Thursday, December 18, 2014

#MIN69 Recap

Last Wednesday's Mass Innovation Night, the 69th in an awesome series,  took full advantage of the great space at District Hall in Boston. This was my first visit to District Hall (hard to believe I know) and I was suitably impressed (and artistically inspired -  something about chartreuse duct work ...) Thanks to District Hall for hosting and thanks again to Autodesk for being such a generous sponsor along with American Airlines.
Pitching Under Chartreuse Ductwork
The diversity of products at MIN is getting to be a theme. Every month the spectrum of ideas seems to get broader. MIN69 was no exception: apps, bike lights, a sex toy, moisturizing oil, you name it. 

It was great to catch up with Nkese Applewhite from Oshun Undies and hear her progress on her cleverly designed Cachet Pump and Nurse Bra. I first saw Nkese pitch this back in March at the Merrimack Valley Sandbox(now known as EforAll).  She's working on getting manufacturing going, so  look for this practical and stylish bra in 2015.
Nkese Applewhite of Oshun Undies
Now that bike commuting is back in again (what  you didn't know it was ever out of style?),  it's past time for some innovation in bike lights.  Massachusetts state law says you must use a white headlight and red taillight (or rear reflector) when riding anytime between a half hour after sunset and a half hour before sunrise. So it was great to see  these cool new bike lights that last forever from Fortified Bike.  If I were still commuting by bike, these lights would be on my bike. BTW  MassBike has a nice summary of  the state's bike laws, in case you need a refresher. 
Bike Lights
The Fortified Bike team rocked the matching team T-shirt look too. Tivan posed for me in his team shirt with the bike for a Best Costume of #MIN69 shot.
Tivan from Fortified Bicycle - Best Costume of #MIN69
Mettle is a neat mobile app that lets you set up video challenges for anything. They pitched it as a "Snapchat for video challenges. "  Want to prove your soccer skills are better than your friends' soccer skills? Want to start a charity fundraiser challenge a la the Ice Bucket Challenge? Mettle is for you.

Mettle Demo
Maybe some of the mountaineers, base jumpers, wingsuit flyers and other top outdoor athletes that Ben  Schenck interviews for the  MTNMeister Podcast  could use Mettle to do some kind of inspirational outdoor sports stories challenge.  Seriously, even if you don't do extreme mountaineering, you can learn a lot about human nature from the stories of those who do.  He needs to interview an extreme birder, but not me, although I did once fall off an embankment while looking at a ferruginous duck.
Ben Showing How He Records MTNMeister Podcasts
I'm betting that MTNMeister's listeners probably don't need SunSprite's wearable device that tracks sunlight and UV exposure to make sure you're getting enough sun to fend off depressions and Vitamin D deficiency. However, this nifty wearable might just help cubicle denizens realize they need to get outdoors to improve mood and health.
By far the hit of the night was Semenette, a novelty sex toy that adds fun, intimacy and authenticity. Their table was crowded and they won top prize in the voting for the American Airlines Business Extra Points. This is extremely well-designed for its target market.
Imagine real life as a video game with real people on a map on your mobile device. Epoque is the app for networking to connect with people nearby. Just broadcast a message and engage with the Epoque users around you in the real world in real time.

Another product that caught my attention was True Moringa moisturizing oil.  The Moringa tree grows in tropical regions, is drought resistant, and its leaves are highly nutritious. This puts it in the forefront of the fight against malnutrition. My Mom had 50 Moringa trees planted in my name for my 50th birthday, so I was interested to hear about MoringaConnect's work with their network of smallholders in Ghana. Check out their website.

Once again, I didn't get a chance to talk to everybody.  The ones I didn't make it to were: Gradberry, a website that helps young grads get the skills they need for the competitive job market,  Propel to Go, a tool for targeting lost leads from your ad campaign, and job search site FirmPlay. 

And from the Expert's Corner our Expert Looking Expert is Rich from Emmett and Company whose expertise on video production is featured in, among other things, the Innovation Women Kickstarter campaign.
Expert Looking Expert

Speaking of Innovation Women, this is a much-needed project  to provide more visibility for entrepreneurial and technical women and less hassle for event managers  trying to find women speakers for panels.  Go to Kickstarter and back this project now!
Innovation Women