SecureWorld Boston 2019: Day One

SecureWorld Boston 2019

Hynes Convention Center, Boston, MA

Day One: March 27, 2019

Last week, on March 27th and 28th, I attended SecureWorld’s 2019 Boston conference and expo, the 15th Annual SecureWorld Boston (#SWBOS19), as did more than 1,800 other tech and security industry professionals. It was a terrific opportunity to learn about the latest in cybersecurity and meet a lot of the industry’s top companies in one location. As a tech industry analyst (and blogger) with a generalist background, I hadn’t dug very deeply into security products, so this was a crash course for me. Certainly, most of the vendors’ names were familiar to me from my years covering the tech industry in general, aggregating some of my colleagues’ vendor analysis of these vendors, and assisting colleagues whose work was focused more consistently in the space, but I spent the better part of these two days getting brief introductions to each of the expo attendees’ products. My tired legs and hoarse voice at the end of the event would attest to the miles I logged while visiting at least 80% of the vendors’ booths.

With my background, my coverage of last week’s event will be from a generalist’s perspective. In addition, since I spent a lot of time visiting booths, I didn’t get to most of the presentations. (I expect that to change next year, as I’ve now acquainted myself, if just slightly, with a bulk of the security industry’s key players; I’ll plan a lot more coverage of the presentations in 2020.) I don’t intend to touch upon my booth conversations, but I will share my notes on the presentations I attended.

Though I missed the morning’s keynote while getting settled to Hynes and getting settled in, I heard impressive things about Intel’s Steve Brown’s “Going Digital: Building Your Strategic Roadmap for the Next Wave of Digital Transformation.” presentation, a speech I’m told touched upon a broad swath of digital transformation technologies.

Lunch Keynote: Bruce Schneier, Security and Cryptography Expert and Author of Click Here to Kill Everybody: “Securing a World of Physically Capable Computers”

Wednesday’s lunch keynote was an eye-opening, entertaining glimpse into security in a world in which essentially everything is a computer. I jotted down seven key points during this presentation, upon which I’ll elaborate based both on what Schneier presented and what I’ve observed elsewhere:

  1. The Internet is not built for security. Security would have defeated/overwhelmed the original purpose of the Internet. To oversimplify so it will fit into an already-too-long single sentence, it originated as a way for researchers and academics to exchange information. Though funny cat pictures certainly followed soon enough (my observation, not Scheier’s), security was not a big initial concern.
  2. Retrofitting security is hard. Once the cat’s out of the bag, so to speak… and that’s all I have to say about cats tonight.
  3. Because objects now have software, everything is insecure. This is a frequent topic at IoT events I attend. And since some legacy devices cannot have their software upgraded remotely, well, this is what keeps IoT/embedded systems people up at night. (Side note: These days, that’s pretty much all of us.)
  4. Complexity: It’s easier to attack than it is to defend/secure. Relatively self-explanatory and obvious but definitely important to remember, and it has an impact on how we deploy resources.
  5. New vulnerability in the interconnection. I really wish I had taken more notes here, but you get the gist. Interconnection provides an opportunity for a security breach.
  6. Attacks are getting faster and better. Schneier referenced the democratization of attacks. Attacks developed by some can be used by others. I did a bit of online searching to find a better way to explain this, and perhaps the best words are Schneier’s own, from this March 2015 blog post on his website.
  7. Computers fail differently. When mechanical equipment fails, parts wear out. A maintenance schedule can be set up. Or, at the very least, mechanical failure can be predictable and repairs can be made to individual components or machines as they fail. When cybersecurity fails, everything breaks and needs to be fixed immediately. Vulnerabilities discovered for one network can be exploited everywhere. At the moment they’re discovered. And so the vulnerabilities must be repaired everywhere.

The only possible outcome of increasing security breaches, as Schneier sees it, is government involvement. Regulation is coming in the future. Maybe soon. The question is whether or not it will be smart government involvement or stupid government involvement. We’re seeing it in Europe already. In the U.S., it’s happening at the state level, but Congress will do something at some point. And it behooves the security community to get involved and to court “smart” government involvement before “stupid” involvement is thrust upon the industry. To this end, Schneier directs the audience to Public Interest Tech: https://public-interest-tech.com/.

An interesting, thoughtful speech, this keynote was a must-attend.

The Rest of Day One

The rest of my Day One was spent visiting vendors’ booths, learning about cybersecurity through the vendors’ products. Next year, with SecureWorld Boston 2019 under my belt, I plan to attend more of the interesting presentations that ran concurrently with the exhibits.

And, in the evening, many attendees, myself included, ambled over to the networking reception before calling it a night and preparing for Day Two.

(Stay tuned: A summary of Day Two is in process.)

Boston New Technology Startup Showcase #99: FinTech and Blockchain

Boston New Technology Startup Showcase 99

March 18, 2019

I always enjoy attending Boston New Technology’s startup showcases. A not-for-profit, community-supported network of 24,000 business professionals, Boston New Technology’s mission is to help Boston’s local technology startups launch and grow.

March’s showcase, BNT99, featured local FinTech and Blockchain startups. It was hosted at Foley Hoag in Boston’s Seaport district.

Boston New Technology Startup Showcase 99: Foley Hoag LLP in Boston, MA

Andes Wealth presentation; photo by Geoff Wilbur

After an hour of food, drinks, and networking, the presentation portion of the evening began.

As usual, Chris Requena led with a brief introduction, followed by quick 30-second introductions/pitches by the sponsors who were in attendance. This evening, we heard from the following sponsors: Foley Hoag, Ink’d Stores, Chuck Goldstone: Strategies and Stories, Your Profile Video, and Tom Maloney, Coach: Climbing the Success Ladder.

Tunnel presentation; photo by Geoff Wilbur

The quick sponsor introductions were followed by the meat of the program, five-minute presentations (plus five minute Q&A time) by each of the evening’s eight showcasing startups. As always, my notes are brief – perhaps moreso than usual, as a few days passed before I found time to summarize the event – so I’d encourage you to follow the links if you seek any more information, and then contact the companies directly if you have a particular interest.

Products & Presenters

Coalesce presentation; photo by Geoff Wilbur

Andes Wealth showcased PrecisionRisk™, its tool to help financial advisors and investors identify investors’ risk and behavior traits and manage accordingly. This tool allows advisors to create detailed investor profiles and manage their investments more individually with greater ease. If this sounds interesting, after starting with the website, I’d also recommend viewing this YouTube promotional video to find additional information.

MedTrace presentation; photo by Geoff Wilbur

Tunnel Payments‘ distributed ledger system is a system for completing real-time, secure, low cost payments in the cloud. (Please go to the website for details beyond my high-level description.)

Coalesce, per its BNT event description, “uses AI to automate compliance and fraud monitoring for financial services.” A couple highlights I noted from the presentation are that it can be used to automate repetitive, tedious work and that, via natural language processing, one of the things it can excel at is identifying negative news reporting.

TeraBiz presentation; photo by Geoff Wilbur

MedTrace, you realize if you follow the link on the BNT99 event page, is just one of the supply chain tracing solutions being pursued by the team per the Traceability Site website, whose site lists solutions for many other industry verticals, as well. As showcased at the event, MedTrace uses blockchain to provide end-to-end visibility, tracing legitimate medication packages and identifying counterfeit medication when it attempts to enter the supply chain.

TeraBiz stood out after the evening’s earlier presentations due to its traditional financial service technology platform – it’s a SaaS product, not blockchain. It’s a SaaS-based business management software platform whose functionality and comprehensiveness position it as a solid competitor to industry giants like SAP Ariba, Coupa, Oracle, and others.

Eden GeoPower presentation; photo by Geoff Wilbur

Eden GeoPower showcased its strategy for utilizing the high energy demands of cryptocurrency mining to finance the development and construction of renewable geothermal energy projects. Notably, a highlight and central point of the evening’s presentation was how a power plant’s cost can be paid for by the profit of mining cryptocurrency. I’m looking forward to digging deeper into this startup.

Esprezzo is billed in the BNT99 literature as “the developer’s bridge to the blockchain.” It’s a middleware platform that makes it easier for developers to include blockchain in their work. I’d urge you to attend an Esprezzo presentation, and you’ll find it quite easy to understand.

Esprezzo presentation; photo by Geoff Wilbur

Knox is a service provider that helps homeowners when turn their soon-to-be-former home into a passive investment by streamlining the process of converting a primary residence to an income property, finding good tenants, and managing the property. Obviously, it doesn’t just apply to turning your house into an investment property when you move, but that’s the idea that spawned Knox, and the company’s structure is designed to make that particular circumstance easy. In the end, though, this is a property management firm that handles individual owners’ rentals. Notably, applying to be in Knox’s program doesn’t mean automatic acceptance. The company intends to ensure its success by being selective.

Knox presentation; photo by Geoff Wilbur

Looking Ahead

Next month’s BNT startup showcase, BNT100, is scheduled for April 23rd, and it will feature AI and IoT startups. Check out BNT’s upcoming event calendar here at its website for other events, too. For example, there’s an April 17th event on tap featuring two presentations: “Ten Things Startups Need to Know about Intellectual Property” presented by Moses Heyward, Of Counsel, Patent Attorney, Fish & Richardson P.C. and “How To Protect Your Company Against Patent Troll Litigation” presented by Ken Seddon, Chief Executive Officer at LOT Network.

Though I’ll probably miss the April 17th event, I do hope to attend the April 23rd showcase, schedule permitting. Hope to see you there.

Mass Innovation Nights 120: Brandeis-Affiliated Startups

photo by Geoff Wilbur

Mass Innovation Nights 120

March 14, 2019

On Thursday, March 14th, Mass Innovation Nights returned to Brandeis University, one year to the day of its last visit to this Waltham university campus.

MIN Expert Corner: Rong Zhou and Nazita Gamini, Entrepreneurial Leads for the I-Corps National Teams program; photo by Geoff Wilbur

Every month, Mass Innovation Nights features startups from around Massachusetts. On this particular night, the theme was connected to the location, as all of the startups had a Brandeis connection.

Mass Innovation Nights always assembles a terrific event. It’s a little less tech-heavy than the other events I cover, since its focus isn’t specifically or solely on tech companies, but I’m always pleased to support local businesses and to shine a light on local entrepreneurs, tech or otherwise.

Mass Innovation Nights 120: Brandeis Faculty Club at Brandeis University in Waltham, MA

The event always kicks off with an hour of networking, allowing attendees to talk with the exhibiting companies and learn more about them. It’s during this time the attendees vote on their favorite showcasing startups, with the top four vote-getters receiving prizes. This isn’t the only voting taking place in relation to Mass Innovation Nights (MIN); prior to the event, voting occurs on the MIN website, and the top four pre-event vote-getters are selected to give presentations at the event.

GreenChoice presentation; photo by Geoff Wilbur

The presentation phase of the evening kicks off with brief presentations by the “Expert Corner” experts, followed by presentations from the four pre-event vote winnings startups.

The evening’s “experts” were Ben Gomes-Casseres, a professor at the Brandeis International Business School; Ian Roy of the Brandeis University MakerLab; Nazita Gamini and Rong Zhou, Brandeis Licensing Associates representing the National Science Foundation I-Corps (Innovation Corps) National Teams program; Jordana Goodman of Danielson Legal LLC; and Christina Inge of Thoughtlight, experienced with leading digital strategy and managing complex mar-tech projects.

Flora on the Menorah presentation; photo by Geoff Wilbur

The presenting startups were GreenChoice, Flora on the Menorah, Branda, and SciLinkR. At-event voting winners were Roselle Cosmetics, SciLinkR, GreenLabs, and GreenChoice.

Following are brief overviews of the startups featured at MIN 120. As always, these are high-level overviews based on the website, handouts, discussions, and presentations. If you’re interested, please dig in deeper on your own in case I’ve missed or misunderstood something important. I include links for you; their websites are a good place to start your deeper dive.

SciLinkR is a website that connects educators and scientists nationwide, an ideal way to help put scientists in the classroom or to arrange field trips so students can see scientists at work.

Branda presentation; photo by Geoff Wilbur

Keysie Key Wallets are a new way to help keys be easy to find, multi-functioning as mini-wallets as well. At the booth, Keysie was also showcasing a similar product designed for hockey families, specifically to keep mouthguards from resting at the bottom of stinky hockey bags between games.

Branda is a particularly interesting showcased product. Utilizing a variety of information sources, this app allows Brandeis students to connect with campus services and information, ranging from obvious things like aggregating news and the hours for places and events on campus to more interesting things like tracking the bus routes to anticipate arrival times or identifying how many (and which) washing machines are available and how much time is left on them.

GreenLabs solves a problem likely only known to people who work at research facilities, where pipette tip boxes are often tossed as medical waste when recycled with standard recycling and, therefore, though clean, are difficult to recycle. GreenLabs Recycling Service solves that problem by collecting and recycling these plastic boxes.

SciLinkR presentation; photo by Geoff Wilbur

Flora on the Menorah is Chanukah’s answer to Elf on the Shelf. It’s a book, plush menorah with removable candles, and plush flower, “Flora.” Adorable.

GreenChoice also appeared at last year’s Brandeis-themed Mass Innovation Nights event, MIN108. The GreenChoice app went live on the very day of MIN120, so it was a big day for this local green startup favorite. GreenChoice is a platform that allows people to grocery shop in line with their health, ethics, and sustainability preferences, also containing pricing information, too.

At-event voting winners; photo by Geoff Wilbur

Roselle Cosmetics, showcasing both lipstick and chapstick at MIN120, is a company that makes organic, non-toxic, eco-friendly lip products at a reasonable cost. I’m far from an expert in this space, but it certainly sounds like a welcome addition that serves a potentially profitable market niche.

The Brandeis MakerLab and Brandeis Innovation also had booths at the evening’s event.

Conclusion

Thus concludes another Mass Innovation Nights event summary. In addition to the links I provided, you can find company information by following this link and then clicking on the “Vote Here” tab of the MIN 120 web page.

Next month’s event, MIN121, is scheduled for April 11 at the UMass Lowell Innovation Hub in Lowell, MA. Barring an unexpected scheduling conflict, I’ll be there. If you can get to it, it should be another terrific showcase of innovation Massachusetts startups.

Oracle Innovation Meetup: Financial Services Industry

Oracle in Burlington
photo by Geoff Wilbur

Oracle Innovation Meetup: Financial Services Industry

Burlington, MA

March 12, 2019

On Tuesday, March 12th, I attended a Financial Services Industry-themed Oracle Innovation Meetup hosted at the Oracle Cloud Solutions Hub in Burlington. As a telecom and tech industry analyst, I was, of course, well aware of Oracle’s strengths and weaknesses, but financial services is an industry vertical I haven’t touched on much within the tech space, so I was really looking forward to this event as an opportunity to stretch my fintech knowledge. So before the event, I wasn’t aware of Oracle’s positioning in this space, though the company’s database strength would seem to be a logical strength to build upon. In this brief write-up, I’ll note some of the things I learned on Tuesday, though since I’m not an expert please do reach out to Oracle or its partner companies for more information about the showcased products and capabilities. Indeed, since this was mostly an information-gathering and learning mission for me, I’ll dispense with any attempt at insights this early into my fintech research cycle and simply summarize what I saw.

The event was divided into ten demo stations, with presentations given at each stop by Oracle employees and, in a few cases, by partnering companies whose products were built upon and operate with Oracle products. As I walk through the event, I’ll give a very brief summary and include helpful links so you can investigate more yourself.

The purpose of the event was to showcase Oracle’s “innovation focus,” how through its innovation center it works to combine the best of its technologies and ecosystem with innovations in the fintech ecosystem to help banks and financial service customers drive innovation and value faster.

The kickoff presentation provided a broad overview of Oracle’s financial services offerings, including slides showing how Oracle’s Financial Services Innovation “Lego Kit” could help clients assemble innovative, client-specific solutions.

Autonomous Corner: Before attendees selected the order in which they wanted to visit the various stations, the demonstrations then kicked off with a detailed presentation for the entire group about Oracle’s Autonomous Database, detailing and differentiating it from other cloud information management platforms.

ATM Fraud Detection: The ATM fraud detection demo was interesting, showing how Oracle’s cloud solutions combined with machine learning to detect potentially fraudulent transactions, including a step-by-step live walkthrough.

Digital Transformation with Amelia (powered by IPsoft): This was a demonstration of Oracle partner IPsoft’s Amelia, its interactive AI platform for the insurance industry. There’s no better way than a demonstration to really appreciate this offering. As noted in the pre-event text, “The preconfigured insurance agent is ready to handle insurance queries for auto, claims, life, and P&C business and transform your service centers allowing you to have relevant and compliant digital conversations with your clients.” This is a specific product I look forward to digging into and learning more about in the coming weeks.

Oracle Financial Services Analytical Applications: There was a station that showed off Oracle’s financial services analytical applications; if I’m not mistaken, this stop focused on the building block nature of Oracle’s applications, recapping a theme from the introductory presentation.

Onboarding for Wealth (powered by Appway): Oracle partner Appway showcased its Onboarding for Wealth solution, which streamlines onboarding for wealth managers. The live demonstration of the solution helped drive home the point of its ease-of-use. Yet another reason why I always prefer to see software products demonstrated rather than just reading about their capabilities.

Enterprise Security: This demo showcased Oracle’s enterprise security capabilities. Again a live demo of a data set, Oracle’s representative walked through the signs of a cyberattack and investigated in real-time, highlighting suspicious activities and even showing how nefarious activities that flew undiscovered under the radar could be uncovered with just a little sleuthing using the showcased software.

Smarter Underwriting (powered by IPsoft): This station showed off Oracle partner IPsoft’s “smart underwriting agent” that speeds up the underwriting process by performing information searches automatically. IPsoft’s FRP (Financial Risk Profiler) mines the Internet to build a risk profile on a loan applicant in near real time, saving time by gathering the data without requiring the underwriter to perform more labor- and time-intensive manual searches that could result in less-complete information.

Biometric Multi-Factor Authentication (powered by Daon): Oracle partner Daon showcased its multi-factor biometrics authentication feature. One of the neat things about this offering is its ability to be more secure with also providing an easier digital experience.

Compliance Corner: The event featured a stop to discuss compliance issues and share resources.

Oracle Digital Innovation Platform for Open Banking: This detailed, multi-part open banking demo stepped through a variety of banking interactions that could be set up using Oracle’s tools. Quite impressive, crossing a variety of formats and touchpoints, covering many types of interactions.

In Conclusion

I hope you’ve found this summary helpful. I generally don’t share much in the way of thoughts this early into researching a sector, but I’m always glad to share information that would be helpful to others in this blog. I look forward to other vendors reaching out to me to share information about their products and services serving the financial services market and will continue to attend events that provide learning opportunities as they present themselves. And when I’m actively working on a project in this sector, I’ll actively seek out some of you in this industry I haven’t spoken with (and circle back with those of you I have).

For now, by the way, as I’ve recently made the transition to independent industry analyst, you can find my current consulting website by clicking here. (Please pardon the bare-bones web design – or relative lack of web design – if you follow that link.)

Indeed, I love events like this where it’s easy to learn a lot in a short period of time. Events like this are a great way to stay current on the latest trends in the tech industry, as well as to learn about new segments/verticals and to learn about vendors’ product offerings. For this event, thanks to Oracle for hosting; I look forward to more informational events at Oracle and other area tech companies.

Note to event organizers: I generally don’t assume local tech events are suited to blogging, so if you’d like me to write about your event, let me know, either at the event or, better yet, in advance. I’ll then take a different type of notes (and a few pictures, if you’d like) if the event lends itself to more than just brief text with photos. And if you share some material that will make it easier for me to accurately write about the event, that’ll help, too. In this case, the pre-event ticketing website was a big help in structuring this piece. In other situations, copies of slide decks or synopses of the talks would facilitate more than just a cursory overview.

Boston New Technology Startup Showcase #98: Business and Workforce Technology Solutions

BNT’s Chris Requena; photo by Geoff Wilbur

Boston New Technology Startup Showcase 98

February 20, 2019

BNT sponsor Chuck Goldstone; photo by Geoff Wilbur

For February, Boston New Technology’s startup showcase, BNT #98, was Business and Workforce Technology Solutions themed. This month’s event was held at the Microsoft New England Research & Development (NERD) Center in Cambridge, MA. I hadn’t been to the NERD before, so I was also looking forward to seeing the building in addition to learning about the evening’s startups.

Boston New Technology Startup Showcase 98: Microsoft NERD Center in Cambridge, MA

BNT sponsor Tom Maloney; photo by Geoff Wilbur

As usual, the event began with pizza and salad… and plenty of networking. And, of course, tables where attendees could chat with a few of BNT’s sponsors and some of the evening’s presenting companies.

Next up were the presentations. After a welcome and brief introductions to BNT’s sponsors in attendance, the evening’s seven showcasing tech companies presented. As always, my notes are merely brief impressions. If you are interested in learning more about any of the companies I mention, please click through to their websites and contact them directly with any questions.

Lola presentation; photo by Geoff Wilbur

Products & Presenters

Lola.com is a business travel management platform that’s been making lots of news as a high-growth, high-profile new company in Boston, so I was really looking forward to this presentation. It’s billed as quick, dynamic and flexible, a way to enable employees to book corporate travel while adhering to corporate policy, presumably with fewer hassles and less stress. It’s geared toward companies small enough that their travel is unmanaged and their employees self-book, typically from maybe 20 up to a couple/few hundred employees.

Botkeeper presentation; photo by Geoff Wilbur

Botkeeper is an automated bookkeeping service that can help automate (and reduce the likelihood of errors) across a broad range of related business functions. The company mentions that its service provides dashboards, billpay, reporting, payroll, file and receipt management, and data integrations. About 1,300 companies use botkeeper, and about 100 accounting firms white-label it.

Live Undistracted presentation; photo by Geoff Wilbur

Live Undistracted‘s Phone Safe System allows companies to enforce their phone policies within their commercial fleets – to cut out the phone as a source of distracted driving – without infringing on drivers’ privacy. The Phone Safe System helps fleets control their drivers’ use of phones while in company vehicles without infringing on drivers’ rights (to drive as responsibly or irresponsibly as they choose) in their own vehicles.

Host Events presentation; photo by Geoff Wilbur

Host Events, LLC is an on-demand bartending service that allows event hosts to find and hire insured, fully-vetted bartenders, with features like booking, pre-event chatting, and paying through the app.

Mashlink is a content creation app that allows the user to add commentary tracks to videos in real time. Mashlink is currently a consumer app but is looking to the future by also focusing on its usefulness as a corporate app, as well; the company is currently selling B2C while building an enterprise sales team to sell B2B.

Mashlink presentation; photo by Geoff Wilbur

Pangea is an app designed to help college students freelance (and to help businesses find college students to hire as freelancers). While there are freelancing websites and apps out there, Pangea wants to occupy the underserved college student subcategory of the freelancer space by targeting itself directly toward college students and creating features that would appeal specifically to that market and to companies that want to hire from that cohort.

Pangea presentation; photo by Geoff Wilbur

Squark has a product that allows codeless predictive analytics. Examples of its applications mentioned during the presentation included a model to predict churn and lead qualification.

Looking Ahead

I always dig the monthly showcases put on by Boston New Technology as well as its other events. For example, there was a Startup Founder talk on February 21st, featuring David Chang of Gradifi, that I wish I had been able to find time to attend.

Squark Seer presentation; photo by Geoff Wilbur

As billed on BNT’s new website, “Boston New Technology is a not-for-profit, community-supported startup, technology and business network of 24k business professionals, whose mission is to help local businesses launch and grow, especially startups!” Yeah, that’s an apt description.

You can peruse BNT’s upcoming event calendar here at its website. Next months’ BNT startup showcase is already listed, scheduled for March 18th and set to feature FinTech and Blockchain technology demos. Unless I get an unexpected schedule conflict (or the weather gets in the way, since March is still a potential snow month, and I live in the suburbs so I have to travel a bit to get into the city), I’ll see you there.

7th Annual Flatley Challenge Awards Ceremony

John Flatley (of the John Flatley Company); photo by Geoff Wilbur

7th Annual Flatley Challenge Awards Ceremony

Gateway Hills, Nashua, NH

February 20, 2019

TendoNova’s Roy Wallen; photo by Geoff Wilbur

For the seventh time, tech startups competed in the annual Flatley Challenge. The journey, which began in August, ended with the winners chosen at the end of December. And, of course, today the winners were celebrated in a ceremony at the NTP Conference Center at Gateway Hills in Nashua.

2018 Flatley Challenge winners TendoNova and Xogo each received a free month of rent at Gateway Hills and a $10,000 grand prize check. Runners-up BioIntelligence and Blocksyte were also recognized at the ceremony, each receiving one year of free office space in the Flatley Innovation Center at Gateway Hills.

Xogo’s Ray Abel; photo by Geoff Wilbur

With the awards presented by John Flatley and Nashua mayor Jim Donchess, the ceremony was a celebration of the thriving Nashua tech startup scene.

To open the event, John Flatley remarked about the John Flatley Company‘s history in Nashua and the tremendous firms that competed in the challenge. Nashua mayor Jim Donchess then gave a speech before the challenge winters presented.

John Flatley, Nashua Mayor Jim Donchess, and TendoNova’s Roy Wallen; photo by Amanda Deiratani; photo courtesy of Flatley Challenge

Medtech winner TendoNova presented first, with CEO Roy Wallen talking about the company’s breakthrough product, a tool that treats chronic tendon injury (tendinopathy). It allows treatment in a clinic and gathers digital information.

Hitech winner Xogo presented next, showing off its product that simplifies technology interfaces to work more easily for people with disabilities or for those who are less tech savvy.

John Flatley, Nashua Mayor Jim Donchess, and Xogo’s Ray Abel; photo by Geoff Wilbur

Both first prize winners had impressive products, their companies clearly a strong addition to Nashua’s tech community.

The speeches were followed by the presentation of the checks to the first place winners, TendoNova and Xogo. This was followed by recognition and photo opportunities for runners-up BioIntelligence and Blocksyte. And the event concluded with a nice networking reception.

It was a great event to zip up to Nashua for; I especially appreciated the helpful presentations that educated me about a couple of especially interesting tech companies. I look forward to heading up to Gateway Hills for future events.

John Flatley, Nashua Mayor Jim Donchess, and BioIntelligence’s Joël Sirois; photo by Amanda Deiratani; photo courtesy of Flatley Challenge
John Flatley, Nashua Mayor Jim Donchess, and Blocksyte’s Alan Pelz-Sharpe, Michael Doherty, and Gennady Glabets; photo by Geoff Wilbur

 

Mass Innovation Nights 118 in Burlington

At-event voting winners; photo by Geoff Wilbur

Mass Innovation Nights 118

January 17, 2019

Mass Innovation Nights features startup companies from around Massachusetts. This month’s Mass Innovation Nights was hosted at Workbar in Burlington. This month’s event included fewer tech companies that usual – the Boston startup scene is pretty tech-heavy – but I still attended because this month’s location was convenient for me and I enjoy supporting the local startup community.

Mass Innovation Nights 118: Workbar in Burlington, MA

NanaGram booth; photo by Geoff Wilbur

After about an hour of networking, during which attendees chat with the exhibiting companies, the presentations begin. Brief presentations by the “Expert Corner” experts are followed by presentations from four startups selected in a pre-event vote on the Mass Innovation Nights website. And, at the end of the evening, awards are given to the winners of at-event voting (during the networking hour) by attendees.

The “experts” of the evening were representatives from Workbar and East Boston Savings Bank and presentation and confidence coach Linda Ugelow. The presenting startups were Candorful, Del Sur, Sweet Mobility Cane Wraps, and Aveyo. At-event winners were Del Sur, Aveyo, Lawn Serv, and A Cloud of My Own.

photo by Geoff Wilbur

Following are brief overviews of the ten startups featured at MIN 118. As I generally point out, these are quick, high-level overviews, and they’re based on the MIN website and handouts, brief conversations at the event, and presentation. If you find one of these companies interesting, please investigate for yourself. I include links to help out, and their websites usually have contact information.

Smarketing Connect helps connect local startups and small businesses with sales and marketing experts to helping build sales and marketing programs for everything from branding to driving revenue.

photo by Geoff Wilbur

NanaGram is a service that will print and ship monthly your digital photos to whoever you select. You submit via text or e-mail, and your nana gets your pictures.

Del Sur is a Lowell, Mass.-based company that make Argentine-style empanadas with all-natural ingredients. You can currently purchase at farmers’ markets or online, and they hope to have their frozen empanadas in grocery stores this year. Yes, the samples Del Sur brought to the event were delicious.

Candorful presentation; photo by Geoff Wilbur

Sweet Mobility makes Cane Wraps that allow people to decorate their walking canes. The primary goal is to make people more self-confident and willing to use their canes. I’m a big fan of the bright reflective wrap that makes people easy to see while out walking. There are also other bright decorative colors. They include a protected personal information label. And they’re easy to wrap around your cane.

Designer Irina Gorbman’s IG Moda creates limited edition designer leggings, tops, dresses, and accessories from meditative artwork. The company slogan of “Wear Art – Recharge From Within” describes the company’s philosophy.

Del Sur presentation; photo by Geoff Wilbur

Candorful connects military veterans and spouses with experienced interview coaches to help them practice for job interviews. While many of those taking advantage of the service are transitioning to civilian life, it’s open to all veterans and their spouses.

A Cloud of My Own is a device that helps secure your smart home devices from hackers.

Aveyo Spoonable Avocado is a creamy avocado snack. A way to get the health benefits of avocado with the convenience of yogurt. Also, delicious. They’ll be in stores soon and are available in three flavors: vanilla bean, strawberry, and “super cocoa.”

Sweet Mobility Cane Wraps presentation; photo by Geoff Wilbur

Lawn Serv sells lawn subscription boxes. It starts with a soil test, from which Lawn Serv creates lawn kits specifically tailored to your yard. Then, each month, a box arrives with all of the lawn care products you’ll need for your yard. It’s priced comparably to purchasing those products from your local home improvement store but without the hassle of driving to the store to pick them up… and with the advantage of being selected specifically for your yard.

Aveyo Spoonable Avocado presentation; photo by Geoff Wilbur

Recipi is a free tool that helps small businesses improve their web presence. Easy to use, like just following a recipe.

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 118 web page. Or follow one of the hotlinks I’ve provided to the companies’ websites.