CHEN and the City: College startups pitch off at 2015 #BeantownThrowdown

Entrepreneurs, Events, Innovation Posted Oct 16, 2015 by Carro Halpin

One of the reasons I wanted to start my career at CHEN is because of our connections to the local Boston technology and innovation community. The relationships an agency develops are their most valuable asset. Our partner, Chris Carleton sits on the board of directors for the MIT Enterprise Forum of Cambridge, which organizes a series of innovation event through the year. Last month we helped execute a sold out event, Fashion 4WRD: Revealing the Future of Design & Technology at the Museum of Fine Arts. It’s fun to break out of our usual high-technology client work and spend time the local media and professionals in-person.

Most recently several weeks of worked culminated with the third annual #BeantownThrowdown collegiate pitch off competition at District Hall in Boston’s Innovation District. The event was awesome. I would 100% attend in the future even if I was not working it.


CHENers with Katja Wald, Executive Director MITEF Cambridge

CHENers with Katja Wald, Executive Director MITEF Cambridge

The evening kicked off with a fireside chat about startups and innovation moderated by Scott Kirsner, Boston Globe Innovation Economy columnist, co-founder of Innovation Leader and a co-founder/curator of top events such as the Nantucket Conference and #Unpitch. The awesome panelists were:

+ Katie Rae: Managing director of Project 11, co-founder and chairman of Start-up Institute and chairman of Techstars Boston.

+ Tom Coburn: CEO of venture-backed marketing technology company, Jebbit, that earlier this year secured additional funding and moved into expanded offices to accommodate its next stage of growth.

+ Dip Patel: CEO of Ecovent Systems, the company that makes homeowners comfortable with the only complete room-by-room temperature control system. Ecovent won the inaugural #BeantownThrowdown competition in 2013 and closed a $6.9 million Series A round in July, led by Emerson Climate Technologies.

The panel was both smart and funny, making the crowd laugh and loosening up the students before their pitches. We are super appreciative they took the time out of their busy schedules to support the event and the participating teams.

Next, each team had three minutes to pitch their startup to the audience and one minute to answer questions from the panel of experts. Their presentations and ideas blew me away. The audience then had twenty minutes walk around the room and cast their vote for the winner using “MITEF cash”. And the winners were…

1st place: Babson College’s PICCPerfect, stylish medical products for people with chronic illnesses (Read more about them on BostInno).

2nd place: Wentworth Institute of Technology’s BARS, high quality therapy devices at affordable prices (Read more on BostInno).

3rd place: Northeastern University’s Knightly, a mobile safety network connecting college students and campus police (Read more on BostInno).

These three winning teams impressed me with their potential impact on people’s lives–making lives healthier and safer. I love seeing college students passionate about making the world a better place, not making money. Boston is the place for them to build their companies among a supportive, like-minded community. The winning teams will all receive prize packages from #BeantownThrowdown sponsors CHEN PR, Morse, Barnes-Brown & Pendleton, Coalition Workspace, getfused and Rough Draft Ventures that include in-kind legal and marketing services, office space, the opportunity to pitch for additional funding, and meet-and-greet meals with top local innovation media.

Top 3 winning teams
The other participating teams  in this year’s #BeantownThrowdown deserve to be recognized and I’m sure will do great things.

  • Bandpass, audience-controlled lighting and visuals—Berklee College of Music
  • Cogitr, an app that connects students and tutors—Boston College
  • Sub It, facilitates subletting for university students—Boston University
  • DoneGood, an app that makes it easy for you to find businesses you know you can feel good about supporting.
  • Intentiv Robotics, a drone cinematography system to execute complex aerial shots—MIT
  • Hive Labs, dedicated to the improvement and evolution of higher and secondary education through state of the art classroom management and collaboration technology—UMass Lowell

Stay tuned for updates from this year’s winners and more information on the 2016 #BeantownThrowdown.

Check out some of the social media coverage from the event below.