Charting New Territory: A Guide to The Fenway’s Rising Star(tup)s
It’s no secret that Boston has become home to some of the most prominent startups on the rise, and it’s no coincidence that many of them reside within The Fenway’s very own Hatch. Hatch is a local launchpad offering pioneering startups scalability, and has been a catalyst for evolution in The Fenway location.
“Breakthrough Starshot,” which aims to send iPhone-sized spacecraft to the nearest star system, Alpha Centauri, was unveiled earlier this month. Spearheaded by acclaimed theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking, Russian entrepreneur Yuri Milner and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, “Starshot” will use a light beam to propel palm-sized probes up to speeds of 100 million miles per hour. The ambitious plan will take decades and tens of billions of dollars to complete. Sounds like a pretty worthwhile trade-off for making interstellar travel a reality.
As a nod to man’s first foray into deep space, we’ve charted a constellation of the hottest startups calling The Fenway, Hatch, and the surrounding areas home (without the help of a single astrophysicist!).
Companies within The Fenway
Tagline: "Restaurant POS Built Just For You."
TPS Report: Sliced bread revolutionized the food game: Toast modernized it. Toast is a highly customizable Point-of-Sale (POS) system agile enough to be implemented anywhere, from neighborhood institutions like your favorite pizza shop to that hot new gastropub peddling confit everything. The custom-built tablets and proprietary software streamline seating, menu management, ordering and payment. This means staff can spend less time memorizing specials or splitting checks and devote more energy to enhancing the guest experience.
Piece of Flair: Toast creates a database of guest information that restaurant owners can use to develop highly-targeted marketing campaigns.
Tagline: “A Collegiette’s Guide to Life.”
TPS Report: Founded by three Harvard undergrads in 2009, Her Campus has over 7,000 contributing college journalists from more than 300 campuses spanning eight countries. In addition to creating and disseminating robust college admissions guides, valuable life advice, and light-hearted listicles, Her Campus serves as a launch pad for fledgling journalists. Contributors have gone on to receive job offers from Buzzfeed, Vogue, MTV, The Washington Post, Digitas and more.
Piece of Flair: In addition to serving as a global community for college women, Her Campus also uses digital and traditional means to connect brands with the college market through Her Campus Media.
Tagline: “Optimizing performance for elite athletes & teams.”
TPS Report: In the last year or so wearables have moved from niche gadget to ubiquity. Whoop represents 10x advancement in that technology. It converts advanced biometrics into easy-to-digest data visualizations, which can be leveraged to tailor workout plans for individuals in real time. Whoop disrupts the self-defeating cycle of over and under training that plagues athletes by providing tangible insights based on strain and recovery. Through customizable dashboards, teams can use Whoop to compare trends in physiological data with on-field results to determine future training regiments and prevent injury. If the Patriots had Whoop last season they’d be sporting a fifth ring.
Piece of Flair: Whoop isn’t just for athletes: it’s also used by the military, and the ability to track sleep and optimize travel schedules would improve boardroom performance worldwide.
Alps & Meters
Tagline: “Upholding the tradition of classic alpine sport.”
TPS Report: Turning passion into a thriving business requires nearly as much savvy as navigating treacherous alpine terrain. Drawing inspiration from vintage ski apparel, the guys at Alps & Meters have crafted a line of performance outerwear that blends age-old craftsmanship with contemporary technology. The outcome? They call it “forged performance.”
Piece of Flair: Alps and Meters offers personalized in-home fittings for customers in the Boston area, and their ultra-couth shawl collar jacket is currently available at half price.
Tagline: “Catalyze a startup renaissance.”
TPS Report: MassChallenge is a 4-month accelerator for seed or early stage startups. Entrepreneurs are granted free office space and access to unparalleled mentorship en route to birthing their brain-children. At the end of the program $2 million is dispersed among the winners, though many participants go on to raise funds through outside investors (in 2015, accelerated startups raised over $41 million). In addition to promoting innovation and creativity, MassChallenge preaches “inclusive entrepreneurship”: last year, 44% of the Boston cohort featured female founders.
Piece of Flair: Unlike other startup accelerators (Y-Combinator, etc.), MassChallenge welcomes fledgling businesses in any vertical and they do not take a single cent of equity from the startups they support.
Companies located outside of The Fenway, but involved in the neighborhood.
Tagline: “Discover the power of social sweat.”
TPS Report: Swap costly brick-and-mortar studios for, well, just about anywhere. MoveWith has created a network, nay, community, through which yoga enthusiasts, runners, and other fitness fanatics can connect directly with their favorite instructors. They offer unique takes on traditional courses, like “Rock ‘n’ Roll Yoga,” in which vinyasa and Van Halen collide at The Armory in Somerville, and “Om, Nom,” an hour of yoga at the Boston Public Kitchen that ends with a brownie tasting.
Piece of Flair: MoveWith allows certified instructors of just about anything to launch personalized side-hustles: this blend of exercise and entrepreneurship could pose a significant threat to ClassPass, which has become ubiquitous among brunch-goers.
Tagline: “General Assembly transforms thinkers into creators through education and opportunities in technology, business and design.”
TPS Report: In an age of perpetual technological change, colleges, even the prestigious ones, are stuck teaching skills that are already out of date by the time students receive their diplomas. General Assembly aims to create technology, business and design courses that afford students more opportunities to thrive in today’s digital landscape. They offer full- and part-time programs at a fraction of the cost of traditional higher ed and, with 15 locations in five countries as well as a robust online offering, they’re well on their way to becoming the go-to channel for startups in search of young talent.
Piece of Flair: Completed a course at GA, but still thirsty for more knowledge? Alums of the data science and digital marketing programs looking to earn a M.S. receive application fee waivers and tuition credits from Berkeley, Newhouse and SMU
Tagline: “Technology Underwriting Greater Good.”
TPS Report: TUGG brings VCs, entrepreneurs, employees and service providers together to affect social change. They host events through which non-profit startups can forge lasting relationships with Boston’s ever-broadening philanthropic community. TUGG currently offers resources and mentorship to an active portfolio of 19 businesses, including MassChallenge alum Catie’s Closet.
Piece of Flair: TUGG’s 10th Annual Wine & Tequila Party, hosted in the Landmark Center, took place on April 7th. Not just an evening of Gatsby-esque socializing, greenhorn startups First Teacher, Resilient Coders and We Thrive walked away with $50,000!