Boston’s break-out tech star?

Boston’s not known for creating big, brand-name technology companies. Smart, targeted, business-to-business ones, like Akamai, HubSpot (which just filed an IPO), and EMC, yes; but the ambitious startups that target consumers and have emerged as worldwide titans, like Apple, Google, and Facebook, have centered in Silicon Valley. That’s what makes Wayfair, the local e-commerce company that recently announced its plans for an initial public offering, so interesting for the local tech scene. Boston is broadening its portfolio of consumer-facing companies, and Exhibit A is Wayfair, which is on track to exceed $1 billion in revenue this year.

Wayfair is the brainchild of co-founders Steven Conine and Niraj Shah, who found a niche in the home furnishings market and very gradually scaled the company, only taking their first round of venture capital three years ago. Conine and Shah have built Wayfair into a powerhouse, recently moving 1,000 employees into fancy, collaborative-friendly new offices at Copley Place. Yes, it has ping-pong and foosball tables, harkening back to the dot-com era of 15 years ago.

When Wayfair goes public, it will follow Care.com, the home-care portal that went public in January and employs more than 300 full-time and over 200 part-time employees. Other e-tailers are in the wings: Karmaloop, the street-wear retailer, and Gazelle, an electronics resale site. While the biotech sector has attracted most of the attention from Wall Street — of the 18 Massachusetts-based innovation economy companies that have filed IPOs in 2014 so far, 13 have been from the biotech industry — these consumer-facing companies are proving to investors that Boston can support any kind of startup, and scale them to an IPO and beyond.

Correction: An earlier version of this editorial mischaracterized the status of HubSpot’s initial public offering. The Cambridge startup has filed for an IPO but has not yet started selling shares.

Loading comments...
Real journalists. Real journalism. Subscribe to The Boston Globe today.