July 29, 2016
For many cities, the startup industry is growing to meet the demand for more entrepreneurial ventures – successful startups are no longer confined to just San Francisco and New York City. This is great news for startup founders that are often outside of the grain and finding more success outside of these super-competitive startup ecosystems.
And while recognition for marginalized entrepreneurs can be hard to come by, it isn't impossible. The following entrepreneurs have been nominated by members of the Boston startup community, both for their work in transforming and uplifting the community, but also for defying expectations on entrepreneurs and startup founders over 40.
Tech.Co has chosen those we felt truly stood out. Here are the top Boston startup founders over 40 that you need to know about:
David Gerzof Richard, Cignal Global Communications: David Gerzof Richard is the founder and president of BIGfish PR a public relations agency headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts that represents publicly traded companies, sovereign nations, professional athletes and white-hot start-ups. In addition to running BIGfish, he is a partner at GreatPoint Ventures, a professor of marketing at Emerson College, a lecturer at Harvard University and a curator for Summit Series. He holds a master’s degree from Emerson College and a bachelor’s degree from Boston University. Prior to founding BIGfish, David served as Director and Company Spokesperson for Cignal Global Communications, an international voice and data carrier he helped form in 1995. Cignal Global Communications was acquired by UGC’s Priority Telecom in 2000.
- Swapnil Shah, founder and CEO of First Fuel Software: Swap is a seasoned entrepreneur in the Boston tech scene and an expert in leading software companies into innovative markets. Having successfully founded three companies that went on to IPO or acquisition, Swap is currently focused on disrupting the energy industry with FirstFuel’s data -driven technology.. It’s proprietary platform empowers utilities to better understand how commercial buildings are using energy and then educate their customers on more energy and cost efficient approaches to energy consumption. Under Swap’s leadership, FirstFuel secured $23M in Series C funding in April 2015, which brought the company’s total funding since 2010 to $45M. It currently works with some of the world’s leading utilities including Con Ed, Eversource and Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E).
- Ed Calnan, Founder and President of Seismic: Ed and the rest of Seismic’s founding team began the company back in 2010, and, with his prior experience in both entrepreneurship (he got on the ground floor at OneWorld Software and was brought in to orchestrate the turnaround of Document Sciences, which was later acquired by EMC) and sales leadership (holding top sales positions at Thomson Financial, S&P Capital, and EMC, among others), he has helped scale Seismic from a group of five guys to a 210+ person company in less than six years. Seismic has grown by 120% over each of the past three years, and just in May we secured our Series C led by General Atlantic for $40 million.
- Fred Goff, CEO & Founder of Jobcase: As a first-generation college graduate, Fred actually began his career as a an emerging market trader and then became a proprietary funds manager at Bank of Boston. Through the progression of his career (including an additional Master’s degree from MIT and the founding of his digital media company, Percipio Media), Fred become intimately familiar with sites such as LinkedIn and Glassdoor and noticed that when it came to the job market – no one was serving the silent majority of Americans in non-traditional careers (trade workers, hourly positions and other roles not based in corporate America). It was through this that Fred made a distinct pivot from the world of hedge funds and management in order to launch Jobcase – a self-funded social media site dedicated to providing the necessary community, resources and connection to employers, that the non-traditional workforce needed so badly. A year and a half later, Jobcase now serves over 53 million members, connecting them to jobs across the country through an advanced data-analytics strategy, while also creating a platform where they can connect with one another to get advice “from the trenches.” Jobcase is based in Cambridge, near Kendall Square and is proud to employ a team of bright data scientists from MIT, looking to do something different with their tech expertise.
- Mark Smith, President of Kitewheel: Mark Smith is a global leader in customer behavior and experience analytics. He is a serial entrepreneur who was the founder of Quadstone – the first data mining company to focus explicitly on the analytics of customer behavior. It was eventually acquired by PitneyBowes. He is also a transplant from the UK. • Kitewheel provides a customer journey hub for agencies and their brands to have a birds-eye view of their omnichannel marketing capabilities. The hub assists with unifying decisions across all systems and touch points — both physical and digital — enabling systems to work together to drive meaningful interactions with customers and increase ROI.
- Doron Reuveni, CEO and co-founder of Applause: Applause is a digital quality and testing company that ensures quality digital experiences (apps, web, IoT, etc) experiences for consumers of major brands, including Google, Fox, Amazon and eBay, to name a few. An Israeli native, Doron co-founded Applause (originally uTest) in 2007. Prior to a move to the US, Doron spent five years in the Israeli military, earning a degree in computer science as he served on the intelligence force. In 2007, Reuveni and co-founder Roy Solomon raised initial funding ($2.2 million) from MassVentures. Today, total funding sits around $80 million and Applause is the leader in app quality testing around the world. The company sees revenue in the tens of millions and employs nearly 250 employees, over 120 of which are based in Massachusetts.
- Jana Eggers, CEO of Nara Logics: Jana is a proud female leader in the Sea of Dudes. Not only is she a rare female in AI, she is the CEO and like Bill and Melinda Gates, Jana is a strong advocate for attracting more women into AI. Currently, Jana is leading the charge Cambridge-based Nara Logics, the synaptic intelligence company with the only solution to make context-sensitive adjustments to recommendations to help companies make smarter business decisions and give the reasons behind them. Synaptic intelligence is one of the new branches of artificial intelligence that combines neuroscience and computer science. This pairs the best of machine learning and human knowledge with small and business data sets to finally make sense out of big data.
- Dr. Nathan Wilson, CTO and Co-Founder of Nara Logics: Nathan is the driving force behind Nara’s revolutionary neural network technology, and has spent his career as an expert at the intersection of neuroscience and computer science. He holds a Ph.D. from MIT in brain and cognitive sciences, a Master’s in computer science and artificial intelligence from Cornell, and has numerous patents and publications in top journals including Nature, Neuron, and the MIT Press.
- Alex Karis, Co-Founder, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of DigitalX: As CEO and Co-Founder of DigitalX, Alex has a solid understanding of client management and customer relationship and has been key in the Company’s transformation making it one of the largest bitcoin holders in Australia. Via Alex’s help DigitalX has increased its mining capacity by approx. 90%, introduced the sale of cloud mining contracts and led in the development of consumer products as digital AirPocket, a mobile and web-based consumer payment platform. Alex will continue to establish DigitalX as a forerunner in the digital currency consumer industry and develop products that will provide consumers with the ability to seamlessly exchange digital currency securely and economically. DigitalX, is a Blockchain-based software solutions group disrupting the payments industry and just announced that it has joined forces with Latin American telecom giant Telefónica to market its money transfer and remittance app, AirPocket, across Latin America. DigitalX targets the unbanked through its money transfer and remittance app, AirPocket, bringing mobile transfers to 232 million Telefónica users in Latin America.
- Greg McHale, founder and CEO of Let’s All Do Good: reg is a serial social entrepreneur with a technology background and over 25 years of sales, marketing and general management experience.Greg has been part of multiple startups and the last three (including LetsAllDoGood) have all been in the ‘do good’ space. In 2002 he founded cMarket -today known as BiddingForGood – which today is the largest online auction service for nonprofits. Greg was also CEO at Virtual Ink Corp., where he led a student team from MIT and created a company that raised over $57 million in venture capital funding. There are upwards of 2 million nonprofits in the US and virtually every American is touched by them or involved with them.
- Mike Duffy, co-founder and CEO of Barkley: Previously the CEO of OpenPages, where he led a massive restructuring of the company, breaking it down to its bare-bones and building it back up again to a global leader in compliance, ultimately a valuable winning company (it was purchased by IBM in 2010). at the height of his professional career as OpenPages was closing its acquisition by IBM, he was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer known as leiomyosarcoma. While he was on top of the business world having just ushered his once fledgling company to a major acquisition, he was suffering with a traumatic disease with an extremely high mortality rate. Thankfully, Mike is now recovered. At that point, you would assume most successful CEOs would take off for someplace sunny and spend their days on the golf course or vacationing with family and friends. But not Mike, he has decided to take the lessons from a career in building valuable companies and start all over again. Partnering with former colleague Jack Danahy to build Barkly, a startup with a vision to make security accessible, simple, affordable and strong.
- Janet Kosloff, CEO and co-founder of InCrowd: A founding member of two successful health care startups about 10 years ago – Commonwealth Care and MedPanel –where she wore just about every hat from product development to sales – Janet and a woman partner founded InCrowd after watching their clients pain in getting traditional market research in a timely fashion. In doing so she pioneered the “Microsurvey” – brief, highly targeted, mobile approaches – and created an entire industry segment copied by other far larger players.
- Susie Kim Riley, CEO and Founder of Aquto: Based in Boston, Aquto is now the leader in sponsored data, giving consumers access to mobile connectivity by enabling users to view videos, use apps and other mobile content, free of data charges. Aquto’s software allows smartphone and tablet users to receive free data from brands and operators that can be applied to their wireless accounts. Susie made her way to Boston from across the world, born of Korean decent, growing up in Malaysia and heading the US for college. She has made waves in Boston tech startup scene as a female serial entrepreneur with multiple successful startups under her belt. Aquto is Susie’s third startup – the first two selling in the billion-dollar range.
- Jeff Miller, CUB Lending Partners: After a successful career in the financial industry, working for Sovereign Bank and Santander following the merge, Jeff Miller left the corporate financial world to found an entrepreneurial venture. CUB Lending Partners provides a link between Credit Unions & Banks, and local car dealerships, in order to automate loan processing while minimizing risk for all parties. The solution enables small car dealers to boost sales by increasing opportunities through financing options, while the CUBs increase their loan portfolio, maintaining transparency throughout the automated approval processing system.
Image via Bert Kaufmann / Flickr
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