The rooms seemed a little less packed than usual at the 43rd WebInno, Monday. That could have been because it was the last night of summer, and the weather was flawless. Or it could have been because, for the first time ever, I arrived early–instead of having to elbow my way into the crush right before the presentations start.
Here are a few of the interesting companies and people I ran into. To start with, Elsen. This consumer fintech startup just named itself a few months ago and is near closing a seed round. Elsen is rules-based securities trading on mobile and it’s attracted the interest of a handful of angels, as well as at least one well-known, prolific Boston VC firm.
I can’t say more right now–except that when we do a Boston version of Chicago Inno’s “reject startup names” post, this company will get a spot. “Elsen” was the right move, guys.
While I was waiting for the crowd of would-be algorithmic traders to thin out around the Elsen table, I talked with J. Mark Inman, who’d come up to introduce himself to WebInno organizer David Beisel. Inman is helping organize a Boston chapter of HackerNest–a tech meetup that’s kind of a big deal in Toronto.
Anyway, next week they’re having their first Boston meetup, after a scouting visit that took place back in July.
Next I ran into Alex Coté, whose social-media filtering startup Cloze has gotten plenty of press as a free service. It’s about to roll out a paid premium version, he told me.
I talked with Coté and Lauren Creedon, who’s recently started doing some consulting work for The Boston Globe, helping them figure out how to make inroads (read: hire people) in Boston’s digital community. Lauren’s well-connected and smart, but the first thing the Globe needs is a real estate broker, so they can find a new headquarters. I know of only one person in digital who thinks cafeteria corned-beef hash is a selling point.
Laura Northridge of Constant Contact joined us briefly. She runs the Small Business InnoLoft, among other inno things at $CTCT, which might be the largest marketing tech company in Massachusetts. (Here’s a map of the rest.)
Here’s a picture I took, which Matt Lauzon photo-bombed. He was there to “unveil” Dunwello–a presentation I was a sorry to miss. I couldn’t stay for the main-dish demos.
I did catch a glimpse of one main-dish presentation, for something fairly uncommon at WebInno–a hardware startup. I’m also fairly certain no one has ever brought a door to a WebInno demo. In that I think KnocKey founder Matt Murphy was the first. Here he is (at right) with a prototype he was using in demos, Monday.
KnocKey hooks over the inside doorknob at your house. When you want to let someone in while you’re away, you use your phone to grant them 30 seconds’ access. They knock; KnocKey unlocks the door. It works over the Web: Nothing to install on the phone, nothing to install in your house.
I’ll leave you with a brief video of the product demo, during which background noise interfered with one of the KnocKey prototype’s critical functions.
All photos by Galen Moore.