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?

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