October 3, 2013
Boston Tech Jam and Shark Tank - A Night for the Boston Tech/Innovation Ecosystem to Celebrate

It was a festive, carnival atmosphere down in the Seaport/Innovation District yesterday afternoon as the first ever Boston Tech Jam took over Seaport Ave. With a midway featuring some of the hottest companies from the Boston area, great food and drinks from Papagayo, and awesome live music from bands featuring some local startupers, it would be a challenge to find attendees who didn't have a great time.

The featured pitch contest/Shark Tank was a great opportunity for local, up-and-coming entrepreneurs to try their hand at pitching to a group of well-known, and experienced Boston tech leaders.

Michael Skok, who gave the Shark Tank teams a private lesson of his 'Perfect Pitch' class a few weeks ago, was the moderator of the event and the board of judges consisted of some of the best mentors in the town: Maia Heymann of Common Angels, Scott Bailey of MassChallenge, Katie Rae of TechStars, and Ryan Moore of Atlas.

One of the best parts of the event had to be the constructive criticism and tidbits of advice on how the participants could improve their pitches from Katie Rae.

If there was a "winner" of the event, it would be photo enhancing app Pixtr, a MassChallenge finalist.

Aviv Gadot gave Pixtr's pitch, explaining that the app, "makes you photogenic." His demo, showing a before and after picture of his wife garnered a whole bunch of ohhh's and ahhh's from a crowd. The product transforms a picture by using face recognition, feature extracting, and feature proportions adjusting among other features.

Katie Rae responded to Gadot's pitch by telling him, "You will definitely get all the women in the room. However, she questioned whether they were "protectable," as far as their intellectual property and patents were concerned.

Maia Heymann added, "I downloaded the app yesterday and used it four or five times already."

Pixtr is definitely on the radar of many of the VC's in town, and seem like the perfect product to some day be acquired by the Twitters, Instagrams, or Apples of the world.

While all the pitches were great, some others that stood out were:

-Mino's very professional pitch for a "worn-out" sneaker sensor, which included an actual "Ask" for funding (one of the few teams to do so).

-Shareist's "All-in-One Content Marketing Platform," which was dubbed a "CMS for your CMSs" elicited a great comment on content from Ryan Moore who said, "Content marketing is the new ad unit, you are brain dead if you don't know that."

-SputnikBot's Timofey Malagin presented his company's programming teaching game for children and, while seeming a bit nervous, gave a great presentation of the MassChallenge company's game.

In the end, this event was one of the best gatherings of all types of companies from New England's tech/innovation ecosystem, with EnerNOC, New Hampshire's Dyn, CommonAngels, Rethink Robotics, LogMeIn, and many more all holding court at their respective booths.

Kudos to Apperian's Mark Lorion and MassTLC's Christine Nolan for putting on such an awesome event that should become a staple in the annual Boston tech/innovation calendar.

Dennis Keohane is a staff writer for VentureFizz. You can follow Dennis on Twitter (@DBKeohane) by clicking here.