Dozens of tech CEOs ask lawmakers to ban noncompetes (full list)

Veracode chief executive Bob Brennan (courtesy of the company).
Veracode chief executive Bob Brennan (courtesy of the company).

More than two dozen chief executives of privately held tech firms, representing many of the fastest-growing companies in the Boston area, have signed a letter asking Massachusetts lawmakers to ban noncompete agreements.

The letter has been hand delivered to each state senator and representative in Massachusetts, said C.A. Webb, executive director of the New England Venture Capital Association.

The companies include a number of IPO contenders — Actifio, Acquia, DataXu, Veracode, and uTest/Applause — along with smaller but growing firms such as Boundless, FitnessKeeper, Plexxi, and Sand 9. No public tech company executives signed the letter.

From the letter:

Each of us signing this letter has built a company, from scratch, right here in Massachusetts. Though a decade ago few of our companies even existed, today we collectively employ over 3,200 people right here, with plans to more than double that number over the next few years. We have come together now to express our absolute conviction that Massachusetts could do even better over the next decade if we have the vision and political courage now to do what other states have already done to encourage the growth of the Innovation Economy.

Noncompetes are agreements that many employees are asked to sign in Massachusetts, which legally prevent employees from working for competitors or starting competing firms immediately after leaving. Critics say the agreements have a negative impact on innovation in the region (California, for instance, doesn’t allow noncompetes).

However, the agreements are prevalent in Massachusetts. A survey by MIT professor Matthew Marx found that about half of tech sector employees in Massachusetts are required to sign noncompetes.

The letter to lawmakers has been drafted amid a push by Gov. Deval Patrick to ban the agreements and a petition campaign by the New England Venture Capital Association to support the ban.

Among those that have recently abandoned noncompetes are Acquia, one of the area’s fastest-growing tech firms, which said on Friday it would no longer make new hires sign a noncompete agreement, and wouldn’t enforce the agreements for existing employees.

Here is the full list of executives who signed the letter:

  • Ariel Diaz, Founder and CEO, Boundless
  • Aaron Lapat, Co-Founder and Managing Partner, Park Square Executive Search
  • Ash Ashutosh, Founder and CEO, Actifio
  • Ben Rubin, CEO, Change Collective
  • Bob Brennan, CEO, Veracode
  • Chris Thorpe, CEO, Philo
  • Dan Foody, Founder and CEO, Cloze
  • Dave Husak, Founder and CEO, Plexxi
  • Brendan Lattrell, CEO, Grapevine
  • Cameron Jacox, Founder and Managing Partner, InforcePRO
  • David Butler, Founder and CEO, iPositioning
  • David Rochon, Founder and CEO, SavingStar
  • Desmond Pieri, President and COO, Bridj
  • Diego Villegas, Co-Founder and CEO, Lengio
  • Doron Reuveni, CEO and Co-founder, Applause
  • Ellen Rubin, Co-founder and CEO, ClearSky Data
  • Eric Giler, CEO and Board Member, Witricity
  • Jason Jacobs, Founder and CEO, FitnessKeeper
  • Jane Hiscock, President & Founder, Farland Group
  • Jeff Sutherland, CEO, Scrum Inc.
  • Johannes Fruehauf, Founder, President and Executive Director, Lab Central
  • Joshua Boger, Founder and Former CEO and Chairman, Vertex Pharmaceuticals
  • Jules Pieri, CEO and Co-Founder, The Grommet
  • Justin Borgman, CEO, Hadapt
  • Matt Lauzon, CEO, Dunwello
  • Matthew Littlefield, President and Principal Analyst, LNS Research
  • Mike Baker, Co-founder, President, and CEO, DataXu
  • Nicole Sahin, CEO, Globalization Partners
  • Paul English, Co-founder and CEO, Blade
  • Scott Cooper, CEO, Shop Advisor
  • Scott Miller, Co-founder and CEO, Dragon Innovation
  • Shimon Hason, CEO, Intigua
  • Slava Menn, Co-founder, Fortified Bicycle Alliance
  • Tim Rowe, Founder and CEO, CIC
  • Tom Burgess, CEO, Linkable Networks
  • Tom Erickson, CEO, Acquia
  • Vince Graziani, CEO and President, Sand 9

Kyle Alspach has worked in journalism in Massachusetts since 2005 and was one of the original staff writers at BetaBoston.
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