Looking Back on HUBweek 2016

Year two turnout, a focus on problem-solving, and collaborative innovation at Greater Boston’s festival for the future

HUBweek 2016 was a testament to the amazing work happening right here in Greater Boston with impact on a global scale. Through cross-industry collaboration, conferences, film festivals, a massive Demo Day, community events, exhibitions, and more, we were thrilled to be able to convene and celebrate the thinkers, creators, and doers who are literally building the future of art, science, and technology in our back yard.

Saying that it’s difficult to narrow our highlights and favorite moments from the week is definitely an understatement, so we’ve started out with a few favorites and encourage you to share your own in the comments and via social using #ScenesFromHUBweek

We also invite you to tell us more about your experience, share your feedback and perspective, and gain the chance to win tickets to see the Boston Red Sox play at Fenway Park on Opening Day by completing this short survey.

Year Two Turnout

True to form, Greater Boston’s innovation and creativity ecosystem came out in full force at year two of HUBweek to celebrate the impact being made at the intersections of art, science, and technology in our region. From September 25 through October 1, 2016…

More than 130 organizations came together to celebrate the future being built in Boston, including Microsoft, Google, Vertex, HubSpot, and Uber.

Over 475 speakers and artists participated, including CEO of GE Ventures Sue Siegel; surgeon, writer and public health researcher, Atul Gawande; Flybridge General Partner Jeff Bussgang; actress Eliza Dushku; C Space Chair Diane Hessan; Jeff Leiden, Chairman, President and CEO, Vertex; Panos Panay, Founding Managing Director, Berklee ICE; Paul English, Co-Founder & CEO, Lola Travel; and many more.

130+ events sparked registration of over 29,000 from the Greater Boston innovation and creativity ecosystem.

Seeking Solutions

Following the success of competitions among Greater Boston’s leading and emerging minds in 2015, we furthered our focus on problem-solving in 2016 through a number of events, awarding over $1.35M in cash and prizes to organizations expanding technological advancement, supporting the local innovation ecosystem, and solving major local and global issues.

Some of 2016’s competition highlights included:

The Demo Day Impact Leader Competition

A series of head-to-head pitches taking place at HUBweek’s Demo Day, the Impact Leader Competition awarded $10,000 and other in-kind benefits to an organization with the most impact or potential impact on our lives. After an exciting day of pitches, a few startups rose came out on top:

Grand Prize Winner: Antera Therapeutics, a local startup linked to the Harvard iLab which develops clinical products meant to help families introduce common allergens to their children in a safe environment

Runner Up: Analytical Space

Top 8: Antera Therapeutics, Analytical Space, ArtLifting, Cake, LearnLux, Minus the Moo, Solstice, and Xeno Therapeutics

Peer and audience favorites: Doorbell and Sumu

MIT Inclusive Innovation Competition

A competition focused on the power that startups and organizations have in harnessing technology to create economic opportunities for low and middle-wage workers worldwide. Throughout the competition, $1,000,000 was awarded to impactful organizations, including:

Grand Prize Winners: 99Degrees Custom (Humans + Machines Category), Iora Health (New Models Category), Year Up (Skills Category), Laboratoria (Matching Category)

Sixteen runner-ups were awarded $25,000 each and four additional companies received $25,000 Judges’ Choice Awards. With submissions from around the globe, it was also a highlight to see that three out of four grand prize winners are based in Massachusetts.

Brew the Charles Competition

A lighthearted competition aimed at reimagining the future of water by using and reusing our water more efficiently and exploring new ways to put non-conventional water sources to work. Six local brewers crafted unique brews using water pulled from the Charles River and purified by local water purification technology company, Desalitech. The brews premiered at the HUBweek Closing Party, which saw over 1,500 attendees, a gorgeous light projection display and a special appearance by actress Eliza Dushku.

Judges’ Choice: Castle Island’s dry hopped cream ale, “Chuck”

Crowd favorite: Ipswich Ale’s marzen, “Chucktoberfest”

The Beantown Throwdown

Twelve student led startups representing universities across Boston and the suburbs competed against each other in HUBweek’s annual Beantown Throwdown.

AskMolly, from Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Science (MCPHS) took home the winning title for its real-time, authoritative database of illicit substances that provides unique drug information resources for pharmacists, healthcare professionals, and first responders.

Second place went to Babson College’s DropZone for Veterans for its online search directory, which connects military veterans and families with high impact, independent benefits in areas like healthcare, education, employment and job training, finance and business.

Collaborative Innovation

And while there was definitely a competitive edge to some of 2016’s highlights, there was also plenty of collaboration and convening.

The HUBweek Design Challenge

A weeklong collaboration between Atrius Health and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, the HUBweek Design Challenge aimed to tackle pressing issues in healthcare focusing on 4 pillars: Healthcare System Utilization, Tech & Wellness, Social Connectivity and Wellbeing, and Stress and Anxiety. Several themes emerged throughout the week, including emotional and environmental factors as drivers of physical health, and the notion that human interaction trumps virtual connection and more meaningfully builds a sense of community. The challenge resulted in a number of partnerships and new ideas to explore to tackle these issues.

The HUBweek Journalism Hackathon

HUBweek’s first annual “Data Science, Journalism, and the Future of Justice” Hackathon, in partnership with InkHouse and Northeastern University’s School of Journalism, College of Computer and Information Science, The Boston Globe and Boston Area Research Initiative, urged journalists and data scientists to see stories in numbers by getting hands-on with local data, which included crime incident reports. School of Jour­nalism pro­fessor John Wihbey; Col­lege of Com­puter and Infor­ma­tion Sci­ence professor Michelle Borkin; and Col­lege of Social Sci­ences and Human­i­ties pro­fessor Dan O’Brien, who also is research director of the Boston Area Research Ini­tia­tive, joined Boston Globe data journalist and Spotlight team member Todd Wal­lack in leading the event, during which an outlier within the data of unknown cause (a spike in police activity) was traced via cross-reference of multiple data sets to a particularly heated Bruins defeat.

Our Convention

City Awake convened 500 nominated young professionals, with median age of 29, from a diverse coalition of 200 organizations to kickoff a 9-month program that will focus on building community and exploring various issues facing Greater Boston– from housing and transportation to youth challenges and racial inequality. Of participants, 45% represent minority populations and 60% are female.

HUBweek’s competitions and collaborations also saw some familiar faces in 2016. Mighty Well, who in 2015 was titled winner of the Beantown Throwdown, took home the $250,000 grand prize at the Babson Breakaway Challenge, the first and only competition to promote gender parity in the VC industry. Another familiar face was 2015’s #Tech4Democracy Challenge winner, Agora, an idea platform for communities, who led idea sharing at a number of events throughout the week, including the Design Challenge, Our Convention, and Demo Day.

Needless to say, it was inspiring to see all of the innovation and impact of Greater Boston at HUBweek 2016. Thank you to all who participated and joined us in the weeklong celebration. For more information, be sure to visit HUBweek.org or follow us @HUBweek. The countdown begins for HUBweek 2017 — dates will be announced soon!

We’re interested in your feedback! Be sure to take the HUBweek 2016 Post-Event Survey to tell us about your 2016 experience and gain a chance to win tickets to see the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park.