Startup Boston's 2021 Community Award Winners
It's time to recognize the movers and shakers of the New England startup ecosystem.
Meet the winners of our first-ever Community Awards!
For our fifth annual Startup Boston Week, we launched Startup Boston's first-ever inaugural Community Awards. No strings, no submission fee attached, Startup Boston's Community Awards is a grassroots movement to celebrate our startup community. And in true Startup Boston fashion, nominations and voting will be done by our local startup community.
We searched for the best of the best -- and we found them!
After receiving community nominations, our judges selected the Top 3 Finalists, the public has voted, and the winners for our 2021 Community Awards were announced!
Don't forget to subscribe to our newsletter to learn when nominations open for 2023's Community Awards!
Meet Our Judges for 2021
David is an entrepreneur and angel investor who has held operating roles at six startups and invested in 70 companies. He was most recently the Chief Executive Officer of Gradifi, which was acquired by E*TRADE. Previously, he was Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Harvard Business School and Director of the Babson Summer Venture Program.
Entrepreneur & angel investor
Lucia is a technology reporter for ACBJ-owned Boston Business Journal where she covers stories centered on the tech and venture capital industry in Massachusetts. Prior to the BBJ, she covered the Boston tech startup ecosystem at Bostinno.
Technology Reporter, Boston Business Journal
Mark has proven success taking whiteboard ideas to market, raising capital, and managing product development, roll-out and ongoing operations. He has extensive experience launching startups, managing an incubator, and driving corporate strategy and business operations.
Director of Entrepreneur Innovation Center, Framingham State University; Career Coach, MIT & HBS
The 2021 Winners for Our 13 Categories:
Startup of the Year
Awarded to the startup that has seen the most growth in their product roadmap, customer acquisition, team and marketing footprint.
Shoobx offers equity management solutions that help private companies scale rapidly and stay financing-ready.
Shoobx is on track to launch two new product integrations this year. They have seen triple digital customer acquisition growth as well as team growth of 25% Q3 2021 over Q2 2021. And Shoobx has experienced a 204.606% increase in marketing reach month-over-month (July 2021 over June 2021). All that on top of $1.25B raised by Shoobx clients, 1,500+ VCs & Investors, and 1,000+ Lawyers relying on Shoobx solutions.
Founder of the Year
Awarded to the founder who has defeated the odds and shown the most grit and growth. This founder must be an advocate for not just their company, but a supporter and ally to founders in MA and underrepresented communities.
Jason Furtado - Founder & CEO, Shoobx
With Jason's leadership, Shoobx has continued to expand their support for private companies with their recent collaboration with Fidelity Investments. He and the team have also launched the Underrepresented Founders Program which provides free access to their equity management solution for founders who are not equally represented in the entrepreneurial system; supporting founders regardless of gender, race, sexuality orientation and disabilities.
Investor of the Year
Awarded to the angel investor or VC who has done the most to support the startup ecosystem, is an advocate to underrepresented communities, and is the notorious for investing in MA-based startups.
Raising 10M to solve the pre-seed funding gap problem in early stage startups.
Adrian Mendoza and Senofer Mendoza founded the first Latinx VC firms on the East Coast. Since oversubscribing their second fund, they have worked tirelessly to include women and people of color in tech, specifically in VC. 75% of their fund has gone to women, people of color or immigrants in the CEO role.
Best Student-Founded Startup
Awarded to the student founder who has seen tremendous traction in their startup. Company must have been founded while pursuing their Bachelor's (MBA founders, while incredibly talented, will not be considered for this award).
Carlo Demesa - Founder, Verve Energy
All while being an international student and through the pandemic, Carlo was able to develop and take to market a caffeinated chocolate bar with a high-tech caffeine technology to reduce the jitters and crash traditional methods cause. With minimal boot-strapped investment and in less than a year, Carlo is now selling Verve Energy in over 1500 stores and is currently in the process of closing a deal that could potentially add up to 18,000 more stores.
Best Accelerator or Incubator Program
Awarded to the accelerator or incubator who represents a diverse portfolio of founders and is constantly giving back and helping to better the startup community in MA.
EforAll partners with communities nationwide to help under-represented individuals successfully start a business.
Before, during and after completing the program, entrepreneurs receive resources and application feedback, which help them polish their business model and operations. Kofi, Elizabeth and the EforAll staff help connect entrepreneurs to a community of people.
Best Co-Working Space
Awarded to the coworking space that is constantly creating opportunities for the startup community to connect and learn from one another.
We're for the innovators.
The CIC is a strong supporter of the Boston startup ecosystem. They are always providing free venue space to organizations connecting the startup community an are constantly collaborating with entrepreneurs and organizations to create events that educate and inspire the startup ecosystem here.
Community Builder of the Year
Awarded to the person who has the best "give back" attitude towards the MA startup community.
Andy Jacques and Ande Lyons - Founders Live Boston
Both Ande Lyons and Andy Jacques have provided Boston founders with an opportunity to showcase what they do through Founders Live. This team is incredibly dedicated to bridging the gap for diverse founders in Boston.
Awarded to the startup who has committed the most to diversity.
Empowering gender-marginalized groups to explore technology one hackathon at a time.
Since being founded in 2017, TechTogether has served over 4,700 people of marginalized genders through our annual gender-focused hackathons hosted across the country. TechTogether serves people of marginalized genders, this includes transgender women, cisgender women, transgender men, non-binary individuals, and all gender identities which have been systematically oppressed by those in power throughout history. TechTogether was the first gender-focused hackathon to adopt gender-inclusive language and policies. Their organization continues to advocate and work with other gender-focused hackathons to adopt similar changes.
Startup of the Year
Innovative Business Model
Awarded to the startup that has found a very different or unique business revenue model.
A vacancy accelerator app and platform for consumers.
It's core bmodel, enables what we call #spatialtrading, or the trading of physical spaces in crowded first-come, first-served environments when getting seats or tables is competitive or challenging. Effectively, it's a 'departure accelerator' or a 'vacancy engine' merged with a marketplace. It's purpose is allow consumers to stimulate turnover from their phone which helps them sit quicker while giving the business more revenue from their seats changing hands quicker.
Best Work-from-Home Culture
Awarded to the startup who has embraced hybrid and work-from-home culture.
Driving appraisal innovation.
Reggora is a remote first company. From their first day at Reggora, employees are set up for success with a $500 WFH stipend to set up their home office. They also have lunch roulette, where employees are randomly matched with another team member every 2 weeks. Reggora Masterclass, which are events taught by in-house talent. New hire happy hours with rotating hosts. Virtual volunteer opportunities. Slack watercooler channels (such as #dogs, #bookclub, #photography, #listen-to-this).
Fastest-Growing Veteran-Owned Business
Awarded to a military veteran who founded a startup and has seen the most growth in product, customer acquisition, team and marketing footprint this year.
Has built an inexpensive battery that can discharge power for days using one of the most common elements: iron.
In July 22, 2021, The Wall Street Journal ran an article on Form Energy and their breakthrough in long-duration batteries. They have also expanded their leadership team to include RJ Johnson as their SVP of Commercial Operations (formerly ran Energy Operations at Tesla), and Brian Lewis as their Deputy General Counsel (formerly General Counsel at Facebook).
Awarded to the most supportive startup towards the community during the pandemic.
Host Events, Inc.
We bring communities together through interactive social and virtual experiences.
When the pandemic hit, they completely transitioned their business model to virtual events. This gave them the opportunity to provide interactive team bonding experiences for companies that were no longer able to connect with each other in person. They also supported small businesses by partnering with them to service the virtual events. They also provided jobs to bartenders who were out of work to host virtual mixology events.
Most Likely To Be the Next Boston Unicorn
Awarded to the startup who is most likely to succeed in the startup ecosystem.
Delivers the true promise of data lakes, instantly turning cloud object storage into a hot analytics engine.
In the last year, ChaosSearch has closed a $40 million Series B funding round co-led by Stripes and Moore Strategic Ventures. Grew revenue by 766%. Tripled its customer base—which includes organizations like Equifax, Blackboard, Klarna, Armor and BAI Communications. More than doubled its employee headcount in 2021, and on pace to double again by EOY.