Three Schools, Three Startups: Boston Buzzing with Business Plan Finalists

4/30/13Follow @gthuang

If you try to keep up with all the business-plan contests and student startup competitions in the Boston area, you will go mad.

I’m making the rounds this spring, but I won’t be able to write about everything I see (or even most things). Instead, here’s a snapshot of three companies/teams that happened to grab my attention today, from different schools.

One company has won its competition, but the other two are probably not the eventual winners (I have no inside information to divulge, and I don’t know much about their business prospects). They just struck me as intriguing ideas for companies. And together, they span the fields of healthcare, energy, hardware, and analytics/software.

Without further ado:

—At Harvard Business School’s New Venture Competition, which has its final pitch event later this afternoon, one of the eight finalists is Sensible Baby. Sure, I like the name, but beyond that, the technology seems pretty useful: sensors to monitor things like babies’ movements while they sleep, to make sure the infant is breathing OK and is not stuck on its stomach, say. (New parents are so sleep-deprived and paranoid, they’re likely to try anything if it works.)

—In the competition for MIT’s Clean Energy Prize, which will be awarded on May 6, one of the semifinalists is Bit Harmonics. This company combines two cutting-edge markets: home energy monitoring and elder care. Using analytics and machine learning, the firm’s software tries to figure out how energy is being used (not just how much) and makes recommendations for better device interactions and home living.

—At Tufts University, the startup Myoelectra has won the Classic Venture Business Plan Competition. The company is working on a rehabilitation treatment for Parkinson’s patients. The technology involves flexible wireless electrodes used to stimulate facial and throat muscles that help patients swallow and speak more normally.

Gregory T. Huang is Xconomy's Deputy Editor, National IT Editor, and the Editor of Xconomy Boston. You can e-mail him at gthuang@xconomy.com. Follow @gthuang

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