Phase Forward: Remembering the Early Days


I went to Newton City Hall today to run an errand and saw the Balsamo/Millenium walkway that the city created to celebrate the year 2000. I remembered that when Paul Bleicher and I heard about this walkway in 1999 we thought it would be fitting to mark the fact that Newton was the first home of Phase Forward, the company we had co-founded a couple of years before.

In early 1999 it wasn’t clear how successful Phase Forward would go on to be. However, we were proud enough, even then, to have started the company in Newton, where we also both lived (and still do) with our respective families. Starting in 1996 we spent many hours in a study room in the Newton Free Library working on a business plan. Once we received venture capital funding (from Atlas Ventures and North Bridge Venture Partners) we opened our first office at 51 Winchester St, Newton in 1997. It was a couple more years before the company moved out to Waltham. The later history of Phase Forward included an IPO and then a successful acquisition by Oracle Corporation in 2010.

I am very proud that I got to work with Paul on his ideas that became so successful at Phase Forward. We had fun, changed an industry, created a bunch of jobs, and got to see some success along with way.

Hopefully the Phase Forward name will remain clear on this pathway as a mark of our gratitude for starting out in Newton, even as the name fades from prominence now it is no longer an independent company.


Gregg Stern said...

Beautifully written, Richard, and a lovely memorial -- on the walkway and online!

Dave Rosa said...

To this day, my favorite job was working with you, Paul and Jeff Klofft during those early years. I did not know about this brick and I think it is a great memorial to the hard work you guys put in during those "founding" years in Newton.

NetDoc said...

Richard, it was an honor working with you and later, the rest of the gang. Let's do it again one day.

Ann S said...

Lovely article. These kinds of memorials do last a long time and become a lasting tribute for people. Thanks for sharing this.

R1200GSer said...


Working at Phase Forward for 11 years was not only a great professional experience, it was also a place where I came to form some wonderful friendships. I consider myself very lucky to have had the opportunity to get up many mornings and look forward to spending the day with friends helping build a company.