On Tuesday, November 14th, I attended the Expese.com launch party at WeWork in Cambridge, MA. I found out about the company via a conversation at a local startup event a few months ago. This was a neat way to learn more about the company.
Experience with Ease
Expese’s marketing tagline and, obviously, the source of the company’s name is “experience with ease.” The website is a technology enthusiast’s playground. It allows subscribers to “experience” cutting-edge technology for 21 days before returning it and getting the “experience” the next item on their lists. It’s a “try before you buy” website, and there is an opportunity for subscribers to purchase the items they’re trying out using e-coins. E-coins are earned simply by subscribing; they can also be earned by writing reviews and by referring new subscribers. Of course, you can also buy e-coins to reach the amount required to purchase a product that interests you.
Products currently available through Expese include virtual reality products, drones, smartwatches, gaming systems, and a variety of other gadgets, as listed on this page of the website.
The party itself was an after-work event with snacks, drinks, a quick presentation, and prizes. At the event, virtual reality products were available to try out and a sample table containing some of the technology available through Expese was set up. The attendees were an interesting mix of people in the local technology and start-up communities.
Expese is currently in beta launch, so early subscriber feedback may inform future changes. I actually won a two-month trial of Expese at the event – I told you there were prizes – so I’m going to sign up, try it out, and share my experiences with you at the end of the trial. I’ve always personally been too busy to devote much time to the latest tech, so this will be fun. Either tomorrow or maybe during Thanksgiving weekend I’ll have a little free time to sign up, set up my account, and select items for my queue, and after I’ve tried Expese for a couple months, I’ll write about my experience.
I rarely make it into the city for a technology event – the drive in after work and parking would cause me to arrive late to too many events to make frequent attendance possible, since the events are timed to be convenient for whose jobs are nearby or a subway-ride away to attend after work. But I do make it to a good percentage of the events in the western Boston suburbs, so I may it to my first startup event in several months this week, a Mass Innovation Nights event hosted by Dassault Systemes in Waltham.
This wasn’t a “theme night,” so the companies exhibiting crossed industry boundaries, though as is often the case at Boston-area startup events, all of the companies in attendance at MIN104 could be considered tech.
Every month, Mass Innovation Nights features presentations from the host, the “Expert Corner” experts and exhibitors who win a pre-event vote on the Mass Innovation Nights website. Presenters as a result of the pre-event voting were PeopleProductive, MagniFact’s MoodAnalyzer, Fluid-Screen, and Kaiburr. Awards were also given based on at-event voting. At-event winners were Vocoli, Kaiburr, Obvia, and Fluid-Screen.
Though it was mentioned on the event notice, I had forgotten the host, Dassault Systemes/SOLIDWORKS, was offering tours of its 3DEXPERIENCE Lab, so I didn’t seek it out. I’ll have to be better prepared if there is a “next time.”
Now, I’ll take a quick run through the companies in attendance; you can follow the links for more information about them.
Obvia: Obvia’s wind turbine system is based on innovative rotor blades, which I understood easily based on the explanation I received at Obvia’s table. And, it seems, a semi-shrouded wing; shrouding is explained in a video linked from Obvia’s Mass Innovation Nights profile. If my layman’s description sounds interesting, I’d suggest going to Obvia’s website and/or its MIN profile to learn more.
Fluid-Screen: Some of the medical technology startups prove the most interesting at startup events, and this month’s MIN was no exception. Fluid-Screen’s lab-on-a-chip technology allows doctors’ offices to process tests faster, reducing the time required to test for bacterial contamination from days to thirty minutes. As part of the company’s presentation, it was noted even homes could potentially use it to test food and water, particularly in places (or times) during which contamination is more likely. In addition to the company’s website, there’s information of Fluid-Screen’s Mass Innovation Nights profile, which includes a link to a TEDx presentation.
Coalesce.info: This one’s kind of cool. The Coalesce.Info Virtual Analyst is like an AI search engine that improves responses to decision making questions within a company.
MagniFact: The MagniFact MoodAnalyzer uses predictive analytics and custom algorithms to provide customer sentiment information in real time based on the language used by customers. A young start-up guided by an established technologist, this product could solve a variety of problems, with its direction perhaps guided by the interested parties currently involved with its founder. The video on MagniFact’s MIN profile is also worth viewing.
Kaiburr: A popular product at MIN104, Kaiburr is an application orchestration software billed as “DevOps as a Service.” Kaiburr’s 2-minute promotional YouTube video explains Kaiburr and its product management capabilities probably better than I could in a paragraph.
Vocoli: Vocoli is a sort of a digital suggestion box platform, allowing companies to gain useful new ideas, internally “crowdsource” ideas, and keep tabs on the sentiment within their ranks. And, again, there’s a less-than-two-minute YouTube video that explains some of the details of Vocoli.
PeopleProductive: PeopleProductive is a software platform that helps companies reduce attrition rates, among other things. The three “tracks” detailed on the company’s website are “On-Time Execution & Delivery,” “Employee Retention,” and “Mergers & Acquisitions.” I’d suggest referring to the company’s website for more details.
iseeBell: iseeBell’s table presentation focused on its video doorbell product, which allows people to see who’s at the door via smartphone or tablet from anywhere. The company was also displaying some devices geared more directly toward the security-camera market, as well. As with so many of MIN104’s companies, there’s a two-minute video pitch on YouTube.
Makerchip.com: OK, here I’ll just quote the text directly from the MIN company profile because I couldn’t possibly add something useful: “Makerchip.com is a free cloud-based IDE for digital integrated circuit design aimed at open-source hardware development and academic use.” From standing by and listening in while this product was being shown to interested parties, it looks like it would be a helpful tool, though since this isn’t my area of expertise, I don’t know current alternatives are out there.
Experts included members of the Dassault Systemes team and Jeff Schantz from EYP. Plus, they were joined by Innovation Women, a speakers’ bureau to help connect event managers with women entrepreneurs and women in the technical fields. (I say “joined by” because Innovation Women weren’t listed on the event website or the event handout, but they did have a prime booth location.)
As always with my startup event summaries, I’ve done my best to explain what I saw, drawing upon some promotional material at the event and online, conversations I had with company representatives, and the information available by clicking the “Vote Here” tab of the MIN104 web page. If you find any of the companies or products described above interesting, please follow the links I provided and get in touch with the companies themselves for more information.
That concludes my overview of yet another MIN event. As I attend additional MIN (and other technology industry) events in the coming months, I’ll share what I see with those of you who read my blog.