June 12, 2014
Boston TechJam: Entrepreneurial Spirit at Its Best

I don’t know how big Mark Lorion and Christine Nolan thought this celebration of entrepreneurial success would get, but the two co-founders of Boston TechJam have to be thrilled at what they’ve built in just two years time. 

Thursday afternoon things kicked off at “The Pitch Heard ‘Round The World” at the Faneuil Hall Building, where six companies pitched their product to a room full of curious minds. Mixed in with the pitches were inspirational speeches from 5 highly successful Boston entrepreneurs – Richard Doyle, Harpoon; Brian Kalma, Blade; Andy Miller, Constant Contact; Susie Kim, Aquto; Donna Levin, 

The Tech Talkers stepped up to lend their advice and knowledge and share some key insights to their success. One unanimous piece of advice was to focus on people; build the right team for your company!

The six companies were narrowed by a neutral panel from a field of roughly 50 applicants, all of which were invited to participate in the pre-pitch training session. Lorion tells me many of those applicants took full advantage the opportunity and learned some key presentation points during the training. 

The startups certainly benefitted, especially the team of five girls from Winchester High School who confidently delivered their pitch. The founders of Time Out are taking on the concussion epidemic in sports with an app that quickly and easily provides baseline testing and enables coaches to know when and when not to allow a player back on the field of play. 

Following the contest the crowd moved over to City Hall Plaza where Mayor Marty Walsh had the honor of announcing the winner and runner-up. Time Out (closely supervised in and out of the 21+ boundaries) took home second place. Topping the competition was Sharalike, who makes it easy to organize your photos & videos coming from any device and turn them into beautiful animations in seconds.

I’m sure you’ll be seeing more from us about these companies, but do yourself a favor and get the scoop on each them from the TechJam Pitch Contest page

With the awards given out, the Mayor handed it over to Mark Lorion whose excitement was evident and his energy contagious. He formally kicked things off and made way for the bands. I got the chance to chat with Mark later on who asked if I could feel the energy too or if it was just him… “No, Mark, it’s not just you, the place is buzzin’!” 

The Harpoon beer tents had long lines. HR personnel were roaming for talent (and conveniently plenty of talent was roaming for recruiters). The sponsor tents had games, gadgets and demos, with plenty of curious eyes and competitive spirit surrounding them. I didn’t catch the first annual TechJam, but my guess is the exhibits in year two stepped it up a notch. I think there might be a competition for best competition brewing here.

Overall, Lorion, Nolan, the TechJam staff and team of volunteers have to be excited at what has certainly become a celebration of Boston’s entrepreneurial success and spirit. 

This festival of innovation brings together our high-energy inspirational community to one place to share that passion, celebrate past achievements and look forward to even greater success. And as we look forward to the 3rd Annual TechJam in 2015, we wish you all continued success. 

Josh Boyle is Director of Community & Marketing, VentureFizz.  You can follow him on Twitter: @jb_sid