Out of New York’s Shadow, Connecticut Startup Scene Grows

Joseph De Avila reported on Friday at The Wall Street Journal Online that, “Ahmed Khattak started an ecommerce business in New Haven, eventually moving it to Seattle. By 2014, he decided he was ready for a new opportunity and a new location.

“Friends advised him to start his next company in San Francisco. Instead he choose Stamford.”

The article noted that, “Though it is home to well-known technology companies such as Priceline Group Inc. and its subsidiary Kayak.com, Connecticut’s dispersed startup community has operated in the shadows of New York and Boston for years. That is changing, founders and investors said, as greater access to funding and entrepreneurial programs are helping the state’s startup scene gain footing.

“Hugh Seaton, chief executive of Stamford-based Aquinas Training, which develops management-training software, has been working on bringing Connecticut’s entrepreneurs together.”

The Journal article pointed out that, “In New Haven, David Salinas, chief executive of design agency Digital Surgeons, is leading efforts to turn a former bus depot into a 105,000-square-foot tech hub called the District. It will be located on a 9.3-acre campus on the bank of the Mill River, complete with a beer garden and kayak launch. It is slated to open in 2017…[I]t is initiatives like those that have made Connecticut’s startup community more vibrant, said James Boyle, managing director of the Yale Entrepreneurial Institute, a program that helps students launch companies.”

Friday’s article added that, “Venture capital and private-equity groups invested $402.5 million in Connecticut startups last year, a 43% increase from the $280.5 million invested in 2006, according to Dow Jones VentureSouce.”

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