Blog

July 29, 2015
10 Eye Catching Startups from the MassChallenge Showcase

Last night at the Seaport Hotel MassChallenge held its annual Startup Showcase, which gives the 128 finalists in the Boston accelerator program an opportunity to show off their young companies and products to the startup and venture community. 

Nearly 1,000 members of Boston’s startup community turned out to support the entrepreneurs and experience their new developments in an open floor expo setting. It’s one of those events that epitomizes our ecosystem and the sense of community Boston offers. 

You can (and should) browse all 128 finalists here, but we thought we’d select our top 10. I myself picked 5 that really stood out to me and my colleague, Jack Mulvaney, chose his top 5 as well. 

So, here are 10 startups from the 2015 MassChallenge Startup Showcase that we’ll be watching closely over the next few months!

Jack's Picks! @JackMulvaney9

Thinkboard
WHY: Who doesn't have a million things running through their mind! Sticky notes are messy, white boards are clunky, and if I need to jot something down quickly, I hate trying to find a notebook.

    Thinkboard

Think Board is a clear thin film that can turn any surface into a dry erase board - it is there where you need it, when you need it. Whether sitting at your desk, meeting over a cup of coffee or in a hotel on travel, Think Board is here to turn any environment into a creative workspace. We help unlock personal and professional creativity in homes, offices and school classrooms, by overlaying Think Boards onto workspaces, walls and school desks in the Boston area.

Irhal
WHY: Digital content + tourism in a relatively untapped and massive market. 

    Irhal

When I travel I regularly starve - because I cannot find a Halal restaurant. I also need to pray 5 times a day and need information on prayer timings and mosques. There is no Arabic travel guide available. Irhal.com is the answer. 1 million unique visitors came to the website in 2014. Muslim tourists spent $137 billion in 2013 (Thomson Reuters). Mobile penetration in the Middle East is over 70% + lack of Arabic mobile content. Advertisers are willing to pay a premium to reach this audience.

StreetScan
WHY: Nothing ruins your commute quite like hitting a massive pothole and StreetScan's technology will replace a function that currently relies on the human eye. 

    StreetScan

StreetScan’s core business is a pavement inspection service that is fast and affordable to be used city-wide on a frequent basis, ensuring that repair decisions are never based on outdated or incomplete data. Our innovative patented sensing technologies (acoustic, radar, optical) detect surface and subsurface roadway defects within traffic. This enables frequent health monitoring of roads without traffic blockage and addresses the significant problem of aging infrastructure facing our society.

Apitite
WHY: Any type of software that empowers those who are non-technical and is a "one-click" solution is a winner. 
 
Apitite
 
Apitite is a cloud software-as-a-service for creating and managing APIs. With Apitite you can create APIs in minutes faster and cheaper than developing them in-house or hiring a third party. Apitite handles the development, hosting, and security of your API so you can focus on your business.
 
Free Time Academy 
WHY: I love video and I love learning. Free Time Academy is combining both along with analytics to the $5B DIY market. 

    FreeTime Academy

Free Time Academy enables anyone, to learn creative skills such as: arts, crafting, cooking or robotics, anytime, anywhere! We offer a user-friendly structured curriculum, feedback from experts and classmates, and supply all the materials users need directly to their home. We are changing the way people learn to create, and for the first time ever allowing it to be done in an accessible and affordable way.

Josh's Picks! @jb_sid

Launchpad Rooms
WHY: Sharing economy + Real Estate = Intrigued! I take a keen interest in real estate and RE tech continues to heat up.

    Launchpad Rooms

Over the past year, we have built a 6-figure management company built around offering people month-to-month apartments and have been overwhelmed with demand. Launchpad is a software solution for these people. It offers a standardized, month-to-month agreement enabling them to easily leave at any time they choose. We plan to monetize by facilitating the rent transactions between tenants and owners, playing squarely in the $165B market US rental market.

SidelineSwap
WHY: Sports + Tech also equals intrigue for me. But it's more than that. Think of Play It Again Sports. They've been around as long as I can remember. It's just another billion dollar industry that hasn't leveraged tech. Execute and they'll make some $$!

     SidelineSwap

In the $15bn market for second-hand sporting goods, SidelineSwap is the first peer-to-peer marketplace built for everyday athletes and fans. Each month thousands of new items ranging from equipment to apparel to footwear are uploaded by our community, making SidelineSwap the best place for buyers to find highly discounted or hard-to-find sporting goods and for sellers to turn their old sporting goods into cash.

Unshrinkit
WHY: Because who hasn't worn something once then had to donate it because it no longer fit! Give me a bottle!

      Unshrinkit

People shrink their clothes. It is a universal truth. While we gripe over cotton clothes, we truly cannot stand ruining costly wool garments. Unshrinkit is the first ever product made to unshrink wool and help users rescue their beloved shrunken wool sweaters and clothing. And it really works - our patent-pending solution has proven in controlled trials to work better than other home remedies.  We believe Unshrinkit can be a game-changer in the laundry room.

Cintell
WHY: Team and early traction. I covered Cintell's launch earlier this year and they've since closed a seed round. Led by industry vets in a space full of opportunity, I like their chances.

     Cintell

Businesses waste billions of dollars each year on irrelevant decisions in marketing, sales, product, and more. Why? They don't understand their buyers. Current customer research solutions are static, manual, and fragmented. Cintell is a cloud-based customer intelligence platform for the enterprise that helps companies continuously validate & maintain buyer insights, publish them companywide, leverage big data and third-party data sources, and integrate with existing business systems.

PracticeGigs
WHY: OK - Sports + Tech... But, this isn't about that. I was lucky enough to meet the founder, Toni, a couple months back and hear his story. Turning down the Wharton School at U Penn was just one piece that got me excited about his journey ahead!

     PracticeGigs Toni Oloko

Our peer-to-peer marketplace enables players to reach their full potential by connecting them to awesome practice sessions. Our mobile app helps players discover other players in their area, while simplifying the scheduling. The key is the way in which we support improvement, the ability to pay players who are a bit better than you to practice with you. We are currently making quality practice in tennis more convenient and affordable in Greater Boston.

Stay tuned to VentureFizz for updates on these startups and to hear the stories of many great Entrepreneurs in and around Boston!! Sign Up for the BEST Weekly Newsletter in town and never miss a beat! Follow us on Twitter @VentureFizz