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New startup space Koa Labs is up and running in Harvard Square

Posted by Scott Kirsner  December 11, 2012 07:45 AM

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Serial entrepreneur Andy Palmer tells me he doesn't need ink for a new startup space he has opened in Harvard Square, and there's no website for it, either. Palmer says Koa Labs has space for about twenty entrepreneurs, and that he has been fielding inquiries from at least fifty.

Desks cost $450 a month, and Palmer says his focus is on "young, first-time folks who want to be on the Red Line." Already working from the space are the Cambridge employees of Recorded Future, a predictive search engine; the Harvard-focused Experiment Fund, run by Patrick Chung and Hugo Van Vuuren; and an energy-oriented hedge fund. Koa is a Maori word that means "happiness," Palmer explains. While Harvard Square has been home to startups like Vlingo and venture capital firms like General Catalyst, this is the first shared workspace for entrepreneurs I've heard of.

Palmer has been involved with startups like Vertica, CloudSwitch, and Infinity Pharmaceuticals, in addition to a long-standing relationship with Novartis's Cambridge R&D facility as its head of software. He's also an active seed investor, having done 15 deals in the last nine months. Palmer says he's working on two more projects these days: another collaboration with database guru Michael Stonebraker of MIT, and a spin-out from the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. Palmer also writes a blog called The Fundable.

Here's a pic of the top-floor Koa Labs space, conveniently located right next-door to Otto Pizza. There are several offices overlooking Harvard Square, and a conference room at the end of the open area you see below.

koalabs.jpg

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Scott Kirsner was part of the team that launched Boston.com in 1995, and has been writing a column for the Globe since 2000. His work has also appeared in Wired, Fast Company, The New York Times, BusinessWeek, Newsweek, and Variety. Scott is also the author of the books "Fans, Friends & Followers" and "Inventing the Movies," was the editor of "The Convergence Guide: Life Sciences in New England," and was a contributor to "The Good City: Writers Explore 21st Century Boston." Scott also helps organize several local events on entrepreneurship, including the Nantucket Conference and Future Forward. Here's some background on how Scott decides what to cover, and how to pitch him a story idea.

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