By Chuck Tanowitz
A cloud service that promises to make the internet simpler; a platform for real estate photographers; and a disinfectant spray that promises to clean up the world took home top honors at the inaugural Innovate 128 startup event.
The N-Squared Innovation District event brought together 14 different student-run startups from eight area colleges and universities to the Saco-Pettee Mill Building Feb. 7 and attracted nearly 150 spectators.
One startup from each school competed in a throw-down for the best “rocket pitch,” with each team given three minutes to sell judges on their business model. Other startups showcased their products and services at tables, demonstrating the breadth and depth of the local innovation ecosystem happening at schools in Boston’s western inner suburbs.
When it was done, Babson College's LOU won first place with its platform for helping simplify the web, while Aryeo , an online platform designed for real estate photographers, took home second place for Boston College. Third place went to a startup from Holy Cross called Wilox, a spray that kills bacteria. Brandeis entry NeerChakra nabbed an honorable mention for its efforts to make it easier for women in India to supply their homes with water.
Other presenters included Lauren's Super Service from Regis College, Deadeye Sensor Technology from UMass Amherst, Dreadnaught Esports from Lasell and STEMTrendsetter from Olin College of Engineering. Also represented was a business focused on bike sales and another that makes custom golf clubs out of machine shop waste.
Prizes included a day with the CTO and co-founder of TripAdivsor, mentorship from Jeff Satwicz of BigBelly Solar and four seats at the Newton Innovation Center. ENET also gave each of the four winners one-year of mentorship, and Gennari Aronson Law provided legal services to the top two finishers.
Innovate 128 was sponsored by Gennari Aronson Law, TripAdvisor and Lasell College. Additional sponsors include the 128 Business Council, Brandeis Maker Lab and Northland Investment Corp., who supplied us with a perfect venue. UMass Amherst at Mount Ida supplied the food.