Amid caviar, jazz music, and animated conversation, 16 Harvard Innovation Lab ventures presented their products and services to a packed house at the i-lab’s “Stand Up Start Up Showcase” Wednesday evening.
The showcase was held as part of Boston HUBWeek, a series of events throughout the Greater Boston area organized jointly by Harvard, MIT, The Boston Globe, and Massachusetts General Hospital.
HUBWeek, in its first year, organized events that reflect a diversity of ideas from art and technology to science and culture. According to i-lab managing director Jodi Goldstein, HUBWeek mimics what the i-lab does every day to “bring together all that is Harvard in a cross-disciplinary way” and produce “amazing” results.
“The best way to celebrate HUBWeek was to have a showcase of all the startups that are working out of the i-lab,” she said.
From a robotic hand to an athletic sensor to insect-based food, the startups were chosen to represent “a diversity of ventures, a diversity of schools, a diversity of stages of development,” according to Goldstein.
The event was open to both Harvard affiliates and the Boston community, though non-Harvard individuals were required to reserve tickets online. These tickets were sold out well before the day of the event, Goldstein said.
After Goldstein’s opening remarks, each participating startup presented its project. Attendees could follow up with specific start-ups at booths allotted to each group.
“Few communities care as much about stories, ideas, and start-ups as Cambridge does,” said Carolina Aguilar of Bounce Imaging, one of the startups at the showcase. The company sells a softball-sized throwable camera that transmits images taken with six separate lenses when thrown into hidden areas, which can be stitched into a single 360-degree image.
The product was conceived when company founder and Aguilar’s brother Francisco Aguilar ’05 visited Haiti in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake.
“We thought, ‘There has has to be a better way to look through the debris for people,’” Carolina Aguilar said.
She added that the i-Lab, through showcases such as these, “amplified” their story on social media, giving them increased exposure. Katherine M. Manzi ’15 of Artlifting, another venture at the showcase, echoed this sentiment, saying that these types of events were great at “getting your brand out.”Artlifting, which sells artwork made by homeless and disabled artists across eight different cities, is expanding rapidly and events such as the startup showcase are vital at this stage of the company’s development, Manzi said.
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