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Innovators network, hunt for capital

Showcase for start-ups highlights innovative new companies and products

Mass Innovation Nights held its monthly meeting at the Globe.

Christina Reinwald/Boston.com

Mass Innovation Nights held its monthly meeting at the Globe.

Trailblazers Aquatic LLC makes such an unusual product — treadmills that are submerged in water and used to rehabilitate injured dogs — that it usually provokes strange reactions.

The South Easton company’s founder, Marian Macartney, was demonstrating the treadmill on Wednesday at Mass Innovation Nights, a showcase for start-ups that held its most recent monthly meeting at The Boston Globe.

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As Macartney was playing a video­ showing a small brown-and-white dog being lowered into the tank, a passerby stopped to take the scene in. “That dog does not look happy,” the woman quipped before moving on.

Trailblazers was one of several companies with unusual products on display at Mass Innovation Nights, which was hosted by the Hive, the Boston.com site about developments in the Massachusetts innovation community.

Other companies, voted crowd favorites, were given the opportunity to make presentations before the audience:

 Sudbury-based Mariwear sells women’s loungewear and sleepwear with built-in support.

­ ProfitBricks, a German company, recently opened a Boston headquarters to compete against Amazon.com in cloud computing.

 Landing Page Builder helps companies with Web marketing.

 SnapHop makes a new tool for job-hunting on mobile devices.

Macartney was hoping to catch the interest of an angel investor to help bankroll production of the underwater treadmills. Made in Warwick, R.I., they retail for about $42,000.

Such aquatic therapy is said to enhance exercises for strength, range of motion, and endurance while reducing the risk of injury. And the warm water may help the pet relax.

“Rehabilitation,” Macartney said, “is the fastest-growing specialty in veterinary medicine today,”

But she mused she might have better luck finding investors in the Midwest, where they often have more experience in animal care industries.

Mukhtar H. Mohamed was also looking for funding for his start-up, ItsMyURLs.com.

The business creates personalized digital calling card pages. It has had a few deals with traditional business card manufacturers and gained high-profile users like Serena Williams and Lil Jon.

But after quitting their jobs six months ago to focus on the new enterprise, Mohamed and his cofounders urgently need to find investors, Mohamed said. So far, they have not found people in the Boston area willing to back them, but investors in California and New York have shown interest.

“We want to remain in Boston,” Mohamed said. “But we have to make a choice: wait and stick around, or leave.”

At the center of the networking event was Bobbie ­Carlton, founder of Mass ­Innovation Night and Carlton PR & Marketing in Woburn and a familiar face at entrepreneurship events.

Many of the founders at the event had similar stories about Carlton:

Macartney, for example, had bumped into her recently at a women’s entrepreneurship conference, and Carlton ­corralled her into making a presentation. Executives from SnapHop had worked with her during their early days while exploring another product.

On Wednesday, she was again using her networking skills to spread the word about SnapHop’s new business approach.

Another new company at the Globe event was 42stats, which provides workplace analytics to businesses.

Its chief executive, Dinyar Mistry, moved the company from New York to Boston this year to participate in the MassChallenge competition for start-ups and got free office space and mentoring.

“The start-up community [in Boston] is smaller, friendlier, a little tighter,” Mistry said.

“New York is style-driven. We’ve gone from having zero network here to having access to every investor and expert in our area.”

Michael Morisy is curator of The Hive, Boston’s online news source for developments in the innovation community, at
boston.com/hive.
He can be reached at
michael.morisy@boston.com.
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