5 Tips for Networking in the Boston Startup Ecosystem
Boston is a well-known location for startups; it's recently ranked as the No.1 startup city in the country for the second year in a row. Boston is not only a great place to start a business, but also a great place to be part of a growing startup community that’s full of brilliant ideas and driven entrepreneurs. Here are 5 practical tips you can use to make your way into the local startup ecosystem:
1. Take Advantage of Events Hosted by Local Schools
Boston is probably the most well-known for its top universities, which not only offers great education, but also great networks. If you are looking to network with young entrepreneurs, a great first step is to get involved with local student clubs. You may consider attending club meetings of well-known groups in the area such as Greenhorn Connect, MIT CHIEF, The Entrepreneurship Club at Boston University, or Startup Institute. Attending events hosted by local schools and universities can get you access to new ideas, rising entrepreneurs, experienced faculty, industry professionals and more!
2. Research Investor Groups & Local VCs
The startup community evolves all the time, you might find it difficult to identify new opportunities sometimes. A great way to get some early access is researching angel investors, startup accelerators, and venture capital firms that primarily invest in Boston startups. Some well-known ones include Mass Challenge, TechStars, Bolt, Founder Institute, M2D2, and Harvard Launch Lab. Networking with investors and VCs can also help you gain the investor perspective on startups, which is very helpful for young entrepreneurs starting their own businesses.
3. Become a Fan on Social Media
Successful startups are often very active on social media. They love to use this channel to build relationships, look for talent, and promote their new project/products. Don't be a stranger, comment, like, share, and interact with these companies on social can bring you great opportunities. If you are an avid follower of their social profiles, wouldn't it be much easier to strike a conversation next time you meet them at a startup event?
4. Attend Startup Community Events
Many accelerators and organizations hold workshops, events, and educational sessions for students and entrepreneurs in the area; this is a great networking opportunity whether you're starting your own business or trying to get involved with local startups. You can gain lots of information about the ecosystem and various types of startup projects that people are working on or investing in. These events are highly relevant, which means that you shouldn't walk in being unprepared. Do you research and have an idea of what you want to achieve and who you want to speak to; then use your time wisely during the event.
5. Polish Your Presentation Skills
You could attend the best networking events in Boston, but you're not going to impress unless you know how to market yourself. If you are hoping to speak to investors or fellow entrepreneurs about your business, you need to work on a great elevator pitch and polished business plan. If you want to look for a career opportunity, then you need to impress with your resume pitch. In any case, good presentation skills are important and luckily you can gain those skills through education and practice.
Now, you should have a good idea on how to leverage local resources and network with the Boston startups. If you are ready to join the local startup community, check out the latest events hosted by Startup Institute!