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Boston's entrepreneurial pull: Founders (and tech workers) talk about what brought them here

Posted by Scott Kirsner  September 2, 2012 06:02 AM

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Today's Boston Globe column looks at the reasons people move to Boston from other parts of the country and world. From the piece:
With a three-month visa in hand, Hardi Meybaum came to the United States from Estonia in late 2010 to consider where to set up a new front office for his startup. Meybaum spent half the time in Boston, and half in San Francisco. He found advisors here, and later investors, who understood his vision of creating an online community for mechanical engineers who design new products.

And, Meybaum adds, “part of our engineering team is in Estonia, and on the east coast, you can make the time difference work more easily.” His startup, GrabCAD, is now headquartered in East Cambridge.

Like a left-behind lover, I sometimes get a little obsessed with the entrepreneurs who start their companies in Boston but then pack their bags for California. (Zuck, why’d you have to leave?) But I also regularly hear about founders like Meybaum moving here to give their ideas a better shot at success.

Boston does exert an entrepreneurial pull that can be felt in Estonia, Israel, Kentucky, and Idaho. Instead of conducting exit interviews with those who left, I surveyed more than 20 company founders — and the worker bees who help companies grow — to ask why they came....

I wanted to share some bonus material here...e-mails from several of the people who shared their perspectives with me as I was working on the column. They founded or work at places like Wayfair, PayPal Boston, Wayfair, and Atlas Venture.

We also discussed this theme on September 7th on the WBUR show Radio Boston, with Nick Francis of Help Scout. You can listen here.

Are you someone who came to Boston to start a company, or take a job? What brought you here? Post a comment if you would...

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Innovation and technology news that matters, on a new website from the Boston Globe, featuring Scott Kirsner and other original reporting.

About Scott Kirsner

Scott Kirsner was part of the team that launched 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.

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