Involution client Neumitra wins DEMO award for anti-stress product, Bandu

by Jon Follett

Big things are happening for Involution client, Neumitra, a Boston-based health startup on a mission to free the world of stress, one person at a time. Last week, at DEMO Fall 2012 — the conference for emerging technologies held at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, California — Neumitra launched Bandu, its ground-breaking product for stress monitoring and reduction. Bandu monitors your body's autonomic nervous system, alerting you to moments of high stress and providing personalized solutions and suggestions to help you reach a state of calm. At the conference, Neumitra won a coveted "DEMO gods" award, and was named by Tech Crunch as one of DEMO's most interesting startups.

Neumitra co-founder Robert Goldberg speaks about Bandu at the DEMO conference.

The deleterious health effects of stress are innumerable and under-appreciated: emotional and physical disorders linked to stress include everything from depression and anxiety to heart attacks and stroke. Bandu monitors your body’s stress levels via a watch-like device that measures a variety of metrics including skin conductance, movement, and temperature.

When you're in a stressful situation, the device alerts you, initiating actions via your iPhone to help mitigate the problem. Bandu might ask you to listen to music, play a game, or give a friend or family member a call. In addition, Bandu learns if the suggested activity lowers your stress and displays the results on your smartphone in real time. With Bandu, you can determine the sources of stress in your life and do something about it.

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Topics: Design, neumitra, RockHealth Boston, iphone, MassChallenge, health, News, DEMO, Blog, bandu, UX, devices, mobile, ui

Crowdfunding and Common Sense

by Jon Follett

On Thursday, the US Senate passed the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act (73-26), which allows start-up companies for the first time to solicit early stage investments from the general public. The Senate version added some protections and requirements to the original bill previously passed by the House on March 8. For instance, in the Senate version, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) will now have the authority to review and register Web sites that wish to act as start-up investment platforms. Start-ups can raise up to $1 million via this crowdfunding method, with individual investments limited to a range of $2,000 - $100,000, depending on annual income.

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Topics: investment, techstars, crowdfunding, kickstarter, MassChallenge, start ups, Ideas, Analysis, Blog, innovation

Discovering Boston Innovation, Globally

by Jon Follett

One of my all time favorite books on innovation and the ecosystems that support it is Richard Florida's "The Rise of the Creative Class". Using census and economic data, Florida examines the factors that make Creative Class jobs — in science, engineering, technology, architecture, and the arts — primary drivers for economic growth. He also identifies a number of Creative Class cities that have the right kind of assets — like a strong university system, technological infrastructure, and a tolerant culture — to attract talent and support this kind of economic activity. Boston, of course rates high in Florida's evaluation. And even though Florida published this book in 2002, I think the analysis holds true today: There's no question that Boston is a top-notch Creative Class city. What's most interesting, however, is how Boston, over the past few years, has gained recognition as a world class city for innovation.

A recent study published by The Economist ranked Boston as the 10th most competitive city in the world, out of 120 major cities examined. For the study, the Economist defined competitiveness as "the demonstrated ability to attract capital, businesses, talent and visitors." And last year, Boston ranked number one on the Innovation Cities Index.

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Topics: techstars, runkeeper, hubspot, web innovators group, MassChallenge, kiva systems, gazelle, Ideas, dogpatch labs, amazon, EMC, NextView Ventures, Analysis, Blog, pivotal labs, innovation, software

Risk Taking and Accelerating the Next Technology Revolution in Boston

by Jon Follett

Yesterday, the Mass Technology Leadership Council — which represents a wide range of Massachusetts industries, including energy, robotics, software, life sciences and healthcare — held its annual meeting at the Hyatt Regency in Cambridge. The event featured a keynote on the Council's vision for 2012, a comparative research report from the Mass Technology Collaborative, a state of the US economy from The Parthenon Group's Chief Economist Roger Brinner, and a fireside chat, featuring a colorful and candid interview with Intuit Chairman Bill Campbell by Fast Company founder Bill Taylor.

One of the themes to come out of the MassTLC annual meeting was the idea that, in order to drive innovation in the Boston area, we should encourage risk taking in the funding of new companies. While not all new companies will survive infancy, the odds are in our favor that one of the wild business ideas of today will not only survive, but thrive in a spectacular fashion. After all, it's no secret that Facebook began here, but was unable to put down roots. Today, Facebook is a dominating worldwide presence, but at the beginning, it needed nurturing and support. Making seed funding available to early stage companies is paramount to the Boston region accelerating as a hub of innovation.

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Topics: Tech Stars, Dog Patch Labs, MassChallenge, business incubators, MassTLC, Innovation District, start ups, News, NextView Ventures, Analysis, Fast Company, Blog, innovation