Greentown Labs Demo Day 2019
Published for The Somerville Times June 12 2019 Issue
Link to story: http://www.thesomervilletimes.com/archives/92016
On Friday, June 7, Greentown Labs had its annual showcase and celebration of clean tech entrepreneurship and innovation. The goal of Demo Day is to bring entrepreneurs, partners, investors, elected officials and clean tech supporters together to “drive collaboration, progress, and climate action.”
“From my perspective, Massachusetts isn’t just a bay state, we’re the green state,” United States Senator Edward Markey said in his speech. “We’re not blessed with gas or coal but we have the most powerful resource of them all, and that is brain power and optimism, and that’s what Greentown Labs represents.”
The lab was founded in 2011 and has since become the largest clean tech startup incubator in North America with over 200 supported startups. The 100,000 sq. ft. Somerville-based campus is comprised of prototyping lab space, a wet lab, a machine shop, an electronics lab, and office space for more than 500 people.
The program started with a lab showcase, where over 600 visitors enter the lab to meet more than 90 companies based in Greentown Labs like Dexai. Systems engineer Syler Wagner said the company develops flexible automation for food service with a robotic arm named Alfred.
“Alfred is really meant to automate a variety of kitchen tasks so we can work with different utensils (tongs, dishes, spoons) and it’s supposed to be a plug in place solution that can easily be rolled into existing restaurants,” Wagner said.
Alan DiPietro’s interest for emerging technology and sustainable materials and processes brought him to the lab showcase. The South Boston based local said he really enjoyed the event.
“You really get to talk to the people who are inventing these technologies,” DiPietro said. “I mean you can see them and I get a lot of questions, but the entrepreneurs are standing right there so I can ask them the questions.”
When asked which companies he found most intriguing, DiPietro said domovi’s product, a washer, dryer, and dishwasher combination jumped out at him the most. “I’m a boater. Space is a big issue so I love that,” he laughed.
Leanne Cushing, founder and CEO of domovi said Greentown Labs gives the small company of two collaborative benefits with other companies when they run into issues. Cushing has a little club of all the hardware engineers in the lab to brainstorm and teach each other new technologies like sensor technology and sheet metal. “It’s a good way to have sort of a good knowledge based ecosystem,” Cushing said.
After the showcase, speeches were given by Greentown Labs CEO Dr. Emily Reichert, Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone, United States Senator Edward Markey, other CEOs of companies like SparkCharge and “popcorn pitches” from ten Greentown Labs member companies. The event closed with a networking celebration and roof deck exploration.
Somerville’s partnership with Greentown Labs began in 2013. Since the lab’s move, more jobs were added in support of SomerVision to create 30,000 new jobs by 2030.
“We want you [Greentown Labs] to stay in Somerville. We want those ideas to be here. We want the jobs to go here because we want our economies to thrive,” Curtatone said. “Somerville, our plan, is to declare ourselves, to make ourselves the climate action capital of the world.”
In less than 10 years, Greentown Labs companies raised more than 650 million dollars and created more than 2,800 jobs. Of the 200 plus startups supported by Greentown Labs, over 85 percent are “still in business and thriving.”
“Let’s take action together and challenge each other to do our part in the fight against climate change,” Reichert said. “For my part, I’m inspired by what our industry and our ecosystem has done in less than 10 years and I can’t wait to see what we’ll do together in the next 10 years.”