NWEN “First Look” Forum Tells Story of Software Vs. Medical Startups: Online Travel Is the Winner

4/14/10Follow @gthuang

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and how often you eat and helps you manage eating behaviors; the device targets people trying to lose weight.

InsideTrip
Two-year-old online travel startup that provides an airfare search engine that includes “trip quality ratings” which estimate things like speed, comfort, and ease of trip for each itinerary choice.

Nanocel
University of Washington startup developing a new kind of cost-efficient cooling technology for electronics including computer chips, laptops, and data centers.

PredictDent
Two-year-old company developing novel tools for primary-care clinicians to diagnose and treat tooth decay; aimed at children.

Qworky
Software startup developing an “intelligent platform” for meetings and conference calls. It seeks to help meeting-goers collaborate, connect their agendas and action items, and stay on topic.

Zendorse
New startup building online social marketplaces to help people and media companies share and sell digital content to social network consumers.

Goodwin Industries
Maker of new kinds of portable devices to combat sleep apnea and other sleep-breathing disorders like snoring.

OK, so after the first round of audience voting, there were five speakers selected to give follow-up 10-minute presentations. Here’s a little more context around their companies:

—Brian Glaister, Empowering Engineering Technologies

Really interesting approach, and a huge potential market of disabled people who want to find a way to walk. Just a comment: having personally worked in a robotics lab at MIT focused on walking and running, I can tell you that such “passive” assistive designs without motors can be limited in what they actually deliver, but they are much simpler and cheaper than powered devices, and can be successful for certain kinds of disorders or injuries.

—Dave Pelter, InsideTrip

This company fits into the next wave of online travel startups we’re hearing about more and more. Pelter is a veteran of Alaska Airlines and Farecast, and is involved with Yapta, so he knows … Next Page »

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 or call him at 617-252-7323. Follow @gthuang

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  • Ben Straughan

    Greg – thanks for the input, we appreciate your attending the event. I think you raise some valid points – some investors locally have a comfort with traditional tech companies outside the life science/medical device space: often a shorter time to liquidity, corresponding smaller investments, the lack of regulatory clearance. Today in particular most tech startups can get off the ground for relatively low costs.

    On the other hand, many of the medical device/health related companies have meaningful IP rights that can give them an edge over an internet/digital media company that makes the long term investment worthwhile. And many investors appreciate those facts.

    Not sure I’ve explained the results – all 3 software companies made the final grade – nor that we can. But we (NWEN) definitely sees interest in companies across a broad range of industries.

  • http://www.xconomy.com/author/ghuang/ Gregory T. Huang

    Thanks, Ben. I think NWEN stands out as supporting a tremendous range of ideas, entrepreneurs, and companies. Like Xconomy, you are interested in innovation, not just Internet, mobile, or tech startups. Interesting IP issue—sounds like a theme to explore as we think about medical/healthcare vs. tech companies.

    Greg

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