The Boston Tech Mafias

I commented on a piece recently in the Boston Business Journal regarding what successful entrepreneurs and technology executives are doing with their wealth and how this impacts the Boston technology and business ecosystem. Interest in this area has likely increased as there have been some outstanding technology liquidity events in Boston since the 2000/2001 bubble burst that have been chronicled by Jeff Bussgang and others in a number of places.

What is notable is the velocity of the people from many of these companies, founders and executives in particular, who are investing in, mentoring and working with many new startups in Boston. This has received some attention from Xconomy and Scott Kirsner, but I have not found a list of all the local companies that have had strong liquidity events over the past 10 – 15 years where the founders and executives have gone on to invest in, start or provide meaningful support to new companies. The definition of “mafia” has created some debate over on twitter but for my purposes I am applying it broadly as founders, executives or employees of a company that has had a successful liquidity event who go on to start, invest in, or have a meaningful role in building (ie: working at, mentoring, sitting on a board) of a new technology company. The PayPal Mafia is legend in Silicon Valley and it seems there are more and more Boston tech company mafias emerging every day. This makes our tech ecosystem vibrant and strong. The fact that most successful tech entrepreneurs around Boston DON’T retire, is huge!

The list of companies and the mafiosos (individuals) is incredibly long, but here is my first pass at listing all of the Boston Tech Mafia “Families” (see my “mafia” definition above): Acme Packet, Akamai,, American Tower, Brightcove,, Cloudant, ConstantContact, Demandware, Endeca, Equalogic, iRobot, Jumptap, Kayak, Maven, M-qube, Netezza, Optasite, Progress Software, Quattro, Rue La La, Shoebuy, Starent, Tripadvisor, Upromise, Vertica, Vistaprint, Where, Zipcar…and I know there are more.

Those of us who work in the technology and entrepreneurial fields owe these folks a lot of gratitude for not heading to the proverbial “beach” and staying involved both intellectually and financially in Boston tech, thank you.

If you have additions, please let me know @seanmmarsh.

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