A Takeaway From HUBweek: Boston’s Place As A Startup Community

This past week, it made the news that for the second year in a row, the United States Chamber of Commerce named Boston the best city for startups. Their report stated, “A constant inflow of capital has fueled the rapid growth of the city’s startup ecosystem, while having some of America’s top universities (including Harvard University, Boston University and MIT) in its backyard produces a steady stream of new tech talent.” Boston out ranked San Francisco’s bay area (second place) and Philadelphia (third place).

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One of the pinnacles of Boston’s success as a startup city is the community. In the city of Boston, there is a well-developed network of startups, students, incubators, and investors that help drive the innovation forward. Even well-established banks like Bank of America and firms like Summit Partners recognize the city’s power as a startup community, and have invested significant resources in it. HUBweek especially contributes to the close startup community of Boston through what they dub as the “Ideas Festival.”

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HUBweek started in December of 2015 by the Boston Globe, Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Massachusetts General Hospital, with the intent of “bringing together the most creative and inventive minds” in Boston. This year was their third annual festival, and it was the first to take place in a centralized location, Government Center. Since its humble start in 2015, HUBweek has expanded to 175+ events with six geodesic domes. Approximately 180 organizations participate in HUBweek, estimated to have drawn over 50,000 attendees.

“Our dream is that this becomes almost like the Boston Marathon, something to where the city feels a sense of ownership over it,” said Linda Pizzuti Henry, chairwoman of the HUBweek board and managing director of The Boston Globe.

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For a week, the great minds of tech and art were brought together, creating some of the best work one could ever see. Several interactive art installations were featured, many of them incorporating augmented reality. There you could also view 3D choreography based on the Tibetan Book of the Dead and film features from two film festivals, experience demos and pitches from 100+ local startups, and learn about Toyota’s new hydrogen powered car and the smart city, Union Point. If you weren’t satisfied with that, to top off your night, there were two silent discos throughout the week.

One of the best days to attend was Demo Day, on October 18th. More than 100 startups flocked to HUBweek with their teams to exhibit and pitch their products to attendees and judges. At the end of the day, a finale event was held in which six startups competed for cash prizes and various tech products like two MacBook Pros. The winner of the finale was PipeGuard Robotics, a company who has designed a small robot that can roam pipes preventing leaks.

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You can start a company in any city or town you want, but collaboration and community are what help businesses thrive. Reflective of Boston’s place for startups, HUBweek has strived to cultivate a community for collaboration and ideas. HUBweek has not only done just that, but they have demonstrated that they are one of the many valuable reasons that Boston is truly the best city for startups. With some of the world’s best talent offered by the world’s best schools brought together by such a unique community, Boston is bound to be on top in the years to come.