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.
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.
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.
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.