Innovation Nation (Boston): Magpie

Magpie

Damjan Korać, CEO, Magpie. Photo credits: Courtesy of Susan Young , Harvard Business School.

In this edition of  ‘Innovation Nation’ interviews with startups, innovators, and people who inspire us, we caught up with Damjan Korać.

Damjan is the CEO of  Magpie, and we asked him what makes Boston a great city for startups, incubators and accelerators.  

Please tell us a bit about your business.

We started Magpie because we believed that any time you see a product in an image or video online, you should be able to buy it right then and there – in just a few easy steps. That’s not how the internet worked and we wanted to fix that.

To achieve our vision, we built a single-click shopping experience for any partner site or app. Our tools now allow publishers to natively tag products in their content. We will be the first company to successfully overlay commerce infrastructure across the ecosystem of online content creators and app developers.

What’s the best thing about working around Boston?

The Boston startup community is pretty tight. Once you are connected, you are never more than a few degrees of separation from anyone else in the network of founders, angels, VCs and talent. That really accelerates problem solving.

What challenges (if any) are there for a startup business based in Boston?

In the earlier days of Magpie, we were traveling quite a bit for personal and direct sales. We wouldn’t have had to do this if we were in a different industry or a different city – namely New York or San Francisco.

We often used to get asked by investors and influencers in other geographies why we decided to start up and stay in Boston, given the strength of the San Francisco  and New York startup communities. Magpie’s answer is that there’s a very special, close-knit community in Boston, boosted by a constant influx of new VCs and investors. This, combined with a growing pool of tech talent and the exciting resources available from universities including Harvard and MIT, means that we get asked less.

How would you describe the local innovation community? 

I think a great deal of innovation in Boston was historically built around the hubs of Harvard and MIT. However, that is now changing as more VCs establish offices in Boston, and more startups choose to be headquartered in different areas in and around the city.

Have you had any experience with local innovation communities, associations, accelerators or incubators?

Magpie emerged from the Harvard innovation environment. We participated in the Venture Incubation Program at the Harvard i-Lab, which offered a working and meeting space, as well as access to many of Boston’s successful entrepreneurs and investors. Being part of a cohort of other startups allowed us to share lessons and to encourage each other to work through hard challenges.

Finally, what do you personally love about Boston?

Boston is steeped in history, and I have enjoyed exploring the Freedom Trail and its landmarks, including Bunker Hill, the Old North Church, and the Museum of Fine Arts. My favorite event is Third Thursdays at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.

Innovation Nation startup MagpieFor more information on Magpie and their journey to change the way e-commerce works, contact their team at magpie@discovermagpie.com.

 

Want to share your views on innovative places to work?  Email us at innovation@prompt-inc.com 

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