Posts tagged mitx innovation awards

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MITX Innovation Awards Snippets

by Dave McLaughlin, Co-Founder & CEO of Vsnap 

A great night for the whole tech/creative community. Here are some of the highlights from the program.


That was the opening admonition from MITX President Debi Kleiman that started off the 2012 Innovation Awards program.


Debi followed that up by saying that the award plaques were still in a warehouse in Ohio, so her team had scrambled and were going to give out old school cheerleader megaphones to each of the winners. It was clever, fun-spirited, and captured the sense of community that was at the heart of the event. As well as the feeling that everyone was rooting for each other, and the idea that along with winning comes the responsibility to champion the community.


The awards were hosted by Jeremy Weiskotten of Terrible Labs (aka @doctorzaius and host of Scotch-O-Clock) who rocked a super-original, very funny riff in which he used 75 or so words that ended in “-ation.” Like, “Innovation is the salvation of our nation” and “any limitation is a figment of our imagination.”


That’s what I’m calling the voice-over guy whose disembodied voice read off the finalists, Oscar-style. Company name and product name. But for probably 75% of the finalists, those names were the same. So there was a lot of, “And the finalists are: Vsnap. Vsnap. Privy. Privy.” And so on. Pretty hilarious.

By the way, my personal favorite voice-over is the one on Frontline. (Okay, I love Ron Howard on Arrested Development too). And FYI, that actor who does the Frontline voice is based in Cambridge. Will Lyman. Maybe hire him next year? Not only is he an awesome performer with an instrument for a voice, I think it’s also very hard to imagine the whole room snickering at the Frontline guy.


I think everybody’s favorite part of the night had to be Bill Warner’s speech after being inducted into the MITX Hall of Fame. Here’s the audio for those who missed it.

Bill made this amazing statement that he invests only in intention. He actually finds looking at the product a distraction from his ability to understand a founder’s intention. He used the Declaration of Independence as an example of how powerful a statement of intention can be, how inspiring. To read more about Bill’s use of the Constitution as a metaphor for what happens with a startup, check out this post. And to learn more about his ideas about building your startup from the heart by checking out these videos here. (Thanks, Bobbie!)


Finally, props to MITX Chairman and Mullen CEO Joe Grimaldi, who got pretty damn fired up in the remarks he made before giving out the last few awards. The quote I liked was something like “The future of everything is starting right here in Boston. Just like it has in the past.”

Amen, Joe. Amen.

Huge massive congrats to the MITX team on a great night, and thanks to all of the sponsors. Congratulations also to all the winners, and to all of our fellow finalists. We’re really honored to be working alongside you in this amazing startup community.

And let’s none of us forget the words that framed this whole night: GO BIG!

(For a list of the evening’s winners, check out MITX’s Winners Circle.)

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Six Innovators in Customer Engagement

by Dave McLaughlin, Co-founder and CEO of Vsnap

Last week, Vsnap was named a finalist for a MITX Innovation Award in the category “Best Customer Engagement Driver”. This feels like more evidence that folks are excited about our vision of companies communicating with customers in a way that for recipients feels more human, but for businesses is still very easy. We are really honored to be included, especially because MITX had a record-breaking number of entries this year

Here’s BostInno’s list of all finalists in all categories. And below are my quick capsule summaries of the six great finalists in our category and what our companies do. I’ve taken the language from their sites and kept my own paraphrasing to a minimum. 

·      Affinova enables innovative organizations to drive better ideas to market faster. “Our technology searches the space of viable options to find the top concepts, benchmarketing them against active competition.”

·      HubSpot All-in-One Marketing Software gives you all the tools to make marketing that people will actually love. Create content that helps you get found, convert, analyze and integrate.

·      SnapApp makes it easy for brands, publishers and agencies to foster conversations across the web, social and mobile. Create interactive, rather than static, content such as surveys & polls, sweepstakes, and quizzes that can be shared on any platform.

·      TalkTo’s value proposition is this: “Text any business and get on with your day.”

·      WordStream’s vision is to help SMBs and their agencies leverage the power of search marketing for customer acquisition at lower costs.

·      Vsnap makes it easy to send short video messages as a more personal alternative to email. Users engage their recipients more deeply and drive behavior at much higher levels. Vsnap recipients take action up to 41% more than email recipients.

At a high level, I see the category dividing into two buckets. 

·     Content / Search

Broadly speaking, Affinova, HubSpot, SnapApp and WordStream are making it easier for their clients to create results via improved content and search.

 ·    Direct Communication

TalkTo and Vsnap are making it easier for businesses and customers to communicate directly with each other.

I think that’s actually a pretty interesting slice, but I want to be sure to point out that within those buckets there’s a ton of differentiation. These are awesome companies, and we’re really proud to be considered alongside them. What’s more, we’re looking forward to meeting those teams and lots of other folks at the MITX Awards shindig on June 12!

You can get your tickets here. And be aware: the early bird price expires on May 11.

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