Why I Moved Backupify To Boston


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the city. Once I did that, it quickly became apparent that we could raise a lot more money in Boston, NYC, and the Valley, and at a much higher valuation.

I look at it like playing in the NBA. Some cities don’t have a team, so if your goal is to play at that level, you just can’t do it anywhere. You have to play where there is a team.

Once I decided that Backupify could go this route, I looked at Boston, NYC, and the Valley. California is too expensive, and too far from home. I would love to do a startup there because there is so much energy and so many great people. But maybe next time.

New York City just isn’t my cup of tea. I love to visit, but can’t imagine living there with a family (although I realize lots of people do it). The startup scene is great, but the city just didn’t fit my lifestyle.

So that left Boston. Coming from a place like Louisville, Boston is the most similar. We have good talent pools to pull from because of data storage and management giants like EMC, Iron Mountain, and Carbonite. These companies bring a lot to the table, including the strength of their employees, some of whom are Rails developers and database experts with experience with the Cassandra distributed database—a talent pool of engineers that we knew Backupify would need to tap into. In addition, the strength of these companies has helped to pre-condition the market in Boston, so that a lot of other potential partners, investors, and customers understand the importance of the market and our solutions. Then there are the smaller local companies in Boston—cloud providers, social media application developers, and otherwise—that have similar or complementary business models.

And, of course, there is also MIT and all the other universities that crank out engineers. The startup community here is fantastic, although smaller than the Valley. But overall, I think it was a good move for us. Boston has plenty of great investors, a great startup talent pool, and for the kind of technical expertise we needed, is on par with the Valley.

People like to argue about whether you can or can’t build startups in various cities. As someone who spent a lot of the last six months thinking about it, I would say it just depends on your goals and the market opportunity. Anything is possible, but some paths are easier than others.

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Rob May has served as the president of Backupify since co-founding the company in 2008. He began his career as a digital design engineer at Harris Corporation, and ran the business blog Businesspundit.com for five years. Follow @robmay

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