Boston New Technology Startup Showcase #101: EdTech and CareerTech

photo by Geoff Wilbur

Boston New Technology Startup Showcase 101

May 20, 2019

This month, Boston New Technology’s startup showcase, BNT101, featured EdTech and CareerTech startups. It was hosted at Hult International Business School in Cambridge.

Boston New Technology Startup Showcase 101: Hult International Business School in Cambridge, MA

UiPath introduction; photo by Geoff Wilbur

Boston New Technology’s May startup showcase featured seven EdTech and CareerTech startups.

After an hour of food and networking, the presentation portion of the program always begins the same, with a quick introduction. Then the sponsors who are in attendance that evening each to introduce themselves. And after that, sponsors not in attendance generally get recognized with a slide and a mention.

BlocksCAD presentation; photo by Geoff Wilbur

Sponsors who attended BNT101 and introduced themselves were Hult, UiPath, Ink’d Stores, Your Profile Video, The Boston Headshot, Chuck Goldstone Strategies and Stories,and Tom Maloney Coach.

After the quick sponsor introductions, each of the evening’s seven showcasing startups gets to deliver a five-minute presentation, which is followed by a five minute question-and-answer period.

The Family Learning Company presentation; photo by Geoff Wilbur

Below I’ll write a sentence or two about each of the presenting companies. These write-ups are based on material distributed before and during the event, sometimes tweaked based on the content of the presentations. If you’re interested in learning more about one of the companies, don’t rely on my notes; rather, follow the links I provide and contact the companies directly for more information.

Products & Presenters

BlocksCAD is 3D CAD software that helps schools teach coding, math, and design. It makes this sort of learning easier and more engaging, and the company presented statistics showing the split of engagement with it product for boys vs. girls is relatively close to 50/50.

Validated Learning Co. presentation; photo by Geoff Wilbur

The Family Learning Company showcased its Family Literacy software. The software is designed to help families learn together. The Family Learning Company’s presentation touched upon how it’s designed so parents with literacy shortcomings can help their children learn. Its goal is to improve literacy by connecting adult learners with their children, providing a better literacy outcome for both. During the Q&A period, a question about gamification was asked; that is not in the plans, as it would not improve learning. Also in response to a question, the Family Learning Company envisions this product as being a corporate benefit.

ForagerOne presentation; photo by Geoff Wilbur

Validated Learning Company showcased its Question Xchange peer-to-peer quiz question sharing marketplace. Using crowdsourcing and machine learning, it helps teachers find and share high-quality quiz questions.

ForagerOne is a tool that helps connect students, faculty, and administrators at colleges and universities to improve students’ access to research opportunities by leveraging universities’ internal faculty information and allowing students to get their research interests and backgrounds in front of the faculty members with whom they want to connect.

ArcLive presentation; photo by Geoff Wilbur

ArcLive gives researchers access to physically historical archives remotely. Important because less than 10% of archival documents are available online. By using a camera and viewing system (with built-in protections against copy-making), researchers can view information they would otherwise have to travel to see. ArcLive touts that the cost of accessing these historical archives through a local surrogate via ArcLive can be half the cost of accessing them via international travel. As an added bonus, it gives researchers the ability to access information at multiple, distant sites, particularly helpful if those additional sites contain smaller amounts of information that would have been otherwise unlikely to have warranted a visit at all.

Passion Analytics presentation; photo by Geoff Wilbur

Passion Analytics‘ PAT is an automated career coach with a natural language user interface. It is designed to guide users through career decisions and to help them find their career passions. To the extent possible, it’s a self-contained product, but if necessary, it will direct users to an actual human. Right now, Passion Analytics is targeting students 18-25.

Unfundable is an academic health research simulation card game that pits players against each other in pursuit of grants. It’s marketed toward high school and early college students and is meant as a way to introduce grant-based research to those potentially interested in careers in that field, with the goal of also appealing to a broader audience.

Unfundable presentation; photo by Geoff Wilbur

Looking Ahead

Boston New Technology is a not-for-profit, community-supported network of 24,000 business professionals focused on Boston’s tech community, with a mission of helping businesses in that community, especially startups, launch and grow. To that end, the group hosts monthly startup showcases in addition to other events.

June’s startup showcase, BNT102, is scheduled for June 10th at Foley Hoag, LLP in Boston’s Seaport District; it will be HealthTech-themed. July’s BNT103 will feature Mobile Apps and Tech, and it’s already scheduled – July 15th back at Hult International Business School in Cambridge. BNT hosts other events each month, as well, so check out BNT’s upcoming event calendar at its website periodically as details are added for those events, too.

Boston New Technology Startup Showcase #100: IoT and AI

photo by Geoff Wilbur

Boston New Technology Startup Showcase 100

April 23, 2019

photo by Geoff Wilbur

This month, Boston New Technology’s startup showcase featured Internet of Things and Artificial Intelligence startups. Boston New Technology is a not-for-profit, community-supported network of 24,000 business professionals with a mission of helping Boston’s local technology startups launch and grow.

April’s showcase, BNT100, was hosted by Mendix at their offices in Boston’s Seaport district.

Boston New Technology Startup Showcase 100: Mendix in Boston, MA

This month’s event was rather special. It was BNT’s 100th event, so it featured tributes at the beginning and cake at the end. At the very beginning, though, before the speeches and the startup presentations, was the usual hour of food, drinks, and networking.

Your Profile Video introduction; photo by Geoff Wilbur

The presentations always begin with quick introductions of Boston New Technology’s sponsors in attendance. In addition to host Mendix, tonight’s other attending sponsors, who each received brief introductions, were Ink’d Stores, Your Profile Video, The Boston Headshot, The Yard: Back Bay, and Tom Maloney Coach.

The quick sponsor introductions are generally followed by the meat of the program, five-minute presentations (plus five minute Q&A time) by each of the evening’s showcasing companies.

The Boston Headshot introduction; photo by Geoff Wilbur

Tonight’s six showcasing company presentations were, however, preceded by a presentation about the Boston Innovation Ecosystem from Boston’s Startup Manager, Matheus Lima. Matheus spoke at length about the inviting Boston startup ecosystem. A key point of his presentation was that he specifically mentionted the three different constituencies his office supports: startups, institutions that deal with startups, and entrepreneurs.

City of Boston Startup Manager Matheus Lima; photo by Geoff Wilbur

Next up were the showcasing companies. As always, my notes are brief, 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. Spanning the Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) markets, this batch of startups is on the cutting edge of the tech world.

Mendix presentation; photo by Geoff Wilbur

Products & Presenters

Mendix, the evening’s host, kicked things off. Mendix is a no-code/low-code platform that allows people who aren’t coders to be able to design and create apps. I had been very much looking forward to this demonstration, as a quick walkthrough of “how it’s done” is far superior to all the reading in the world.

Zome presentation; photo by Geoff Wilbur

Up next, Zome is a tool for creating and controlling micro (power) grids. It allows power grids to curtail demand centrally whenever desired – for example, in case of reduced supply or non-competitive pricing. In addition to its presentation, Zome showcased a demonstration, which gradually slightly adjusted the heating/cooling system of a group of its participating residences.

Divinio presentation; photo by Geoff Wilbur

Divinio is a robust, unobtrusive, multi-sensor measuring platform that is designed for use in sports and industrial equipment. It was put through its paces via a field test in a challenging environment, the sport of cricket, and it passed that significant stress test. The device uses a bluetooth connection to transmit data from the sensors to an edge device.

Posh presentation; photo by Geoff Wilbur

Posh is one of the evening’s chatbots. It’s a context-aware conversational bot that can be used across multiple channels, across text and voice. Though its client list extends well beyond the financial services industry, Posh’s initial focus is upon selling into the banking industry. Specifically, it has made significant inroads with large players in the credit union market.

Orbita presentation; photo by Geoff Wilbur

Orbita is healthcare-focused conversational AI, utilizing both voice and chatbot powered assistance. Counting among its user base such healthcare organizations as Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Mayo Clinic, Amgen and Merck, Orbita is playing in the big-time healthcare space.

The final presenter of the evening, Talla automates customer support via machine learning and natural language processing. For its niche, Talla focuses specifically on customer service interactions that require quick turnaround.

Talla presentation; photo by Geoff Wilbur

Obviously, my summaries above are quite brief. For more details, please follow the links I provided to the companies’ websites. As usual, Boston New Technology assembled an interesting group of presenters from among Boston’s tech startup community.

Looking Ahead

Next month’s BNT startup showcase, BNT101, is scheduled for May 20th at the Hult International Business School in Cambridge, and it will feature EdTech and CareerTech startups.

photo by Geoff Wilbur

Check out BNT’s upcoming event calendar at its website for other events, too. At the moment, in addition to BNT101, May 14th and May 21st AI-focused events are also on BNT’s calendar. The May 14th event, “AI Talks: Use Cases in Machine Learning,” will take place at General Assembly in Boston. May 21st’s “AI Talks: Next Generation AI – Memory, Causation and Adaptability,” is scheduled for the Fidelity Center for Applied Technology, also in Boston.

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.

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.

Boston New Technology Startup Showcase #97: Mobile Apps

photo by Geoff Wilbur

Boston New Technology Startup Showcase 97

January 15, 2019

January 2019’s Boston New Technology startup showcase, BNT #97, was out in the suburbs, at Microsoft’s offices in Burlington, MA.

Boston New Technology Startup Showcase 97: Microsoft in Burlington, MA

Skafos.ai presentation; photo by Geoff Wilbur

It was another solid BNT event, with pizza and networking to start the evening, as well as booths for some of BNT’s sponsors.

Then it was time for the seven featured startups to present. This month’s theme was mobile apps. Here’s a quick summary of each of the presenting companies. As always, if you’re interested, don’t rely on my description, formed over the course of a few minutes, to be entirely accurate. Just consider it an introduction and dig in deeper, check the websites, contact the companies yourself, and ask the questions you want answered.

Goalden Hour presentation; photo by Geoff Wilbur

Metis Machine‘s Skafos.ai is a machine learning platform to help iOS developers enable machine learning and AI in their apps. The team did a great demo, showing how easy and quick it is to use.

Goalden Hour is a planning and goal-setting app that also helps achieve self-improvement goals. A combination productivity and personal development tool, a combo task-manager and calendar, it’s a unique blend within a single app.

Canary presentation; photo by Geoff Wilbur

Canary is an app to help musicians and music venues book gigs. It provides an easy way for venues to request and musicians to confirm bookings. (Side note to anyone looking to discover great new music: You’ll probably want to begin right here, at Geoff Wilbur’s Music Blog. For those of you who didn’t already know about my other blog.)

Liquid Yoga Locker presentation; photo by Geoff Wilbur

Liquid Yoga Locker is a pay-by-phone vending machine, as demonstrated in this YouTube video, from which its company, Manraaj, sells its healthy juices. Of interest was a point that came up during the Q&A, that the refrigerated lockers contain a lock to ensure no sales occur after a power outage. Indeed, check out the video. Ingenious way to get this product into unique locations via a vending machine and app.

PartRunner presentation; photo by Geoff Wilbur

PartRunner is an app that accesses an on-demand delivery service for materials in the HVAC, plumbing and electric industries. The company has partnerships with supply houses, a network of drivers, and a good sense of who its target market is and what they want and need. With what seems like a strong business proposition, the company is focused on executing.

Delfy presentation; photo by Geoff Wilbur

Delfy is a social app for meeting new people and making new friends based on interests. Delfy relies on a freemium model with a heavy tilt toward advertising as a revenue source. This app uses an almost dating app-like approach to helping create and build adult friendships.

PinOn‘s Smart Menu is a “smart menu” app that allows restaurants to provide menu and other information via diners’ smartphones. From the diners’ perspective, it’s a customer app, but there are also waitstaff console and admin console components to the app for the restaurants. And, as you might expect, there’s an ability to provide data insights to the restaurants, as well.

PinOn presentation; photo by Geoff Wilbur

As usual, it was another interesting tour around the Boston tech startup community courtesy of BNT. And, as always, if my schedule permits, I’ll be back again next month to see a new set of tech presentations from another batch of Boston’s top tech startups.

Boston New Technology Startup Showcase #94: HealthTech Startups

Telapush‘s sign welcomes attendees to BNT94; photo by Geoff Wilbur

Boston New Technology Startup Showcase 94

October 16, 2018

This month’s BNT was hosted by Dassault Systemes in Waltham, MA on Tuesday, October 16th. The theme this month was healthtech startups.

Boston New Technology Startup Showcase 94: Dassault Systemes in Waltham, MA

Personal Remedies presentation; photo by Geoff Wilbur

Boston New Technology’s Startup Showcase was back in the suburbs this month, easy for me to access again.

The event begins with about an hour of food and networking. Some of the event sponsors frequently have booths, as well. This month, most of the presenters also had booths, making for some interesting discussions even before the presentation portion.

Next up are the presentations. First, the sponsors are given a minute or two each to talk. Then the startups present. Each presentation is 5 minutes, with another 5 minutes allocated to Q&A.

Pilleve presentation; photo by Geoff Wilbur

Following, I’ll write a little about each of the presenters at this month’s event. I’ll explain, as well as I can understand from their quick presentations, who they are and what they do. As always, 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.

Conscioux presentation; photo by Geoff Wilbur

Personal Remedies has a website and series of 36 mobile apps in a “choose this, not that” format that provide dietary information for people with chronic health conditions. Its corporate tagline is “individualized help for chronic conditions.” The company was at the event promoting its API (application program interface, for non-techies) that connects to a comprehensive database of health and medical information.

Pilleve is an integrated pill bottle that monitors prescription opioid use for high-risk patients to help prevent abuse and addiction. Based on the patient’s pain level, it metes out the correct amount of pills. It provides guidance and suggests, and, while it’s not tamper-resistant, it does register when it’s tampered with and alerts those who need to know. The goal of this device is to prevent an unintentional slide toward addiction and abuse in the first place by low-risk individuals, not to protect against it in high-risk individuals.

CareZooming presentation; photo by Geoff Wilbur

Conscioux is a platform that promotes health by encouraging a plant-based diet. Designed to be used by corporations and insurance companies to encourage healthy eating, there is currently a free beta of the consumer version.

CareZooming connects clinicians and promotes innovation within the healthcare community. The path to profitability is via a subscription-based platform for clinicians to share information. There is also the opportunity for healthcare organizations to white-label it to encourage innovation within their clinician communities. You may recognize CareZooming from my review of Monday night’s Mass Innovation Nights event.

ModiBrace presentation; photo by Geoff Wilbur

ModiBrace, who I first spoke with at a Mass Innovation Nights event in March, has developed a new kind of 3D-printable, adjustable back brace for scoliosis treatment. By reducing production costs and making the brace adjustable, this would be a vast improvement over current braces, whose expense and inability to be adjusted cause children with scoliosis to suffer with ill-fitting braces for far too many years. This brace is currently in the prototyping stage, not yet in clinical trials.

iCareBetter presentation; photo by Geoff Wilbur

iCareBetter is a customizable platform designed to help medical professionals improve patient outcomes. Designed to allow patients to watch videos to better understand that which was likely explained hurriedly in the doctor’s office, this platform is also interactive, ensuring that the patients understand the videos they watch. Monetization is expected to occur by charging physicians on a per-client basis. A free version is supported by commercials.

KEVA Health presentation; photo by Geoff Wilbur

KEVA Health’s product, the KEVA Health Advisor, is a platform that helps connect patients with medical information. An AI/analytic-driven SaaS product, it’s designed for patients with chronic disease and is expected to be monetized as an employer-pays, tiered-pricing service.

As usual, it was another great BNT event. If my schedule permits, as always, I’ll see you at next month’s BNT, too; it’s scheduled for November 15th and will feature cleantech/greentech startups.

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 layered 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.