It’s not a secret that innovation is inherent in the tapestry of greater Boston.

Published on January 03, 2013

Cassidy Turley today published its “Winter 2013 InnovationWATCH” report.   

It’s not a secret that innovation is inherent in the tapestry of greater Boston.  Life sciences,  technology and the many start-up companies born from proximity to MIT and Harvard create significant demand for commercial space in the region.  Cassidy Turley decided to explore just how innovation impacts the leasing industry. 

Where’s the money coming from? And where is it going?  An analysis of venture capital investment and Small Business Innovation Research grants over the past 24 months:

128 Central

  • Not surprisingly, the most funds were invested in the software sector along America’s Technology Highway.  But life sciences is still a key player - 78% of SBIR grant funding went to firms contracting with the Department of Health and Human Services.


  • The total venture capital investment in Cambridge is equal to a stack of $100 bills two and a half times the height of the Hancock. Predictably, the life science sector received nearly 80% of all investment – both public and private.

495 North

  • 22% of 495 North’s SBIR funding went to companies whose research and development directly benefits NASA.


  • At more than $900 million, total public and private investment in the city of Boston is the equivalent of a trail of $1 bills stretching all the way around the world.

Fun Facts:

  • Collaboration and flexibility are key for innovation firms.  They are willing to pay a premium for a shorter-term lease close to their peers.
    • Boston’s Seaport District offers users more flexibility with lease terms that are, on average, 1.7 years shorter than deals in East Cambridge, Boston’s Financial District or 128 Central
    • Innovation companies move quickly: On average, the lag time between lease execution and commencement is 77 days for innovation companies vs. 99 for all other industries.
    • In greater Boston, 75% of innovation users occupy class A space vs. 53% of users in other industries.
    • On average, companies coming out of incubator space relocate into 3,000 square feet.
      • Location, location, location: Innovation companies are paying an average premium of 25% to be close to East Cambridge/Downtown Boston.
For analytical purposes, Cassidy Turley defines innovation firms as companies in the life sciences and high technology industries.  Since start-ups (companies under a year old) have historically accounted for the majority of the jobs created in Massachusetts, we also included them in our analysis, regardless of industry affiliation.  The research time period covers the third quarter of 2010 through the third quarter of 2012.

Sources: Data sources can be found at PwC MoneyTree, The Kauffman Foundation, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, CoStar and Cassidy Turley’s proprietary research.

Linda M. McDonough

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