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Paul English, the co-founder and chief technology officer of Kayak Software Corp, has raised almost $20 million for a Boston startup foundry called Blade, aiming to turn the city into a bigger rival to Silicon Valley.
English plans to invest an average of $2 million in 10 startups to help them with business planning, employee recruitment and product development, he said in an interview today. He will target very young companies before they approach venture capitalists for a first round of seed funding.
Massachusetts ranks second among states in venture-capital spending, with more than $807 million in deals last quarter, according to the National Venture Capital Association. Still, it’s dwarfed by California, where investments were more than five times as high.
The idea is to get Boston startups off on the right foot, English said, “and to make an obscene amount of money for investors.”
In addition to co-founding Kayak, which was sold to Priceline.com Inc. in May for about $1.8 billion, English helped start Boston Light Software, an e-commerce company purchased by Intuit Inc. in 1999. He is a lecturer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Sloan School of Management in Cambridge, just outside of Boston.
English expects to pick startups that help make consumer transactions easier, though he isn’t looking for another travel-related business. In each case, the technology should be designed with mobile devices in mind, he said.
English also plans to hold a seat on the companies’ boards. Blade has already begun working with two startups, he said, without naming them.
After the initial $20 million, Blade won’t need to seek additional funding for several years, English said.
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