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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

PopSignal Mixer, HBS high fashion startups, and women entrepreneurs in Boston

I was at the PopSignal Alumni Mixer last night. Great party and met several interesting people I have been meaning to meet for some time. Scott Friend (Bain and Founder, Profit Logic), Rich Miner (Google Ventures), Sim Simeonov (FastIGNITE and formerly of Polaris), Chris Sheehan (CommonAngels) (who I first met at Techstars last year - didn't realize they have an Angel group and two co-investment funds alongside it). They do 2-5 investments a year. Also met Scott Kirsner (Globe). Rob Go (Spark Ventures) was there, but I didn't get a chance to get introduced to him.

The party was organized by Jay Meattle (2010 Fellow and Founder of Shareaholic). Also met up with two Fellows, Vishy (VC at Longworth Ventures by day and Founder of Lamhe by night) and Siddh Goyal (Founder, Assured Labor), a Founder of a Techstars company from Syracuse, and TJ, founder of FlipKey, which is now controlled by Expedia/Tripadvisor.

Scott / Bain invested in RentTheRunway, an HBS startup that is the netflix for fashion dresses, and doing very well. Its interesting that a similar concept - the netflix for handbags never worked out as well. There were three reasons that that business didn't work out well. Firstly, people kept handbags for a long time, and there was a lot of wear and tear. Secondly, people rented the originals and returned the fakes, and it was hard to figure out one from the other. But dresses are harder to recreate in 4 days, and there's no wear and tear, so this should be a very interesting business. Thirdly, they were buying these purses retail - and these things cost $3-5000.

PopSignal is a great event, and I look forward to attending more in the future. Its amazing - these parties didn't exist four years ago. How long have we come in Boston....

One observation from this event. Not having been to a tech mixer event like this one before, where people simply meet up to talk about startups (though I go to pitches, competitions and talks all the time), I was surprised at how completely male dominated the event was. I think in a party of a 100, there may have been two women who showed up. I hope it was just happenstance. Lifesciences events have a much better gender balance. I wonder if women not interested in tech startups in Boston (this cannot be true), or do they simply not attend these events (and if so, why)? Since we spend so much time and effort at TLP on finding diversity, I found it a little surprising that the Boston tech community didn't reflect my presumed gender diversity in this town.

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