Mayor’s late-night task force has no one from a startup


Mayor Martin J. Walsh today announced the 24 members on a new task force aimed at creating a “more vibrant late-night culture in Boston.”

The “late-night task force,” Walsh said in a news release, represents a range of stakeholders in the community including students, business owners, and law enforcement. The group will look at:

…business districts and neighborhoods that are favorable for later closing hours; public safety requirements of expanded late night hours; existing liquor license restrictions; entertainment license expansion; late night transportation access; and how to effectively launch the expanded services.

But Walsh didn’t actually include anyone from a young startup on the task force.

There isn’t a single representative from the sorts of small but promising companies that are streaming into Boston neighborhoods — such as the Seaport, the Leather District, and the Financial District — and that would be among the biggest beneficiaries, from a recruiting perspective, of Boston having better night-life.

The task force thus may not actually represent the the interests of many of those located in the neighborhoods most likely to be the testing ground for the new late-night initiatives.

In a statement, the mayor’s office said it believes the task force has the startup community covered, however. From the statement:

The members were selected because they can provide insight on a variety of issues that need to be examined as part of expanded late night services from public safety to business impacts. Openview Ventures [whose associate Brian Carthas is on the task force] provides funding for start up expansion, and is dialed into Boston’s entrepreneur culture. In addition, Chloe Ryan represents the Onein3 program and the affiliated Council, which includes several members from the city’s start up community.

The task force does also include employees of two local tech companies — EMC, which has a Financial District office, and Bullhorn, based in the Seaport. But those are larger tech firms, and their employees aren’t necessarily there to represent the tech community perspective, anyway; in the case of the EMC employee, for instance, he was chosen because he is a young South Boston resident, the mayor’s office said.

The bottom line, though, is that the task force includes no one who is part of a small startup seeking to get off the ground in Boston. And that seems strange to some in the startup community, including the chief operating officer of One Mighty Roar, a tech startup on Summer Street (the Financial District side):

It’s especially odd to see no startups represented when the startup community’s desire for late-night T access had been among the reasons cited by officials for offering the new service.

The task force has met twice since launching in April and plans to debut “pilot late night services” this summer.

Whether those services are relevant to the city’s burgeoning startup community, we’ll have to wait and see.

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