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.

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.

Mass Innovation Nights 115: 5th Annual Women Founders Event

Mass Innovation Nights 115; photo by Geoff Wilbur

Mass Innovation Nights 115

October 15, 2018

Mass Innovation Nights is a monthly startup showcase that features Massachusetts startup companies. This month’s Mass Innovation Nights was hosted by Boston Scientific and Brownmed and held at District Hall in the seaport district. Appropriately occurring during WE BOS Week, the theme for the evening was Women Founders.

Mass Innovation Nights 115: District Hall in Boston, MA

CareZooming booth; photo by Geoff Wilbur

Mass Innovation Nights begins with an hour to network, grab food from the buffet, and visit with exhibiting startups at their display tables, providing attendees with an opportunity to converse with the companies in attendance while snacking on food provided by the event sponsor. Then the presentations begin, featuring the evening’s host, the “Expert Corner” experts, and the four exhibitors who win a pre-event vote on the Mass Innovation Nights website. At this event, in addition to sponsors and experts from Boston Scientific, Brownmed, and Hidden Gems, a representative from the mayor’s office spoke, as the event helped kick off WE BOS week, celebrating women founders in Boston.

Folia Health presentation; photo by Geoff Wilbur

Presenters as a result of the pre-event voting were Folia Health, IV SafeT, Aavia, and Astarte Medical Partners. Awards are also given based on at-event voting (during the networking hour) by attendees. At-event winners were Aavia, Folia, Allergy Amulet, and PionEar Technologies.

As usual, when I attend one of the startup showcase events, I’ll provide a quick overview of the featured companies based on information available through Mass Innovation Nights (website and handouts), the four presentations, and my conversations with some of the company representatives at the event. My observations will generally be very cursory. If you’re interested in additional detail about some of this month’s showcasing companies, you can follow the links I provide for more information.

IV SafeT presentation; photo by Geoff Wilbur

Allergy Amulet is a device (that can be worn; hence: “amulet”) that can be use to test food for allergens at the point-of-consumption, within seconds.

Astarte Medical Partners has established a patient safety and compliance software solution, NICUtrition, via software and predictive analytics, that is designed to be used by hospitals to improve safety when feeding preterm infants. The company’s goal is to assemble information and provide solutions to promote gut health through a child’s first 1,000 days.

Mightywell‘s Might MedPlanner is a small, easy-to-carry-along case that discreetly organizes your medical supplies. This is the most recent product from Mightywell, as it continues to extend its line of medical products. Mightywell’s first product, the PICC Perfect PICC line cover, was showcased at MIN 81 nearly three years ago.

Aavia presentation; photo by Geoff Wilbur

CareZooming connects healthcare professionals to allow them to share knowledge, allowing new clinician discoveries and best practices to be duplicated elsewhere throughout the medical community.

Fluid-Screen‘s bacterial sorter uses system-on-a-chip technology to help identify bacteria within 30 minutes. Per my discussion at Fluid-Screen’s booth, a couple early uses for this technology would be in the pharmaceutical world to detect contaminants in food and drinking water supplies.

Folia Health has an app allows families to track health observations in three minutes per day. It can then be used as a resource for the community of families who need that information. Folia Health’s initial area of focus is cystic fibrosis.

Astarte Medical Partners presentation; photo by Geoff Wilbur

IV SafeT is an improved IV with an improved luer lock. If you’re in this field, please click through to look at the details yourself, but the website does note that this works especially well for preemies and infants because of its reduced size. (IV SafeT’s presentation did a great job of explaining the significant improvement, but I’m afraid I won’t do it justice via text.)

DocFlight is a company that connects Chinese patients with custom, personalized treatment from American doctors, including nutrition plans, telemedicine, a personalized drug prescriptions.

PionEar Technologies‘ tympanostomy tube is designed to reduce the risk of unnecessary surgeries and repeated ear infections in children.

MightyWell booth; photo by Geoff Wilbur

Aavia is a pocket-size smart device and accompanying app to help ensure birth control pills are taken “on time, every time,” as the company’s slogan says. The device automatically detects which pills have been taken (or not) from the typical blister pack and connects via Bluetooth to a phone app.

The WatchRx Smartwatch for Seniors helps seniors manage their prescriptions, while also giving caregivers and healthcare providers access to this information. I first encountered WatchRx at a Boston New Technology showcase in May 2017.

Also at the event was Microscopic Art, a company that sells (“cells”?) cool science-themed décor, apparel, and accessories.

Conclusion

At-event voting winners; ; photo by Geoff Wilbur

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 115 web page. I’ve also included hotlinks to the each of the exhibiting companies’ websites so you can get information beyond my brief introductions.

It was, as always, a pleasure to see some of the emerging companies on the Boston area’s startup scene. I’m already looking forward to next month’s event.

Mass Innovation Nights 114: AI, Robotics, and CleanTech

Mass Innovation Nights 114

September 13, 2018

Mass Innovation Nights features startup companies from around Massachusetts. This month’s Mass Innovation Nights was hosted by MathWorks in Natick.  The theme for the evening was AI, robotics, and clean tech.

Mass Innovation Nights 114: MathWorks in Natick MA

MIN114 At-Event Voting Winners; photo by Geoff Wilbur

Mass Innovation Nights begins with an hour to network, grab food from the buffet, and visit with exhibiting startups at their display tables, providing attendees with an opportunity to converse with the companies in attendance while snacking on food provided by the event sponsor. Then the presentations begin, featuring the evening’s host, the “Expert Corner” experts, and the four exhibitors who win a pre-event vote on the Mass Innovation Nights website.  Presenters as a result of the pre-event voting were The Robot Wand, Reason8, Kestrel Agritech, and Proximie. Awards are also given based on at-event voting (during the networking hour) by attendees. At-event winners were Proximie, WaveSense, Kestrel Agritech, and The Robot Wand.

MIN’s Bobbie Carlton; photo by Geoff Wilbur

As usual, when I attend one of the startup showcase events, I’ll provide a quick overview of the featured companies based on information available through Mass Innovation Nights (website and handouts), the four presentations, and my conversations with some of the company representatives at the event. My observations will generally be very cursory. If you’re interested in additional detail about some of this month’s showcasing companies, you can follow the links I provide for more information.

Altaeros booth at MIN114; photo by Geoff Wilbur

Altaeros helps provide remote wireless access to rural communities and other hard-to-reach locations via its SuperTower, which looks like a blimp. (See picture; demo table balloon, obviously, is not actual size.) Tethered and able to be raised and lowered – to top off the helium, for example – it serves as a wireless antenna covering an expansive area.

WaveSense uses ground-penetrating radar to allow self-driving vehicles to more easily navigate roads in inclement conditions – where road markings may be obscured by snow, for example – because it allows the vehicles to know where the roads are based on the geological (and man-made) features beneath the road.

The Robot Wand presentation; photo by Geoff Wilbur

BluCloud‘s “Gateway Blu” makes analytic data available anywhere anytime by transporting that analytic data cellularly. I first encountered BluCloud back in May at a Boston New Technology showcase. Because I had met them before, I didn’t spend time chatting with BluCloud at this event, but you can read my much more detailed account in this summary I wrote about the BNT event in May. If I had found time to chat with BluCloud, I would have asked how their customer penetration has progressed since then, since they already had a few customers and a lot of locations connected this spring.

Reason8 presentation; photo by Geoff Wilbur

Reason8 is an app that takes meeting notes for you. In addition to transcribing the meeting, the app summarizes the meeting and provides a list of what it determines are likely action items; more advanced features continue to be in development. Reason8 is currently designed to target notetaking at in-person meetings.

Quinncia is an AI-based interview preparation tool geared toward university students. I previously learned about Quinncia at the Boston New Technology showcase in February.

Kestrel Agritech presentation; photo by Geoff Wilbur

Electrona Robotics‘ Pilotfish remote submersible is a reasonably priced option for shooting HD video underwater, designed as an option for those who require remote underwater filming that in a relatively robust format at an affordable cost.

Kestrel Agritech is a drone-based crop monitoring and pest detection system that uses thermal imaging to help detect, analyze, and notify farmers of pests so farmers can take targeted, quick action.

Proximie presentation; photo by Geoff Wilbur

Southie Autonomy‘s The Robot Wand is robot-agnostic software that creates a platform to control robots using verbal commands and gestures. This can be useful in areas like material handling. During the Q&A at the end of the Robot Wand presentation, its presenter noted that current markets where this is in high demand include heavy manufacturing and test kitting (e.g., 23 and Me)

Electrona Robotics Pilotfish booth at MIN114; photo by Geoff Wilbur

Yobe Inc.‘s VISPR is able to identify speakers’ voices in high noise environments. On the VISPR website, it is described as a “voice identification system for user profile retrieval.”

SkyMan Unlimited is a team of FAA-certified remote pilots who fly drones (“unmanned aerial vehicles”) for commercial and industrial clients.

Proximie is a platform for the healthcare industry. It is designed to facilitate collaboration and remote assistance via augmented reality (AR).

WaveSense booth at MIN114; photo by Geoff Wilbur

3D Educational Services (3DES) is a low-cost robotics kit geared toward 7th and 8th grade. It is meant to help bring robotics into the classroom and help inspire students’ interest.

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 114 web page. I’ve also included hotlinks to the each of the exhibiting companies’ websites so you can get information beyond my brief introductions.

It was, as always, a pleasure to see some of the emerging companies on the Boston area’s startup scene. Next month’s Mass Innovation Night will be MIN’s 5th Annual Women Founders event. Sponsored by Boston Scientific (with supporting sponsor Brownmed), Mass Innovation Nights 115 will be held on Monday, October 15th at District Hall in Boston.

Mass Innovation Nights 113 in Natick

photo by Geoff Wilbur

Mass Innovation Nights 113

August 8, 2018

This month, Mass Innovation Nights was back in the suburbs, this time in Natick. Hosting by Middlesex Savings Bank, MIN113 took place at The Center for Arts in Natick, frequently referred to as TCAN. This even was one of the less tech-heavy rosters of companies (which I note because this is a tech blog, after all), a little atypical because the Boston area is home to so many tech startups, but the featured businesses are always interesting, and this month was no exception.

Mass Innovation Nights 113: The Center for Arts in Natick (TCAN) in Natick MA

MIN113 At-Event Voting Winners; photo by Geoff Wilbur

Mass Innovation Nights begins with time to learn about the exhibiting startups by visiting with them at their tables. This is followed by presentations from the host, the “Expert Corner” experts, and the exhibitors who win a pre-event vote on the Mass Innovation Nights website.  Presenters as a result of the pre-event voting were TechScreen, Chocolate Therapy, Delete All My Data, and wiseHer. Awards were also given based on at-event voting. At-event winners were Bodega Bag, Miles2share, Chocolate Therapy, and WiseHer.

miles2share booth at MIN113; photo by Geoff Wilbur

Here’s my quick run through the companies in attendance; you can follow the links for more information about them.

miles2share is a ride-sharing program. Its app available for both iOS and Android devices. I like the fact that miles2share works with you to create a “circle” of potential ride-sharers rather than just pairing you up for individual rides.

PetsEmpower is a non-profit that facilitates providing foster homes for pets during crises. Because when in a domestic violence situation, it’s important not to have to worry about your furry family members.

TechScreen presentation; photo by Geoff Wilbur

Loco Coffee is a new spin on coffee. It’s a preservative-free cold brew that includes coconut water in its can o’ coffee, which the company notes adds sweetness without the necessity of adding sugar. I’ve now sampled the drink and, indeed, it is a little sweet. The coconut water also seems to help the drink finish smooth.

Delete All My Data is a service that actively and aggressively pursues the removal of its customers’ data from data brokers’ databases?

TechScreen is a SaaS product that improves IT recruiting.

Chocolate Therapy presentation; photo by Geoff Wilbur

wiseHer is a platform that connects women with experts who can provide advice needed in business or in life in general.

The Bodega Bag is a bag the allows people to carry groceries on their backs. Up to 20 pounds of groceries, the company advertises.

Chocolate Therapy is a Framingham, MA chocolate shop that specializes in producing (and selling) chocolates and hosting events (chocolate-making, team building, birthday parties, and other group events). They were promoting their new chocolate bars at MIN. And providing delicious samples, of course.

Delete All My Data presentation; photo by Geoff Wilbur

Adventure Activities USA is a company that specializes in outdoor adventures. Their business ranges from hosting activities and corporate retreats to selling equipment.

Pillars, the drinkable Greek yogurt company, was a last-minute cancellation. I had been looking forward to sampling their product. I think I may have tried some at a grocery store sampling recently, but I was especially hoping they’d have some plain yogurt with them; that’s personally the one I’d like to try.

wiseHer presentation; photo by Geoff Wilbur

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 113 web page. I’ve also included hotlinks to the each of the exhibiting companies’ websites so you can get information beyond my brief introductions.

It was, as always, a pleasure to see some of the emerging companies on the Boston area’s startup scene. Next month’s Mass Innovation Night will also be in Natick, on September 13th at the office of the event’s host Mathworks. MIN 114 will feature robotics, AI and clean/green energy products. Barring a scheduling conflict, as always, I hope to be there.

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?