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Veracode CEO: Entrepreneurs need to stick with Boston, “one of the great cities of the world”

LearnLaunch co-founder Jean Hammond, left, and Veracode chief executive Bob Brennan urged Boston-area entrepreneurs to stay local.
LearnLaunch co-founder Jean Hammond, left, and Veracode chief executive Bob Brennan urged Boston-area entrepreneurs to stay local.Credit: Callum Borchers / Boston Globe

They came for business advice and the opportunity to network, but Boston-area innovators also got a pep talk Wednesday during the Xconomy Summit on Innovation, Technology and Entrepreneurship at Babson College.

“I don’t understand Boston’s inferiority complex — it’s one of the great cities of the world,” said Bob Brennan, chief executive of Burlington software security company Veracode.

Brennan and other panelists at the conference made the case for Boston as a technology hub, encouraging local entrepreneurs to stay here as they launch and grow their companies.

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“I can’t think of any good argument to leave the city if you’re fortunate enough to be here,” said Scott Savitz, managing partner of Data Point Capital in Boston.

Dave Balter, founder of Boston social marketing firm BzzAgent, added his belief that Boston is gaining credibility in the tech world because of a string of recent acquisitions.

“I think there was a thinking that maybe Boston doesn’t create big wins in the market, but we’ve had tons and tons of exits of late,” Balter said, citing Priceline’s $1.8 billion purchase of Concord-based travel website Kayak last year as an example. “What that signals to me is that there are great businesses being created here. Something happens when you start a company here that makes it worthwhile.”

The key to the city’s rising status is retaining students trained at local colleges, like Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said Jean Hammond, co-founder of Boston-based LearnLaunch, a firm that advises education-oriented tech startups.

“Right now in Boston we’ve got amazing amounts of talented young people coming out who are looking for jobs in companies with high growth potential, and that’s the raw material that’s most important,” Hammond said. We’re sitting on a gold mine.”

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