Why We Should Rename the "Red Line" the "Innovation Line"

Every morning, many of us crowd onto the Boston subway to get to work. Many of us spend the trip with our nose in a book, our eyes fixed on our smart phone as we start in on emails (or sneak in the occasional game) or just zoning out a bit before another day of hard work at our startup.  What you may not realize is how much startup activity is all along the same line: the Red Line is packed with Innovation.  Let's take a look...

Why We Should Rename the "Red Line" the "Innovation Line"

For those unfamiliar, below is a snap shot of the Red Line (ignoring the split after JFK/UMass as you're getting pretty far into suburbia and away from startupland by then).  Here's a quick highlight of all the amazing startup activity within a short distance of many of the MBTA Red Line stops.  (Special Thanks to Jon Frisch of our friends (and sponsors) at T3 Advisors for helping with a lot of names as well as the many of you who provided names via Twitter.)

Please feel free to add comments below for other startups we should add to the list and we'll update accordingly...


E Ink & Office Drop


Viximo, StarStreet Sports, BetterLesson, Echo Nest, Wistia, MC10, as well as Tufts University.

Harvard Square:

Harvard Business School, Vlingo, General Catalyst, Founder Collective, and soon to be home of the new Harvard Innovation Lab.

Central Square: 

Box.net, oneforty, Shareaholic, BetaHouse, Harmonix, Crimson Hexagon, KSplice, Zynga (formerly Conduit Labs) and startup hangouts Andala Cafe (Open Coffee), The Field (#WhiskeyFridays)

Kendall Station:

Microsoft NERD (home of 95% of startup events), the Cambridge Innovation Center (home to over 250 startups!), Dogpatch Labs, HubSpot, Backupify, dexrex, CustomMade, MITX, SCNVGR, Google, VMWare, Akamai, Brightcove, Yottaa, Adverplex, and JumpTap, as well as Investors: Common Angels, New Atlantic, Bessemer and Atlas.  And who could forget that MIT is there too!

Park Street:

thoughtbot and PerkStreet Financial

Downtown Crossing:

BostInnovation, Hangout Hub, Where, Zazu, Second Glass, Going.com, Visible Measures and Peekaboo Mobile.

South Station:

First and foremost, it's home to MassChallenge and the quickly developing Innovation District, but also great coworking space WorkBar Boston and startups CampusLIVE, DataXu, Goby and Visible Measures.

JFK/UMass Station:

Last but certainly not least, we didn't want to forget the UMass Venture Development Center (VDC) is just off the Red Line as well.


So what does all this mean?

There is significant power in clusters.  Startups working closely together helps an entire industry.  We need even more activity along the "Innovation Line" and we need to recognize that this is the case and think about how even more of our innovation can be a part of the power.  We should also celebrate this as there's a great opportunity for a "walking tour of innovation in Boston & Cambridge" from this. As David Cancel said in his Angel Bootcamp presentation, all the action and new innovation is happening in a 2 mile radius: Are you part of the action?


Is your startup part of the "Innovation Line"?

Are you clustered with other startups?  Take advantage of the power.


 If you have ideas for a permanent celebration (blog posts are hard to find weeks later) of the companies and opportunities on the "Innovation Line", please let us know!


MORE Hot companies to add to the clusters....

Great post Jason - way to capture the importance of clusters in the startup community....let's keep building the map.

Crimson Hexagon (Central)

Visible Measures (Downtown Crossing)

Boston Logic Technology Partners (Broadway)

BlueFin Labs - stealthy MIT media lab company (Kendall)

Adverplex (Kendall)

Brightcove (Kendall)

KSplice (Central)

Yottaa (Kendall)

Any others?

(FYI - DataXu just took down 20K SF on Summer Street in the Fort Point Channel - blew out of their space above WorkBar - HOT!)

Re: MORE Hot companies to add to the clusters....



Thanks for all your help on this list! You've been a fantastic resource for where all the hot companies on the "innovation line" are.



Jason Evanish
CEO / Co-Founder
Greenhorn Connect
Twitter: @Evanish


MC10, Inc. In Davis Sq.

Products enabled by thin, conformal, high-performance electronics are being developed in Davis Sq using resources at the Center for Nanoscale Systems in Harvard Sq

 Jeff Carbeck


MC10, Inc.

Re: MC10, Inc. In Davis Sq.


Thanks for sharing. Very cool to hear about great tech transfer succeeding!


Jason Evanish
CEO / Co-Founder
Greenhorn Connect
Twitter: @Evanish


You can find O'Reilly Media in Alewife too

Just to let you know O'Reilly Media (www.oreilly.com) has an East coast office on Fawcett Street in Cambridge (Alewife). This office holds most of the editorial, production, and digital content teams. We also are the primary hosts of Ignite Boston events.


Innovation, collaboration – lessons along the Red Line

Check out the fascinating story Harvard President Drew Faust told at the Venture Development Center's Grand Opening:

Hre remarks were entitled:

"Innovation, collaboration and renewal – lessons along the Red Line"


Re: Innovation, collaboration – lessons along the Red Line

Great speech and totally share the sentiments!




Jason Evanish
CEO / Co-Founder
Greenhorn Connect
Twitter: @Evanish


Don't forget Broadway!

Awesome post Jason.  While located in South Boston, the Broadway T stop is only a 10 minute walk away from the South End/Harrison Ave, home to many start-ups.  I'm sure others can chime in but SCVNGR started on Harrison Ave before moving to Cambridge, and companies like Tauntr, BzzAgent, and Fig Card all call the South End their home.

Also, DataXu is located right above Work Bar, which would add to South Stations impact to the Innovation Line.

Christian Galvin

Founder, TixList

TixList.com - Boston's free daily email listing awesome ticket deals at face value or below.