It was fun moderating a panel of venture capitalists and entrepreneurs at the Massachusetts State House this morning, at the first-ever Innovation Day. It was organized by the New England Venture Capital Association, as well as the MA Legislative Biotechnology Caucus and the Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies.
Surprising, and a bit disappointing, was how few legislators and staffers showed up -- but it was apparently a busy day at the State House. (My general experience about our elected and appointed officials is that they will show up only if asked to speak. Listening they are not so good at.) Economic development secretary Greg Bialecki, who is trying to position himself as a champion of innovation in MA, was on the agenda to speak but didn't show up.
Those gripes aside, here are four pictures from the event:
During the panel, Amir Nashat of Polaris Venture Partners happened to mention Living proof, a beauty products company in Cambridge that spun out of MIT research. Polaris is the company's sole backer. Nashat mentioned that a new product from the company, called Full, helps make hair look thicker, and is only being sold on QVC right now. (According to a company blog post, they sold 40,000 bottles in a half hour last month on the shopping network.) I had to ask Nashat if he was using the product, and he said he was. This was definitely the first time a venture capitalist has pitched a QVC product to me...
Other panelists agreed that his hair looked great.
Being a hard-core investigative journalist, I also asked Shoebuy.com CEO Scott Savitz what shoes he was wearing. He said they were from Donald Pliner (on sale now for just $194.95!), and had become popular with several of the other Shoebuy execs. Those are Savitz's feet at the bottom of the pic.
The other feet in the picture are (top) Eran Egozy, co-founder of Harmonix Music Systems (by Rockport -- he had to check), and (middle) Ellen Rubin, co-founder of CloudSwitch (by Nike.)
Here's the view from the podium. Someone from WPI's robotics program is asking a question:
This last one is from author and social media strategist Joselin Mane (@joselinmane on Twitter). Yes, I did consider moderating the panel while standing on that balcony, for maximum Mussolini-esque authority.
About Scott Kirsner
Scott Kirsner was part of the team that launched Boston.com in 1995, and has been writing a column for the Globe since 2000. His work has also appeared in Wired, Fast Company, The New York Times, BusinessWeek, Newsweek, and Variety. Scott is also the author of the books "Fans, Friends & Followers" and "Inventing the Movies," was the editor of "The Convergence Guide: Life Sciences in New England," and was a contributor to "The Good City: Writers Explore 21st Century Boston." Scott also helps organize several local events on entrepreneurship, including the Nantucket Conference and Future Forward. Here's some background on how Scott decides what to cover, and how to pitch him a story idea.
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