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  • Monday, March 09, 2015 12:00 PM | Danielle Festa (Administrator)

    Now in the final stages of finding funding and finalizing trials with a prototype in hand, last year’s Five-Minute Pitch winner Sano LLC is close to launching its chronic wound diagnostic product.

    “Has it already been a year?” asked Sano’s co-founder Paul Hayre. “We are pushing to close our first round of financing within the next month.”

    There is a substantial level of interest in his company, he said, because they have already conducted laboratory trials (on bovine enzymes) and a clinical trial (on actual human wound fluid), on their chronic wound diagnostic that measures wound biochemistry to help clinicians select treatments that speed healing and reduce treatment costs. The human trial, testing samples of human wound fluid from 20 patients, found their assay performed “terrifically well,” he reported. Additional trials will be conducted in collaboration with the wound clinic at UMass Medical in Worcester.

    Sano has also benefited from the New Venture Competition at the M2D2 Center at UMass Lowell, where it won in-kind sponsorship from M2D2 and Smith & Nephew, a global advanced wound care company; the Mass Life Science Center internship program, where they have hired clinical and strategic interns at local universities; and MassChallenge, where Sano was a 2014 finalist and Gold Prize winner. With appropriate funding, Sano is ready to approach the FDA and manufacture a prototype for use in clinical trials, he said. The first small-scale production will begin somewhere in greater Boston. The company also has the capability to develop a global supply chain within its board of advisors.

    “There’s great market interest in what we’re doing,” Paul continued. In today’s healthcare market, health providers are motivated to improve outcomes once a wound is diagnosed. Already in discussion with seven advanced wound care companies, the company is negotiating exclusive licensing agreements with two.

    In the weeks leading up to the Five-Minute Pitch Contest, Paul recalls with appreciation the feedback Sano was given by advisers assigned by The Venture Forum, including two attorneys at Wolf, Greenfield and pitch delivery consultant Paul Horn, as “we are always open to input on how to do things better.” With thanks to The Venture Forum experience, he concluded, “the opportunity to pitch before a large audience and an expert judging panel prepared us for our recent investor pitches.”

  • Friday, December 12, 2014 8:36 AM | Danielle Festa (Administrator)

    Miriam Kutcher of Miravan LLC, a presenter at the May 2014 TVF meeting on start-up manufacturing, launched a $50,000 Kickstarter campaign to begin manufacturing her Moozi baby-bottle prep machine. There’s still time – until December 13 – to help raise funds to bring to market her baby formula heater/dispenser system for 98 degree prep in under a minute. Find out more about the product at moozifed.com.

    “My bottle is raised to everyone who has taken a moment to pledge, share and promote Moozi to your networks and friends these last few weeks,” said Kutcher. “It's our final week to ask for your help. Thank you all for joining me on this adventure. The work continues as we plan for the Moozi debut in 2015.”

  • Friday, December 12, 2014 8:00 AM | Danielle Festa (Administrator)
    Drinkwell, which has a franchise model for local, low-cost production and sales of clean water in the developing world, was named a $100,000 diamond winner at the fifth-annual MassChallenge in Boston in October. The world's largest startup accelerator, MassChallenge awarded more than $1.75 million in grants and $10 million of in-kind prizes in 2014. Drinkwell was elected the 2014 Audience Choice award winner at The Venture Forum’s Five-Minute Pitch contest last March.

    Since 2010, the 617 startups accelerated by MassChallenge have raised $706 million in funding, generated $404 million in revenue and created 4,800 jobs.

  • Monday, September 22, 2014 12:00 PM | Danielle Festa (Administrator)
    David Brook, co-founder and principal of TVF sponsor Hamilton Brook Smith Reynolds, has received the distinction of Best Lawyers®2015 Boston Patent Law “Lawyer of the Year.”  A designation selected by peers within their field, Best Lawyers honors only a single lawyer within each practice area and community. Published since 1983, Best Lawyers compiles its listing from more than 5.5 million evaluations of lawyers by other lawyers. Brook joined HBSR at its founding 30 years ago.

  • Tuesday, March 04, 2014 11:35 AM | Danielle Festa (Administrator)

    Bounce Imaging, which is developing a rubber-coated ball with six wide-angle lenses for use in dangerous situations, has attracted attention and praise for its design since it won The Venture Forum’s Audience Choice award at last year’s Five-Minute Pitch contest. It received the Popular Science Invention Award last spring, had its chief commercial officer featured in Euromoney magazine, and was named a Coolest Tech Startup by Entrepreneur magazine at the January International Consumer Electronics Show.

    “We continue to push forward on development,” reported company co-founder Francisco Aguilar. “We’re working with police departments across New England and across the U.S.” They secured a round of seed funding last spring and are taking production through a lot of tests. The team added engineers and now numbers 15 people across three countries.

    Participating in the Five-Minute Pitch contest brought some “great exposure,” Aguilar said.  He recently spoke with members of an angel group who recalled his Venture Forum presentation.

  • Thursday, February 20, 2014 3:35 PM | Danielle Festa (Administrator)

    The poster winner from last year’s Five-Minute Pitch contest, Freight Farms, raised $1.2 million in Series A funding last December. The round was led by Morningside Venture Investments Limited, together with LaunchCapital and Rothenberg Ventures. Founder Brad McNamara says the Boston company is “moving right along,” scaling up manufacturing to meet national demand for their recycled shipping containers converted into intensive hydroponic farms.

    “We’ve validated a market that no one believed existed,” said McNamara in a recent telephone interview. His team has grown to 12 full-time employees, selling the boxy farms to a wide variety of food entrepreneurs. Market interest in locally grown, fresh, healthy food continues to rise, and Freight Farms’ core product, “Leafy Green Machine,” is backordered until May.  The 2014 model, with an improved light system, electrical design and software user interface, is shipping this spring.

    Freight Farms first pitched at the WPI Venture Forum back in January 2011 when it was United Hydroponics. In the one-minute spotlight, McNamara asked for $250,000 to build a prototype for his urban rooftop greenhouse.  A year later, he returned as Freight Farms, and the greenhouse concept had evolved into the high-yield food production shipping containers. 

  • Friday, February 14, 2014 3:29 PM | Danielle Festa (Administrator)

    The 2013 Five Minute Pitch winner, Trovare, Inc. is close to the production phase for its technology-enhanced silicone wristband that enables wearers to identify people nearby with similar interests. After an unexpected delay that required a mechanical redesign, the Cambridge-based company is back on track and has its first customers. It has also signed a licensing agreement with Fitbark, Inc., one of the most prominent startups in the wearable technology industry.

    Founder Fabrizio Filippini noted that The Venture Forum win last year gave him connections to a wonderful coach, Russ Schlossbach of Pitch Contest sponsor GesmerUpdegrove, who talked him through refinements to his presentation the night before the finals. Since then, the Amico bracelet has an expanded capability, allowing members to connect earlier, before they enter a gathering place such as a club or restaurant.

    “We still cannot believe that we won,” said Filippini. The first bracelets should be on customers’ wrists by mid-year, enabling them to meet new people in person, not just online.

  • Sunday, December 29, 2013 9:00 AM | Danielle Festa (Administrator)
    Chen Shen, Telegram & Gazette

    At the final round of presentations for the Venture Forum 2013 business-plan contest, Ailis Tweed-Kent and her partner Anh Hoang presented their business idea to an audience of 60 people including four judges. The two young women want to develop a new drug for osteoarthritis. 

    "We need five to six million dollars to start our business," Ms. Tweed-Kent said. She and Ms. Hoang, students at Harvard Medical School, were dressed in black suits, looking like two business school graduates interviewing for their first job. "The medicine still needs experimenting. We are planning to have animal tests next year. That is why we need that amount of money, and I think the same reason why most biotech startups would need lots of funds."

  • Thursday, November 21, 2013 4:29 PM | Danielle Festa (Administrator)

    September case study presenter Jordan Fliegel of CoachUp.com has received $6.7 million in Series A financing to expand the web presence of the online marketplace that matches athletes with private coaches.  As the Boston Business Journal noted, CoachUp will use the funding to expand beyond team sports to dance, yoga and fitness. CoachUp had previously received a $2.2 million seed round last November. The new round is co-led by Point Judith Capital of Boston and General Catalyst Partners of Cambridge and includes Kayak co-founder and CTO Paul English, Albert Dobron, managing director of Providence Equity Partners, Data Point Capital of Boston, Suffolk Equity Partners of Cambridge and Breakaway Innovation Group of Boston.  

    Read the full article here.

  • Wednesday, November 06, 2013 12:30 PM | Danielle Festa (Administrator)

    Governor Deval Patrick attended an official ribbon cutting for TechSandBox’s startup incubator in Hopkinton on November 5. While the organization, founded by TVF member and former board member Barb Finer, officially opened last April and moved to Hopkinton last August, the event affirmed the early success of the co-working space for science and technology entrepreneurs. Some 200 business leaders and politicians attended the event, where Gov. Patrick gave an address on ways his administration has supported the startup economy in Massachusetts during the past seven years. 

    Read the full article here.


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