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Globe fetes the top power players in Boston tech

The Globe hosted a lunch to debut the Tech Power Players 50 at the restaurant Contessa in Boston.David L. Ryan/Globe Staff

The local tech scene can sometimes feel like a rush of funding announcements, product releases, and stock price gyrations. But at its heart, it’s a story about people. To highlight those people and tell their stories, the Globe has created a new list of the “Tech Power Players 50.”

On Monday we gathered high above the Back Bay at Contessa to fete the honorees. It was an all-star showing of some of the area’s leading lights in business, investing, academia, and nonprofits.

DraftKings chief executive Jason Robins slid into a banquette next to Ginkgo Bioworks CEO Jason Kelly. Boston Dynamics founder Marc Raibert greeted Amazon’s top robotics expert, Tye Brady. And Katie Rae, managing partner of The Engine, held court in the center of the fray while Joan Donovan research director of the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy, had a quiet conversation at the windows overlooking the Public Garden.

After a welcome from Globe CEO Linda Henry, there was a robust discussion of Boston’s strengths and weaknesses as a tech center.


“I grew up here and we were neck and neck with Silicon Valley but, holy crap, did Silicon Valley kick our butt,” HubSpot cofounder Brian Halligan said. “The next wave is climate tech, it’s obvious to me, and Silicon Valley is a little ahead. We should be trying to turn Boston into the climate corridor. We have a shot to dominate.”

Katie Rae emphasized the local community’s advantages. “Almost all the top funds in climate are based here — it’s already happening,” she said. “We are the envy of the world.” She urged her fellow list members to act as angel investors and put their own money into climate startups. “That’s how we have a better ecosystem,” she said.

Stefania Mallett, cofounder and CEO of ezCater, urged her peers also to note the ways the workplace has changed since the pandemic. “Let’s make this a remote hybrid city,” she said. “If you don’t go to the workplace, how do you meet people? It’s a problem of social engineering.”


Tye Brady, who has been on the scene since coming to BU to study aerospace engineering in the 1980s, talked about Boston’s strength in robotics but also warned against complacency. “We are the hub of the robotics universe, but we should not assume that will always be the case,” he said.

The Globe published the list online on Monday (at BostonTechLeaders.BostonGlobe.com), and it will get a special section in Sunday’s print newspaper.

Now it’s time to start keeping tabs for next year’s list.

Aaron Pressman can be reached at aaron.pressman@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @ampressman.