The startup scene in Boston is deeply rooted in the local community.
Young people are creating software tools and apps to help the next generation of students get into Harvard or MIT, while tech professionals are finding ways to improve hospital visits and medical care in the area. Naturally, this also breeds a community of startups that help startups, offering marketing support and optimization tools.
The passion for helping people is found in startups across the area, which is why it’s so hard to choose the best ones. Here are 25 tech startups to watch in Boston in 2017. (Quick side note… If you are a startup founder, you might be interested in this stellar guide for market research.)
The goal of VentureApp is to provide resources to entrepreneurs and improve communication within B2B companies. Along with day-to-day conversations through its platform, VentureApp users can connect with influencers and ask questions during their office hours. The sessions include subjects like launching consumer apps and improving marketing through analytics. In a way, the platform has become a mini-university for entrepreneurs looking to grow.
Lola Travel was named one of the most innovative travel companies of 2017 by Fast Company, joining the ranks of AirBnb and Marriott. The company offers personalized travel service through the app by connecting users to travel agents to book trips and make changes when they’re on the road. Lola isn’t a name, but shorthand for “longitude” and “latitude” — that is, a system to make navigation easier.
If Lola Travel is your pocket travel agent, then Insurify is your pocket insurance agent. Insurify boasts that customers can save up to $400 per year by comparing quotes on its unbiased platform. Last year, the company took home the ACORD Startup Disruptor Award, which is presented annually to businesses with outstanding insurance innovation.
RateGravity also compares quotes and costs, this time for home mortgages. Not only does this save homeowners thousands per year and makes the mortgage process easier, it also forces financial providers to stay competitive and create business models that actually benefit their customers.
Cuseum is a SaaS company that creates mobile experiences for museums visitors. Public institutions and museums that can’t afford to build their own mobile apps can take advantage of Cuseum to create digital content for visitors and connect with them through their mobile devices. Cuseum also has a digital membership management system to increase renewals and make management easier.
Mylestone is one of the leading firms in the “death tech” sector, working to ease the pain of passing friends and family. The app lets people record memories of loved ones that can be accessed through virtual assistants. So, you just have to ask Alexa to tell a story about a passed friend, and your memories can stay with you.
Cake is also helping people plan for death by simplifying end-of-life organization and paperwork. The company’s name reflects its goal: to make it easy to celebrate life. The software helps people sort their finances, organize their wills, and make arrangements for funerals or memorials. Only select people have access to your Cake account, so your wishes are passed on to the necessary sources when you die.
AdmitHub is tapping into the EdTech industry by introducing artificial intelligence and chatbots to the college admissions experience. Its tool combines the personal connections of a school counselor with the vast information of the Internet. CEO Andrew Magliozzi recently talked about the future of Chatbots and Education at SXSW Edu.
Previously Admissions Hero, CollegeVine is also looking to support college students with the admissions process. Here’s the problem the company is trying to solve: The average guidance counselor-to-student ratio at school is 1:472, and private counselors can be expensive. Through peer mentorship facilitated by CollegeVine, students can get SAT/ACT help and admissions advice. Almost 90 percent of its clients get accepted to Top 20 schools, and 78 percent are accepted into Ivy League schools.
Competition to fill STEM jobs means companies across America are having to get creative in the ways they recruit top talent. This is leading more businesses to offer student debt repayment as part of their benefits packages. FutureFuel looks to connect recent grads in the science and technology fields with employers looking to include debt compensation in their salaries.
Athletes of Valor
More than one million servicemen and women will transition to civilian life over the next four years. Many struggle to relate to their peers and experience difficulties finding a new purpose. Athletes of Valor works with college coaches to recruit veterans as athletes to give them regimented schedules and a unit to train with while earning their college degree, thus easing the transition.
ArtLifting, named one of the top tech startups of 2016 by Bostinno, offers an online marketplace for homeless, disabled and disadvantaged people to sell their art. You can shop by medium or support artists by buying merchandise such as iPhone cases and tote bags that they’ve designed. Every artist earns 55 percent of the profit from the sale, and one percent goes toward strengthening community art services.
The idea of a ride sharing app that competes with Uber and Lyft isn’t novel, but Fasten’s business practices are. Instead of collecting a 20–28 percent commission on ride fares, the company only collects $0.99 per ride. This lures drivers with the promise of earning more while appealing to customers who want to see their fares invested in their communities.
Accelevents is making the silent auction process digital. Instead of paper sheets that need to be collected and analyzed at the end of the night, event managers can pay $1 per guest and let users bid online instead. This makes the auction process more engaging, as users get notifications whenever they’ve been outbid. They can then simply make a new bid from their phones. This also scales auctions themselves, as people can bid remotely as well.
This could quickly become the new go-to app for people who are freezing in their office building. CrowdComfort allows people to report problems within their office building (like a broken lock, dead lightbulb, or leaking faucet) to the appropriate building managers. Users can even send photos of the workplace issues to facility managers to provide context about the problem.
Talla is an AI personal assistant that manages basic HR questions, conducts polling and handles employee onboarding. Essentially, it automates much of the busywork that comes with running a business so companies can focus on other tasks.
Also, it’s worth pointing out that Talla is as sports crazy as Boston itself is. Co-founder and CEO Rob May is a Kentucky graduate, so he’s a big college basketball guy. In March, for the NCAA tournament, Talla rolled out BracketBot, which lets teams manage their bracket pools in Slack.
Oh, and he makes the first weekend of the tournament an official company holiday.
Podium offers a data management software platform that consolidates and accelerates data analysis for large businesses. Essentially, there’s so much data being collected that managers don’t have time to sift through it all to determine what’s useful. Podium makes big data more accessible by providing fast answers and clean reports.
Healthcare and legal companies, which need to follow strict governance protocols, are also adopting Podium because the software can meet their security guidelines.
Mautic works with companies that want to explore marketing automation by providing an open marketing platform. This allows for greater integration and audience intelligence, which means companies can still automate their processes without losing personal customer connections. This free tool has already been downloaded more than 50,000 times.
Cintell is also breaking into the marketing industry through customer intelligence. Its cloud-based platform helps brands develop personas to better understand their audiences and make better customer-centric decisions. Cintell’s system processes more than 31 million social actions daily, tracks trends across 330 industries and analyzes more than 30 personality traits through IBM’s Watson.
Adding to the marketing toolbox is Crayon, a market intelligence and insights provider. The company works to prioritize insights and make them actionable, removing the clutter of modern digital analytics. This is ideal for working with executives who don’t have time for lengthy reports.
Cogito analyzes phone conversations and offers real-time guidance for salespeople, help desk teams and anyone else who spends hours each day on the phone. By tapping into artificial intelligence and behavioral science, Cogito is able to instruct users on how to reply to form better bonds with customers. The software has also been used to help veterans cope with PTSD.
The team at PatientPing hopes to improve information sharing and collaboration in the healthcare industry. The average elderly patient sees seven different healthcare providers per year, many of whom are unaware of the patient’s full medical history. PatientPing provides real-time notifications whenever a doctor’s patient receives care, creating a trail for all doctors to follow.
What happens when you leave the hospital? The treatment process might be hard, but the recovery process can take longer and become more painful without the right help. Wellist helps people find post-discharge services and connects them to communities for help. This eases the recovery process and provides better patient care in the long run.
By harnessing the power of brain activity, Neurable works to give people the power to operate software and control devices with their minds. Its interface records brain activity to provide users with 3D control of their surroundings. The company’s technology has allowed people to play games and even drive a full-sized vehicle with their thoughts.
BeautyLynk is a marketplace for in-home and onsite hair and makeup artists. Whether you’re trying to book someone for your wedding or need to prepare models for a runway event, you can find stylists in your area who are willing to come to you. Like Fasten, this app also benefits the stylists who are looking to boost their names and find jobs in their areas.
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