When you move to the U.S. and launch your new product in a city like Boston, you get access to a wonderfully involved, supportive startup community. One part of this community is a new product showcase called Mass Innovation Nights (MIN).
MIN is a monthly product launch party and networking event designed to connect startups and entrepreneurs with the local community who can then support them with social media visibility. Guests are asked to look for a cool new product, and then blog, tweet or Like the company. (Even if the guests aren’t involved with social media, they can still help spread the word by telling someone about the new products they saw.) Every month the event supports at least 10 new products. Last night, Smartick was part of the 90th event! (If you do the math, that’s more than 900 new products!)
Mass Innovation Nights are held at various locations around the Boston area, usually in partnership with one of the larger local technology companies. As a part of MIN90, the Smartick U.S. team got to visit the robots at the new Autodesk BUILD space in Boston! Autodesk’s Building Innovation Learning and Design (BUILD) Space is focused on new technologies that are changing the building industry. The BUILD Space brings together students, entrepreneurs, and researchers to explore new ways to make design and construction more efficient. The BUILD Space’s three floors include high-tech tools like laser cutters, a water jet, programmable milling machines, 3-D printers, and robots. Very inspirational for future engineers, designers and builders.
MIN allowed us to talk with dozens of parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and even a few teachers. All of them were very interested in how their kids (grandkids, nieces and nephews) could gain more confidence in their math skills, try new challenges or fill in the gaps in their math concepts knowledge. We also had some great conversations with people representing several local groups who might be interested in using Smartick with their constituents.
We were able to connect with other entrepreneurs and were particularly excited about products like the Jade Robots from Mimetics. The Jade Robots are designed to get kids excited about STEM, particularly girls, and increase their interest and engagement. The robots have a built-in user interface that allows experimentation, programming without the use of a computer or, for advanced activities, the robots can be programmed using Scratch and C via a Bluetooth interface.
Two student entrepreneurial groups from the Wentworth Institute of Technology’s Accelerate Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center were part of the MIN Student Startup Spotlight. It’s so good to see students starting their own ventures and getting a taste of the entrepreneurial life so young. One was called Peekseeq. Peekseeq is an online marketplace for sounds. Musicians can go to Peekseeq to find digital sounds, whether it is the sound of a drum or a cowbell. This allows them to create new sounds and musical compositions. The other startup, Varimold, allows builders to create cement structures in a variety of organic forms – including curved cement!
All in all, it was a great evening and a great opportunity to meet other local startup enthusiasts and entrepreneurs.
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