From a basketball-inspired math board game to early cancer detection software to wind turbines capable of withstanding gale force gusts, startups of every stock were on display at last night’s third annual MassChallenge Awards Ceremony.
It may have been the master of ceremonies, comedian and actor Orlando Jones, or the $1.1 million in cash awards—and more than $9 million of in-kind support—on the table, but the atmosphere within the packed Boston Convention & Exhibition Center Ballroom was rife with anticipation.
From a pool of 125 worthy startups, 26 were selected by a panel of expert judges to give a one-minute pitch to the eager crowd. Standouts included Lovin’ Spoonfuls, a non-profit seeking to stop hunger through the recovery and distribution of perishable and unserved foods; NBA Math Hoops, which promotes math literacy with the help of pro ballers; and BuysideFX, solving foreign exchange problems via smart automation (CEO Ty Danco illustrated this by suctioning a plunger onto his computer and waving it around).
There could be only four big winners of the evening, however—the $100K Diamond Winners. Taking home top honors were Global Research Innovation & Technology, RallyPoint, Strong Arm Technologies, Inc., and LiquiGlide—makers of the “super-slippery coating platform that will revolutionize the cosmetics and food packaging industry” and also entertain your eyeballs for the next 20 seconds.
The event showcased entrepreneurs of all varieties, from tech to education, healthcare to social enterprise, and lauded the innovative spirit of the Hub’s startup community.
“I congratulate this year’s winners and am proud to see their innovative new business ideas fueling our 21st century global economy,” said Governor Deval Patrick in a release. Patrick was also a keynote speaker at the ceremony in conjunction with Gerald Chertavian, founder and CEO of Year Up.
While Jones kept things mostly light—there were racial jokes (he is NOT Denzel Washington) and references to bedside tissues as the most efficient form of prophylactic—he also appeared genuinely humbled by the opportunity, often likening his early days as a writer on A Different World (an experience he dropped out of college to pursue) to the oft-turbulent waters traversed by so many startup owners.
For a complete list of all the MassChallenge winners, see below.
$100K DIAMOND WINNERS
$50K GOLD WINNERS
SIDECAR PRIZE WINNERS
The John W Henry Foundation: Prize for Social Impact
Lovin’ Spoonfuls Inc: $30K
NBA Math Hoops: $20K
Perkins’ School for the Blind: Assistive Technology Prize
Global Research Innovation & Technology (GRIT): $15K
VenCorps: Prize for Greatest Potential to Positively Impact the City of New York
Bounce Imaging: $10K