Mass Innovation Nights 81
December 9, 2015
My first Mass Innovation Nights event last month recalled some of the many technology and start-up events I used to attend in Houston. Indeed, the Boston area start-up community was just as welcoming, so I returned for December’s event.
Mass Innovation Nights 81: Brooklyn Boulders in Somerville
This month’s event was held at Brooklyn Boulders in Somerville. I actually missed most of the presentations because I couldn’t find parking… for about 40 minutes. Finally, as I was circling the car around to give up and leave, a space opened up. Still, this reinforces my motto of “I will not drive to any event in Somerville because there is no parking.”
Because I was cutting the start-time close — I had been stuck in the office late finishing the day’s work — I missed most of the presentations, but I did catch the awards at the end of the presentations, voted on by the attendees. Indeed, while the presenters are selected by pre-show voting, attendees select their favorite products during at-event voting. Among the Audience Choice winners, the Grand Prize winner was PICC Perfect. The Favorite Audience Products award winners were FlingGolf, GeoOrbital, and Green Piñata.
Once at the event, I chatted with some other attendees, stopped by the information tables for a few of the featured companies and one expert. Check out the MIN 81 page (and click on “Vote Here” once on that page) or the companies’ websites (see hotlinks below for each company) for more detailed information, particularly to the extent my descriptions may not do these businesses justice.
Unlike MIN80, which focused on tech companies, only a few of the start-ups at MIN81 could be consider tech or tech-based. I primarily visited the tables of these companies. Mentions of companies I visited (and accompanying descriptions of their products) follow:
PICCPerfect PICC Line Cover: Something that solves a medical/healthcare problem. This start-up bills its product as “safe, sanitary and stylish PICC Line Covers.” The founder experienced the lack of a product to serve her needs and started a company to solve that problem. The PICC line cover is currently available in three colors/patterns — black or two patterns. Again, based on the company’s numbers of how many patients there are with PICC lines every year, it’s amazing there wasn’t a suitable product already in existence.
GeoOrbital Wheel: A wheel that can be added to a bicycle to turn it into an electric bike, purportedly easy enough to install that it can be done in just two minutes. I was given a quick demonstration of how this wheel works — the wheel is connection to a control the customer installs on the handlebars. At speeds up to 20 miles per hour with a 20 mile range in cities, this strikes me as being a potentially useful product for bicycle commuters, though I’m sure those aren’t the only potential customers. Per the company’s literature, there is a 4-hour charge time.
Green Piñata Toy Share: A rental service for safe and educational toys. I spent a bit of time chatting with the entrepreneur at Green Piñata and am impressed with the effort and thought behind the service, which offers rental of toys for children up to five years of age. Safe, educational, and (as the website explains) sanitized.
Other companies at the event were:
BeHomeWell: An online store aggregating nontoxic products onto a single site.
Esmeralda Lambert – Statement Handwoven Jewelry: A Boston jewelry business that have seven employees in the Dominican Republic.
ShipFoliage.com: A business that ships New England foliage worldwide.
Runfellow: Motivational running gear and a run club to provide additional community/”motivation.”
Boston Crawling: Historic Boston pub crawls.
Gift Uncommon: Community gift card programs to allow local town merchants to combine forces to provide appealing multi-store gift cards that support local business communities.
Fling Golf: A new sport that appears to be a cross between lacrosse and golf.
Anchor Nutrition Bar: A nutrition bar that relieves nausea.
Women & Transition: A book/guidebook for women in transition, meant to help them through transitional life events.
Hammer Riveted Wallet: Wallets designed not to fall apart.
Missing in Action
The one company I expected to see, but who I didn’t see at MIN 81, was Jess, Meet Ken, a dating app where men are “recommended” to women by other women. That’s a shame because particularly with the dearth of technology, IT, and web-based businesses at this MIN event, I was looking forward to chatting with these entrepreneurs.
Tonight’s “expert” was Mike Dixon of Wellington Street Consulting, a firm currently focused on helping companies maximize their Office 365 transitions. I was personally impressed with Mike when we spoke and encourage readers to check out the company’s website.
I’m not entirely sure I’ve added anything that you couldn’t have found out just by following this link and then clicking on the “Vote Here” tab of the MIN 81 web page, but hopefully,if you’re interested, you’ll check out one or more of these start-ups. Since this is just my second of these events, I’m not sure what the company mix usually is at Mass Innovation Nights. As I noted earlier, MIN 80 was pretty tech-heavy; MIN 81 was not. I’m curious to see what future events hold. From the list of companies on the MIN website for the upcoming January 13th event, MIN 82, it looks like tech will again take center stage.
The crowd is friendly, and as long as I’m convinced I’ll be able to find parking at future events, I look forward to attending more MIN in the coming months, as well as venturing out to other start-up and technology industry events and blogging about them when I can.