Boston New Technology Startup Showcase #93

Boston New Technology Startup Showcase 93

September 18, 2018

Proximate presentation; photo by Geoff Wilbur

This month’s BNT was hosted at Foley Hoag in Boston’s Seaport District on Tuesday, September 18th.

Boston New Technology Startup Showcase 93: Foley Hoag in Boston, MA

In typical fashion, food and networking kicked off the BNT Startup Showcase. And, as usual, some of the event sponsors had booths (tables) set up for the evening.

I didn’t get a chance to talk to all the exhibitors, but I did speak with WordPress experts TRBdesign, HR solutions firm TriNet, and peer-to-peer car sharing/renting company Getaround.

WorkAround presentation; photo by Geoff Wilbur

The presentations began about an hour into the event. First, the sponsors were given a minute or two each to talk. Then the startups presented. Each presentation was 5 minutes, with another 5 minutes allocated to Q&A.

Following, I’ll write a little about each of the presenters, including my best understanding of who they are and what they do. Obviously, if something intrigues you, don’t rely on the accuracy of my description. Instead, check out the websites and contact the companies for yourself. Because if you’re interested, you’re probably a much bigger expert in that product area than I am, so you’ll know better which questions to ask.

URSA Idetic presentation; photo by Geoff Wilbur

Proximate bills itself as Sales Intelligence as a Service. It taps a company’s sales history and scores its leads. Via personalization, predictive intelligence, and analysis of leads, Proximate is a cutting-edge customer relationship management (CRM) tool. As noted in the Q&A period, Proximate can be layed on top of a company’s existing CRM.

WorkAround is a service that helps companies source online work to skilled refugees. Refugees may be highly skilled but are not allowed to work in their host countries. This is a solution to that problem; with Internet access, they are able to work virtually for companies elsewhere. It was interesting to see some of the WorkAround advances since I first heard the company’s CEO speak at a Mass Innovation Nights event back in March. Notably, the new aspects of the client interface.

Cluster Audio presentation; photo by Geoff Wilbur

URSA Idetic is an “autonomous systems intelligence platform.” Or, per its name, Unmanned Robotics Systems Analysis. Simply: Drone intelligence. With early military work likely to make venture capital completely unnecessary for URSA Idetic, this is a rare startup that may be able to grow fast enough based on its early revenue. The company’s goal is to be the source of autonomous systems data.

Cluster Audio‘s CA550 Speaker System is a tactile audio system that allows gamers and movie watchers to feel the sound. Described to us as un-technically as possible, Cluster Audio’s “Sound Sleeve” is a subwoofer inside a cushion you can drape over your couch. Of course, personally, with my music interests, I’m curious about how this system will help me “feel” my favorite tunes. I need to somehow arrange for a test-drive.

Ridj-It presentation; photo by Geoff Wilbur

Ridj-it‘s slogan is “Carpool your way to adventure!” It’s a “travel tech platform” that allows drivers and riders to organize adventures, while connecting them with small businesses for discounted booking rates. This first struck me as an adventure-travel/day-trip focused, specialized and supersized version of Meetup serving a specific market. But for that market, it seems like a great idea. It’s specialized enough that a more broadly focused competitor would have difficulty duplicating the experience.

Thoughtblox presentation; photo by Geoff Wilbur

Thoughtblox is a knowledge-sharing system. Per its own promo, “transforming mailing lists to engaged knowledge networks.” Unlike existing communication platforms and knowledge-sharing systems, Thoughtblox uses filters rather than folders to facilitate information-finding. When reading about Thoughtblox before the event, it was tough for me to visualize from a text description, but after seeing the brief demonstration during the presentation, the interface is quite slick and user-friendly.

Spiro presentation; photo by Geoff Wilbur

Spiro is an AI-driven sales automation system. A CRM tool that serves as a reminder system, learning from its user and tailoring itself to the user’s needs. I jotted down the four short sentences that describe Sprio: It observes. It recommends. It learns. it guides. After just the brief demo during the presentation, I walked away exceptionally impressed.

As usual, it was another great BNT event. I’m already looking forward to next month’s BNT, scheduled for October 16th and slated to feature HealthTech startups. If my schedule permits, I’ll see you there.

Mass Innovation Nights 114: AI, Robotics, and CleanTech

Mass Innovation Nights 114

September 13, 2018

Mass Innovation Nights features startup companies from around Massachusetts. This month’s Mass Innovation Nights was hosted by MathWorks in Natick.  The theme for the evening was AI, robotics, and clean tech.

Mass Innovation Nights 114: MathWorks in Natick MA

MIN114 At-Event Voting Winners; photo by Geoff Wilbur

Mass Innovation Nights begins with an hour to network, grab food from the buffet, and visit with exhibiting startups at their display tables, providing attendees with an opportunity to converse with the companies in attendance while snacking on food provided by the event sponsor. Then the presentations begin, featuring the evening’s host, the “Expert Corner” experts, and the four exhibitors who win a pre-event vote on the Mass Innovation Nights website.  Presenters as a result of the pre-event voting were The Robot Wand, Reason8, Kestrel Agritech, and Proximie. Awards are also given based on at-event voting (during the networking hour) by attendees. At-event winners were Proximie, WaveSense, Kestrel Agritech, and The Robot Wand.

MIN’s Bobbie Carlton; photo by Geoff Wilbur

As usual, when I attend one of the startup showcase events, I’ll provide a quick overview of the featured companies based on information available through Mass Innovation Nights (website and handouts), the four presentations, and my conversations with some of the company representatives at the event. My observations will generally be very cursory. If you’re interested in additional detail about some of this month’s showcasing companies, you can follow the links I provide for more information.

Altaeros booth at MIN114; photo by Geoff Wilbur

Altaeros helps provide remote wireless access to rural communities and other hard-to-reach locations via its SuperTower, which looks like a blimp. (See picture; demo table balloon, obviously, is not actual size.) Tethered and able to be raised and lowered – to top off the helium, for example – it serves as a wireless antenna covering an expansive area.

WaveSense uses ground-penetrating radar to allow self-driving vehicles to more easily navigate roads in inclement conditions – where road markings may be obscured by snow, for example – because it allows the vehicles to know where the roads are based on the geological (and man-made) features beneath the road.

The Robot Wand presentation; photo by Geoff Wilbur

BluCloud‘s “Gateway Blu” makes analytic data available anywhere anytime by transporting that analytic data cellularly. I first encountered BluCloud back in May at a Boston New Technology showcase. Because I had met them before, I didn’t spend time chatting with BluCloud at this event, but you can read my much more detailed account in this summary I wrote about the BNT event in May. If I had found time to chat with BluCloud, I would have asked how their customer penetration has progressed since then, since they already had a few customers and a lot of locations connected this spring.

Reason8 presentation; photo by Geoff Wilbur

Reason8 is an app that takes meeting notes for you. In addition to transcribing the meeting, the app summarizes the meeting and provides a list of what it determines are likely action items; more advanced features continue to be in development. Reason8 is currently designed to target notetaking at in-person meetings.

Quinncia is an AI-based interview preparation tool geared toward university students. I previously learned about Quinncia at the Boston New Technology showcase in February.

Kestrel Agritech presentation; photo by Geoff Wilbur

Electrona Robotics‘ Pilotfish remote submersible is a reasonably priced option for shooting HD video underwater, designed as an option for those who require remote underwater filming that in a relatively robust format at an affordable cost.

Kestrel Agritech is a drone-based crop monitoring and pest detection system that uses thermal imaging to help detect, analyze, and notify farmers of pests so farmers can take targeted, quick action.

Proximie presentation; photo by Geoff Wilbur

Southie Autonomy‘s The Robot Wand is robot-agnostic software that creates a platform to control robots using verbal commands and gestures. This can be useful in areas like material handling. During the Q&A at the end of the Robot Wand presentation, its presenter noted that current markets where this is in high demand include heavy manufacturing and test kitting (e.g., 23 and Me)

Electrona Robotics Pilotfish booth at MIN114; photo by Geoff Wilbur

Yobe Inc.‘s VISPR is able to identify speakers’ voices in high noise environments. On the VISPR website, it is described as a “voice identification system for user profile retrieval.”

SkyMan Unlimited is a team of FAA-certified remote pilots who fly drones (“unmanned aerial vehicles”) for commercial and industrial clients.

Proximie is a platform for the healthcare industry. It is designed to facilitate collaboration and remote assistance via augmented reality (AR).

WaveSense booth at MIN114; photo by Geoff Wilbur

3D Educational Services (3DES) is a low-cost robotics kit geared toward 7th and 8th grade. It is meant to help bring robotics into the classroom and help inspire students’ interest.

Conclusion

As always, I’ve done my best to accurately portray the exhibiting companies and their products based upon the pre-event materials and the conversations I had with attendees. You can find company information also by following this link and then clicking on the “Vote Here” tab of the MIN 114 web page. I’ve also included hotlinks to the each of the exhibiting companies’ websites so you can get information beyond my brief introductions.

It was, as always, a pleasure to see some of the emerging companies on the Boston area’s startup scene. Next month’s Mass Innovation Night will be MIN’s 5th Annual Women Founders event. Sponsored by Boston Scientific (with supporting sponsor Brownmed), Mass Innovation Nights 115 will be held on Monday, October 15th at District Hall in Boston.

Mass Innovation Nights 113 in Natick

photo by Geoff Wilbur

Mass Innovation Nights 113

August 8, 2018

This month, Mass Innovation Nights was back in the suburbs, this time in Natick. Hosting by Middlesex Savings Bank, MIN113 took place at The Center for Arts in Natick, frequently referred to as TCAN. This even was one of the less tech-heavy rosters of companies (which I note because this is a tech blog, after all), a little atypical because the Boston area is home to so many tech startups, but the featured businesses are always interesting, and this month was no exception.

Mass Innovation Nights 113: The Center for Arts in Natick (TCAN) in Natick MA

MIN113 At-Event Voting Winners; photo by Geoff Wilbur

Mass Innovation Nights begins with time to learn about the exhibiting startups by visiting with them at their tables. This is followed by presentations from the host, the “Expert Corner” experts, and the exhibitors who win a pre-event vote on the Mass Innovation Nights website.  Presenters as a result of the pre-event voting were TechScreen, Chocolate Therapy, Delete All My Data, and wiseHer. Awards were also given based on at-event voting. At-event winners were Bodega Bag, Miles2share, Chocolate Therapy, and WiseHer.

miles2share booth at MIN113; photo by Geoff Wilbur

Here’s my quick run through the companies in attendance; you can follow the links for more information about them.

miles2share is a ride-sharing program. Its app available for both iOS and Android devices. I like the fact that miles2share works with you to create a “circle” of potential ride-sharers rather than just pairing you up for individual rides.

PetsEmpower is a non-profit that facilitates providing foster homes for pets during crises. Because when in a domestic violence situation, it’s important not to have to worry about your furry family members.

TechScreen presentation; photo by Geoff Wilbur

Loco Coffee is a new spin on coffee. It’s a preservative-free cold brew that includes coconut water in its can o’ coffee, which the company notes adds sweetness without the necessity of adding sugar. I’ve now sampled the drink and, indeed, it is a little sweet. The coconut water also seems to help the drink finish smooth.

Delete All My Data is a service that actively and aggressively pursues the removal of its customers’ data from data brokers’ databases?

TechScreen is a SaaS product that improves IT recruiting.

Chocolate Therapy presentation; photo by Geoff Wilbur

wiseHer is a platform that connects women with experts who can provide advice needed in business or in life in general.

The Bodega Bag is a bag the allows people to carry groceries on their backs. Up to 20 pounds of groceries, the company advertises.

Chocolate Therapy is a Framingham, MA chocolate shop that specializes in producing (and selling) chocolates and hosting events (chocolate-making, team building, birthday parties, and other group events). They were promoting their new chocolate bars at MIN. And providing delicious samples, of course.

Delete All My Data presentation; photo by Geoff Wilbur

Adventure Activities USA is a company that specializes in outdoor adventures. Their business ranges from hosting activities and corporate retreats to selling equipment.

Pillars, the drinkable Greek yogurt company, was a last-minute cancellation. I had been looking forward to sampling their product. I think I may have tried some at a grocery store sampling recently, but I was especially hoping they’d have some plain yogurt with them; that’s personally the one I’d like to try.

wiseHer presentation; photo by Geoff Wilbur

Conclusion

As always, I’ve done my best to accurately portray the exhibiting companies and their products based upon the pre-event materials and the conversations I had with attendees. You can find company information also by following this link and then clicking on the “Vote Here” tab of the MIN 113 web page. I’ve also included hotlinks to the each of the exhibiting companies’ websites so you can get information beyond my brief introductions.

It was, as always, a pleasure to see some of the emerging companies on the Boston area’s startup scene. Next month’s Mass Innovation Night will also be in Natick, on September 13th at the office of the event’s host Mathworks. MIN 114 will feature robotics, AI and clean/green energy products. Barring a scheduling conflict, as always, I hope to be there.

Some Favorite Telecom Resources

Hello, telecom industry friends, former colleagues and contacts, and other readers.

As you know, it’s been a decade since I was last firmly ensconced in the telecom industry, at least to the extent it doesn’t overlap with the tech/IT industry, but it still represents a majority of my career, and I devour the latest news about it to stay abreast of developments. I don’t, however, blog about it consistently – as this is a side-project labor-of-love for me, I don’t blog about any telecom or tech concept consistently – so while I do hope you subscribe to this blog to allow my thoughts on topics of shared interest to find their way into your inbox, I thought it only fair to share a few of my favorite resources and encourage you to partake of them, too. To keep this short, I’ll start with three. Perhaps I’ll write a few sequels to this post in the future to help spread the wealth.

POTs and PANs

First up is POTs and PANs, the cleverly-named blog from CCG Consulting. With thoughts that seem to flow straight off the top of Doug Dawson’s head, this blog contains a wide range of telecom insights, thoughts on news events, and other well-considered, detailed musings of interest to telecom folks. A lot of them focusing on rural telecom, given Doug’s background. I met Doug early in my telecom career, at my very first job after grad school, and he was already an all-knowing telecom industry guru, a consultant widely revered in the industry with a seeming grasp of every nuance of the rural telecom industry in which I worked at the time.

In any case, POTs and PANs is always a fascinating read, at least if you’re interested in thinking deeply about the issues surrounding the telecom industry. And, of course, I am. Whether he’s writing about what’s happening at the FCC (“FCC to Tackle Rural Call Completion”), consumer trends in the industry (“Prices are Driving Cord Cutting”), wireless developments (“5G Cellular for Home Broadband?”), or more philosophical issues (“Public Networks and Privacy”), Doug’s writing in POTs and PANs is always a good read. It’s always time well-spent.

CommScope Blog

There aren’t a lot of large product vendor blogs that regularly hold my interest, but CommScope‘s blog is a rare exception. The topics span a broad range of tech and telecom, but it’s more than once that I’ve set aside one of CommScope’s articles to read later. (This is an advantage of subscribing to blogs via e-mail – they’re easier to time-shift. I find I return more often to a blog I’ve left in my inbox than to a link I’ve bookmarked.) Some of the definitional posts, for example, have remained set aside in an Outlook folder I return to periodically for years because they allow me to review the basics of topics I commonly encounter, particularly helpful to use as a starting point for discussions with those less familiar, but also useful in reviewing subject I circle back to infrequently. Articles I’ve set aside include “What is PON?” and “What is NFV?” Also helpful has been “Getting to Know Our Fiber Acronyms.” In addition, the CommScope Blog touches upon current trends, from technological trends, as covered in this post about 400 GbE, “The Next Big Thing in Cloud Data Center Networking”, to geographic technology trends, as noted in “How the MEA Can Embrace the Status Quo.”

Indeed, this blog uses many authors to cover a broad range of topics of interest to telecom and technology, from fiberoptics to wireless to satellite, often focused on the technology, serving up both the basics (because telecom is a big industry, and while we’re all experts in one or a few fiefdoms, we all benefit from some exposure to the other areas via articles written simply enough for us to understand) and the more detailed analysis. I subscribe to several vendor blogs, but I frequently notice how many of the posts that hold my interest come from CommScope’s.

Stephen Hardy’s Friday 5

If you know me, you know I don’t like streaming videos. The information is never provided at the pace or level of detail I want. They’re impossible to skim. I always prefer my information in text format, and if a website insists on auto-starting videos, since I surf with the sound off, I only notice if those videos cause the pages to load slowly or periodically freeze, and when that happens I find my information on a different website.

With all that lead-in, surprisingly, I actually enjoy Stephen Hardy’s Friday 5. It probably helps that I know Stephen. For my last couple years at KMI, it was owned by the same parent company as Lightwave. Of course, he’s still with Lightwave, currently serving as its Editorial Director and Associate Publisher.

Then again, that’s not really the point. Personal acquaintance can hardly overcome my disdain for receiving my information via video, but the Friday 5 is quick, to-the-point, and summarizes five stories that are actually interesting from the previous week. And the stories are fiberoptics-focused, which is one of my personal sweet spots within the telecom industry, so there’s that. The videos are about 5 minutes long, meaning there’s an average of a minute devoted to each story.

A recent Friday 5, the one from June 22nd, using the 5‘s countdown format, covered: 5) a cloud infrastructure spending market report, 4) a change in Fiber Broadband Association leadership, 3) Huawei faces national security concerns in Australia, 2) a change in ONF strategy, and 1) a research report predicting a decline in transceiver sales revenue as a result of ZTE issues. And that’s a typical weekly range of issues covered.

I don’t go to the Friday 5 web home, to which I’ve linked above, every week “unprovoked,” as it were. No, one of the Lightwave e-newsletters I receive directs me to it. But I do enjoy it… the once or twice a month I decide I’m in the mood for information via video. Given my predisposition toward text, that’s pretty darn good.

Conclusion

Those are three of my favorite telecom industry news sources. And as I was writing this, I thought of at least three more. Maybe I will provide a second installment later this year. For now, hopefully I’ve helped you find some new, interesting informational resources. I would recommend subscribing to those other sources if you’re a telecom industry geek like me. I’m sure you already receive my blog in your inboxes… don’t you?

InvisaWear: Enhanced Safety via Jewelry and Technology

invisaWear
photo by @MoorePhoto (http://michellemoore.com/); photo courtesy of invisaWear

I’m back again with a little more detail about another of the cool tech startups I discovered at the area’s startup events. I met the team from invisaWear at Mass Innovation Nights’ February 2018 event (MIN107) in Lowell. They weren’t presenting that night; rather, they were MIN alumni – they were featured at MIN95 in Lowell a year earlier – at the event as attendees. I had missed their MIN showcase a year earlier, but I spent a while chatting with them about their product after MIN107.

The Concept

invisaWear is a device that allows you to contact others with a simple squeeze (technically, a double-squeeze) when you’re in trouble. But it’s probably not fair to compare invisaWear to other “call for help” safety products, since invisaWear’s predecessors typically sacrificed appearance for function. Because, while the products I’m thinking of are geared primarily toward the elderly with health concerns, invisaWear is geared toward a much broader age range, typically much younger, and definitely more fashion-conscious. And invisaWear’s appeal goes well beyond the difference in appearance vs. other call-for-help products; it’s much more versatile and well-suited to anyone in need of an extra level of protection for any of a number of reasons.

invisaWear
photo by @MoorePhoto (http://michellemoore.com/); photo courtesy of invisaWear

Connected to an app on the wearer’s phone, the sensor is designed to require a firm effort to send out an alert, minimizing false alerts, and utilizes battery power, its low power requirement allowing it a one-year battery lifespan.

Activated by firmly double-pressing the alarm, an alert will send location to loved ones, provide an alert to 911, and send profile picture and information to emergency responders, as programmed by the wearer.

The company’s target market – those it suggests might benefit from invisaWear – include high school and college students, medical personnel, real estate agents, anyone working alone or late at night, travelers, senior citizens, and “anyone who wants to protect themselves or a loved one.”

invisaWear
photo by @MoorePhoto (http://michellemoore.com/); photo courtesy of invisaWear

In the end, as I learned a bit more about invisaWear, this struck me as a cool product worth sharing, an interesting and ingenious use of technology for the purpose of personal safety. So, of course, it’s the latest in my occasional series of Boston-area technology company profiles.

Where to Find invisaWear

If you click through the “Pre-Order” button on the invisaWear home page, you’ll be prompted to choose from bracelets, necklaces, and keychains featuring invisaWear’s sharp design. The company’s Indiegogo page is still active, too, where a quick scroll shows that invisaWear has garnered a lot of local media attention. And, of course, on the main website, there’s an overflowing “press” page. No surprise – they intrigued me, as well. As for the product itself, the company’s website estimates delivery in July 2018.

invisaWear
photo by @MoorePhoto (http://michellemoore.com/); photo courtesy of invisaWear

Looking Ahead

I asked invisaWear’s cofounders, Ray Hamilton and Rajia Abdelaziz, for a few thoughts about their products what they see in the company’s future, beyond the July 2018 initial product delivery. Ray noted, “Our mission from the very beginning has been that if we can help save even one person’s life, than all of our hard work will have been worth it!” Rajia added, “In terms of upcoming goals, I’m excited to raise awareness about the product, and get it in the hands of more people!”

More Information

As I mentioned, there have been numerous articles already written, many detailing the company’s backstory. For example, this piece on the BostInno site includes a nice discussion with Rajia Abdelaziz about her inspiration for invisaWear.

And if you’d like to get an invisaWear product for yourself or as a gift, you can place your order on the company’s website.

Boston New Technology Startup Showcase #89: IoT and eCommerce

Verizon at Boston New Technology #89
Verizon at Boston New Technology #89

Boston New Technology Startup Showcase 89

May 8, 2018

This month’s BNT was a themed event, featuring IoT and eCommerce companies. It was hosted at the WeWork location in Cambridge’s Central Square on Tuesday, May 8th.

Boston New Technology Startup Showcase 89: WeWork in Cambridge, MA

As always, the BNT Startup showcase begins with food and networking. This one occurred at a neat coworking space in Central Square. I hadn’t been to an event since BNT received its Telapush sign, which lights up as people tweet, so it was cool to see it in action. (For more info about Telapush, check out the company’s website.)

InEye Technologies at Boston New Technology #89
InEye Technologies at Boston New Technology #89

After an hour of chatting with people, snacking, and networking, the presentations began. First, the sponsors were introduced and allowed to chat for a minute or two. Then, typically, the seven startups present, each given 5 minutes to present followed by a 5 minute Q&A session. (On Tuesday night, only six of the companies were in attendance, so there were six presentations.) Following, I’ll write a little about each of the presenters, including my best understanding of who they are and what they do. Obviously, if something intrigues you, don’t rely on the accuracy of my description. Instead, check out the websites and contact the companies for yourself. Because if you’re interested, you’re probably a much bigger expert in that product area than I am, so you’ll know better which questions to ask.

The first presenting “startup” was no startup at all, actually. Verizon presented about IoT and 5G technologies. Points emphasized were data analytics and, specific to the crowd in attendance, Verizon’s innovation program.

BluCloud at Boston New Technology #89
BluCloud at Boston New Technology #89

Next up was InEye Technologies, presenting the company’s InWeigh product. This product is a gadget and app. The gadget weighs your luggage. The app, which can be used without the gadget, keeps track of up-to-the-minute information about the baggage limits and over-limit costs of all of the airlines’ flights. This was the product at BNT89 I could most easily see myself using immediately. The gadget alone would be helpful for those of us whose luggage sometimes pushes the allowed weight limits. InEye Technologies says it plans to monetize its product by selling the gadget and by providing analytics from the data it obtains to the airlines.

RevTwo at Boston New Technology #89
RevTwo at Boston New Technology #89

BluCloud, Inc. showcased its cellular gateway, Gateway Blu. Dubbed in the BNT promotion as “universal connectivity solution for edge IoT,” BluCloud features sensor data connected to an analytics platform. Its example of a use for its product was to allow cities to automate their monitoring process while gaining access to real-time information. For example, ground water data. Their three types of potential customers are environmental, corporate, and infrastructure. BluCloud currently has about ten customers, with the largest deployment connecting 1,000 devices.

Dover Microsystems at Boston New Technology #89
Dover Microsystems at Boston New Technology #89

RevTwo was another company whose product I could see an immediate market for. It’s an autonomous, data-driven customer support system that uses AI to detect problems and provide solutions to customers. RevTwo’s solution works with smart products, allowing the product to detect the answer to many customer service issues without the need of a call center or service tech. Obviously, go to the company website and then contact them for insights into the nuts and bolts, but even as broadly as I’ve described the concept, I think it makes obvious sense.

Two Minute Turtle Timer at Boston New Technology #89
Two Minute Turtle Timer at Boston New Technology #89

Dover Microsystems showed off its CoreGuard product that solves the problem of a cybersecurity attack at the hardware level. The company calls it embedded security for embedded systems. A seed-stage startup, it will already be cashflow positive next month.

And the final presenter of the evening was the Two Minute Turtle Timer, a product of Invent Boston. This is a kid-friendly timer for two-minute tasks like tooth brushing. (Another real-life example I recall from the presentation was yoga poses.) It’s a turtle circuit board with blinking LEDs, helping turn childhood tasks into kid-friendly fun.

As usual, it was another great BNT event.  Next month’s event, BNT #90, is scheduled for Monday, June 11 at Foley Hoag in the Seaport District of Boston.

The April 9th Startup Showcases in Boston: AR/VR, AI, and Robotics

Introduction

I usually try to get out to at least one of the two big Boston area monthly startup showcases, but they were both last night, and I stayed late to finish a project at work rather than make it out to either of the two events last night. Boston New Technology’s BNT88 was at Wayfair, while Mass Innovation Nights’ MIN109 was at District Hall. And they both had cool themes. BNT featured local startups in the Augmented and Virtual Reality industry. MIN, meanwhile, showcased local startups in the Artificial Intelligence and Robotics Industry. I had planned to mention both in my post-event article today – I had already prepared a skeleton piece with all the necessary links – so I might as well string it together and give these worthy companies a little press, to help you all find out about them, since even those of you who made it to one event wouldn’t have been able to get to the other.

Boston New Technology Startup Showcase 88: Wayfair in Boston, MA

Each BNT showcase starts with food and networking, including a food local company booths. It then features presentations from the showcasing companies. Each presentation is five minutes long, followed by five minutes of Q&A. I’ve recapped the evenings eight presenting companies below, based on what I was able to quickly read about them, but to learn more about the company/product than I was able to discern from a quick skim of the event materials and clickthrough, please do follow the links.

Wayfair, though obviously not a startup, hosted the event and presented about its augmented reality feature allowing customers to view available furniture at real size within their own real-life spaces. Fasility‘s BeBlock allows users to create customized virtual and augmented reality scenes in web browsers. Link to VR is a virtual and augmented reality solutions company focusing on the education, medical, and engineering sectors. Hoverlay is an augmented reality tool that allows users to overlay digital content onto physical images. LoreBooks allows users to view rare books and archives via AR. EmotiVR connects people to their emotions using biometric inputs. Auggies is a virtual reality game that encourages children to be active. And Catapult Games showcased its virtual reality climbing game Don’t Look Down.

I wish I had been able to get to Wayfair’s Copley offices for this event. Hopefully, I’ll make it to next month’s presentation.

Mass Innovation Nights 109: District Hall in Boston, MA

Every month, Mass Innovation Nights features displays from 10-12 companies, and attendees can learn about their products from company representations while enjoying food and drinks provided by the host.  That’s followed by presentations, usually beginning with relatively short talks from the evening’s host and the event’s “Expert Corner” experts. Then the four exhibitors who win a pre-event vote on the Mass Innovation Nights website present. And at the end, at-event vote winners win prizes and there’s a little more time for attendees to talk.

Obviously I missed the event itself, but here are the companies that exhibited, with brief company descriptions based on a skim of the pre-event material and maybe a clickthrough to the website. In fact, most of what I’ll mention below can be found by clicking on “Vote Here” after following this link to the MIN109 event page. Please do follow the links to find out more for yourselves if the companies sound interesting.

Woobo is a plush, interactive AI toy aimed at 5-9 year olds. Zombait is a robotic fishing lure. Pipeguard is a leak detection robot for municipal water systems. Upstream is a conservationist platform for managing environmental projects, “leveraging advances in machine learning, distributed computing and satellite imagery,” per its description on the MIN site. Humantelligence is a platform that helps measure corporate culture and improve the recruiting process. Windowmate is a window-cleaning robot. Ras Labs‘ Synthetic Muscle looks to have usefulness in connection with robotics and prosthetics, if I read its website correctly. Klarity uses artificial intelligence to analyze non-disclosure agreements and sales contracts. OmniPreSense sells small form factor, short-range radar sensors for drones, robotics, and IoT applications utilizing millimeter wave spectrum. And Voysis Commerce is a voice AI platform for eCommerce.

It looks like there were some extremely interesting products at MIN last night, some of which probably would have been better served in this overview if I had been at the event and had seen them for myself.

Wrap-Up

In the end, Monday, April 9th was chock-full of cutting-edge startup presentations in Boston. Of course, I missed both events, but I thought I’d whip up a summary to give these companies some well-deserved attention. I hope to run across each of the companies during my continuing ventures out into the local tech scene over the coming months. If you did make it to one of these showcase events, were they as interesting as they appear to have been?