Thursday, November 10, 2011

another great Mass Innovation Night -- #MIN32

Our host for this month's Mass Innovation Night (#MIN32) was MassChallenge, the business competition and incubator, in the Boston Innovation District.   CambridgeTrust was our sponsor for the evening and put on a good reception with crepes from Paris Creperie. To my delight, they were also handing out bags of Terroir Coffee. I reminisced with a couple of the Terroir Coffee people about the old days of the Coffee Connection and George Howell's collection of Huichol art. This was my first visit to the Boston Innovation District, which seems hip and cool with its location right next to the ICA.
The MassChallenge Space
 The MassChallenge space afforded plenty of room for all the innovators showing off products. Our At-Hand Apps table was right inside the entrance to the space and next to the netBlazr folks and Confidence Beads.
Robert from At-Hand Apps Demonstrating New England Day Trips At Hand
Robert and I chatted with all kinds of people about New England Day Trips at Hand, including people who will never pay for a travel app, those who are already our buyers, software developers, and business development folks. In demonstrating the app, I had my own @Ha! moment of discovering a nearby Boston Fire Museum that I didn't know existed (they have an antique hand-pumper!)!
Brough and Brian from netBlazr
 netBlazr helps businesses build cooperative networks that provide free and low-cost Internet broadband service to the co-op members with their specialized WiFi devices.  Their customers refer to netBlazr as the Skype of broadband. This should help hasten the onset of ubiquitous broadband.

Confidence Beads
Confidence Beads makes cool inspirational jewelry that gives back to ovarian cancer and domestic violence charities. That is a cool business model - their non-profit partners help sell and win big at the same time.  The beads are really beautiful.

Bindo makes it easy for local neighborhood retailers to take advantage of the point of sale and back office technologies necessary for survival in today's competitive online marketplace. You can shop your favorite local stores all in one place and as easily as the huge online retailers plus get great service and crazy fast delivery.
Sharks Swimming Across SlideShark Table
SlideShark lets you  reliably and professionally show or view your PowerPoint presentations on your iPad. How cool is that? Plus they had the best swag -- toy sharks.

There was so much to see and I had less time than usual because I was also demoing our app, but I managed to check out:
  • PAMSys from BioSensics, a tiny lightweight monitor that measures physical activity
  • ArtVenue, which makes it easy for artists to show and sell their work in local businesses (and had a painting with a scannable QR code)
  • HeyHeyGorgeous, a web service that helps you find hair salons in your city
  • Seacoast Butters, delicious flavored butters.
  • Smarterer, which helps you "show what you know" by testing and scoring you on digital, social and technical skills
Sam from BioSensics Showing me the PAMSys


Tracey from Seacoast Butters

Ginger, Lime, Scallion Butter on Annarosa's Bread

Hey, Hey! Gorgeous

There were no teams with matching T-shirts or great hats at the event this time, but there were lots and lots of great people. The crepes were good too. And I came home with a toy shark, cool shades, and La Minita coffee from Terroir Coffee.

The Experts Corner was really more of an Experts Row this time. I got to chat with Joe Johnson from High Start Group and Daniel Kriegsman from Kriegsman & Kriegsman. Daniel agreed to pose for the traditional Expert Looking Expert shot. He looks quite expert.

Expert Looking Expert