Start Me Up! Beantown Throwdown Rocks the HUBweek Dome

Entrepreneurs, Events, Innovation Posted Oct 16, 2017 by Chris Carleton

Entrepreneurism is thriving across our region’s college and university campuses.

Friday night’s #BeantownThrowdown – the Boston area’s top multi-school student company pitch-off – shined a spotlight on it.

Sponsored by the MIT Enterprise Forum of Cambridge, a dozen presenters took center stage in a HUBweek Dome on City Hall Plaza to promote their ventures.

Competing for bragging rights, thousands of dollars’ worth of prizes, and millions in ‘MITEFMoney investment’ from a standing-room-only crowd, Babson, Berklee, BC, BU, Brandeis, Harvard, Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (MCPHS), MIT, Northeastern, Tufts, UMass Boston and Wentworth all sent teams.

And when the dust had settled, WorkAround from Brandeis took home the gold.

Deftly pitched by Founder/CEO Wafaa Arbash, the startup’s providing an online platform that provides US companies in need of microwork with high quality, cost-effective and fast solutions by tapping the talents of the global refugee population. Here’s a piece from Brandeis’ student outlet, The Justice, with more about the company.

Katja Wald, executive director of the MIT Enterprise Forum of Cambridge, presents the Beantown Throwdown trophy to the 2017 winner, Wafaa Arbash, WorkAround founder and CEO

Hear Me Now from MCPHS finished runner-up. It’s developing a real-time app for translating text into American Sign Language using motion detection tech. MIT’s Infinite Cooling took third with a product that enables power plants – which account for 49% of total US freshwater withdrawals – to capture water vapor loss from cooling towers and reintroduce it back into their plants.

MCPHS’ Haar Me Now won second place.

It wasn’t a simple task for the audience to pick winners. Participating companies pitched a range of products and services: VR for use in training and product marketing; a device to improve the online clothes-buying experience; an app to improve how football teams practice; a platform to overcome the $11B lost in dental appointment cancellations every year. And going live this morning with its latest customer, UMass Boston’s Dumpster Club – a web-based dumpster rental marketplace for businesses and consumers.

MIT’s Infinite Cooling came in third place.

A special shout-out to our opening panel, too. Scott Kirsner, Woody Benson, Dave Balter and 2015 Beantown Throwdown winner, MightyWell Co-founder and CEO Emily Levy treated the crowd to advice, insights – and more than a few laughs – as they shared real-world stories providing a window into the low-lights as well as highlights startups face as they build their businesses.

Here’s a press release with more info on the event.

We’re already looking forward to next year!

Panelists (left to right): Emily Levy, Dave Balter, Scott Kirsner, Woody Benson