| Dec 21, 2010
Here's an interesting map that shows the funding of new businesses by state. I was a little surprised that Massachusetts, Carbonite's home state, had more startup fundraising deals per capita than any other state in the country, including California.
So what is it about Massachusetts that makes it such a hotbed of entrepreneurialism? Certainly the educational infrastructure is one thing. From my office on the 15th floor, I can see Harvard, MIT, Northeastern, Boston Univeristy, the University of Massachusetts, Boston College, Mass College of Art, Tufts, The New England Conservatory, Wellesley, Simmons, and roughly 50 other colleges. I can also see the Museum of Fine Arts with its fabulous new $250 million American Arts wing, Symphony Hall (arguably the best sounding concert hall in the United States), Jordan Hall, the Opera House, the Huntington Theater, the Performing Arts center, the Shubert Theater, the Institute of Contemporary Art, and more museums and libraries than I can count.
So what does all that have to do with startups and venture capital? A lot, in my opinion. One characteristic common among entrepreneurs is an insatiable curiosity. When you do a startup, it’s like being in college, only a lot more intense. Each day is packed with new challenges and new things to learn and understand. Your life can be an intense intellectual experience, so much so that you’re exhausted at the end of the day. But the people who do jobs like mine love the constant learning, the daily uncertainty, and the “making something out of nothing” quality of our work. It’s like being a painter confronted with a blank canvas; instead of creating a painting, you create a company.
Creative people thrive when they are surrounded by other creative people, whether they are scientists and engineers, or composers, writers, and artists. It’s a sea of creativity in which to swim. That’s what’s special about Massachusetts and why this is such a hotbed of business creation. The kind of people who like to make something out of nothing are comfortable here, amidst the great artists, musicians, scientists, inventors, and scholars. It all fits together splendidly.
PS When you cut support for higher education and the arts, sooner or later it will come back to bite you in the pocketbook.