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.

Mass Innovation Nights 121: IoT, Robotics, and AI

Armored Things presentation; photo by Geoff Wilbur

Mass Innovation Nights 121

April 11, 2019

On Thursday, April 11th, Mass Innovation Nights returned to the UMass Lowell Innovation Hub, fourteen months after its previous visit to this location; you can read my summary of that event, Mass Innovation Nights 107, by clicking here.

Every month, Mass Innovation Nights features startups from around Massachusetts. On this particular night, the theme was Internet of Things, Robotics, and Artificial Intelligence.

I always enjoy Mass Innovation Nights’ events, and this one was a little special. It was Mass Inno’s 10th anniversary event. (Do the math: Month 121 is 10 years after Month 1.) So, at the end of the night, this month’s MIN included cake.

Mass Innovation Nights 121: UMass Lowell Innovation Hub in Lowell, MA

Mass Innovation Nights begins with networking and food – tonight, pizza – during the opening hour, during which attendees also chat with exhibiting startups to learn more about them. During this first hour, attendees each cast one vote for their favorite showcasing company; the top four vote-getters, who are announced after the presentations, receive prizes.

photo by Geoff Wilbur

After the networking/voting ends, the presentations begin, featuring the four companies that received the most votes in pre-event voting on the Mass Innovation Nights website.

So, after a brief welcome and quick introductions to sponsors and Mass Innovation Nights “Expert Corner” experts, the four presenting startups take the stage.

This evening’s “experts” were Tom O’Donnell, representing the UMass Lowell Innovation Hub; Andrew Shapiro, the City of Lowell’s Director of Economic Development; and Nick Bliamptis, founder and CEO of Facet Executive Search.

The presenting startups were Armored Things, WritingAssistant, Awayr, and Fonative. At-event voting winners were Operation250, Nonspec, Tertill, and CAIDE Systems.

WritingAssistant presentation; photo by Geoff Wilbur

Below are brief summaries of the startups that were featured at MIN121. I based these overviews on information at the website, handouts, discussions, and presentations. If you’re interested in more information, please contact the company directly; they’ll be able to tell you more about their products and services. And, though I strive for accuracy, I’d trust their word over anything I write below.

Armored Things, in its presentation, described itself as “Google maps, but for people.” Via analytics and an easy-to-follow dashboard program, Armored Things allows its clients to provide improved physical security by being aware of the location of people so they can respond accordingly. Responses could range from security-related to simply moving refreshment stand employees from less-busy parts of the stadium/campus to the areas showing a heavier concentration of people.

Operation250 is an interactive educational program that helps provide students, teachers, and parents with the knowledge to navigate the dangers of being online. It educates them about the online and real-world risks as well as the methods to remain safe, notably from those espousing radical and violent ideologies.

Awayr presentation; photo by Geoff Wilbur

Fonative‘s Communications Platform as a Service (CPaaS) allows enterprise application providers to integrate calls and messaging into their service offerings. Designed for contact centers, the product is notable, as I discovered during the presentation, in part because it’s HIPAA secure and PCI compliant, making it a favored solution among regulated customers for whom such security and compliance are requirements. The company and its leadership have a long, deep history in the VoIP industry.

DSPW was showcasing its latest product, the RCB-W24A-RHD32 WiFi recording system for electrophysiology research labs. I recall chatting with DSPW at MIN107 last year, but I ran out of time before getting back to talk with them again this year. This year’s product appears to be an advancement from last year’s; per its Mass Innovation Nights description, DSPW is currently taking orders and plans to ship in the summer of 2019.

WritingAssistant is a product that instantly analyzes writing material for accuracy (grammar) and quality. The basic version is free, while for $1.99 per month additional features are unlocked. This looks like it could be a very cool AI-driven product offering.

Nonspec makes affordable, adjustable prosthetic limbs for amputees around the world. Specifically showcased at MIN121, Nonspec’s Saarthi Limb is a vastly improved ankle.

Fonative presentation; photo by Geoff Wilbur

Awayr is an AI system that evaluates human-machine interaction. It is used by human machine interface (HMI) design teams in the automotive and defense industries. The AI builds a model user to predict human behavior in order to improve the HMI design. Oh, just watch the 40-second video for a better explanation.

Evisort is an AI product designed for contract management. It uses algorithms to understand contract language and allows attorneys, financial professionals, and other management professionals to more easily find and manage their contracts. I think the “Using Evisort” tab on the company’s website does a nice job of describing how it might be used. The example I recall is of finding and staying on top of expiring contracts, though clearly that’s just one of the many uses for this product.

Franklin Robotics‘ Tertill is an autonomous, self-sufficient, solar-powered robot that finds and kills weeds. If this weatherproof weeding robot takes off, I may decide to start gardening again. (My initial impression when seeing it in action: “It’s like a Roomba that’ll weed my garden!”)

CAIDE Systems, who I also recall from last year’s Lowell event, has a product that could require less than two minutes to detect and diagnose a stroke via the analysis of a CT scan image. It reduces human error and saves critical minutes in brain stroke detection. This is some cool, life-saving stuff here.

At-event voting winners; photo by Geoff Wilbur

Conclusion

In addition to the links I provided, you can find more information about the exhibiting companies by following this link and then clicking on the “Vote Here” tab of the MIN121 web page.

Next month’s event, MIN122, is scheduled for April 9 at the Thelma D. Burns Building in Boston’s Greater Grove Hall neighborhood. It will feature startups with African and African American founders. If you can get to it, it should be another terrific showcase of innovative Massachusetts startups.

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.

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