Byline: Peter S. Cohan
It is very encouraging that a technology startup in Westboro, SimpliVity -- it makes a many-in-one computing system for enterprises -- is doing so well, it plans to add 120 "net new jobs'' there in 2015.
Let's look at technology startups and why I think they are the highest form of entrepreneurship. There are many kinds of new ventures: An accountant leaves a big firm and starts her own practice doing tax returns; a family immigrates to the U.S. and opens a restaurant; a Ph.D. in molecular biology launches a biotech company; or a successful computer technology entrepreneur launches a new company to take customers from the company that acquired his latest venture.
While all of these make the world a better place, the tech startup is the best for a region's economy. How so? The solo practitioner and restaurant operator are likely to keep themselves and a few other people employed, and if they do a good job, will have happy customers who keep coming back; however, such ventures often remain small.
A biotech company could end up developing a world-transforming medicine. More frequently, such companies are fortunate to raise some venture capital, hire some scientists to conduct research, and perhaps even develop a molecule that looks promising. In some cases, such companies can even be acquired by a pharmaceutical company or sell shares to the public and enrich their investors while hiring more scientists. However, they often do not generate significant revenues as they try to survive the many expensive regulatory hurdles between their scientific inquiry and a drug that the FDA allows it to sell to the public.
By contrast, a technology startup does not require regulatory approval. If it is well-led and offers a product that is much better than the ones already on the market, it can grow very quickly. Within a few years, it can employ hundreds of people, leasing more office space, indirectly boosting local real estate values, paying more in local taxes, and potentially enriching investors -- if it can reach the $100 million in annual revenues the market likes to see before letting such a tech startup sell its shares to the public.
Communities east of Worcester on Interstate 495, like Marlboro and Westboro, seem to do pretty well attracting such tech startups, thanks to the relatively comfortable commuting patterns they offer for potential employees.
SimpliVity is such a company and it is growing faster than its rivals...