TechStars’ Katie Rae On What Drives An Entrepreneurial Community

Entrepreneurial and startup communities are growing everywhere across the United States. The recent The Startup Conference event highlighted entrepreneurial communities “everywhere else” outside the major hubs like Silicon Valley and New York.

We’ve recently started up our “Sneaker Strapped Nationwide Startup Road Trip Part Deux”. During our first journey, that started at SXSW 2012, we visited over 60 startup communities across the country. Since going back on the road we’ve visited Atlanta for Startup Georgia’s kick-off, Nashville for Spark Nashville and Arkansas for Think Big Arkansas and the kickoff of Startup Arkansas.

Katie Rae,TechStars,Startup Communities,startups,Grid New HavenLast month, Katie Rae, the Managing Director at TechStars Boston, spoke at Grid New Haven. Gris is a hub or startup community catalyst, that’s part of Connecticut’s “innovation ecosystem.” They hold several programs including CEO Boot Camp, Startup Weekend New Haven, Launch New Haven and several speaker sessions designed to help entrepreneurs on their journey.

On January 24th Rae spoke at Grid New Haven and offered what she thinks are the four backbones to a great entrepreneurial community. In addition to being the managing director at TechStars Boston (one of their most successful accelerators) she is also a founder of Project 11 a firm that invests in and helps early stage startups.

Check out her video below and add these things to your list of important things for startup communities.

See Startup Community Activist, and Startup America CEO Scott Case on the importance of Startup Marketing here.

Connecticut Startup Deets: Create And Interact Groups From The Best Place Possible

Everyone likes groups. Whether you’re old enough to remember the days of MMC groups on AOL or you came along at Yahoo Groups or even Google Groups, groups make it easy to keep like minded people together to share important information, and nowadays photos, events and content.

I love what you can do with the groups that are automatically built around Facebook events. You can communicate with those people going to an event, plan the event, interact with people at the event and then after the event. You can share videos and photos with these people and share your important contact information with the entire group or individually.

A startup in Connecticut with a great entrepreneurial/startup pedigree has set out to build a mobile platform that lets you take those same qualities that make Facebook groups and events so great and productive, and applied it to the most important list of people that you have, your contacts.

Deets was founded by Linda Miller who was the first in at Priceline and Hotwire where she was instrumental in building the foundation that we all use today to book hotels. The other co-founder is Luke Scott who has a creative background with top clients like Kraft, Bob Greene and HobNob Wines.

When you put the two together you get a very robust, but aesthetically appealing app and web based platform that is intuitive, and easy to use.

Deets breathes the same life and functionality you get from Facebook groups and other popular social sites right into your list of contacts. It basically gives your contact list/address book a new life, a new purpose and a new meaning.

Now you can set up groups of family members, friends, colleagues or event attendees. If you’re getting married and want to set up a group for the bridal party, go for it. If you’re releasing a record and want to set up a list of fans and promoters, done. Not only are these groups set up for sharing the same way you can socially, but it’s done from the privacy of your computer or smartphone and from there you can set up your degrees of privacy. It’s one of the most robust platforms for sharing we’ve ever seen.

Forget about the 850 friends you have on Facebook, we’re going to go out on a limb and say that you actually know the contacts in your contact list and now you know your deets.

We got a chance to talk with Scott about deets. Check out the interview below.

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Say It Forward With This Connecticut Startup INTERVIEW

By now everyone has seen the startups pop up that let you put all of your Instagram photos on just about every product under the sun. We’ve even reported on a startup that prints your tweets onto toilet paper. Connecticut startup Say It Forward, curates meaningful and inspiring social media content and puts them on greeting cards, with other products soon to follow.

Say It Forward says they do this to promote positivity and inspire people. Their goal is to inspire, share and connect. Surely the founders at Say It Forward know what the real world is like, which is precisely why they’ve created Say It Forward. Now rather than turning to the inspirational minds at Hallmark, Say It Forward uses messages from the public at large for their inspirational products. Think of it as crowd-sourced inspiration.

The Connecticut startup’s founders are two sisters Steph Centorino(22) and Allie Centorino (18) they’ve also enlisted the help of their mother as the chief ideas officer. Step and Allie are no strangers to the world of good. Their previous startup, which is still in operation today, is called CUREchiefs which are funky and soft bandanas designed for people with cancer who’ve lost their hair due to chemo-therapy.

We got a chance to interview mom, the Chief Ideas Officer, Sandra Centorino. Check out the interview below:

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Pitney Bowes Hosting Startup Competition In Connecticut

Pitney Bowes, the Connecticut based mailroom and communications giant, recently announced an entrepreneurial and startup competition. The $5.8 billion dollar company is hoping to leverage their technology and forward thinking entrepreneurs to create new startups in three main areas of the company’s business:

Location Intelligence 

Location Intelligence is a rapidly expanding field, thanks to advances in mobile technologies, sensors, data quality and analytics. Pitney Bowes Software is a leader in the geospatial industry, with over 25 years experience and global presence. We are offering unprecedented access to our technology platforms and data sets to companies that can integrate them into new products and services.
We see the greatest opportunities in:

  • Location Based Services
  • Social, Local and Mobile
  • Location based marketing and targeting of customers
  • Context Aware Computing

Secure Evidencing Platform

Lower costs of electronics are making it possible to make and deploy a variety of sensors and detection devices that didn’t exist before. Security tends to be an afterthought. Yet, security is needed to ensure the veracity/validity of the data. Pitney Bowes offers superior technology to secure this data. We are looking to work with entrepreneurs and startups to leverage our deep expertise and advanced technology in new and exciting ways. 


With the introduction of the Connect+ Series, Pitney Bowes not only launched the world’s first mailing machine with a web based architecture, we also launched the first full color mailing system, which now enables clients to use the mail piece as a marketing tool to engage their customers and prospects, adding messaging, logos, and QR codes to the face of the envelope. In the last year, Connect+ mailing systems have processed over 1 billion mail pieces.
That number will exceed 7 billion in the next 5 years.

  • How would your business use Connect + to increase the value of the mail piece for each recipient?
  • How could we leverage the capability of color printing on the envelope to provide new opportunities for Connect+ mailers and their customers?
  • What types of compelling browser-based mailing or shipping applications could be developed? 


The prize package for the winners includes; One year of free utilization of office space and internet access at the Pitney Bowes WHQ in Stamford Connecticut; Access to Pitney Bowes platforms and capabilities relevant to the three competition areas along with Pitney Bowes’ technical and business expertise; An introduction and access to the Stamford Innovation Center and mentoring.

Interested entrepreneurs and startups can apply through September 7, 2012 at this link. Winners will be chosen and notified in November and will begin moving into the Pitney Bowes WHQ (World Head Quarters) shortly there after.


Check out the complete details of the Pitney Bowes Entrepreneurial Competition here

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TechCrunch Disrupt Startup Interview With Connecticut Startup Shizzlr

Shizzlr is a new group platform social event platform with a website and cool mobile app to bit. In a way it’s similar to the startup we saw last year at Disrupt NY called “Salsa” unfortunately that startup had a very short life. Shizzlr has promise though, because of it’s unique feature set.

Shizzlr’s mobile app is available for both iPhone and Android. It allows you to discover local events and places nearby. After that you can share them into a group chat with friends and then decide what you want to do. Afterwards you can even run a poll and get feedback about the event or activity.

Shizzlr was founded by Nick Jaensch and Keith Bessette in the fall of 2009 while they were both students at UConn. They kept working on it after college and saw an official launch in 2010.  Now both co-founders are here showing off Shizzler in TechCrunch Disrupt’s Startup Alley because they know its the shizzle.

Shizzlr is designed for smaller groups of friends between say 5 and 20. It aggregates local events from Facebook. Once the events are aggregated, users can decide which ones to do  and make plans.

It’s an interesting new spin on the social event app. Check it out for yourself at and watch our video interview below:

See more TechCrunch Disrupt NY 2012 coverage here