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A founder’s take on the supportive and thriving Greater Boston startup community

Posted by Chad O'Connor  July 23, 2012 11:00 AM

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When I look back at the past 5 months since founding my startup in Cambridge, I realize the old saying about “it takes a village to raise a child” is as true to a startup, it takes a community!

It is amazing for me to look at the kaleidoscope of people, including my supportive mother and founding teammate and brother, Joe, organizations, and angel investors such as Joe Caruso and Jean Hammond who have been supportive of my educational technology startup BE, an incentivized quiz technology platform for high school and college students. BE started under the guidance of Professor Fernando Reimers at the Harvard University Graduate School of Education and now operating from the Cambridge Innovation Center in Kendall Square under the guidance of New England Venture Capital Association (NEVCA) mentors. These three main pillars of support have opened a world of opportunity from refining the business model, to promoting BE at Microsoft, to connecting me to relevant networks and people in the educational technology space.

If you haven’t been to the Cambridge Innovation Center’s “Venture Cafe Thursday’s” make it a priority. I can’t think of a more exciting, buzzing, and centralized place where startups, tech enthusiasts, investors and the entire “village” meets.

Boston has been an exciting city to launch and grow my startup with the plethora of universities, talent, professors, angel investors, venture capital firms, organizations such as our partners at One Laptop Per Child, businesses such as Goodwin Procter and associations to connect us to the community such as NEVCA, The Capital Network (TCN) and the MIT Enterprise Forum. NEVCA has been a tremendous source of support, providing me with my first opportunity to pitch to 30+ angel investors in just one night and connecting me to the right people and places. TCN has also been an amazing source of support from finding out about workshops, panels, and events where everyone from fellow entrepreneurs and investors meet, learn from each other and network. At the annual TCN networking event I was able to meet with angel investors again and recruit an advisor to my board. Being based in Boston and having access to the universities has been an excellent experience, from presenting at Harvard to Hult Business School to Northeastern and MIT.

As a female entrepreneur working in technology, and there certainly aren’t too many of us, I am thrilled to see supportive organizations such as Golden Seeds and Advancing Women in Science and Technology reaching out to offer mentorship and guidance.

Elise Moussa is the co-founder of BE, an educational technology company based in Cambridge. Follow BE’s growth on Twitter at @whatisBE1.

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
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