Jellyfish: Why I was Born in the Bay but Started a Company in Boston

Posted on May 11th, 2020
Written by Andrew Lau | Jellyfish News

When people think of innovation, technology, and startups, their minds almost necessarily turn to the flourishing Bay Area technology ecosystem, dubbed “Silicon Valley” by Don Hoefler in 1971. These days it’s almost impossible not to view the tech and software industries as synonymous with Silicon Valley (at least within the United States). And since I was born and raised in the Bay Area, I can understand why when I introduce my Boston-based startup, Jellyfish to entrepreneurs, investors, friends, and family, their first question is almost invariably, “Why Boston? Why not San Francisco?” So I thought I’d indulge my skeptics for once and answer that question.

The People

At the end of the day, your company is your people. Its strength, success, culture, and longevity is all a function of the people who build it. Boston is unique in the sense that it’s a city that’s obsessed with education. Boston is home to some of the world’s greatest learning institutions, classrooms and laboratories answering questions most people could never even conceive of. So as some of the smartest people in the world are drawn here to do that, this culture of curiosity and discovery is palpable throughout the city.

When Dave, Phil and I were deciding where to start this company, we knew two things. One, we needed great people to help us solve complex machine intelligence problems (patent pending!); and two, we wanted to sew the entrepreneurial spirit and the desire to keep learning into the fabric of this company. To us, there’s no better place than Boston.

Betting On A Quietly Booming Tech Ecosystem

With the people comes the ecosystem. A decade ago, the Boston startup ecosystem was subdued. The city struggled with its identity as a tech hub, focusing for decades on high tech innovation and enterprise foundation while the rest of the world was largely enthralled by consumer trends. Today, as the world turns back to heavier tech and enterprise technologies, the time is right for the two to meet and redefine industries, and Boston is at the forefront of that charge. And as general understanding of software increases, what was once mundane and arcane is now sexy! Boston has arrived, complete with all those smart, inquisitive people to help us make an even deeper impact than we once could, great mentors and role models, a growing network of entrepreneurial peers and collaborators, and some demonstrated successes. I think that Boston has the ingredients to rival any entrepreneurial community in the world.

The Future of Boston Tech

The rise of the Boston tech scene has convinced growing numbers from universities like MIT and Harvard to stay here and be a part of it, and that’s started a really powerful feedback loop. As more and different people join the community I expect even greater diversity of thought. Boston has been a hotbed for enterprise SaaS and infrastructure technology for years, but I see a diversification already happening. Already there are massive numbers of companies in biotech, health tech, AI, IoT, and other emerging areas. That will continue to strengthen.

We started Jellyfish in Boston because we thought the future here was bright, and we’ve been proven right every step of the way. We now work with some of the smartest, most accomplished, and most interesting people I could imagine. And we couldn’t be more proud to be a part of this Boston community.

A Little About Jellyfish

Jellyfish is an Engineering Management Platform designed to help engineering leaders align their engineering organizations with work that is strategic to the business, using engineering signals to optimize the team’s execution, and deliver results faster. In the last year, we’ve far surpassed our own expectations for the company, more than quadrupling revenue and doubling the size of our team (we’re hiring!). To me that’s a testament to the fact that we’re solving a real problem out there, and I’m excited to continue that work here in Boston.