What can Boston create? On June 16, the greater Roxbury community came together to celebrate some of the top innovative companies in the local area — and we were thrilled to join and see all of the good work! Roxbury’s “Pitch in the City” highlighted six local start-ups using innovative processes to make their businesses stand out.
As an early stage venture competition, the “pitch event” was organized around three particular segments: (1) a demonstration (2) a presentation made by the competitors on behalf of their start-up and (3) a judging round. However, the overall significance of the event was that it provided aspiring entrepreneurs with a venue to practice their pitching skills and served as a phenomenal precursor to the Roxbury Innovation Center.
The night kicked off with an hour of networking and drinks. Audience members were encouraged to look at each booth, meet the entrepreneurs and learn about their product(s). “Pitch in the City” seamlessly blended entrepreneurial energy with constructive learning: angel investors meandered around to meet with co founders and offer feedback, community partners encouraged the finalists to showcase their ideas, and family members and friends of competitors excitedly watched the scene unfold.
Following the networking portion of the evening, each venture presented a PowerPoint on stage. The judges then responded with insightful comments at the end of the presenters’ allotted time. Makomas, an organic drink company that blends traditional African ingredients with minimal sugar to produce a refreshing beverage, successfully won the competition. All of the ventures that presented, however, were delightfully representitive of local innovation — the backbone of any successful entrepreneurial economy.
Start-Up #1: Fittus
Fittus is a software company that aims to “get local citizens back into the gym”. Similar to a social networking site, Fittus operates on a “buddy system” and has clients make ‘friends’ through the app who will be gym partners. Fittus’ customer is the average gym goer; Fittus plans to sell and market the app through existing gym franchises.
Start Up #2: Loadlytics
Loadlytics is a transportation management software for small to medium sized truck companies. The goal of Loadlytics is to make a more effective trucking operation. The Loadlytics team brings an expansive knowledge of the trucking industry to the venture and is passionate about stream-lining management opportunities.
Start Up #3: Makomas (winner!)
Makomas drinks come in 3 different flavors: Ginger, Baobab and Hibiscus. Currently, Makomas is distributed locally in Massachusetts, but the company would like to move to a larger market. A selling point of this product is that each juice only contains 3 (very unique and healthy) ingredients. Makomas is gluten free and does not use GMOs.
Start Up #4: Percival Brewing Company
The Percival Brewing Company is a beer company that specializes in making beer that reflects the different ethnicities and neighborhoods in Boston. This particular company wants to build a microbrewery and eventually envisions home delivery of craft beer.
Start Up #5: St. John 316
St. John 316 is an urban Christian apparel company. Their target audience is the churchgoer who is inspired by urban streetwear and culture. St. John 316 offers designs and logos on their clothing that offer meaningful messages and conversation starters about the Gospel of Christ.
Start Up #6: Techtrition
Techtrition is a nutrition education company. The cofounders are currently building a mobile app that will teach users how to commit to a healthy lifestyle (i.e. choosing the right food and workout routines). The vantage point of this mobile app is that it is tailored to being culturally sensitive to the current lifestyles of its users. Specifically, the cofounders noted that not all of their users grew up eating salads and therefore when designing a meal plan, they want to make sure the food they are suggesting is available and delectable.
Congratulations to all the ventures who participated in Pitch in the City! We’re excited to see what you all contribute to our community.