FORGE 2024 Spring Startup Showcase Event Recap

The pitch contest judges and Product Development Grant winners pose for a photo at the FORGE Spring Startup Showcase at the Dassault Systemes 3DEXPERIENCE Lab in Waltham, MA on Apr. 25, 2024.

Apr. 24, 2024 – For the second year in a row, FORGE organized a Spring Startup Showcase to display some of the most exciting physical products in our local innovation ecosystem.

The event sold out, with a large turnout at the Dassault Systemes 3DExperience Lab in Waltham, MA. Thank you to Dassault Systèmes for hosting the event!

Startups joined local suppliers and manufacturers, investors, and startup ecosystem organizations to connect, demonstrate their products, and compete for funding prizes.

The evening began with networking, tabletop product demos from startups, displays from FORGE partners, and catered appetizers and drinks. Attendees circulated to learn more about the products and see innovators show off their functions.

These startups demonstrated their products: 

  • AeroShield is developing super-insulating, transparent inserts for windows, bringing state-of-the-art thermal comfort and energy savings into buildings at an affordable price. 
  • BLACC Bottle is more than just a water bottle; each one is a canvas of empowering affirmations. Its mission is to inspire and motivate you to leave your mark, uncover your purpose and uplift communities. 
  • Bonas Labs makes Disc-O-Matic, a bicycle disc brake bedding and burnishing machine that makes bicycle assembly more efficient, saving bike shops time and money. 
  • Cool Amps is bringing innovation to the lithium-ion battery industry with a focus on battery recycling at the point of disposal. This novel approach is ideal for processing gigafactory production scrap, as well as recovering metals from end-of-life batteries and small electronics. 
  • CranioSense is developing the first accurate, non-invasive device capable of assessing and monitoring intracranial pressure to eliminate long term disability and death due to undiagnosed elevated brain pressures. 
  • DarkStar Marine Hardware designs and builds integration solutions for the latest advancements in marine electronics. From mounting next generation radar to connecting your vessel to the stars, DarkStar is creating the solutions sailors can depend on. 
  • Frostyhood provides warmth, fashion and versatility in a standalone hood that offers protection for outdoor enthusiasts in the snow, rain and sun. 
  • Gerts Place LLC has created the BALCANEASE, a foldable footrest which is mountable on the railing of a small balcony, thus allowing the user to maximize all the comfort of this limited space. The sleek and comfortable design of the product will transform and redefine the meaning of footrest for our generation. 
  • The Gooru Mirror enables parents to accelerate their child’s early development through enabled face-to-face communication, in the crib, then in the stroller. 
  • GREENBOX Inc. is developing technologies that enable people to grow indoor vegetables for a healthy and enjoyable life. GREENBOX products look like high-quality appliances or furniture and feature LED lighting for plant growth, hydroponic trays with the right nutrients for selected vegetable species, complete climate control to provide the optimal environment for plant growth and AI-assisted app operation. 
  • LiftLabs is developing ropeless fishing gear to protect whales by eliminating entanglements, responding to stricter government regulations on traditional fishing methods. Its innovative approach increases efficiency while decreasing gear loss to provide an incentive for fishers to make the switch. 
  • ReviMo creates robotic mobility devices to help people with disabilities get back their independence. The ReviMo device allows individuals who are unable to get out of bed without the assistance of a caregiver to move around the house and take care of themselves. 
  • Sunny, a self-care brand without compromise, is here to simplify your period and save the planet with the Sunny Cup + Applicator. The Sunny Cup + Applicator is the reusable period cup that inserts like a tampon, while combining the sustainable, cost-saving and body benefits of a period cup. 
  • Tubender is bridging the gap between budget and function in the metal tube-bending space for small businesses. The company is building portable, affordable and easy-to-use CNC tube-bending machines that are capable of performing freeform bends on “unlimited” lengths of tubing. 

FORGE partners also tabled at the event, connecting with innovators and the manufacturing community. Thank you to all of our sponsors!  

FORGE sponsors logos

Abhishek Bali, Director of SOLIDWORKS for Startups and the North America 3DEXPERIENCE Lab Program, said “It’s always refreshing to see a bunch of startups inspire each other and the attendees. Connections, new and old, meet and update each other on what’s new and what they are working on. Great energy!”

Laura Teicher, FORGE’s Executive Director, kicked off the event and introduced Ashley Stolba, Undersecretary of the Massachusetts Executive Office of Economic Development.

Paul Butler, FORGE’s director of partnerships, introduced the pitch competition for FORGE Product Development Grants. These grants consist of non-dilutive funding to address a critical funding gap for a specific product development challenge.

“Building physical products is incredibly difficult, but we’re showing that support at the early stages makes a critical difference,” Butler said.

Ian Goodine, co-founder and CEO of rStream Recycling, a previous recipient of a prior FORGE Product Development Grant, spoke to the audience about the grant’s benefits. The grant enabled the startup to refine its prototype, apply for further grants and raise $2.5 million in non-dilutive funding, integrate a vision system into its product, and run a pilot on the UMass Amherst campus.

“We’re grateful for FORGE and the line of faith they put in us,” Goodine said.

A highlight of the event was finalist pitches from BLACC Bottle, Cool Amps, LiftLabs, Sunny, and Tubender. Their pitches wowed the crowd and elicited a few big laughs. Startups had three minutes to explain and promote their products in a pitch, then four minutes to answer the judges’ questions.

The judges were: 

FORGE pitch contest judges
The pitch contest judges
  • Leslie Nash, the Program Director for technology-to-market programming at the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center 
  • Lily Fitzgerald, the Senior Manager, Advanced Technology Programs at the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative 
  • Jose LaSalle, the co-founder and CEO of florrent 
  • Art Trapotsis, an entrepreneur, co-owner of Consolidated Sterilizer Systems, a medical device company, and chair of FORGE’s board of directors 

Throughout the evening, participants voted for their favorite startup. Meanwhile, our judges deliberated, ranking the startups on their problem/solution, feasibility, presentation,, development and regional supply chain potential.

After the vote and deliberation, Butler announced the winners: 

  • LiftLabs – $5,000 First Place Award
  • Sunny – $2,000 Second Place Award
  • Tubender – $1,000 Audience Choice Award 

Thank you again to our partners, ecosystem collaborators, and the startups who demonstrated and pitched! We love starting spring with a reminder of the incredible products and community our local innovation and manufacturing ecosystems are creating.

The FORGE team
The FORGE team

If you’re a startup, manufacturer, innovation ecosystem organization, or potential sponsor interested in learning more about or getting involved with FORGE, contact us today.

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