Vassar Quarterly - Spring/Summer 2017 - 20
Geoff Mamlet P'20
Geoff Mamlet is the President and
Founder of Massachusetts-based companies Impact
Hub Boston and Cambridge Innovation Center (CIC).
Founded in London in 2005, Impact Hub Boston is
a co-working space made up of various organizations
and individuals addressing social issues. Members
range from entrepreneurs and freelancers to activists
and artists. Water for Good, for example, is one of the
organizations "born" in Impact Hub Boston's offices.
It provides new wells to the war-torn Central African
"With social innovation," explains Mamlet, "the best
thing to do is to learn from others who are struggling
with their own issues, and get the connections to champions and investors." Mamlet's team creates the setting
to facilitate these social connections. He compares the
company's role to that of a dinner party host. "We invite the right people to the party. But their success and
enjoyment is up to them."
Mamlet's other business, CIC, is similar to Impact
Hub Boston. It's a space-sharing operation that hosts
start-ups and a smattering of larger companies and
investors. The idea is to develop "ecosystems that allow
exceptional entrepreneurs to create new products and
companies better and faster." CIC boasts of having more
start-ups under one roof than "anywhere on the planet"-all in all, it hosts more than 1,000 companies over
its eight campuses. (Office locations also include
Rotterdam, St. Louis, and Miami.)
More affordable office space is generally the reason
people are first attracted to the campuses, Mamlet says,
"but its value is in the shared community, the sheer
energy of what comes from bumping into people and
thinking about things you didn't know you should be
Apparently, the synergy is paying off. According
to Mamlet, since 2002 the aggregate exit value generated by CIC companies when they are either sold or
go public is greater than $4 billion.
Guiding the Ride
Ryder Pearce '06
CREATING A VIRTUAL "WATER COOLER" community to support those
who now work in the gig economy is the founding concept of 2006 grad
Ryder Pearce's company, SherpaShare. An urban studies major with a
master's in transportation and urban design from Harvard, Pearce (son
of Noel Knille '79) wanted to find a way to help independent workers,
especially those who work in transportation or use it heavily. That interest led him to co-found his San Francisco-based company with colleague Jianming Zhou.
Part social app/website, part financial service, SherpaShare supports and solves the challenges faced by those who, for example, juggle
driving for multiple companies-someone who might drive for Uber,
Lyft, Postmates, and DoorDash. Important questions such as, "When
should I be working for this service or that service? How
much money am I really making? What is my net? How
Part social app, part
do I file my taxes? How can I take more deductions?"
can be answered using the app.
"Our financial services help interface all the driving
those who drive for
by a gig worker for all the different companies by trackmultiple companies.
ing the mileage and integrating earnings and expenses.
The companies themselves can't educate the workers.
It's not what they do." Pearce says that even independent truck drivers
and/or real estate agents (who do a lot of driving for a living) can benefit from using the financial app. Membership in the financial and
social app is $6 per month at press time.
With more than 100,000 gig workers in SherpaShare's virtual
world, the community-that is, social network-is teeming with information for veterans and newbies alike.
Pearce says, "A lot of people use the social app to vent. In fact,
'Rideshare Confessions' are very popular as are questions such as, 'It's
surge pricing right now. Should I bother going out to drive or is there
too much traffic to make it worthwhile?' Or, 'This is my first day driving.