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Senator Spilka and Tech Hub Caucus Discuss Support for Small Business Entrepreneurs

July 15, 2014

Event at PayPal’s ‘Start Tank’ Incubator Highlights Partnerships Between Small and Large Companies that Drive Economic Growth

On Tuesday, the Massachusetts Tech Hub Legislative Caucus hosted a group of over 80 technology entrepreneurs, business executives and state legislators at an event at PayPal’s headquarters in Boston’s Financial District, Caucus co-chair Senator Karen Spilka (D-Ashland) announced. The meeting focused on the significant private sector investment that is boosting the technology ecosystem in Massachusetts, with a particular focus on larger companies that that support the growth of tech startups through entrepreneur incubator programs and small business accelerators.

Tech Hub Caucus co-chairs Senator Karen Spilka and Representative Ann-Margaret Ferrante kick off Tuesday's event at eBay's Start Tank incubator.

Tech Hub Caucus co-chairs Senator Karen Spilka and Representative Ann-Margaret Ferrante kick off Tuesday’s event at eBay’s Start Tank incubator.

During the event, legislators and business leaders toured the Start Tank facility and participated in an interactive panel discussion on the challenges that small tech companies face as they attempt to grow in Massachusetts. The group also focused on the role that public policy plays in the growth of these companies.

“Partnerships between larger companies and start-ups and partnerships with government are key for ensuring Massachusetts stays on a path of economic growth and prosperity,” said Senator Spilka. “Today’s tour and discussion highlighted the ways that incubators and accelerators like the Start Tank are encouraging innovation, new ideas and continued growth in our state’s thriving tech sector.”

“The partnership between these large companies, small business and individual entrepreneurs, is pivotal to the success of tech startups. By sharing their resources and offering support, companies like eBay and PayPal encourage entrepreneurs to bring their vision to Massachusetts to continue to drive innovation in the Commonwealth. As legislators it is vital that we support these endeavors so that Massachusetts continues to attract and retain the best talent and ideas,” said Caucus co-chair, State Representative Ann-Margaret Ferrante (D-Gloucester).

Nearly two dozen startups have been accepted into PayPal’s Start Tank incubator since the company moved into its International Place office in October 2012. The innovation space provides next generation startups with six months of free co-working space, coaching, and a community that encourages collaboration between companies. Each startup is also provided with a “Pal”, a PayPal employee that mentors the company and helps them make important business connections, as PayPal is able to offer a vast network of contacts, investors, and experienced entrepreneurial experts to help resident companies grow. Through their participation inthe program, startups also learn how Massachusetts is an advantageous location to build a brand, recruit world-class talent, and attract investment.

The host of the event, PayPal, is a subsidiary of eBay and is a platform for safe online payments across the internet. The company makes global e-commerce possible by allowing for payments across different locations, currencies, and languages. The six-month Start Tank experience concludes with “Demo Day,” an event hosted by PayPal that brings startups and investors together to showcase the entrepreneur’s developments over the course of their time in the incubators. PayPal plans to take the Start Tank concept international, using Boston as a successful model for similar programs in their London and Chennai offices.

Great panel moderated by David Chang of PayPal: Start Tank alum Tony Longo of CO Everywhere; current Start Tank resident Ashley Reid; angel investor Shereen Shermak of Launch Angels; and TechNet CEO Linda Moore.

Great panel moderated by David Chang of PayPal: Start Tank alum Tony Longo of CO Everywhere; current Start Tank resident Ashley Reid; angel investor Shereen Shermak of Launch Angels; and TechNet CEO Linda Moore.

The session also featured a panel discussion which highlighted several Start Tank resident and alumni entrepreneurs, as well as business executives from the region. The panel was moderated by David Chang, Chief Operating Officer of the PayPal Media Network, and provided legislators the opportunity to ask questions directly to the technology leaders and entrepreneurs in attendance. Members of the panel included:

  • Linda Moore, President & Chief Executive Officer, TechNet, a political network of CEOs and Seniors Executives that promotes the growth of technology-led innovation across the U.S.;
  • Tony Longo, Co-Founder & Chief Executive Officer of CO Everywhere, an alumnus of Start Tank which has raised over $7M+ in funding;
  • Shereen Shermak, Chief Executive Officer of Launch Angels, an angel-investment/venture capital firm that works with Start Tank companies;
  • Ashley Reid, Founder, Give Well Get Well, a current Start Tank resident company.

Today’s Tech Hub Caucus event was organized by the Massachusetts Tech Hub Collaborative, in partnership with many of the state’s most prominent technology industry associations, including the Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council (MassTLC), Massachusetts Innovation and Technology Exchange (MITX), and TechNet. The Collaborative brings together a cross-sector of leaders to address mission critical issues concerning future technology growth within the state.

ABOUT THE MASSACHUSETTS TECH HUB COLLABORATIVE

Charged by Governor Deval Patrick to serve as stewards of the state’s overall technology sector, the Massachusetts Tech Hub Collaborative brings together a cross-sector of leaders to address mission critical issues for tech’s future growth in the state. The Tech Hub Collaborative is supported by the Innovation Institute at the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative (www.masstech.org), an innovative public agency working with industry, academia, and government to improve the innovation landscape through cluster development, research collaborations, and other key initiatives.

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