Quietly gaining momentum is a "private, exclusive community" for entrepreneurs called Incunation, founded by Cambridge entrepreneur John Henry Silva. Silva, interestingly, began his career as a Marine Corps officer working in the White House during the Bill Clinton and George W. Bush administrations; he also served in Iraq.
The site offers a "marketplace" where entrepreneurs can look for technology experts, sales executives, or people to help them enter foreign markets. They can also use the site to announce new businesses and get feedback from fellow entrepreneurs.There are discussions of books and articles of interest to entrepreneurs. And the site occasionally interviews local start-up founders like Bettina Hein of Pixability, and offers its members the chance to ask questions and get answers from the interviewee in its discussion forums.
You need an invitation to join Incunation, though.
Here's how the site describes its goals:
The purpose of Incunation is to provide an online community for the finest entrepreneurial minds on the planet. This is not a community exclusively for the wealthy or the fashionable. Incunation is for serious professionals executing ideas to change the world.
Every member of Incunation was invited by an existing member because they strongly believed they would add value to our private venture community...
Silva didn't seem eager to talk with me about the site, but John Brunswick, a board member, did answer a few questions by e-mail.
They've been promoting the site through a few Boston-area events (like this party held in Harvard Square in June), and by asking existing members to dole out invitations to people they think would be good additions to the community. Not every member gets invites, though: I was invited to join the site last month by one of its members, for instance, but I don't have "invitation privileges" of my own.
The activity level on the site, which launched in late 2008, isn't exactly raging yet; many of the discussion forum topics seem to be conversations between Brunswick and Silva, with the occasional post from someone else. Maybe being more open to new members would be a positive thing...
And I asked Brunswick about another potential issue: what if Incunation is overrun by attorneys, accountants, PR people, and others flogging their services to entrepreneurs? Brunswick says that hasn't been a problem so far. "I feel that this is a reflection of the care in our invite process," he writes via e-mail. "If an attorney or PR person wants to attract business, the best route is to showcase their skill in the discussion areas."
Incunation is planning more local events this fall. You can follow their Twitter feed to be notified about them -- and perhaps score an invite to the site, too.
About Scott Kirsner
Scott Kirsner was part of the team that launched Boston.com in 1995, and has been writing a column for the Globe since 2000. His work has also appeared in Wired, Fast Company, The New York Times, BusinessWeek, Newsweek, and Variety. Scott is also the author of the books "Fans, Friends & Followers" and "Inventing the Movies," was the editor of "The Convergence Guide: Life Sciences in New England," and was a contributor to "The Good City: Writers Explore 21st Century Boston." Scott also helps organize several local events on entrepreneurship, including the Nantucket Conference and Future Forward. Here's some background on how Scott decides what to cover, and how to pitch him a story idea.
Subscribe via e-mail
More from Scott
March 3: Web Innovators Group
Demos, drinks, and schmoozing at the Royal Sonesta in Cambridge.
March 7-8: MassDigi Game Challenge
Competition for aspiring game developers... plus panels and keynotes related to the business of play.
April 3-4: Mass Biotech Annual Meeting
Issues facing the region's life sciences community.