One of the few remaining major venture capital firms located in the Boston suburbs isn’t planning to stay there for long. North Bridge Venture Partners, based in Waltham, is planning to move to Boston or Cambridge some time later this year, said general partner Michael Skok. “Our leanings are toward the Innovation District or Downtown, mostly based on entrepreneurs saying it,” Skok said. Most of the area’s other large venture capital firms have already moved to Cambridge or Boston in recent years as the region’s startup scene has gone urban. The most recent firm to move, Battery Ventures, left Waltham for the Seaport/Innovation District in December, while Waltham’s Polaris Partners plans to open an office in the same building as Battery (Fan Pier’s One Marina Park Drive) on May 1. Other firms that have made a similar exodus out of the suburbs, and into Cambridge, in recent years include Atlas Venture, Bessemer Venture Partners, Highland Capital Partners, Charles River Ventures, and Matrix Partners. Among North Bridge’s recent local investments is Salsify, a company that chose to locate in Downtown Boston rather than in Cambridge or the suburbs. The Downtown area is “now starting to be the new interesting urban area for startups,” Skok said. “Rents are much more reasonable there.” Rents have skyrocketed in Kendall Square, meanwhile, forcing most young tech companies to look elsewhere, Skok noted (see my related post from this week). Class A rents in East Cambridge were $57.85 a square foot as of the first quarter of the year, compared to $48.39 in Boston’s Financial District, according to commercial real estate firm Cassidy Turley. The geographic shift for North Bridge comes as the firm is reportedly undergoing a generational transition and is seeking to raise a new fund. Fortune’s Dan Primack reported last month that North Bridge founders Ed Anderson and Rich D’Amore won’t be general partners for the new fund.
Kyle Alspach has worked in journalism in Massachusetts since 2005 and was one of the original staff writers at BetaBoston.
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