Enter the Boston Maker Movement – The Grommets 2nd Annual Product Pitch at Fenway
Do you know what a “Maker” is, or have you ever been to a “Maker Faire“? It might surprise you, coming from a technology blog in particular, that the story of the innovative startup founder is not the exclusive territory of the digital coder hacking away at dreams of glory. A Maker is an individual or small group that builds a physical, real-world product and often launches it into a startup business without the backing or even skills of an enterprise manufacturer. It’s the classic story that we frequently promote for the latest tech startup but the result is something tangible.
The maker movement is not a new or a small market. According to Jules Pieri, founder of The Grommet, there are over 135 million makers in the US who pump over $29 billion into the economy each year. It could range from your local artisan to a team developing their own robotics creation in the garage next door or perhaps even your latest attempt to build a better mouse trap. This trend has only recently been popularized by advancements in 3D printing, crowdfunding and, of course, ABCs hit show Shark Tank. It’s great to realize that the Boston-area is a growing hub for supporting the maker movement through companies like The Grommet and local custom marketplace CustomMade. It was also exciting to attend The Grommet’s 2nd Annual Product Pitch day at Fenway Park and see the best of mostly local companies pitch their latest projects.
The Grommet’s 2nd Annual Product Pitch day, in partnership with Boston.com and Indiegogo, was a “Shark Tank” style event where 8 finalists, crowdsourced from over 200 submissions, pitched their products to a panel of judges and the crowd. Instead of funding, the finalists competed for support from both The Grommet and crowd-funding partner Indiegogo in 2 categories. The Ready for Crowdfunding category featured 4 teams with very early stage products and The Ready for Market category included 4 other teams with products that were either in the market or almost released. Congratulations to GreenCycler for winning the Ready for Market category and Increment for taking the Ready for Crowdfunding category. I love a good startup pitch and it was great to see that the elements of a good pitch remain the same no matter what you are pitching.
I’ve listed out each of the 8 finalists below with links to learn more about them. Honestly, these were all great products but my personal favorite was the Litter One disposal kitty litter box. I think the price point might be an issue but the general concept of not having to clean a nasty litter box for the 81 million cat owners in the US is promising.
Check out pictures from the event and tag away if this is you. I only wish that I brought the Nikon and not only the iPhone.
Do you have an idea for the next great product? Why not get started on it right now and get ready to pitch at next years event? Thank you again to The Grommet for producing such a great event.
In the Ready for Crowdfunding Category
INCREMENT - Providence, RI – WINNER!
O-Rings: Sensory Learning Playthings
The O-Rings are a full-body, sensory learning toy for kids of all abilities to play together. They are a set of four stackable rings that differ in size, weight, density, texture, and color.
BRINGRR SYSTEMS LLC – Lowell, MA
Bringrr and BringTags
Bringrr is a patented car charger and reminder device that pairs with your smartphone and notifies when it is left behind after you start your car. BringTags are small, colorful, Bluetooth Low Energy beacons that can be attached to important items to be found, remembered, and managed through the Bringrr Apps which will be available on iOS, Android, Windows OS, and Google Glass.
DECZ LLC – Reading, MA
Do you need your outfit to coordinate from head-to-toe but it’s raining and your expensive rain boots just do not go with that great new jacket? Decz are a patent pending double-layer customizable rainboot that will allow you to swap and change the look of your boots on the fly.
LAURNIKA DESIGNS LLC - Dublin, CA
Tray Bien™ is a patent pending innovative design that allows travelers to consolidate all of their electronic devices into a caddy organizer and easily access them during the flight. Tray Bien can be affixed to the tray table and when deployed, function as a “workstation” where the traveler can easily use multiple devices and store a bottled or canned beverage.
In the Ready for Market Category.
ECOTONIX (GREENCYCLER)- Denver, CO – WINNER!
Compost Shredder is a cutting edge food scrap shredder and recycling system…a compost bin on steroids. Even the bravest of composting wannabe’s are quickly disgusted by smelly, moldy kitchen scraps containers. Now, this elegant appliance solves the universal problem that prevents folks from recycling food scraps: the ick factor.
REPEL GEAR, LLC – McKinney, TX
Repel Gear ACTIVE Series Seat Cover
Our ACTIVE Series seat cover is made of microfiber, which is super absorbent and perfect for automobile applications. It easily connects to the headrest of any vehicle to provide convenient, yet stylish protection from whatever life throws your way.
JUNEBERRY BAGS – Northampton, MA
A Juneberry Bag is a fun, versatile, and innovative handbag that lets your creativity and personality show! The focus is on versatility– and what woman doesn’t want that?
LITTER ONE – Columbus, OH
Litter One is the 100% biodegradable, completely self-contained, disposable litter system for cats. Each kit includes: litter box, pine pellet litter, scoop, and waste bags. Each kit lasts 4-6 weeks. The kit is delivered right to your door ready for use. All you need to do is open the box and set it out in the regular placement of the litter box.