50 on Fire Finalists Bring Innovation to Workbar
50 on Fire – BostInno’s annual awards ceremony to honor and highlight Boston’s “inventors, disruptors, luminaries, and newsmakers” has nominated three Workbar members as finalists this year – Babson’s Women Innovating Now (WIN) Lab, Panos Panay, Berklee Institute for Creative Entrepreneurship, and Mavrck (formerly Splashscore).
In the same way that each nominee has influenced Boston’s innovation ecosystem on a large scale, each has also helped create a unique program at Workbar, contributing to the evolution of what coworking can mean. Representing three Workbar locations (Boston, Cambridge, and the Workbar Network), we are proud to work with the following three 50 on Fire finalists.
The Babson WIN Lab
The Babson WIN Lab, a year-long residency program for Women Entrepreneurs out of Babson College, joined Workbar Boston in September, 2014 for its inaugural year. Led by Sharon Kan, Susan Duffy, and Heatherjean Macneil, along with a panel of strong experts and coaches, the program’s goal is to empower and and support women to build their own successful businesses. Since joining, the WIN Lab has held its weekly classes and hosted 8 events, including panels, lectures, a “speed dating” pitch session, and a culminating product launch demo day at Workbar Boston. The Lab’s 25 female entrepreneurs also have access to Workbar Boston beyond their classes and events, using it as a workspace and off-campus launchpad for their businesses. Some companies founded by the program’s participants (“WINners”) include DARTdrones, Meet Eugene, On the Dot Books, and al FreshCo. See a complete list of winners and their companies HERE.
Panos Panay & the Berklee Institute for Creative Entrepreneurship
Panos Panay and the Berklee Institute for Creative Entrepreneurship have also leveraged a relationship with Workbar to challenge traditional ideas of classroom education. Founded by Panos Panay, a Berklee alumnus and founder of Sonicbids, with the help of Ken Zolot, a senior lecturer at MIT’s school of engineering, BerkleeICE’s goals are are to “prepare Berklee graduates for careers as entrepreneurs in the new music business, to foster the creation of new products, services, and businesses driving the changes in the creative industries of tomorrow, and to inspire the advancement of disruptive ideas through the application of musical creativity and cross-discipline collaboration.” In an effort to connect Berklee students with working entrepreneurs and small businesses, the BerkleeICE hosts classes every Monday at Workbar Cambridge. Most classes include a lecture or presentation about creative entrepreneurship – particularly as it applies to the music industry. According to an interview with Panay in BostInno, Panay and Ken Zolot chose Workbar to bring entreprepreneurs within arms reach of their students, and to make the trip to class a little inconvenient – much like an entrepreneur’s journey.
Open to Workbar members and students alike, the institute has already brought several engaging speakers and presenters to Workbar, including the former Creative Director for Nike, the Director of GoogleX, and IDEO’s Managing Director. Though classes happen on Monday nights, the 18 students participating in the program regularly use Workbar as an off-campus workspace and resource for class projects and for building their entrepreneurial ideas throughout the week.
Mavrck (formerly Splashscore), was an original member company at Workbar Cambridge the summer of 2013. After growing, moving to the North End, completing Techstars in November, and rebranding, the influencer marketing startup returned to Workbar as a founding member of WUNDERBAR – Workbar’s Center of Excellence in Adtech hosted at Mullen.
Mavrck uses its software to identify and activate social media influencers for major brands. Founded by Sean Naegeli, Lyle Stevens, and Chris Wolfel, the company grew its user base 370 percent and increased revenue 1,300 percent in 2014, according to Bostinno. With a mission to challenge the future of the digital marketing industry and traditional display advertising, Mavrck plans to use its time at Mullen to learn from an industry leader, test its platform, and hone its product to better align with the needs of its clients. In the process, the company will help shape the future WUNDERBAR’s programming and Workbar’s Center of Excellence model.
The WIN Lab, BerkleeICE, and Mavrck are clear examples of innovators at Workbar who have brought disruptive ideas to leading industries in Boston. Workbar is excited for their inevitable success, and we wish them luck at the 50 on Fire awards on December 4th.
About the Author: Alexa Lightner is the Director of Community Development at Workbar. Tweet her up at @AlexaLightner.
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