Monday, September 23, 2019

#MIN126 Recap

Entrepreneurs, innovators, networkers, experts, and all kinds of people converged on UMass Lowell Innovation Hub (iHub) Haverhill on Wednesday night September 18th for Mass Innovation Nights'  #MIN126 event.  Sponsors in addition to UML were the Greater Haverhill Chamber of Commerce and Lightspeed Manufacturing.
View of Basiliere Bridge and Merrimack River from iHub Haverhill
The four presenters chosen for the night by online voting ahead of the event were: 
  • The Laughing Tree Organics
  • Spirit Box
  • Our Cards
  • Personal Remedies
The product showcase was spread out over two rooms and people were buzzing around both rooms checking out the tables. It was a great atmosphere for chatting with the entrepreneurs. Many of the attendees I talked to were from the greater Haverhill/Merrimack Valley area and it felt good to see so much local support. The event drew from all over though -- I talked to one man who had driven up from Foxborough spending 2 hours in traffic.
Crowd Checking out the Product Showcase
Several of the entrepreneurs were people I'd already met either at previous Mass Innovation Nights events or through EforAll. There was a great EforAll presence with alums from several different of cohorts and people I remembered from pitch contests. Keysie, Our Cards, and Spirit Box are all EforAll alums from different  accelerator cohorts. It's great to see progress, whether I last saw someone last week or last year.

It was great to see Karen Kearsley, the creator of Keysie, again with her latest product. Key-Shirt is a customized mouth guard holder to help prevent student athletes keep their mouth guards from getting dirty and growing bacteria when stashed at the bottom of their sports bags.  Key-Shirt keeps the mouth guard in a convenient container that clips onto the bag. Customized with the team logo, it helps promote team spirit and offers a cool opportunity for a fundraiser.  It also provides a convenient place for emergency contact numbers.
Key-Shirt Clips Right Onto your Bag

Personal Remedies has presented at Mass Innovation Nights several times, going back into the distant mists of time. Founder Mory Bahar demonstrated the knowledge base of  food interactions with chronic diseases. It uses AI and the latest science on nutrition and health to automate personalized dietary guidance.
Personal Remedies Table

Presenting Personal Remedies
Obaggo makes it possible to recycle your plastic bags with your curbside recycling. It's a kitchen appliance that takes the plastic bags and other packaging like bread bags and cereal box liners and makes them into a shape that will not clog up the recycling machinery -- the main thing that keeps plastic bags from being recycled.
Talking Recycling with Obaggo
Spirit Box  is more than a gift box subscription it's a way of sharing inspiration. A community of young girls and teens come together around love of a trendy subscription box celebrating positivity and social good. It's a way of bringing moms and daughters together, building more confident young women, and spreading inspiration in the wider community. It was great to see Spirit Box again and to see the new logo and color scheme.

Spirit Box
New Branding for Spirit Box
IT Squared showcased an application that provides analytics and visualizations of the data collected by Splunk AppInternals, making it easier to manage and make decisions based on all the monitoring data collected for all the systems and devices your IT department is managing.

IT Squared is a monitoring system for facilities management. It collects real-time data from small inexpensive sensors (those little white things on the table in the photo) and makes the information available to the landlords and building managers, to the tenants, and to service providers.  This makes it really easy to keep commercial real estate comfortable and reduce operating costs. Trust me, this is cooler than it sounds.
The Laughing Tree Organics offers skin and hair care products that are made from organic, plant-based extracts, herbs and oils that are biodegradable, and sustainably sourced. They're made without all those harmful preservatives, artificial fragrances, sulfates and other disruptive chemicals.
These lip balms, botanical shampoo bars, moisturizers, cleansers and scrubs are available in a variety of natural fragrances. I have to say their table smelled delightfully of lavender and I left with a wonderful sample of lemon lip balm.
The Laughing Tree Organics
OurCards is another EforAll alum, which I mentioned in my previous blog post. We'd just seen each other less than a week ago, but it was still great to get together again. I love how Our Cards lets you create a customized deck of playing cards featuring your family members. One of the coolest things about it is you can download information from genealogy websites and feature your ancestors in your deck! It's a great way to get the family to relate to each other, learn a bit about their ancestors, and have a great time playing cards. Whether you're playing Go Fish, Gin, or 45s (only Merrimack Valley denizens will know what 45s is)  who wouldn't want to play with such a fun deck. I've been fantasizing about my great aunt as the Queen of Hearts ...
Our Cards
The PhoneSafe System from Live Undistracted is definitely an idea whose time has come. It's an app to help commercial fleets reduce costly accidents caused by phone-related distracted driving. It makes it easy for fleet managers to enforce their phone policies, promote good driving habits and eliminate the phone as a safety hazard for their drivers. PhoneSafe automatically knows when the vehicle is taken out of and put back into Park so it can turn on a SafeMode and it can notify the fleet manager when a driver is violating the company's phone policy while still preserving the driver's privacy and not interfering with performance.
PhoneSafe (right)
Congratulations to the Audience Choice winners:  
  • Personal Remedies
  • Microshare
  • Spirit Box
  • Obaggo -- Grand Prize

The Audience Choice Winners
For the traditional Expert Looking Expert photo, here is Karen Hamlin of UMass Lowell's Core Research Facilities looking very expert.
Expert Looking Expert
The next Mass Innovation Nights event is the 6th annual Women Founders Event ( #MIN127)  kicking off WEBOS Week on October 7 at 6PM at District Hall in the Boston Seaport District.

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