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Massachusetts' Newest Export: Innovation Spaces? Boston Real Estate Startup To Expand In Netherlands

CIC will open a 140,000 square foot innovation center at the Groot Handelsgebouw building in Rotterdam’s Central Business District in 2016. (Courtesy Guido Pijper, Twelve Photographic Services)
CIC will open a 140,000 square foot innovation center at the Groot Handelsgebouw building in Rotterdam’s Central Business District in 2016. (Courtesy Guido Pijper, Twelve Photographic Services)
This article is more than 5 years old.

In the latest sign that Boston's startup cluster is finding more ways to sell its special sauce overseas, the Cambridge Innovation Center is opening its first location abroad in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

Also known as CIC, the real estate services company is planning to open a 140,000-square-foot innovation center at the iconic Groot Handelsgebouw building in Rotterdam’s Central Business District in 2016.

CIC is not the only Massachusetts entrepreneurship organization to ply its expertise overseas. Based in South Boston, MassChallenge has already expanded internationally. The startup accelerator has opened similar ventures in the United Kingdom and in Israel.

CIC is currently headquartered in a Kendall Square-based office building. It houses hundreds of startups and gives them flexibility to grow and helps connect them with technologies and investors. Fledgling startups can rent co-working spaces and share event space and eventually move into larger, dedicated offices without the burden of long-term leases.

Founded in 1999, CIC has several facilities in Greater Boston and another U.S. location in St. Louis. But now CEO Tim Rowe says it's time to open an innovation center in an entrepreneurial city in Europe.

"We can make the world a more innovative place using some ideas that we have here in Boston," Rowe said. The goal he said is to "bring some mechanisms to other amazing countries and other amazing research communities to help them take their ideas and turn them into innovation that we can all use faster."

CIC is partnering with the City of Rotterdam and Dutch entrepreneurship organizations to create the innovation space.

"This is a country of entrepreneurs, and for entrepreneurs," said Neelie Kroes of partner StartupDelta. "We at StartupDelta are excited to continue working together with partners like CIC to build the future of our country, and the world."

Curt Nickisch Twitter Business & Technology Reporter
Curt Nickisch was formerly WBUR's business and technology reporter.

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