Friday, January 19, 2018

Recap of #MIN106 in Haverhill

What a night! Mass Innovation Nights came to Haverhill and put on an amazingly lively event at the UMass Lowell Innovation Hub in the brand new Harbor Place development right on the Merrimack River. Wednesday's snow moved the event to Thursday January 18, but that didn't seem to reduce attendance or dampen the enthusiasm.
Along the Merrimack River
The product showcase was buzzing with people checking out the tables and asking questions. Lots of the attendees said this was their first Mass Innovation Nights event. Many of the folks I talked with were from Haverhill and surrounding towns. It was great to see so much local support for the entrepreneurs and their products.I was especially excited to see EforAll Lowell-Lawrence participants BareHand, Veggie Table Foods, and nohmii. It was nice to see a really strong EforAll presence.
Roomful of Products
The evening's sponsors, The Merrimack Valley Planning Commission and the Greater Haverhill Chamber of Commerce, along with our host the UMass Lowell Innovation Hub - Haverhill, served as the Experts Corner and general good Merrimack Valley vibes providers.
Our Host
The four presenters chosen for the evening were:
Team Veggie Table Had Matching Aprons
Veggie Table Foods was very popular. Their team was constantly busy handing out samples of the cauliflower crust pizza. They had samples of some of their other cauliflower-based healthy, low carb, gluten free snacks too, but everybody was raving about the pizza. It tasted great!
Kezia Demonstrating CareAline Sleeve on a Doll
The CareAline Sleeves and Wraps story is a great example of innovation that came out of the founder's response to a real and personal need. When her daughter was diagnosed with cancer and had to have vascular access lines for chemo, founder Kezia Fitzgerald discovered a need for some way to make line management safer and more comfortable. She came up with a sleeve for PICC lines, and later a wrap for central lines, that keeps the lines off the skin and covered but allows full access for treatment. CareAline made a big impression on the attendees and I was not surprised when it won Grand Prize in the Audience Choice voting.
Found It! -- Barbara and Hunter the Owl
It was great to see Barbara Tibbets with her The LOOK Book Scavenger Hunt again. Last time we met was in a tent in a winter wonderland in Boston's City Hall Plaza (MIN93). Her scavenger hunts are now available as an app and the crowdfunding campaign is well underway to make that adorable plush owl, Hunter, available to customers. The scavenger hunts, in both book and app form, are great ways for families to get to know the featured tourist destinations. Currently the app is available only for IOS devices -- search on "look book hunt" in the Apple App Store -- but it will be available for Android soon.
Clean Energy Organics
Hyperlocal Haverhill-based CEO Organic Energy Beverages offered tastes of its organic energy beverages. I tried the watermelon, lime, mint flavor and really liked it -- not too sweet and plenty of flavor. Each bottle of CEO (Clean Energy Organics) has only 30 calories and 5g of sugar, roughly the same amount of caffeine as a small cup of coffee, coconut water, and no artificial anything. They are available at Market Basket as well as many other retail locations.
Standing Room Only for the Presentations
(the one empty chair is the one I got up from to take the picture)

Ande Lyon (EforAll) and Edwin Jack (BareHand)
I was very happy to see Edwin Jack of BareHand again. He was there demoing Cede,  a 3D Action RPG game of combat farming in a post-apocalyptic universe. Lawrence-based BareHand is a graduate of the EforAll Lowell-Lawrence Summer Accelerator 2015. The last time we met was at MIN99 in Roxbury. It's fun catching up with entrepreneurs again and again at both EforAll and MIN events as they progress through the stages of startup growth. Cede is a very cool game featuring monsters that get turned into bursts of seeds that grow into plants to take back the post-apocalyptic wasteland. Definitely take a look at the website if you like games.
Blackburn Energy

RelGen Connects to the Drive Train Easily
My favorite new thing was Blackburn Energy's RelGen energy recovery system for long-haul trucks. It captures the kinetic energy from the rotation of the driveshaft during braking, converts it into electricity, and stores it in an array of batteries. For long-haul truckers this means they could power the heat or air conditioning in the sleeper cab from the battery for a comfortable sleep after a day of driving. The thing that impressed me was how easily it connects to the drive train. I'm tempted to go into geeky detail, but that would make this blog post way too long.  Anyway, I was pleased to see Blackburn Energy among the audience choice winners.

The outskert from nohmii (pronounced "know me") combines style and function in a skirt designed to keep a woman warm and dry while trekking in the snow. You can take it from a mountain hike to a downtown setting while staying warm and looking stylish. All nohmii's clothes are designed and manufactured locally.

1620 Work Wear
1620 Work Wear showed off their line of men's work clothing that's tough and durable as well as modern and good looking.  Made in Haverhill using American-made technical fabrics and ergonomically designed to reduce fatigue and increase worker safety, these clothes are a combination of the features of outdoors gear and traditional work wear. The pants have an impressive number of pockets, double-knees, and a gusseted crotch for better range of motion. They're quick-drying and stain-resistant too.

yuso is an on-the-go snack inspired by onigiri, a popular Japanese snack. The combination of sushi-rice and a savory filling wrapped in nori comes in five different flavor profiles and is beautifully packaged. I tried the Moroccan Falafel flavor, which is made with chickpeas, cilantro, and a blend of spices. These delightful snacks are made in Amesbury -- right downriver from Haverhill.
Two Minute Turtle

Two Minute Turtle is a timer designed to help children visualize where and how long to brush their teeth. A blinking LED leads the child through the four parts of the mouth ending with brushing the tongue.
The Audience Choice Winners

The audience choice winners were:
All extremely well deserved.

As always, I like to end with an Expert Looking Expert.  This time I asked Steve Tello, Vice Chancellor for Entrepreneurhip and Economic Development at UMass Lowell, to pose for me looking expert and representing UMass Lowell's presence in Haverhill -- expertly linking great Merrimack Valley cities.
Expert Looking Expert: Steve Tello


  1. Hi Janet. I attended the Mass Innovation night for coverage of Haverhill Community Television. I am putting together a piece for show called The Haverhill Journal. I was referred to you by Bobbie Carlton. She said you've been covering Innovation Nights for a while. I'm wondering if you have any photos from "back in the day" that you'd be willing to let me use for the video, with credit of course. My deadline is February 8th. I can be reached by email at Thank you.