Blog Archives

Mass Innovation Nights 104: A Quick Review

photo by Geoff Wilbur; Mass Innovation Nights 104 at Dassault Systemes in Waltham

Mass Innovation Nights 104

November 8, 2017

I rarely make it into the city for a technology event – the drive in after work and parking would cause me to arrive late to too many events to make frequent attendance possible, since the events are timed to be convenient for whose jobs are nearby or a subway-ride away to attend after work. But I do make it to a good percentage of the events in the western Boston suburbs, so I may it to my first startup event in several months this week, a Mass Innovation Nights event hosted by Dassault Systemes in Waltham.

This wasn’t a “theme night,” so the companies exhibiting crossed industry boundaries, though as is often the case at Boston-area startup events, all of the companies in attendance at MIN104 could be considered tech.

Mass Innovation Nights 104: Dassault Systemes in Waltham, MA

photo by Kristen Avini; at-event voting prize winners at Mass Innovation Nights 104: Fluid-Screen, Obvia, Kaiburr, and Vocoli

Every month, Mass Innovation Nights features presentations from the host, the “Expert Corner” experts and exhibitors who win a pre-event vote on the Mass Innovation Nights website.  Presenters as a result of the pre-event voting were PeopleProductive, MagniFact’s MoodAnalyzer, Fluid-Screen, and Kaiburr. Awards were also given based on at-event voting. At-event winners were Vocoli, Kaiburr, Obvia, and Fluid-Screen.

Though it was mentioned on the event notice, I had forgotten the host, Dassault Systemes/SOLIDWORKS, was offering tours of its 3DEXPERIENCE Lab, so I didn’t seek it out. I’ll have to be better prepared if there is a “next time.”

Now, I’ll take a quick run through the companies in attendance; you can follow the links for more information about them.

photo by Geoff Wilbur; MagniFact’s MoodAnalyzer at Mass Innovation Nights 104

Obvia: Obvia’s wind turbine system is based on innovative rotor blades, which I understood easily based on the explanation I received at Obvia’s table. And, it seems, a semi-shrouded wing; shrouding is explained in a video linked from Obvia’s Mass Innovation Nights profile. If my layman’s description sounds interesting, I’d suggest going to Obvia’s website and/or its MIN profile to learn more.

Fluid-Screen: Some of the medical technology startups prove the most interesting at startup events, and this month’s MIN was no exception. Fluid-Screen’s lab-on-a-chip technology allows doctors’ offices to process tests faster, reducing the time required to test for bacterial contamination from days to thirty minutes. As part of the company’s presentation, it was noted even homes could potentially use it to test food and water, particularly in places (or times) during which contamination is more likely. In addition to the company’s website, there’s information of Fluid-Screen’s Mass Innovation Nights profile, which includes a link to a TEDx presentation.

By the way, you can get to any vendor’s MIN104 profile by clicking on this link (http://mass.innovationnights.com/events/mass-innovation-nights-104), clicking “Vote Here” to see the list of showcasing companies, and then clicking the “Read More” at the end of each vendor’s section.

photo by Geoff Wilbur; Fluid-Screen’s presentation at Mass Innovation Nights 104

Coalesce.info: This one’s kind of cool. The Coalesce.Info Virtual Analyst is like an AI search engine that improves responses to decision making questions within a company.

MagniFact: The MagniFact MoodAnalyzer uses predictive analytics and custom algorithms to provide customer sentiment information in real time based on the language used by customers. A young start-up guided by an established technologist, this product could solve a variety of problems, with its direction perhaps guided by the interested parties currently involved with its founder. The video on MagniFact’s MIN profile is also worth viewing.

photo by Geoff Wilbur; Obvia’s booth at Mass Innovation Nights 104

Kaiburr: A popular product at MIN104, Kaiburr is an application orchestration software billed as “DevOps as a Service.” Kaiburr’s 2-minute promotional YouTube video explains Kaiburr and its product management capabilities probably better than I could in a paragraph.

Vocoli: Vocoli is a sort of a digital suggestion box platform, allowing companies to gain useful new ideas, internally “crowdsource” ideas, and keep tabs on the sentiment within their ranks. And, again, there’s a less-than-two-minute YouTube video that explains some of the details of Vocoli.

photo by Geoff Wilbur; Kaiburr’s booth at Mass Innovation Nights 104

PeopleProductive: PeopleProductive is a software platform that helps companies reduce attrition rates, among other things. The three “tracks” detailed on the company’s website are “On-Time Execution & Delivery,” “Employee Retention,” and “Mergers & Acquisitions.” I’d suggest referring to the company’s website for more details.

iseeBell: iseeBell’s table presentation focused on its video doorbell product, which allows people to see who’s at the door via smartphone or tablet from anywhere. The company was also displaying some devices geared more directly toward the security-camera market, as well. As with so many of MIN104’s companies, there’s a two-minute video pitch on YouTube.

E-Green LLC‘s Beacon Smart Lamp: This product allows you to turn on, turn off, brighten, dim, and even change the direction of the beam of the lamp from your smartphone. The YouTube video is just one minute long.

photo by Geoff Wilbur; iseeBell’s booth at Mass Innovation Nights 104

Makerchip.com: OK, here I’ll just quote the text directly from the MIN company profile because I couldn’t possibly add something useful: “Makerchip.com is a free cloud-based IDE for digital integrated circuit design aimed at open-source hardware development and academic use.” From standing by and listening in while this product was being shown to interested parties, it looks like it would be a helpful tool, though since this isn’t my area of expertise, I don’t know current alternatives are out there.

Expert Corner

Experts included members of the Dassault Systemes team and Jeff Schantz from EYP. Plus, they were joined by Innovation Women, a speakers’ bureau to help connect event managers with women entrepreneurs and women in the technical fields. (I say “joined by” because Innovation Women weren’t listed on the event website or the event handout, but they did have a prime booth location.)

Conclusion

As always with my startup event summaries, I’ve done my best to explain what I saw, drawing upon some promotional material at the event and online, conversations I had with company representatives, and the information available by clicking the “Vote Here” tab of the MIN104 web page. If you find any of the companies or products described above interesting, please follow the links I provided and get in touch with the companies themselves for more information.

That concludes my overview of yet another MIN event. As I attend additional MIN (and other technology industry) events in the coming months, I’ll share what I see with those of you who read my blog.

 

 

 

Advertisements

Mass Innovation Nights 98: IoT and Robotics

Mass Innovation Nights 98 at MITRE in Bedford

Mass Innovation Nights 98

May 10, 2017

For a second consecutive night, I attended a technology startup event in the western Boston suburbs. I’ve been to a few Mass Innovation Nights in the last couple years, and they always showcase some intriguing local startups. This month’s Mass Innovation Night was IoT and Robotics themed, featuring local startups related to the Internet of Things and Robotics.

Mass Innovation Nights 98: MITRE in Bedford, MA

Every month, Mass Innovation Nights features presentations from the host and “Student Spotlight” companies, the “Expert Corner” experts and exhibitors who win a pre-event vote on the Mass Innovation Nights website.  Presenters as a result of the pre-event voting were blink’r, WatchRx, Cimetrics, and Powerhouse Dynamics’ SiteSage Smart Kitchen. Student Startup Spotlight representatives were from Bentley University, representing their companies Sales Sparks and SooShay. Awards were also given based on at-event voting. At-event winners were WatchRx, Tive, Blustream, and Andros Robotics.

Sooshay presentation at Mass Innovation Nights 98

I’ll take a quick run through the companies in attendance; you can follow the links for more information about them.

WatchRx: I also saw this company at the Boston New Technology showcase the previous evening. Its product is a smartwatch that helps the elderly remember to take their medication on time, monitored by family via a smartphone app.

Senter: Senter was the other showcasing company geared toward elderly healthcare. It focuses on placing sensor technology throughout the home to monitor residents and keep them safe. It employs a two-way voice-activated “assistant” and also alerts family/caretakers if necessary.

AndrosRobotics: The remaining health-focused exhibitor was in the robotics field. The cool demonstration at the AndrosRobotics table allowed attendees to understand how the Robotic Leg-Advancement Device works and how it can help stroke survivors re-learn to walk.

blink’r presentation at Mass Innovation Nights 98

There was actually supposed to be another medically-focused company at the event, Hurt Technologies, which was to be showing its MedKit Electronic Medical Record, but I didn’t run across their table. I’m not sure if I missed their table or if they missed the event.

blink’r: blink’r’s Internet Module ‘r is an integrated piece of equipment that allows IoT developers to get a running head-start. I won’t even try to explain how it works; instead, I’d point you to blink’r’s product self-description from the MIN website if this is something that interests you.

Tive: In an effort to improve logistics in the supply chain, Tive’s IoT-connected sensors allow companies to better track their shipments. This really is more impressive in an in-person presentation than I can make it sound here. The small sensors that are included in shipments are light, too. That’s one reason I like attending these events rather than simply reading about products online; it was nice to get a chance to handle the sensor box.

WatchRx presentation at Mass Innovation Nights 98

blustream: Also a very cool product that showcased well. blustream showcased an Internet-connected sensor product that provides information like temperature and humidity to help monitor the safety of valuables that are sensitive to the elements. Examples of sensor placement shown at the event included a humidor and a guitar case. (The company’s website also includes wine and firearms as other item categories their sensors can help protect.)

SiteSage Smart Kitchen: Powerhouse Dynamics was showcasing it’s SiteSage Smart Kitchen, a system that allows kitchens to get real-time alerts to temperature and other issues, for safety and money-saving reasons. The website gives a nice overview; the live table-side presentation was even more convincing.

Cimetrics: The MIN literature discusses Cimetrics’ BACnet Explorer – YouTube video here – for monitoring I0T devices throughout a building. Also, though, its Analytika cloud-based analytics platform shared the spotlight.

SiteSage Smart Kitchen presentation at Mass Innovation Nights 98

CrowdComfort: Also in the building management arena, CrowdComfort allows people to interact with their buildings, allowing building occupants to be the eyes and ears of the building. In its MIN description, the company’s tagline is “Unlocking the Human Sensor Network.” CrowdComfort’s video highlights its features.

Kuvée: Who doesn’t like something that improves the wine experience? Kuvée’s wine system keeps wine fresh for up to 30 days. It also includes IoT features that share information about the wine. Very cool concept for wine-lovers. And, of course, an exhibitor that drew interest. #BecauseWine.

The two “Student Startup Spotlight” companies were from Bentley University. These were Sales Sparks, which creates sales plans for startups, and Sooshay, a fast-casual sushi restaurant featuring customizable sushi rolls and locally-sourced ingredients.

Expert Corner

In addition to the MITRE team, additional “experts” this evening represented Iotopia Solutions, PTCSwiss Re Management (US) Corporation, Proper Orange, and BIBSMA.

Conclusion

As with other MIN reviews, I’ve done my best to accurately portray the products I saw exhibited based on the literature I read and conversations I had with attendees. Most of what I’ve written could easily enough be found by following this link and then clicking on the “Vote Here” tab of the MIN 98 web page, but hopefully this article serves as a decent introduction.

I always enjoy attending the MIN events, and I’m sure I’ll get to more MIN (and other technology industry) events in the coming months. I will, of course, share what I discover in this blog.

 

 

 

Mass Innovation Nights 92: EdTech

Mass Innovation Nights 92

Mass Innovation Nights 92 at Dassault Systemes in Waltham

Mass Innovation Nights 92

November 16, 2016

Introduction

This month’s Mass Innovation Night was themed, featuring technology in education, introducing the local start-up community’s ed tech offerings.

Mass Innovation Nights 92: Dassault Systemes in Waltham

This month’s event was held at Dassault Systemes in Waltham, an easy drive from my office, so I was able to make the most of this month’s event.

At-Event Vote Winners

At-Event Voting winners at Mass Innovation Nights 92

Each event features presentations from the host and partners, the “Expert Corner” experts and exhibitors who win a pre-event vote on the Mass Innovation Nights website.  Presenting this night were Dassault Systemes SOLIDWORKS and LearnLaunch; experts from Proper Orange and Business Insurance & Benefits Services of MA; and exhibitors Ivy Ladder, inli.ne, Didart, and ScholarJet. Awards were also given based on at-event voting. At-event winners were inli.ne, Flye, Cognii, and ScholarJet.

I’ll begin by discussing the products that stood out the most to me personally. I know I won’t do their products justice, but here’s a quick introduction. Please explore the companies’ websites and contact them for more detailed information:

Flye

The Flye booth at Mass Innovation Nights 92

Flye: Flye has built an app that offers GPS-based scavenger hunts. These scavenger hunts can be personalized for educational purposes, presumably by teachers, educational destinations, or anyone else whose class, school, location, event, or business could benefit from a “hunt.”

Lyriko: The first app from Skylight Games, Lyriko teaches languages with the help of music.

Didart: This venture delivers small boxes of materials for children to build arts and crafts and combines it with an interactive online environment to help students experience different cultures with multiple senses.

Also, Dassault Systemes presented its SOLIDWORKS product, a learning tool that adapts the company’s CAD product expertise to an educational setting.

Viewing as a potential investor, there were some scholarship, college entrance, and school-to-work based businesses at the event for which there might be a more obvious robust revenue stream, depending on where the products in question stand against their competitors. These include:

Lyriko

The Lyriko booth at Mass Innovation Nights 92

Ivy Ladder: Ivy Ladder describes itself as a “student career academy” that helps students transition from school to work. It’s a program that teaches students what they need to know to transition from school to job.

inli.ne: in.line offers college application assistance, from essay help to insights on how to college applications are reviewed.

Riipen: Riipen allows higher education institutions to partner their students with businesses that can utilize their skills, allowing them to, as the website says, “increase employable skills.”

ScholarJet: This process allows donors to tailor scholarships to a variety of actual events, encouraging challenge-based scholarships as an alternative to the usual essay-writing method of determining scholarship winners.

Other companies at the event were:

LearnLaunch

LearnLaunch presentation at Mass Innovation Nights 92

LearnLaunch: LearnLaunch presented, telling the audience about its institute, which connects Boston’s edtech community; it’s accelerator, which assists edtech entrepreneurs; and its campus, which features coworking space to edtech startups.

Smartick: Smartick is an online math-learning method.

30hands Storyteller Web: This product leverages its storytelling capability for learning purposes, promoting project-based, hands-on learning.

HistoryUnErased: This is a tool that produces/provides LGBTQ learning material.

Cognii: Cognii produces an artificial intelligence-based learning tool.

Eduporium: Eduporium’s Discovery Bundle helps teachers and schools acquire the best, cutting-edge teaching tools for what they’re studying.

Again, I’m sure I didn’t do any of the above products justice, but if the quick descriptions above spark an interest, please do click through to the companies’ websites and investigate in greater detail.

Dassault Systemes SOLIDWORKS

Dassault Systemes SOLIDWORKS presentation at Mass Innovation Nights 92

Expert Corner

In addition to the Dassault Systemes SOLIDWORKS team, which was listed as “experts,” there were two additional “experts” this evening.

Andreas Randow from Proper Orange: Proper Orange consists of C-level business and technology experts who can help start-ups scale their businesses.

Nathan Therrien from Business Insurance & Benefits Services of MA was introduced to me at the go-to guy for insurance services for start-ups.

Conclusion

As with past reviews of MIN events, most of what I’ve written could easily enough be found by following this link and then clicking on the “Vote Here” tab of the MIN 92 web page, but hopefully this article serves as a decent introduction. MIN 93 is scheduled for Wednesday, December 14th in a heated tent at City Hall Plaza in Boston as part of “Boston Winter at City Hall Plaza.” It is scheduled to feature consumer product companies, including some MIN alumni who will have products available for sale, in case attendees are interested in any last-minute holiday shopping from Boston’s own, local, cutting-edge companies.

The crowd is always friendly, the after-party is casual and relaxed, and while I rarely get all the way into the city after work, I’m sure I’ll attend more MIN events in the coming months, as well as venturing out to other start-up and technology industry events and blogging about them when I can.

Mass Innovation Nights 81: A Quick Review

Mass Innovation Nights 81

December 9, 2015

Introduction

My first Mass Innovation Nights event last month recalled some of the many technology and start-up events I used to attend in Houston. Indeed, the Boston area start-up community was just as welcoming, so I returned for December’s event.

GeoOrbital Wheel

GeoOrbital Wheel at Mass Innovation Nights 81

Mass Innovation Nights 81: Brooklyn Boulders in Somerville

This month’s event was held at Brooklyn Boulders in Somerville. I actually missed most of the presentations because I couldn’t find parking… for about 40 minutes. Finally, as I was circling the car around to give up and leave, a space opened up. Still, this reinforces my motto of “I will not drive to any event in Somerville because there is no parking.”

Because I was cutting the start-time close — I had been stuck in the office late finishing the day’s work — I missed most of the presentations, but I did catch the awards at the end of the presentations, voted on by the attendees.  Indeed, while the presenters are selected by pre-show voting, attendees select their favorite products during at-event voting. Among the Audience Choice winners, the Grand Prize winner was PICC Perfect. The Favorite Audience Products award winners were FlingGolf, GeoOrbital, and Green Piñata.

Once at the event, I chatted with some other attendees, stopped by the information tables for a few of the featured companies and one expert. Check out the MIN 81 page (and click on “Vote Here” once on that page) or the companies’ websites (see hotlinks below for each company) for more detailed information, particularly to the extent my descriptions may not do these businesses justice.

Unlike MIN80, which focused on tech companies, only a few of the start-ups at MIN81 could be consider tech or tech-based. I primarily visited the tables of these companies.  Mentions of companies I visited (and accompanying descriptions of their products) follow:

PICCPerfect PICC Line Cover: Something that solves a medical/healthcare problem. This start-up bills its product as “safe, sanitary and stylish PICC Line Covers.” The founder experienced the lack of a product to serve her needs and started a company to solve that problem. The PICC line cover is currently available in three colors/patterns — black or two patterns. Again, based on the company’s numbers of how many patients there are with PICC lines every year, it’s amazing there wasn’t a suitable product already in existence.

GeoOrbital Wheel: A wheel that can be added to a bicycle to turn it into an electric bike, purportedly easy enough to install that it can be done in just two minutes. I was given a quick demonstration of how this wheel works — the wheel is connection to a control the customer installs on the handlebars. At speeds up to 20 miles per hour with a 20 mile range in cities, this strikes me as being a potentially useful product for bicycle commuters, though I’m sure those aren’t the only potential customers. Per the company’s literature, there is a 4-hour charge time.

Green Piñata Toy Share: A rental service for safe and educational toys. I spent a bit of time chatting with the entrepreneur at Green Piñata and am impressed with the effort and thought behind the service, which offers rental of toys for children up to five years of age. Safe, educational, and (as the website explains) sanitized.

Other companies at the event were:

Expert Corner

BeHomeWell: An online store aggregating nontoxic products onto a single site.

Esmeralda Lambert – Statement Handwoven Jewelry: A Boston jewelry business that have seven employees in the Dominican Republic.

ShipFoliage.com: A business that ships New England foliage worldwide.

Runfellow: Motivational running gear and a run club to provide additional community/”motivation.”

Boston Crawling: Historic Boston pub crawls.

Gift Uncommon: Community gift card programs to allow local town merchants to combine forces to provide appealing multi-store gift cards that support local business communities.

Fling Golf: A new sport that appears to be a cross between lacrosse and golf.

Anchor Nutrition Bar: A nutrition bar that relieves nausea.

Women & Transition: A book/guidebook for women in transition, meant to help them through transitional life events.

Hammer Riveted Wallet: Wallets designed not to fall apart.

Missing in Action

Thene company I expected to see, but who I didn’t see at MIN 81, was Jess, Meet Ken, a dating app where men are “recommended” to women by other women. That’s a shame because particularly with the dearth of technology, IT, and web-based businesses at this MIN event, I was looking forward to chatting with these entrepreneurs.

Expert Corner

Tonight’s “expert” was Mike Dixon of Wellington Street Consulting, a firm currently focused on helping companies maximize their Office 365 transitions. I was personally impressed with Mike when we spoke and encourage readers to check out the company’s website.

Conclusion

I’m not entirely sure I’ve added anything that you couldn’t have found out just by following this link and then clicking on the “Vote Here” tab of the MIN 81 web page, but hopefully,if you’re interested, you’ll check out one or more of these start-ups. Since this is just my second of these events, I’m not sure what the company mix usually is at Mass Innovation Nights. As I noted earlier, MIN 80 was pretty tech-heavy; MIN 81 was not. I’m curious to see what future events hold. From the list of companies on the MIN website for the upcoming January 13th event, MIN 82, it looks like tech will again take center stage.

The crowd is friendly, and as long as I’m convinced I’ll be able to find parking at future events, I look forward to attending more MIN in the coming months, as well as venturing out to other start-up and technology industry events and blogging about them when I can.

Mass Innovation Nights 80: A Quick Review

Mass Innovation Nights 80

November 11, 2015

Introduction

Some of you may know me from the Houston technology and start-up communities. I was an attendee at the Houston Technology Champions breakfasts (a dues-paying Champion my last year in Houston) and a regular attendee at TechXans (now TechExecs) events and member while in Houston. Since moving to the Boston area, I have been notably absent from technology networking events. I’m glad to be able to fit these events into my schedule again, and I enjoyed meeting several members of the Boston tech start-up community tonight. And now I have a telecom and tech industry blog, so…

Mass Innovation Nights 80: The Event

I present you with Mass Innovation Nights 80, hosted at the Autodesk offices in Waltham. There were a dozen start-ups represented, as well as an “expert corner” presenter. The two student start-ups and four of the remaining ten companies gave 5-minute presentations (with those 4 companies selected by pre-event attendee voting). I didn’t get a chance to meet with all of the companies, but I’ll try to summarize each I met with below, as well as mentioning the two remaining companies based on their descriptions from the event literature. Check out the MIN 80 page (and click on “Vote Here” once on that page) or the companies’ websites (see hotlinks below for each company) for more detailed information, particularly to the extent my descriptions may not do these businesses justice.

I’ll start with the presenting companies:

BikeBus

BikeBus at Mass Innovation Nights 80

BikeBus: This business allows commuters to exercise (spinning) while commuting. Daytime revenue streams could be through providing mobile exercise rooms in business parking lots/streetside and renting for themed parties. But don’t take my word for it; the best spokespeople are the company’s founders. There are also news reports on the BikeBus website’s “press” page.

Greenlight Technologies: Winner of tonight’s voting, Greenlight Technologies provides wireless charging for mobile devices, with its software platform allowing location owners to provide a message via coupon or advertisement to chargers in exchange for the charging service.

Stack AI: This is a relationship management tool that allows people and businesses to manage their contacts with the ability fully integrate e-mail, calendar, and contacts in the process.

QuikForce: This service allows movers to schedule their moves based on preferred time of move, items to be moved, etc. It matches movers with moving services, while standardizing price estimate comparisons. I was given a quick demonstration at QuikForce’s table, and it appears easy to use.

The Student Startup Spotlight featured two start-ups from Accelerate, Wentworth Institute of Techonology’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center. The first company, Catheter Port, is an effort to improve and ease patient self-care; I think the company name is pretty descriptive. The second student start-up, Organic Connections, showcased a wooden toy meant to help in early childhood development.

Expert Corner Presentation: The “expert corner” featured Alan Dillingham, Program Manager of the 1776 Challenge Cup, a competition in which start-ups compete for more than $1 million in prizes.

After the presentation, I also spoke with four of the other six start-ups at the event.

Fuzzy Compass is a way for bloggers in the travel and food industries to offer their services one-on-one to potential customers. The example explained to me was for the travel industry, where bloggers can act as consultants to travelers planning complex trips. Would you like your favorite travel blogger to help you plan your trip? If so, that blogger could use Fuzzy Compass to help make that a reality. Interesting concept, eh?

Nabi Music Center: Obviously, I had to talk to these folks. This is a business that combines my love of music with my interest in technology. Indeed, it’s a site that connects music instructors with potential students for private music lessons.

LetsAllDoGood: Connecting non-profit organizations and community groups with their constituents via a smartphone app, this company’s goal is to provide an easier way for organizations to communicate with those who want or need to receive their messages; you could consider it an alternative to the overstuffed, clogged e-mail inbox.

Animatron: Easy-to-use animation creation right in your browser. I could go on, but I think I described it will in that first sentence. It does look quite easy to use. I’d refer you to the website for more information.

I ran out of time before I was able to check out the remaining two start-ups at MIN 80. But they were WebHub Mobi, an app that allows you to create and share maps of the Internet, and Happening, a mobile app that helps users find “events, deals and activities.”

Conclusion

I’m not entirely sure I’ve added anything that you couldn’t have found out just by following this link and then clicking on the “Vote Here” tab of the MIN 80 web page, but hopefully I’ve inspired you to check out one or more of these tech start-ups, whichever interests you.

I look forward to attending future MIN and other technology industry events and blogging about them as a useful addition to my usual telecom and tech new topic-driven posts.

%d bloggers like this: