Boston Startups in Focus

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the Boston startup scene is still thriving: a recent survey by PitchBook indicated that the Boston metro area raised some 4.34 billion USD in venture capital during the third quarter of 2020.

Such is the level of investment that Boston has started 2021 as the number two place to raise capital in the entire United States: second only to New York.

In this post, we first ask the question, why do startups choose Boston?

Then we will take a look at 5 Boston startups that have weathered the pandemic storm and continue to look promising in 2021:

  1. TileDB: create a universal data engine

  2. WoHo: sustainable construction

  3. Foodspace: B2B for big-box retailers

  4. CauseEDU: college funding

  5. CustomMade: the OMG, 'it's perfect' moment

Let's get started!

Why do Startups choose Boston?

First off, Boston is a great city!

Sure, the West Coast has a lot to offer, but for many, it is the unparalleled pool of talent, a strong culture that fosters innovation, and a great platform, which makes Boston a superb choice!

The case for Boston was outlined clearly in a post last year by Matt Wozny. A recent graduate of Harvard University, he outlines three primary reasons:

  1. You want access to amazing talent

  2. You want to be part of an amazing community

  3. You want to live in an amazing city

The final point clearly spelled out by Bodhi Films on Vimeo:

So it is clearly not just about the mechanics: the access to funding; incubation services; research hubs; risk capital infrastructure.

It really is about the place. It is about being a part of an amazing community in an environment that fosters innovation.

Smart people; smart living!

5 Boston Startups to Watch in 2021


In operation since May of 2017 and founded by Stavros Papadopoulos. The mission of TileDB is to create a universal data engine to sort out the mess of data management.

TileDB works with a number of high-profile organizations and secured 17 million USD in Series A funding.


WoHo is not a baby crying or the sound you make when overcome with joy. WoHo is short for World Home and tries to reimagine the prefabricated construction industry into homes that can be retooled from industrial waste.

Led by Israel Ruiz, an alumnus of MIT, they aim to eliminate inefficiencies in the construction industry.


Having pivoted away from consumer-facing meal provision, Foodspace uses AI to service big-box retailers. The computer reads detailed nutrition information from labels on products and can quickly catalog the obtained metadata.

The team utilizes the IDEA venture accelerator program.


Operating in the education space and led by Shironda White, CauseEDU provides programs for private businesses, schools, and colleges to fund college attendance.

The company won last year's Roxbury Pitch Night and was awarded 25,000 USD.


CustomMade provides services in a niche market, attempting to smash the dominance of big-box retailers. They provide personalized hand-crafted goods using an online marketplace-type forum.

Summing Up

Boston has proved to be resilient in the face of unprecedented challenges caused by the global COVID-19 pandemic.

The Boston startups scene has come back strong in the third quarter of 2020 and continues to grow - capitalizing on the great strengths and natural resources of a startup ecosystem that is thriving.

In this post, we looked at 5 innovative startups looking to scale their growth in 2021.

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