PLUG Cambridge: Pitch Off

Most recently I had the opportunity to meet the staff at a local co-working spot in Cambridge called PLUG. I know what you are thinking, another co-working spot. True, but this one is a bit different. PLUG has a great story. It started many years ago in Sao Paulo Brazil to help connect local startups and entrepreneurs with resources they need. The overarching purpose was to help fuel business ideas. Fast forward a few years and they are in 5 different locations in Brazil. They just opened the Cambridge location early this year and have a great group of resources and startups already.

The one item that stood out to me is how they are helping the community outside of your standard co-working space. What I mean by that is there is a Latino bent to their space. Their founders and staff are all Latino and are really trying to build something special. They have big plans and I look forward to work with them to help fulfill it.

I saw with my own eyes the magic they have with the first annual PLUG Pitch off on October 6th. There were 8 companies that participated in the 3 minute pitch off. There was no requirement for industry but at least one of the founders needed to be a non-US founder.


The judging panel was made up of Slava Heretz (Founder of Intellibookkeeping), Christian Na (Previous General Counselor Rosetta Stone, Start-up Mentor), Rich Palmer (Founder of Gravyty,  Founder of OvenAlly) which did a great job of providing constructive feedback to each of the founders.

Prizes were plenty. Cash awards, in-kind donations and even space at Plug. My contribution was to provide the winner with a Microsoft Sponsorship into our BizSpark Plus program.


The list of companies that participated were:

Architectures – AI-based Architectural design. Empowering dramatically building design professionsal through AI on the Cloud

Biomag – Smart materials for diagonsing heart valves

CareAcademy – Educational platform for caregivers

dibind – Marketplace for selling small and large items on a hyper local scale

dot Learn – Video comression for online learning in under privilege countries

Eventbox – Platform and marketplace for all of your event needs. Expedia meets LinkedIn.

Gems – General Emergency Medical supplies

My On Campus Chef – Culinary event platform

Therapeutic Innovation – Cost effective device to help prevent premature birth deaths with respirtory failure.

Tyme – Wearable device embedded in clothing that monitors your breathing during exercises

Waterfall – IoT water measurement and control platform designed for large scale commercial deployments.

I look forward to work with a few of these companies in the short term as well as the PLUG staff on the upcoming events!


Microsoft Sparks Startups with BizSpark Plus

BizSpark Plus just got a whole lot better. Starting on July 1st the current BizSpark Plus offering will increase from $60,000 for one year of Azure cloud services to $120,000. We are partnering with top accelerators across the country to get this in the hands of early stage startups. Techstars, ERA, Seedcamp, 1871 and MassChallenge are part of over a 100 in 47 countries that partnering with the program.

These organizations are in the trenches, providing the marketing and business support that early stage companies need to be successful. The offer expands our existing BizSpark Plus program which, in addition to open source friendly Azure, provides free software, developer tools, and technical support to help startups be successful.  Check out the following video to hear what some of them had to say:

Watch this video to learn more about the BizSpark program

Here is the official release.

Microsoft Ventures Connected Devices Accelerator Pitch Event in NYC 7/17

ms-ventures american-family-ins






Recently Microsoft Ventures in partnership with American Family Insurance, announced a new Seattle based accelerator for Home Automation. This 4 month program based in Redmond, will provide mentorship, workspace,  a $25,000 investment, and access to Microsoft Technology & Design.

To help launch this initiative, MS Ventures will be holding an event on July 17th at the Invisible Dog in Brooklyn NY for startups innovating in the Home Automation and Connected Devices space. This event will provide an opportunity to network and identify incubator applicants through a pitch process.  (more…)