice post! I did a project on HubSpot in OB a few semesters ago and it really is such an interesting company to work at and it’s right in the Boston area. I really like how your account went beyond the fact that Boston has attracted the tech giants to open up offices and that you focused on smaller companies who started in Boston and are gaining nationwide recognition. I’ve heard of Drizly but not GaggleAmp so that was cool to learn a bit about as well. I’m not sure if you’ve ever gone on any TechTreks with Prof. Gallaugher but if I recall correctly he was on TV a few years ago claiming that Boston had the potential to be the Silicon Valley of the East Coast. I really think that this is possible when you consider the overwhelming talent pouring out from local universities as well as the seemingly entrepreneurial mindset of the city. Thanks for sharing!

  5. I think you bring of some really interesting points about the innovation and advancements happening in our city just a few T stops away! I agree that Boston is a space perfect for new opportunities and I feel like I am always hearing about new, cool start ups in our area. I think that just by the fact that BC hosts TechTrek trips into Boston every week shows that there is a growing space for tech companies. This is definitely aid by Innovation Labs at schools like Harvard and MIT with resources and mentors to help young entrepreneurs grow their business. I was able to visit Drizly’s office on a TechTrek when they only had a few people working for them and they were in a tiny, one room office in the seaport. Now in just a few years they, as you mentioned, have 60 employees and expanded their reach way beyond Boston! I recently saw an article about another cool startup featuring curated wine delivered to your door. Kuvee combines wine delivery with technology that informs the person who ordered about specific facts and information about the wine. Interesting combination of direct to consumer subscription based service with an add on tech component. https://www.kuvee.com/pages/how-it-works Started right here in Boston!

  6. Great post! I think its great to see all of the start-ups coming from the greater Boston area, its easy to think of New York and Silicon valley for tech, but lots of innovation has historically come through the Boston area. I think you did a great job of choosing three companies to profile in your piece. As tech and healthcare become even more entwined ill be interested to see if that grows Boston tech even more as we are one of the premier healthcare centers.

  7. It’s interesting to consider where the tech industry will grow in the next few decades. It made sense to be centralized in the beginning but with so many growing needs and new start-ups, it seems very cost prohibitive to focus on one location. Cities will be smart to consider ways to capitalize by attracting these companies to set up shop. Perhaps tech can play a key role in revitalizing cities like in the rust belt – once built on the innovation of steel and industry but now dying – could perhaps be brought back to life by the latest tech revolution.

  8. Cool post Chris! You definitely made it clear how Silicon Valley is not the only hub for technology companies. I personally had no idea how booming Boston was with tech startups, so this was a very educational read for me. These kinds of companies are going to be growing and growing as time passes, spreading throughout even more places in the country, let alone the world. I’ve never heard of GaggleAmp, and think its a really interesting idea! I’m definitely going to check it out.

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