Contributed by Diagnosis PR blogger Palmer Reuther
Despite the economic downtown, there was a tangible aurora of excitement and significant buzz surrounding what the coming year has in store for the tech industry at TieCON East 2009. More than 650 serial, emerging and hopeful entrepreneurs joined luminaries and funders at the Westin Hotel in Waltham, MA on May 21 and 22 to interact with one another, share ideas and form financial and/or technology partnerships.
Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick and State Treasurer, Tim Cahill gave rousing speeches that fell in line with the theme of the event – Sustainable innovation. Cahill discussed Boston as a hub of innovation and the importance, potential and growth of the tech industry in MA. They also spoke of their support for local entrepreneurs and the work TieCON EAST is doing to help drive the state’s economy forward.
Cahill was followed by an impressive keynote panel of “start-up superstars” to formally kick-off what has become the East Coast’s largest annual gathering of tech entrepreneurs, including moderator Mike Grandinetti, Senior Lecturer at MIT Sloan and Managing Director of Southborough Capital, Larry Bohn, Partner of General Catalyst and Founding Partner Maria Cirino at .406 Ventures. Each of the speakers has had multiple start-up successes as entrepreneurs and enthusiastically shared their key learnings and mistakes with the audience. Larry and Maria also shared their perspectives and cumulative wisdom in their roles as investors / board members. Both described the resilience that many of their portfolio company executives have demonstrated day in and day out in the face of the current economic environment. It was a very thoughtful and dynamic discussion that kept the audiences attention until late into the night and struck the perfect chord to launch the event.
The energy continued in the second day with presenters and panels focusing on the following themes: cloud computing, clean tech, health care IT, green IT and mobile tech. There was tremendous excitement about mobile apps stemming from the popularity of the iPhone. As expected, clean tech drew much attention but one of the most interesting components to this discussion was the debate about whether the ITC VC model is right for clean tech. The cloud computing panel included moderator Wade Roush, Xconomy’s Chief Correspondent, Greg Arnette, Co-Founder & CTO of Sonian Networks, Larry Bohn, Managing Director at General Catalyst, Richard Soley, Chairman & CEO of Object Management Group and Matt Tanase, VP Technology Strategy at Rackspace. It was an interesting discussion as presenters and audience members sought to cut through the hype and define true cloud computing and how it will play a meaningful and significant role for companies as part of their broader technology infrastructures. Panelists were familiar with the challenges in finding ROI in the cloud technologies and services and helped answer questions on how best to benefit from this technology offerings.
All in all, it was a great event and will hopefully serve as one of the spring boards as we begin emerge from this economic downturn.