Inside the Cambridge Innovation Center
It is not a stretch to argue that while a company like Fidelity Investments may be the most important financial player this state has, a hospital like MGH may hold in its hands millions of medical miracles, and a university like Harvard may house some of the brightest young minds in the world, it's a building like the 17-floor One Broadway that holds in its small, cramped offices the future of the Commonwealth. Because if technology and innovation are the lifeblood for our future, then CIC is ground zero.
That's saying a lot, considering it sits in the Kendall Square neighborhood next door to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (which owns the building) and its cutting-edge research labs. The square also includes a sizable chunk of America's biotechnology industry.
But if the Boston area is going to produce its own Google or YouTube someday soon and restore its place as a high-tech hub on par with California's Silicon Valley, it's more likely to come bubbling out of One Broadway than any of the traditional technology geysers around town. That's because of the Cambridge Innovation Center, which is steeped in a culture of entrepreneurship. While earlier generations of hotshots gravitated to General Electric or IBM, today's are drawn to this high-tech group home, a Silicon Valley in miniature on seven floors.
He also focuses on the impact that nearby Google and Microsoft labs may have on CIC: will promising young smarties go there, instead of the risky start-ups housed at One Broadway?
The article made me a little nostalgic.... back in the Year 2000, I went to the launch party of what was then called Cambridge Incubator. I wrote about it in my old Globe column, @large. They gave out some sort of crystal paperweight as a party favor, which I've long since ditched.
What's a "Liquid Launch Party"? David Sack, marketing director at the Cambridge Incubator, can't really explain it, except to declare that it most likely will not involve indoor Slip 'N Slide. Too bad.
The Incubator is throwing the invitation-only launch party this Thursday to inaugurate its new office space in Kendall Square. It's got a full floor of the high-rise, which includes two studios for visiting artists, a small auditorium, and a nap room next to the server room.
Sack wants to keep most of the details of the party secret, except to say that guests will be able to get a free massage, do some brainstorming, and see demos from four of the Incubators' "member companies" - BrandStamp, Etineraries, Veritas Medicine, and Alper Caglayan's intriguing-but-still-stealthy PeopleStreet.
Though judging took longer than expected, the Incubator will also announce the winner of its Get .ORGanized competition for nonprofit Net businesses at the party.
The three finalists are all wonderfully creative: Click-Up for Kids proposes rounding up online purchases to the nearest dollar, and donating the difference between that and the actual price to charity; Mathtastic uses sports statistics to teach math; and Secure Sponsorship helps people use their databases of contacts to get pledges (via credit card) for charitable events like walkathons. The winner gets $250,000 of Incubator financing and services