Top 5 Up-and-Coming Female Startupers in Boston to Follow on Twitter!
On Sunday afternoon we posted an article about the top 12 female CEOs in the Boston area to follow on Twitter. In creating that post, we hoped women in the startup community, established or up-and-coming, would take heed and follow that list, and based on the activity we’ve seen on Twitter targeting that post, we were right!
This goes to show that our prediction at BostInnovation that women are starting to make more moves in the entrepreneurial space in Boston was fair. The entrepreneurial ecosystem around us is full of women who are starting companies or want to be involved in one way or another in the startup community — call them ladypreneurs.
Let’s welcome these five women to the startup ecosystem and stoke the startup fire for more women to go after their dreams and build their startups from ground zero. Here is a little bit about their startups — none of which have been featured yet on BostInno. After each capsule, you’ll find a tweet from them in italics we found relevant and useful.
If you are like myself and a lot of other women in Boston, you often put flats in your bag when wearing heels to work or an event, then when you walk home you put on the flats. Candice has created a solution to this problem with a convertible sized heel to help you feel more comfortable at work or play. She just kicked off her company at Startup Weekend Boston, so let’s help her build her Twitter following!
Ladies! Are you looking something different in a shoe? Introducing Day2Night Shoes. Check us out on convertible-heels.com. #SWBoston
Launching her beta site in July, Liza has created a stellar and easy way for the fashion savvy to update their handbag collection through an online swap process using a point system. Sick of your old bags? Swap them!
decktOut blog in the works. New post: Solar … Handbags? http://bit.ly/b48n3a
Another Startup Weekend Boston standout, Stacie’s company MeetImpact is creating a calendar system generated by leaders, innovators, people working on a startup or people who are planning to build a company. This one is all about startupers!
This is a two-for-one best-bet for those interested in accessiblitiy. Rebecca is creating browser based and mobile applications for two groups of people who navigate the city on wheels! By wheels we mean those rolling around the city with strollers and wheelchairs.
We’re looking for beta testers, sponsors & folks interested in accessibility! Contacts us http://www.citiroller.com/contact to get involved!
Birchbox is a monthly gift subscription to beauty samples from some of the hottest brands around! Hayley and Katia recently demoed at Web Innovators Group, and their service means supplies are shipped right to your door for you to try at only $10.00 a month.
There are many competitions and incubators sprouting up throughout the Boston area to enable entrepreneurs of both genders to take part in following their dreams. But, like I wrote in the last article, I’ve been noticing more women on the scene in Boston recently. It is inspiring and helpful for women to see other women getting involved in the startup community. This creates a sense of being and a welcoming aura that is essential for women to succeed.
To have the inner membranes of this ecosystem push outward to the uninvolved women or the women we do not know are creating companies, we continue to feel that creating programs specific for ladypreneurs will be more and more important over time. The CEOs that we named in the last post are more than willing to help and be resources to young entrepreneurs. Use your connections wisely and get involved in the events being held around town; utilize social media and start blogging about the company that you are starting. By creating relationships in the early stages and getting word out about your personal brand you will expose yourself to faster embrace once you start your company.
Are you a women entrepreneur new to the startup scene in Boston and Cambridge? Are you thinking you have awesome and impactful ideas but don’t know where to start? The best thing you can do is to put yourself out there. The bigger your dreams and the harder you pursue your future, the more likely you are to succeed! Consider this a call to action: If you have an inkling that you want to do something more in this world, start somewhere and start now.
Follow me on Twitter! @CandiceCabe www.twitter.com/candicecabe
MassChallenge reveals 110 incubator
By Galen Moore
Tech incubator and business plan competition MassChallenge announced the names of 110 finalist startups that will join it in its swanky digs on Fan Pier.
The initiative had originally planned to name 100 finalists from about 300 who applied to the program. The finalists will work together in an incubator established in 22,500 square feet on an upper story of the newly built One Marina Park Drive, and compete to be one of 10 companies that will share a $1 million top-prize pool. About 22 of the fledgling companies are coming from outside Massachusetts to participate in the program. To download the entire list of finalists in a PDF, click here.
The competition is less important than collaboration between the startups, said MassChallenge CEO John Harthorne. “As with any competition, the prize money is almost a ruse,” he said. “It’s the thing the magician waves in order to do the work with the other hand.”
Recent Babson College MBA graduate Candice Cabe, 30, was one of the 110 finalists, whose names will be posted online tomorrow. Her startup, going under the provisional name Day2Night Convertible Heels, is working to design women’s shoes that convert from high heels to flats. “I think the major thing is connections with people,” she said. “I’m not from the shoe industry so I need connections in the fashion world.”
Online ad services company InStream Media Inc., nonprofit lab equipment supplier Seeding Labs, personal mobile data application developer Zazu, crowdsourced car sharing company RelayRides, and Pearl’s Premium, makers of a water-saving type of grass seed, were among the startups selected to participate. At least two graduates of the TechStars incubator program are also among the MassChallenge finalists: mobile analytics startup Localytics Inc. and online radio publisher Loudcaster Inc.
MassChallenge has enjoyed the support of Gov. Deval Patrick and Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino. Marina Park Drive developer Joe Fallon has donated a two-year lease and a spartan build-out, which is about 90 percent complete. However, the new startup stimulus effort is still about a half a million short of its first-year $1.5 million fundraising goal.
“We haven’t really pushed as hard on that because we’ve been so focused on judging,” Harthorne said. “Now that we have entrants it becomes a lot easier because we have real stories to tell and real data.”
To make up the difference, MassChallenge is holding a fundraiser golf tournament at The International golf course in Bolton, Sept. 28, Harthorne said, in which startup teams will caddy the greens, pitching potential investors while retrieving their pitching wedges.
MassChallenge officially announced the competition and the incubator in April. The program operates as a non-profit and will take no equity in the startups funded. Its backers include Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT), the Deshpande Foundation, Mass Tech Collaborative, the Blackstone Charitable Foundation and Solidworks Corp., a division of Dassault Systemes.
My idea and Mass Challenge got featured on the front page of the Boston Globe on Monday!
– Candice Leigh Cabe
Ideas percolate in Innovation District
Hopes are high for S. Boston area
They all believe they have invented the next big thing, these engineers, MBAs, and scientists with ideas as lofty as the view from their perch on the 14th floor of a new high-rise on Boston’s waterfront.
A bottle-top filter to solve the world’s drinking-water woes. A stiletto high heel that converts into a comfortable walking shoe. A wind turbine that uses helium to float up to 2,000 feet in the air to generate electricity in the steady breeze aloft.
The creators are among 110 nascent entrepreneurs who have won free office space situated in what city planners are calling the Innovation District, a 1,000-acre swath of South Boston that encompasses much of the view from the 14th floor of One Marina Park Drive at Fan Pier, where entrepreneurial teams will work.
The envisioned district stretches from Fort Point Channel to the Boston Marine Industrial Park, from the Seaport to the Convention Center.
“I would say that we are celebrating Yankee ingenuity here today,’’ said Kenneth P. Morse, a founder of the MIT Entrepreneurship Center, speaking at a recent event where the 110 nascent entrepreneurs won not only free office space, but access to business mentors, legal advice, and a shot at a share of $1 million in prize money to bring an idea to market.
“I didn’t do the exact word count,’’ Morse said, “but I heard the word innovation come up 10 or 15 times.’’
While the global recession may have stalled some larger projects, officials hope smaller startups could inject the area with creative character. Last week the city began seeking bids for two long-vacant waterside industrial buildings near the tip of the 191-acre peninsula that comprises the Boston Marine Industrial Park.
Planners remain open to offers from seafood companies or other traditional industries, too, but they hope to attract a life science firm, more biotech, or perhaps a pioneer that would redefine maritime industry, like a fish farm or a tidal energy company.
“Everybody expects us to build high-rise condominiums, offices, and retail in the South Boston waterfront; that’s anywhere America,’’ Mayor Thomas M. Menino said yesterday. “I don’t want to be that location of anywhere America. I want it to be a special part of our city, a leader in the new economy.’’
The Innovation District marks the latest effort in a once forlorn part of the city that had made great strides in the last decade, but has not yet gelled as the teeming urban neighborhood imagined long ago by city planners. While new hip restaurants and other amenities continue bubbling up, there remain lonesome stretches of highway ramps and parking lots.
“Absolutely, I had to slow down over the past couple of years, but the world slowed down,’’ said developer Joseph F. Fallon, who has proceeded cautiously with plans for more offices, stores, and residences, but donated the space for the entrepreneurs at One Marina Park Drive. “We are starting to see some upticks. I need these small companies in a building like this. I can’t just do it with one major tenant. I need diversity in any building.’’
Read the rest….
This article was in the Boston Herald this past Monday!
Mass Challenge start-up co. contest names finalists
Planting the seeds
// If we get the wrapping span to “have layout” by applying a width and height, will this fix the problem?
Being well-heeled may soon get easier.
If Candice Cabe is successful, women will be wearing shoes that can switch from high heels to low heels quickly.
“The idea is to go from stiletto to kitten heels in 30 seconds,” said Cabe, founder of Day 2 Night Convertible High Heel Shoes, a Bay State start-up that hopes to launch its footwear Web site and begin production next year. “My shoes eliminate the need to carry a second pair in your purse.”
Cabe’s shoe provides interchangeable heels from one to four inches. Her Newton company is one of 110 firms that made the Mass Challenge finals in what has been called the world’s largest global start-up competition. The entrepreneurs are vying for a share of $1 million in cash prizes and office space on Boston’s Fan Pier.
In October, up to 20 winners will receive $50,000 to $100,000 in cash to launch their businesses and a free office at One Marina Park, next to the federal courthouse. The state has pledged $500,000 to bolster innovative companies. Last week, 86 finalists from the Bay State made the cut. The contest began in April with more than 400 entrants from 26 countries and 24 states.
“These Mass Challenge finalists further demonstrate the commonwealth’s ability to ignite the entrepreneurial spirit at an international level,” said Gregory Bialecki, Secretary of Housing and Economic Development. “This competition will further ignite entrepreneurial activity in Massachusetts, create long-term, sustainable jobs, and move the state’s innovation economy forward.”
If Cabe wins, she plans to use the cash to create a prototype for the shoe, launch a Web site and place her first order with a manufacturing plant in China. “Winning could make all the difference,” she said. While Cabe insists she thought of the idea first, CamileonHeels.com offers a similarly designed shoe that sells for $210 to $325.
Mass Challenge rules do not penalize entrants if they have competitors or if they already have a product on the market.
Jackson Madnick, founder of Pearl’s Premium, a low-maintenance grass seed, said winning could take his company to the next level. “We want to go national and global,” he said. “We recently passed 4,000 lawns installed and our seed is available at Whole Foods Market [WFMI].”
A five-pound bag of the seed costs $33 and will cover 1,000 square feet, he said. The grass seed industry is full of competition with Scotts Co. leading the way. They offer five pounds of grass seed starting at $13. In April, Scotts introduced its $22 Groundskeepers Select for lawn owners seeking to recreate Fenway Park [map]’s field of dreams.
But Madnick is undaunted. “I don’t want to put down any other mix, there are lots of fine ones,” he said. “The benefit of Pearl’s is that it only has to cut once a month, seldom has to be watered and never needs chemical fertilizers.”
Joseph Fallon, developer of the $3 billion Fan Pier project, one of Mass Challenge’s biggest boosters, donated one floor – 25,000 square feet of space – at his 500,000- square-foot building at One Marina Park Drive on a temporary basis. “My number one priority is to help create jobs,” he said. “Of course, I hope that some of these innovative companies will take off and rent space in this spectacular building overlooking the city and Boston Harbor. The elements that foster entrepreneurship are all right here.”
(continued from yesterday)…..
The whole idea of Mass Challenge was to get businesses not only started in Massachusetts but to get them to stay in Massachusetts. They want to help people with random ideas start their businesses by giving them free resources such as mentors, advice, and services. I absolutely love the premise. I think there are so many people out in the world with great idea, but they have no idea how to implement them- they either lack the knowledge, connections, funding, or expertise. If Mass Challenge was around 5 years ago, I’m certain I would’ve been able to implement my shoe idea back then. Because Mass Challenge is in effect driving the Bay State’s economy, the governor has kicked in a sizeable amount of funding to the organization.
Look at Gwyneth Paltrow trying to walk on cobblestone streets in these ridiculously high and super skinny stilettos!
This is what all the girls in Boston look like as they try to walk about town on a Saturday evening!
So, the first round had under 500 applicants and you had to submit a 2 page executive summary. As soon as you submitted, you were to go out and try to get people to vote for you, get “endorsements” from influential people in the community, and get as much done for your business in a short period of time. The Round 1 judging was completely online, from the written entry, and a short up to 2 minute Video of your product or business idea.
It’s the commuters that will thank us the most for these shoes!
They usually have to bring extra shoes in their bag, and when you’re going on an interview (like it looks like this woman might be doing), you look silly bringing a padfolio and a super huge purse with you!
Then, Mass Challenge cut the number of applicants down to 300 applicants, who had to pitch in person. 10 minutes of pitching with a powerpoint to judges (former VC’s, finance execs, entrepreneurs, influential business mentors) and there was a 10 minute Q & A session. After that, they would cut the competition down from 300 to the top 100 finalists.
Brides always want their bridesmaids to have the same shoes , but depending on the height of the girls, they might want short or higher heels. Looks like these bridesmaids had to let each girl choose their own heel height.
Last Wednesday I got a call from John Harthorne saying, We are having a press conference tomorrow and a few of the tv folks, newspapers, magazine editors, etc.. have requested that you be there so they can interview you. We will be announcing the top 100 finalists, but I’m not telling you if you’ve won or not – I just got some requests that you be there. So, I showed up and there were 3 other finalists there as well. Just before John went on television, he told me I won and he wanted me to talk. I spoke for about a minute and it was being recorded, then I got asked to get interviewed by one of the news anchors for NESN (New England Sports Network).
I got interviewed by several people. The show is called Shining TV by Moody Street productions and will air in September just before a Red Sox Game. The next day the Boston Herald called me and asked if I could go down to their studio for a photo shoot and an interview. The next day, I was on the FRONT PAGE of the Boston Globe and in the Boston Herald with my picture and 2 big articles about myself and 1 other contestant. The next day NECN (New England Cable News) called me and wanted to set up an interview for television. And the following day a representative from Inc, magazine (which I absolutely love by the way) called me for the same reasons.
The average girl has over 37 pairs of shooes in their closet, unless of course you are Christina Aguileira !
So, it’s been a whirlwind of excitement and press for the past few days and I’m very excited about it all. I now, desperately need to get a working prototype made. Myself and some engineers from the Olin School of Engineering (Associated with Babson College) have been working for the past 2 months and trying to cut up old high heels, make shoes out of styrofoam, modeling clay, and plaster of paris. We really need someone with a machine shop who can do injection molded plastic and incorporate metal. We have 3 drawings that need to be transferred into a product that we can hold in our hands!
Please let me know if you or someone you know, might know either a mechanical engineer, an industrial shoe designer, a prototype maker, a machine shop operator, etc…
(continued from yesterday……)
After I graduated, I decided I wanted to focus on starting a business and was determined to attend all the networking entrepreneurial events that I couldn’t go to over the past year due to classes that I had to attend. I heard about a free event held by Greenberg Traurig that was focused on patent law. I quickly thought of my shoe idea and thought I would check it out. At that event on a Thursday night, I heard about something called Startup Weekend (www.startupweekend.org) that was being held the very next day. You had 60 seconds to pitch an idea. There were roughly 100 people there.
(Here’s Amy our Patent Attorney)
I took a look at the Startup Weekend website and noticed it was very focused on high tech, software companies and there would be lots of programmers there. In the FAQ’s however, it said you could pitch anything you wanted and there was even a pillow company that had started from this. So, I figured I would be a little different and pitch something completely different. The room was 90% filled with guys too! My idea certainly stood out. I brought props with me too. In my pitch I said, “I know you guys don’t know what I’m talking about, but I’m sure you’ve had a girlfriend, wife, or mother at one time that’s complained about their feet hurting after a night of dancing” and I said “I need help this weekend trying to create a better prototype than what I’ve come up with trying to cut my old high heel shoes with a kitchen knife!” I held up this huge scary looking serated knife and a pair of heels I had only been able to cut halfway through until I hit the steel rod running down the middle.
(our only guy in the group and our engineer for the weekend~!)
Anyway, I came in 2nd place overall. Then I had to form a team of 4-6 people and work as hard as possible for 48 hours. I got a business development/ finance lawyer, a patent attorney, a social media maven, a PR person, and myself. We were an all girl team, until 1 guy got bored or frustrated with the team he had joined, and he thought it would be fun to play with heels and powertools for the weekend- he happened to be a mechanical engineer! We pretty much had the perfect team! We developed somewhat of a prototype, built a website, a blog, a twitter page, a facebook fan page, and a 40 page business plan in 48 hours,,, it was AMAZING.
Here’s Emily (our Finance & Business Development Attorney)
We re-presented Sunday night and ended up coming in 2nd place overall again. The 1st place folks had a project with 11 people and lots of fun “coolness” factor to it – www.Vidiculo.us John Harthorne, the CEO of the Mass Challenge Competition came up to me after I pitched and said “I love your idea, my wife loves your idea, here’s a Platinum Endorsement into the Mass Challenge competition” which had a deadline that night of midnight! I think it was close to 9:30pm when he handed me this. I raced home, through together an entry in 10 minutes and got it in at 11:59pm by the skin of my teeth!
(to be continued tomorrow…….. )
I want to THANK YOU all very much for supporting me either through voting for me, emailing in an official endorsement, trying to connect me with people you know in the shoe industry, mechanical engineers, or industrial designers, sending words of encouragement through facebook, twitter, my blog, email, or just silently cheering me on. I definitely couldn’t have made it through to this round without you!
Some are still wondering what this is all about. Here’s the story: Approximately 5 years ago, another one of my “million dollar ideas” came to me, probably one night when my feet were hurting me, and I was taking a look at stiletto heels and thought, “Those heels are thick enough for a screw to fit in there, why can’t they make heels that screw off, so when you’re feet hurt, you can put on lower ones”. I thought about it for a long time but wasn’t sure how to get a business like that going. The usual thoughts went through my head, like “surely someone will come up w/ this soon, someone with a lot more expertise than I have in the shoe industry”, etc.
Then, about 3 years ago, I was watching one of my ALL TIME favorite shows (so sad that it’s now off tv), Donny Deutch’s, “What’s the Big Idea”, on MSNBC……… and what do I see ? Someone promoting their idea for convertible high heel shoes!!! The bells and whistles went off on the shoe and Donny and his co-hosts declared it a winner and a million dollar idea. I thought, “Oh no, someone else stole my idea!!” And, I thought “Oh well”…. but, I’ve been quietly keeping my eye on the company for the past few years and waiting for all of my friends to start wearing these heels.
I quickly realized that the shoes weren’t made the way that I had originally “invented” them and there was plenty of room out in the marketplace for a competitor to do this much better. I bounced around the idea a little bit to several people over the past year while at Babson in the MBA program, but I really wanted to get someone else excited about the idea in order to start something. I also was working on several other business ideas and inventions.
(to be continued tomorrow…….. )