Somerville-based Pillar Technologies, along with California environmental startup Opus 12, won the for-profit track of Forbes’ Change the World Competition at the Under 30 Summit. Both ventures took home $425,000 in funding and grants. Pillar, born out of Wentworth Institute of Technology, is bringing IoT and data analytics to the construction industry.
Ashton Kutcher and Guy Oseary, co-founders of Sound Ventures, as well as Peter Boyce, principal at Rough Draft Ventures, served as judges for the competition.
“We have to assess people really fast… that’s the best indicator,” Kutcher told the audience before the pitching commenced. He added that one of his key questions when investing is if he would be willing to work for the founder.
Oseary mentioned he wanted to see new ideas and “not an ‘Uber of’ or ‘Airbnb of.'”
Forbes reports more 1,000 startups applied to pitch at the Summit. The list went to Boston College for selection of the semifinalists and eight ventures gave 60-second pitches to kick off the competition Monday, vying for a chance to move on to the next round. Three of those startups advanced, with two other companies that were preselected joining them.
While Pillar and Berkeley, Calif.-based Opus 12 took home the top prizes, here were the other for-profit finalists that competed in the Change the World Competition at the Under 30 Summit. Spoiler Alert, based in the Boston area, was on that list.
- Blavity: A digital media company for black millennials.
- KUDZOO: An app that incentivizes students to earn good grades, giving them discounts at stores and eateries when they do well in school.
- ResSpot: A network of global emergency phone numbers, which, paired with an app, lets people directly contact first responders.
- Spoiler Alert: An digital service that helps restaurants manage food surplus and prevent waste.
- Twine Labs: An online network that lets employees find new job opportunities within their own companies.
- University Beyond: A marketplace where companies can find college students to be their brand ambassadors on campus.
- Wyzerr: A service that allows companies to bring AI and gamification to their market research.
- Slice Capital: A network of pre-vetted startups where anyone can directly invest in ventures, index or VC funds themselves.