Mass Innovation Nights – NERD style

Last night marked Mass Innovation Night’s 35th event (one more and it turns 3!) and this one, like the many before, was an evening full of networking and creating buzz about local innovation! The Microsoft NERD Center hosted last night’s event and gave guests a direct view of Boston’s shimmering skyline. There was a great turnout and a lot of excitement generated about the ten companies featured! People were continuing to file in as the presentation began. The top four products picked to present were SnapHop, CampusEmployer, OfferBeam and LiveCirrus.

SnapHop opened up the product presentations with an explanation of their platform which simplifies the creation and delivery of mobile marketing campaigns. This innovative platform leverages location-specific technology, the importance of calls-to-action and promotes user engagement. These are key attributes of a successful mobile social media marketing campaign. SnapHop’s three-step process makes mobile marketing easy. Companies begin by logging in and choosing either a pre-existing template or building their own. The second step involves filling out their information and lastly, the company must choose what channels they would like to utilize. Through channels such as custom QR codes, social media, email campaigns or URL addresses, the company can reach users who can now engage, share the company’s social media, make reservations or fill out online reviews. Analytics on the back-end allow the company to determine effectiveness. SnapHop helps companies reach potential customers by using mobile marketing as a powerful platform.

The second product to present was CampusEmployer, an online platform built to eliminate employer’s frustration with the inefficiencies associated with posting jobs at various universities. Prior to CampusEmployer, when someone wanted to post a job on an institution’s network, they had to approach each institution to approve the job in addition to paying a fee for each institution. CampusEmployer simplifies the job posting process making it much more efficient and cost-effective. It becomes a one-stop-shop for employers allowing them to pay a $25 fee per job posting (compared to $300 fee per job posting on Monster or CareerBuilder) and their posting appears on the network of multiple institutions. The job poster is able to customize their posting by choosing which students can access the posting based on their major and they can target Boston-based universities or all of the participating institutions in Massachusetts. The poster can also choose whether or not to post their position on Facebook and Twitter or they can opt to have the posting emailed to students. Employers don’t need to have a posting in order to be involved, they can pay a monthly fee which allows them search through student profiles. The platform is free for students who are able to create a profile and fill in their job preference and qualifications. When jobs that match their major or preferences are posted, the student receives an email in addition to that job appearing on their newsfeed. CampusEmployer is continuing to expand its network of both institutions and students to optimize the experience for employees and employers.

OfferBeam, the world’s first location-specific deal app, was the next product to present.  This digital couponing app takes all of the work out of the consumer searching for deals. All users have to do is have the app running in the background and as the person gets close to a participating store, a coupon will pop up onto the users phone alerting them to the deal. Users can adjust the radius to as wide as 50 miles, in which case they will get beamed with offers from within that distance. For businesses, OfferBeam has created a highly efficient portal for companies to setup their promotion on. Companies have access to real-time analysis so that they can determine how many people viewed their promotion and redeemed it. Currently, there is an ongoing pilot program in the UK and Canada along with 40 businesses signed up nationwide and plans to localize the service. Package services are available to make the platform affordable for mom and pop shops along with providing them with an on-demand designer, marketing help and email campaign support. As of now, the app is only available on the iPhone, but by the end of the month it will be available for the Android system.

LiveCirrus helps companies create mobile applications quickly and effectively by taking existing desktop applications and making them accessible on mobile devices. Instead of creating apps from scratch, they use existing technology and avoid the overcrowded app market. Both iOS and Android devices can access desktop apps and unrestricted web browsing on the LiveCirrus cloud platform. What sets LiveCirrus apart is that it’s not hosted on your device. Instead, they provide a portal to a flexible, powerful and secure desktop running in the cloud. This serves as a competitive advantage and provides an interface that works well with mobile devices. The LiveCirrus platform is currently serving 100,000 customers on existing services.

The next Mass Innovation Night will be held on March 14 at Space for a Soul in South Boston. Check back in at to view the ten companies that will be featured and vote for the four products that you would like to see present!