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Venture firm Matrix Partners leases additional space in Kendall, will move HQ there

Posted by Scott Kirsner  December 12, 2012 07:34 AM

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What had been an urban outpost for the venture capital firm Matrix Partners is turning into the firm's headquarters. The ink is still drying on a lease for 11,500 square feet at 101 Main Street, finalized yesterday.

In the mid-1990s, Matrix had moved from downtown Boston to Waltham, in an effort to be closer to many of the telecom and enterprise software entrepreneurs the firm was backing at the time. But more recent Matrix investments include Cambridge- and Somerville-based startups like HubSpot, GrabCAD, The Echo Nest, and TalkTo. "We've known for a long time that the ecosystem had really moved down here," says partner David Skok. "We were seeing entrepreneurs that we wanted to visit us [in Waltham] saying, 'Hey, I don't have a car, I'm going to have to take a Zipcar...and we don't want to inconvenience entrepreneurs." The firm's lease in Waltham lasts another two years, but Skok says the people at that office will be moving into Cambridge sometime in mid-2013.

Matrix has been using its Kendall Square digs to host events for entrepreneurs, and also to offer temporary space to entrepreneurs and startup teams. Among those that have used it are GrabCAD, Sqrrl, TalkTo, Alignable, and Aquto.

Some of the new space that Matrix is now taking over at 101 Main used to be occupied by Edhance, a startup that operated a student discount program. It was acquired in 2011 by BuyWithMe, a Matrix portfolio company, but the company's Cambridge presence seems to have vanished.

Matrix is only the latest VC firm to trade the 'burbs for the city; others have included Bessemer Venture Partners, Charles River Ventures, and Highland Capital Partners, all now in Cambridge. (I wrote back in August about efforts to rehab the Bay Colony Center in Waltham, once the roost of many of the suburban VC firms.) Here's a video conversation with Skok that I shot in Matrix's Cambridge offices in October. In it, he first mentioned Matrix's plans to shut down the Waltham location.

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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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