April 28, 2014
TechStars Demo Day Boston

Lansdowne Street this morning wasn’t your typical scene.  There were plenty of ‘Teams’ around Fenway Park, but none were the Red Sox nor were they led by John Farrell or owned by John Henry.  However, there were many mentors, investors, entrepreneurial teams and future stars of the business world.

At 9:00 AM the House of Blues filled up with the Boston Tech & Startup community eager to learn more about the twelve promising companies coming out of TechStars

An emotional Katie Rae, one of the outgoing Managing Directors of the program, kicked things off and passed the baton off to the new managing team of Tuan Pham, Rohit Gupta and Seymon Dukach. The appreciation and admiration for Katie, Reed Sturtevant and Bob Mason was felt throughout the morning from all presenters and attendees. We are all looking forward to following their other ventures, while we anticipate the success of the new team in Boston. 

First out of the gate was ecoVENT, who gives you room-by-room control over your heating and cooling through a wireless system of vents and sensors. Dip, the CEO, walked us through their product and the impressive traction thus far, including 20 paying beta testers. ecoVENT not only seems to be a major luxury and convenience for your home, but also has a track record of saving 30% on your energy costs. 

Mapkin followed them with a presentation that included a video demo of their “richer GPS navigation experience.” The video was a nice touch, showing attendees exactly how their GPS is different from the typical turn-by-turn voice. From those I talked to, the “Landmark” feature was a standout differentiator. “Turn right at the Starbucks” – now you’re speaking our language! 

All twelve companies were quite impressive in their own right and you should check them out here, where you can see the team members and connect with them directly. It was great to see companies across a wide variety of industries and functions; Scoring system for “job fit,” T-shirts designed with content from your favorite book and a digital marketplace for sourcing global materials. There were also some exciting announcements made at Demo Day, including WorkMob who revealed a major partnership with WordPress. 

Three companies that really stood out to me personally were WOO, Refresh and HermesIQ

WOO, currently focused on kiteboarding, is quantifying action sports. The unobtrusive device that attaches to the board allows you to measure things like g-force and the height of your jump. No more debates among friends on who had the better airtime. Sentiment in the room was these guys are a perfect partner for GoPro. 

Refresh, who has a partnership with Brooklyn Boulders in Somerville, has created dispensers for consumers to get great tasting bottled drinks for less cost. These dispensers offer up several different flavors and allow you to refill your container. I enjoyed the lemonade…

HermesIQ is setting out to change the medical world by delivering and simplifying data for physicians. Ensuring important elements of a patient’s medical history are not overlooked. They announced a partnership with Plymouth Bay Medical Associates. 

All in all, TechStars Demo Day lived up to expectations with exciting products and big announcements.  We’ll do our best here at VentureFizz to keep you apprised of the progress as these companies take things to the next level. I certainly expect to see some big accomplishments out of this class and wish all of them Continued Success! 

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