Two startups founded by members of the Northeastern community received a total of $150,000 on Wednesday night from MassChallenge, a global business accelerator program for companies in the early stages of development.
Mobile Pixels, which designed a second screen that can be attached to a laptop to boost productivity, received a $100,000 award. Boston Materials, which produces strong carbon fiber composite materials that could be used to manufacture sports equipment, aircraft components, and other products to be lighter than ever but equally as durable, received a $50,000 award.
The founders of Boston Materials said that they will use the money to purchase equipment for testing the composite materials, which will cut down on the time it takes to develop the materials from months to weeks.
“Thus far we have been relying on outside resources for testing, which has long lead times and is expensive. Bringing material testing in-house will allow us to iterate at a much quicker rate and to reallocate funds to other crucial aspects of the business,” said Michael Segal, who co-founded Boston Materials with fellow Northeastern graduate Anvesh Gurijala and Northeastern professor Randall Erb.
Erb, who is an assistant professor of mechanical and industrial engineering, developed a patented method for magnetically assembling particles that the entrepreneurs are now using to develop better composites.
Mobile Pixels and Boston Materials were two of 26 finalists in this year’s MassChallenge Boston program, which provides space, mentorship, and workshops to help entrepreneurs grow their businesses.
Segal said that the MassChallenge program taught him and his co-founders how to identify the markets in which their materials would best fit. “We incorporated a very strategic step-by-step approach to identifying, selecting, and verifying different markets and applications, providing us a more standardized tool for assessing where we should focus our efforts,” he said.
Northeastern graduate student Stephen Ng co-founded Mobile Pixels with Massachusetts Institute of Technology alumni Jack Yao and Shruti Banda to create DUO, a secondary screen for laptops that can be used to boost productivity while on-the-go.
Ng said he realized how helpful a second laptop screen would be while studying for a midterm exam in Snell Library. “I remember thinking if I had an additional monitor, with my class materials on one side and my notes on the other, I could study a lot better,” he said.