Boston: Facebook was the “One that Got Away”

    August 25, 2011

    When Mark Zuckerburg sought funding from Boston venture capitalists to expand Facebook in 2004, the New England firms declined.  According to the Daily Business Review, they’ve been regretting their decision ever since.

    Following their decision to ignore Facebook’s request to provide capital for the world’s most-popular social networking service, Boston venture capitalists sat idly by while Zuckerberg’s moved Facebook from his Harvard University dorm to Palo Alto, California.  Since that time, Boston has continued to lose its market share to Silicon Valley and New York in the past seven years.

    “There was a little bit of shock that we missed it, as a community,” [Michael] Greeley, a board member of the National Venture Capital Association, said in an interview. Since then, Boston “really rallied around ‘how do you let these kids know that the state is open for business and a great place to start companies?’ Sort of a post-Facebook echo boom effect. Zuckerberg should never have left.”

    In the wake of LinkedIn’s successful initial public offering, and in anticipation for Facebook going public in the foreseeable future, venture capitalists should keep their eyes peeled for the next new media opportunity before it leaves for more silicon-pastures.

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