Sarah Lacy is the founder and editor of PandoDaily, and a long-time fixture in Silicon Valley. She also is skeptical of the Boston startup scene, despite the fact that Massachusetts-based venture capital firms were home to three of the largest funds raised in Q1 2013 — Battery Ventures, Third Rock Ventures, and Spark Capital.
She called the results from the National Venture Capital Association “misleading,” noting that the three Boston firms just “happened to close at the same time,” and the total of $1.5 billion will not all be going into Beantown startups.
Then she gets maddddd personal, yo.
She muses that the primary reason Boston has fallen from its perch as the “number two startup ecosystem” is a culture problem — in addition to a “closed” flow of talent through the ecosystem, Bostonians are too damn defensive, as evidenced when Leah Busque of TaskRabbit complained about her experience raising venture capital in Boston in a PandoDaily interview last week. Apparently, Boston-based VC Elon Boms (is he a big deal or something?) was hurt that Busque would “trash” his hometown, and Lacy was pissed that Boms got all defensive, and well, here we are.
Then Boston’s young, startup-happy website Bostinno got offended by Lacy’s insistence that “overall numbers still show an ecosystem on the decline. Clearly, something isn’t working.” Chase Garbarino wrote an amusing post titled, “A Boston Response to Sarah Lacy,” punctuated with YouTube clips of various Boston movies (mostly The Departed…), in essence telling Lacy (via Mark Wahlberg) to go f*ck herself.
So clearly you wouldn’t want to meet one of these Bostinno dudes late at night in the wrong part of South End. But we’re on Lacy’s side on this one…she has quite a bit of moral authority, having seen startup ecosystems rise and fall, and at the end of the day she’s just a mother trying to protect her interview subjects.
But hey — Boston can be great for startups! Ask Greg Selkoe at Karmaloop, who has blogged for the Huffington Post about how he hopes to improve the Boston startup ecosystem through government reforms and civic engagement. Ya gotta love the fightin’ Boston spirit.