UMass Boston students powering venture-backed Viridity, energy-optimizing data centers worldwide 

Today, two siblings of UMass Boston’s Venture Development Center are being officially announced, the new Entrepreneurship Center, and the Entrepreneurship Specialization, in the College of Management. (See MassHighTech article.)

But leading venture-backed startups are already launching smarter and leaner than ever before as a result of the talent they are producing. Here’s why.

Students and universities have taken notice that startups are where most of the new jobs are being created. Business plan competitions, weekend boot camps, and entrepreneurship courses abound. While helpful, the fact is that most students aren’t being prepared to survive in the wild as founders or early employees.

We think we’ve developed an innovative solution, by combining an entrepreneurship specialization (learning from professors), entrepreneurship center (learning from mentors) and internships at startups in our incubator and beyond (learning from founders).

Jeff McCarthy, Partner at North Bridge Venture Partners, agrees: "The hope is that a program like this truly can fuel the workforce engine required to launch the next generation of startups.”

Why such confidence? We’ve been piloting the program with a small group of students and venture capital firms. Now we’re ready to scale. One of the prerequisites is that students need to be launching their own startup or be interning in one. North Bridge and other leading venture capital firms have alerted their companies to students we carefully screen based upon what the companies need, whether it be marketing, sales, programming or finance.

McCarthy says: “Many of our portfolio companies have hired UMass Boston interns, and they really hit the mark.“ This year, twenty of our students have accepted paid internships.

What makes us really optimistic, however, is UMass Boston students. Dr. Benyamin Lichtenstein, who leads the Entrepreneurship Specialization, believes they are hard wired for success.

Dan Phillips, who is the new Entrepreneurship Center director, agrees: "When it’s all crashing and burning around you, you’ve got to be willing to do what it takes. People who attend UMass Boston are the type of people I liked to hire for my own start-ups."

Many entrepreneurial students in the Boston area want to be the founder of something really big, like Facebook. We’ll have our share. But we must also prepare the thousands of people needed to actually turn these startup visions into business realities.

Thanks to our new siblings, UMass Boston is leading the way. Learn more about the Entrepreneur Specialization and Entrepreneurship Center. Take advantage of this program by contacting Dan Phillips at

The Venture Development Center is Boston’s leading startup incubator for technology and life science companies.