After Building Up The Neighborhood MassChallenge Priced Out Of Boston’s Innovation District

MassChallenge, Boston startups, Innovation District, Accelerator
Although the news may not be good for MassChallenge, the fact that they have been priced out of their own neighborhood is actually a testament to the success the accelerator/incubator program has brought to Boston. Many in Boston’s Innovation District believe without MassChallenge there would be no district.

According to, one of the country’s biggest and most successful accelerators needs to be out of their 14th floor space at One Marina Park Drive on Fan Pier by next July.

masschallengelogoMassChallenge is currently housed in prime real estate in the heart of what’s now known as the Innovation District. The area got its name from the startups and young entrepreneurs it attracted to the area, many of which were part of the MassChallenge program. Since 2010 MassChallenge has consistently helped over 100 startups a year through their program. Many of them choosing to stay in the Innovation District to grow their companies

MassChallenge has about 25,000 square feet at their current location, which they were able to stay in rent free.

“We’re basically like a marketing amenity for the building,” MassChallenge founder John Harthorne told

Since they moved in three years ago Enernoc, Goodwin Proctor, and Battery Ventures have signed leases in the same flagship building. Countless smaller startups have taken up space in the surrounding neighborhood.

Now, with all of these startups and companies moving into the area because of the groundwork that MassChallenge has laid, the owner and developer feels like he can attract a paying tenant to the same space.

While Harthorne wants to remain in the Innovation District, he’s not worrying about the accelerator having a roof over its head. They are currently in negotiations for a possible spot at Landmark Center near Fenway Park and the Bronstein Center, also in Innovation District. Both landlords see the value in having MassChallenge as a tenant, so they are also offering free rent.

“We’re kind of torn,” Harthorne says. “We love the Innovation District, but Landmark is close to the medical center, which is a thriving area of the city. Our current lease is up in July of next year, and so we do need to do something ahead of next year’s program. We’re eager to make a decision really soon,” he says.

They expect to announce their decision at the October 30th awards ceremony for this year’s class.

Find out more about MassChallenge here.



MassChallenge Startup ZoomTilt Announces New Analytics Product

Zoomtilt, MassChallenge, TechstarsAnna Callahan is a bad-ass startup chick. First she was a hackstar for Techstars Boston, but she got the startup bug herself and decided to apply to Boston’s other mega-huge startup accelerator, MassChallenge. It was there that she grew her startup ZoomTilt, which was named a finalist in last year’s MassChallenge program.

But what is ZoomTilt?

Well, think 99designs for film. Callahan loves film making; in fact it was reading a script while working as a Techstars hackstar that made her decide to take the plunge and launch her own innovative idea. The idea: link filmmakers to people who want to build a brand using short films, mini TV shows if you will.  If you’ve got a brand and want to see film and TV stars in a video featuring your product, ZoomTilt is the answer. If you want to have an engaging YouTube miniseries or Facebook page video series that highlights your brand, ZoomTilt is the answer.

Callahan tells Nibletz that they’ve got hundreds of filmmakers waiting for the chance to work on your brand’s short video project. By leveraging the talent and creativity within their network ZoomTilt is able to offer unparalleled engaging video marketing solutions without a gigantic budget.

Callahan joined forces with cofounder Chris Bolman and ditched their first name, CrewTide, which Callahan says made people think they sold nautical supplies. Then they hunkered down over the summer as one of the 125 startups in MassChallenge and emerged as a finalist.

On Wednesday Zoomtilt announced ZoomTilt Analytics. It’s the first of its kind A/B testing platform for video.“The information our analytics will provide for brands, agencies, media companies, and content creators will allow [them] to make better audience targeted content, quickly identify areas to improve upon allowing for [their] videos to be more effective, engaging and shareable,”  Bolman said in a statement.

zoomtilt1 ZoomTiltanalyticsscreen

The software allows for the online video marketing community to lessen the pressure to create a video that will “go viral” and increase their video marketing return on investment (ROI). ZoomTilt Analytics makes this possible by generating fast feedback directly from target audience members.

Callahan adds: “When using video on the web, [advertisers] must create entertainment – too much money is spent on videos that get low viewership and have no impact. Our analytics tools help you understand which of your videos really engages your target audience. With this you can make better decisions about which videos are right for you to promote.”

ZoomTilt has been helping brands obtain affordable, crowdsourced content from independent filmmakers since early 2012. Besides being a 2012 MassChallenge finalist, they were also members of the 2013 Betaspring class and participated in the 2013 SXSW Interactive Accelerator, where they were featured as a finalist in the entertainment and gaming industry.

You can check out the ZoomTilt dashboard here.


Now read what Drive Capital’s Mark Kvamme thinks about the Brandery.


MassChallenge Startup Recovers.Org To Aid In Oklahoma Tornado Relief, Boston startup,MassChallenge,startup news, Oklahoma TornadoTwo sisters, Morgan O’Neill and Caitria O’Neill took a tornado ripping through their hometown of Monson Massachusetts in June of 2011 as a signal for a call to action. The sisters began working on a startup called that makes disaster response smarter by providing easy to use software that empowers communities to prepare together, mitigate risk and locally match resources.

They aren’t the only members of the team that have come face to face with natural disasters. The startup’s CTO Alvin Liang grew up in Norman Oklahoma which is close to Moore where the tornado touched down on Monday.

The company, which can put together a site, when disaster strikes in less than two hours, went through the MassChallenge program last fall and graduated with a $50,000 “gold” win just a week before got a huge chance for real life case study in Hurricane Sandy.

Now the Boston Herald reports that Morgan O’Neill along with Liang and Chief Operating Officer Chris Kuryak are headed out to Oklahoma where they will spend several days teaching residents how to operate their relief website.

“Our mission is to facilitate local recovery,” O’Neill, told the Herald. “We can give them tools and institutional knowledge we have and they use their expertise in their own community to put themselves back together.” has already seen 1500 volunteers sign up through their Moore Oklahoma website. During the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy the startup saw 30,000 volunteers sign up using their platform.  Hurricane Sandy spawned several sites including;,, and

Everyone is accustomed to the Red Cross springing into life when disaster strikes. Typically, within hours, others try to launch informational sites, volunteer sites and fundraising campaigns. With already in place it allows people in disaster affected areas to concentrate their efforts on recovery knowing that the infrastructure is already in place through

While no one wants to find themselves the victim of a natural disaster, the fact that the team has been through disasters of their own gives them “street knowledge” or the benefit of actually going through a disaster, and experiencing not only the recovery but the emotion as well.

You can find out more at

In the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings, Paul Graham turned to Watsi, and then joined their board.




photo: Boston Business Journal


Techstars Hackstar Launches Her Own MassChallenge Startup ZoomTilt, 99Designs For Video

ZoomTilt,Boston startup,MassChallenge,TechstarsAnna Callahan is a Techstars hackstar turned startup founder who went through Mass Challenge. With all that startup pedigree we know her startup ZoomTilt is already destined for success. The magic comes into play now that they’ve completed MassChallenge and were named a finalist.

But what is ZoomTilt?

Well think 99designs. Callahan loves film making, in fact it was reading a script while working as a Techstars hackstar that made her decide to take the plunge into launching her own innovative idea. The idea, link filmmakers to people who want to build a brand using short films, mini tv shows if you will.  If you’ve got a brand and want to see film and tv stars in a video featuring your product, ZoomTilt is the answer. If you want to have an engaging YouTube mini series or Facebook page video series that highlights your brand, ZoomTilt is the answer.

Callahan tells nibletz in an interview that they’ve got hundreds of film makers waiting for the chance to work on your brands short video project. By leveraging the talent and creativity within their network ZoomTilt is able to offer unparalleled, engaging video marketing solutions without a gigantic budget.

So after joining cofounder Chris Bolman, and ditching their first name, CrewTide, which Callahan says made people think they sold nautical supplies, they hunkered down over the summer as one of the 125 startups in MassChallenge and emerged as a finalist.

We got a chance to talk with Callahan about ZoomTilt, in what’s been one of the wittiest, fun and creative interviews to date. Here it is:

Read More…

MassChallenge Startups Have Created Thousands Of Jobs

MassChallenge,job creation,startups,startup,Boston startupMost people feel that the most important factor of the innovation and startup buzz is job creation. Startup America is one of the biggest proponents of startups leading to job creation. Most startup incubators and accelerators across the country pride themselves on preparing startups for job creation. One of the nation’s largest startup accelerators, MassChallenge, has been doing just that, creating jobs.

In a report with an accompanying infographic by Analogue Studio, MassChallenge has released their job creation figures over the last three years. The number is incredible.

According to their data, MassChallenge has created 2,912 new jobs. As MassChallenge reports, and we agree, these are “high impact” jobs. We’re not talking about the kind of jobs your neighborhood franchise entrepreneur is creating. MassChallenge startups are creating programming jobs, marketing jobs, business development jobs and more.

To date the 2010 MassChallenge class has created 1,060 new jobs. The 2011 class has created 1148 jobs and the 2012 class is well on their way having already created 704 jobs and the class hasn’t even been over for a month.


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$1.1 Million Awarded To 18 Startups In MassChallenge Awards

MassChallenge, the largest accelerator program in the world, celebrated their awards dinner for their most recent session in Boston Tuesday night. The dignitaries, entrepreneurs, celebrities and investors that filled the Boston Convention and Exhibit Center were there to see the best of the best of startup innovation coming out of the program that’s gone on to produce hundreds of millions in follow on funding and exits.

The 18 startups that received cash awards were narrowed down from a field of over 1200 applicants and then a pool of 26 finalists.

The four startups that won the diamond award of $100,000 each were:

Global Research & Innovation Technology


Rally Point

Strong Arm Technologies.

12 gold winners took home $50,000 cash prizes each and they were:

Bounce Imaging

Coach Up

Guided Surgery Solutions

Lab Automate Technologies

Ministry Of Supply

Nordic Technology Group


Dynamo Micropower

Integral Research

Lovin Spoonfuls

NBA Math Hoops

Ten startups were selected to stay on with free office space until next years class arrives in May.

In addition to those prizes directly from MassChallenge and it’s supporters, there were several community awards given out as well. Lovin Spoonfuls and NBA Math Hoops were the recipients of the $30,000 John W. Henry foundation prize for social impact.

Global Research Innovation won an additional $15,000 Perkin’s School For The Blind Assistive Technology Prize. PlenOptika won $10,000 as part of the same prize.

Rainbank and Bounce Imaging were recipients of a $15,000 prize from VenCorps for the greatest potential to positively impact New York City.

125 of the startups selected from the original 1237 applicants were part of the four month accelerator program. A round of judging narrowed those 125 startups down to the 26 that were competing Tuesday evening.


Source: Boston Herald

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MassChallenge Reveals Final 26 Startups Of 2012

MassChallenge,Accelerator,startup,startups,startup contest,Boston startupsMassChallenge, the world’s largest global startup accelerator competition announced the final 26 startups that will compete before the judges. The 26 startups will pick between 10 and 20 startups who will be announced at MassChallenge’s high profile awards ceremony event on October 23.

This year’s MassChallenge competition opened up on March 1st and attracted 1,237 applications from 35 countries and 26 U.S. states. From there 125 startups were chosen to participate in MassChallenge’s 3 month accelerator program. The accelerator program offered the startups free office space, access to resources and one of the best mentor networks in the world.

All 26 startup teams will have one minute each to pitch their startup to over 1200 attendees at the awards ceremony. The stakes are high, with over $10,000,000 in prizes with no strings attached. There will be over $1,000,000 in grants awarded and $9,000,000 worth of in-kind benefits.

Unlike many other accelerators, the entire MassChallenge program is non-equity based, meaning that participating companies, and companies that receive monetary awards, give up no equity.

Here are the 26 startups:

Akrivis Technologies

Black Island Wind Turbines

Bounce Imaging


Capital Market Exchange (CMX)

Cellanyx Diagnostics


Dynamo Micropower

Global Research Innovation & Technology (GRIT)

Guided Surgery Solutions

HelmetHub Corporation



Lab Automate Technologies Inc


Lovin’ Spoonfuls Inc

Ministry of Supply Inc.

NBA Math Hoops


Nordic Technology Group (NTG)



Strong Arm Technologies, Inc.

Ubiqi Health

WindGap Medical Inc.

MassChallenge features top notch judges from the Boston tech community and from around the world. This years judges are:

Colin Angle

Co-Founder, CEO and Chairman of the Board, iRobot

Sam Bastia

Global Strategy Executive, Verizon Communications

Josh Boger

Founder and former CEO/Chair, Vertex Pharmaceuticals

Desh Deshpande

Serial entrepreneur and mentor, Chair A123 Systems

Paul English

Founder & CTO,

Corinne Grousbeck

Brand Strategist & Advisor at Gemvara

Wyc Grousbeck

CEO, governor, and co-owner of the Boston Celtics

Jamie Kiggen

President, Riverside Company

Jit Saxena

Founder and Former CEO, Netezza

Niraj Shah

CEO and Co-Founder, Wayfair (formerly CSN Stores)

Amy Stursberg

Executive Director, Blackstone Charitable Foundation

Mike Wilens

Special Advisor, Senior Fidelity Management

“Over 400 entrepreneurs from across the globe came together in the Boston Innovation District to address some of the world’s most challenging problems together with the tremendous resources in the Boston startup community,” said MassChallenge Chief Mentorship Officer Karl Büttner. “MassChallenge 2012 represents another great example of the growth, energy and excitement that can only be produced through collaboration. It is truly inspiring to work closely with the hundreds of MassChallenge mentors and judges who volunteer their time, effort and advice to help the 125 MassChallenge startups grow.”


Find out more about MassChallenge here

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7 Tips For Pitching At A Startup Accelerator Demo Day Everywhere Else

It’s Investor Day/Demo Day season across the country. We’ve got Brandery’s demo day in Cincinnati in two weeks on October 3rd. RevTech in Charlotte’s demo day is also October 3rd. MassChallenge has a class graduating soon, and so do many more.

Here at nibletz, the voice of startups “everywhere else” we attend a lot of demo days and we get asked for feedback by lot’s of startups. So here we’re going to show off some pitch videos from investor/demo days and share what we personally like to see. Of course take our advice however you’d like.


Product Product Product

Product is the most important thing at Demo Day, at least in my opinion. We’re going to go out on a limb here and assume that a business plan, pitch deck or wireframe is what brought you to the accelerator in the first place. Now you’ve completed a three month accelerator and received a decent amount of seed funding. I don’t care what the reason, you better have a product. The accelerator staff may blow smoke up your ass but if I personally had given you the seed money, and I don’t see a product, youre going to be cutting my grass for many years to come.

Enough on the startup lingo

The point of the three month accelerator was not to hear about minimum viable products, bandwidth, game changing, disruption or that you’re a change agent. I also don’t want to hear “at the end of the day”. Truth be told most investors know the buzzwords and it’s often times a BS alert in the pitch, either that or a crutch. So at the end of the day those investors are going to go home to their families without investing.

Statistics are as boring as your statistics class

I love startup pitches on investor day that use real world examples of problems and not a hodge podge of statistics and a boat load of slides to show them. Remember that you rattling off statistics is nothing more than you rattling off statistics. Use your key statistics in nice colorful charts, leave them up for a few seconds but I’m sure you have your pitch deck in an emailable file or better yet on slideshare. If someone is jonesing to see all your stats, follow up later. Don’t put anyone to sleep

Growing organically and virally in the first year and making revenue in the second year

This is absolutely NOT a viable go-to-market strategy. We, and of course investors, want to know where your revenue is going to come from, the first year. In fact they want to know where your revenue is going to come from tomorrow. I don’t care what you told yourself in the mirror this morning, chances are very high that you’re not the next Kevin Systrom.

Stealth Mode

If you’re a nibletz reader you know we hate stealth mode, it’s bull shit. Somebody else already has your idea, it’s about execution and product not about keeping secrets. Now at investor day/demo day all of your cards should be on the table. If you’ve got a video capturing app and more features coming that are in stealth mode, why aren’t they in the product now. Perhaps you should have spent less time playing foosball and more time working on the product.

You can’t listen if you don’t stop talking

Whether you’re in a Q&A session right after a pitch, or fielding questions at a booth or in the crowd after the event, you can’t listen if you don’t stop talking. A lot of people are going to tell you what a great job you did. Take those compliments in stride. But when it comes time to answer questions, answer them concisely, and quickly. If you don’t understand the question, let the person asking it know that, they’ll respect you more. If an investor asks you something and you don’t know the answer to it, tell them it’s a really good question, jot a note down and either research the answer on your iPhone or with your team and get back to them that night, or follow up.  If you bullshit they’ll smell it.

Don’t forget personality.

There’s a good chance that you were picked for the accelerator not because your ticket selling app was going to take on Ticketmaster and Live Nation, but rather because the board liked you, or your personality. Don’t forget to interject some of that in your pitch.

And now a video…

This is Banyan, they won a $100,000 in the GigTank challenge which was an investor day challenge for the Gig Tank accelerator in Chattanooga.  Here’s why I love this pitch.

– First off I’m not big into the product I’m not sure how big the market is. It’s a collaborative research tool, it’s a great concept but again there’s not a huge market and researcher’s aren’t the best at sharing. That’s not the point though. I thought Toni Gemayel had a great pitch.

– Banyan had a product. Banyan was up and running and had been thoroughly tested

– Gig Tank’s theme was literally “high bandwidth” startups. The accelerator was built around Chattanooga’s 1Gb fiber. Researchers who use Banyan have to transmit enormous amounts of data. Gemayel conceptualized this by saying if a researcher wanted to send 2 terrabytes of data from Stanford to the UK under traditional bandwidth constraints it would be quicker to get on a plane and fly there.

– Banyan offered several plans at making money immediately, not two years down the road.

– Finally, Gemayel had everyone laughing with a really small joke at the end of the presentation. Watch the video to see it.

Boston Startup: Abroad101 Moves Out Of The Nest INTERVIEW

Back in April we reported on an innovative EdTech startup in Boston called Abroad101. Abroad101 is like a travelocity of sorts for those students looking to study abroad.

Abroad 101 allows users to review just about every aspect of a study abroad program. With the real feedback from students who’ve been through the study abroad programs, you can find out how the teaching staff and curriculum are, how the shopping in the city is, how the nightlife is and even if it’s safe to walk from the car to the classroom by yourself at night. The idea behind Abroad101 was an untapped space and the Boston company and MassChallenge graduate are doing a great job of filling it.

So great in fact, it’s time to leave the safety and security of the MassChallenge nest and branch out on their own.

We got to talk with the guys from Abroad101 about just that, see the quick interview below the break

Read More…

Mass Challenge Announces 125 Startups In Third Session

MassChallenge kicked off the week by announcing the 125 startups that have been chosen to participate in it’s third edition of their accelerator program/competition. MassChallenge is the largest accelerator competition on the east coast.

This years class of 125 startups includes 90 startups from the Boston area, with the other 35 coming from all over the country.

There are 46 tech startups, 25 social startups, 21 in bioscience and life science, 11 in clean tech and energy and 22 in miscellaneous categories.

Here is the complete list.

Energy & cleantech

  • Arbsource
  • Black Island Wind Turbines
  • Bootstrap Compost
  • Dynamo Micropower
  • HydroConfidence, Inc.
  • Invisergy
  • NBD Nanotechnologies
  • RainBank Inc.
  • Solar Tri-Gen
  • TireTech
  • Zagster


  • Bio-Fiend
  • CrewTide
  • Cryoocyte
  • Fetch Storage
  • FX Aligned
  • GG’s Originals
  • HelmetHub Corporation
  • LiquiGlide
  • LittleBonsai, LLC
  • Memory on Hand
  • Ministry of Supply Inc.
  • Modalyst
  • Pegasus Performance
  • Roammeo
  • RouteSprout
  • Strong Arm Technologies, Inc.
  • Sweet Corn Tortilla Chips Inc
  • TableZest
  • Te Tama
  • Zoora

High tech

    • 42stats
    • A.I.type Ltd.
    • Akselos
    • Appsembler
    • Atomic Tower, Inc.
    • Bottol
    • Bounce Imaging
    • Calcbench
    • Capital Market Exchange (CMX)
    • Citybot, Inc
    • CoachUp
    • Delightfully
    • docTrackr
    • Dpicd
    • Drones For Peace
    • FansFave
    • Fantasy Politics
    • HandyBook
    • iAgree
    • IntegralReach
    • Kahnoodle Inc
    • Kanopy
    • Kernel Corp. LLC
    • Klypper Inc.
    • Lifeables
    • Magru
    • MegaMIMO
    • Mindcrimp
    • MOVL
    • Nordic Technology Group (NTG)
    • Nsyrt Corporation
    • pymetrics
    • Recruiterbox
    • Schmooze Butler
    • Securigin Inc.
    • SocialMadeSimple
    • Stable Solutions
    • STUI
    • Texifter, LLC
    • Tomorrowish
    • ToolSense
    • TripReactor (formerly WaySavvy)
    • Veenome
    • Vsnap
    • Wanderu

Life sciences & health care

  • Akrivis Technologies
  • Automated Medical Instruments, Inc.
  • CardioWave
  • Cellanyx Diagnostics
  • eTransitions
  • Guided Surgery Solutions
  • Imagnus Biomedical
  • Ionu Biosystems
  • iSpecimen
  • Lab Automate Technologies Inc
  • Nanoly Biotech
  • Neumitra
  • Noor Pharmaceuticals
  • OnDeckBiotech
  • PhotOral, Inc.
  • Quantamerix
  • Sextant Therapeutics Inc
  • Ubiqi Health
  • Vaxess Technologies
  • WindGap Medical Inc.
  • Yosko

Social impact

  • ArtPulse
  • Design Museum Boston
  • EcoValuePoints
  • Freight Farms
  • Global Research Innovation & Technology
  • Gradeable
  • IoVista
  • Lovin’ Spoonfuls Inc
  • LuminAID Lab
  • Market Publique
  • Native Brain
  • NBA Math Hoops
  • Persistence Plus
  • Prepmatic
  • Prime Student Loan Guarantor Corp.
  • Project Dots
  • RallyPoint Networks, Inc.
  • RetiCue
  • SilviaTerra
  • Soundfest, Inc.
  • Spill
  • TinkerStories
  • Zimba

MassChallenge has been the catalyst for growth for lots of great startups. We recently interviewed Brass Monkey, a MassChallenge startup at TechCrunch Disrupt NY 2012 last week.  Good luck to all 125 startups from “everywhere else”.


Source: Boston Business Journal

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Boston Startup: Brass Monkey Is A Fun Interactive Mass Challenge Grad VIDEO INTERVIEW

We found an awesome startup out of Boston Massachusetts called Brass Monkey. In addition to having an uber cool name the technology is cool, innovative and fun, a definite recipe for great success.

Brass Monkey allows the user to play fun, interactive games on their computer’s monitor or any other monitor with a browser, using their iPhone as a controller. The iPhone controller utilizes all the sensors in the iPhone to create an interactive experience. In the demo video below we check out a golf game, similar to Wii Golf, that allows you to use the iPhones motion sensors to control the iPhone like a golf club.

There are currently 10 games available. Brass Monkey has a free SDK for developers who are interested in developing games on their system.

Brass Monkey is a recent graduate of the Mass Challenge program, which they credit as a large part of their success thus far.  They also received a $750k round of funding in January of this year which included the co-founders of Kima Ventures, Jeremie Berrebi,  David Beyer, CEO of, Founder and Managing Director of Boston Seed Capital Nicole Stata, and more.

Check out the video below: