Guest speakers included renowned entrepreneurs and innovators Travis Kalanick, co-founder and CEO of Uber Technologies and Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google, as well as Nancy E. Frates, co-creator of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.
The main event of the evening was the announcements of $1.75 million in awards to the best startup companies of the year. Four companies won the top prize of $100,000 each, followed by 12 companies winning $50,000 each, totaling $1 million. And in addition, 23 other companies won a variety of prizes totaling $750,000, as part of the MassChallenge Side Car prizes. The Side Car grants were sponsored by CASIS and Boeing, the John W. Henry Family Foundation, Microsoft, MassIT and Perkins School for the Blind.
Here is a full list of the 2014 MassChallenge winners.
Congratulations to all of the contestants and to the winners.
Prior to the event, MassChallenge CEO John Hawthorne presented a special award to Governor Deval Patrick for his work promoting innovation and technology. In fact, the governor became the recipient of the first annual Deval L. Patrick Commonwealth Innovation Award, which will be given in subsequent years to a deserving individual.
Kalanick praised Patrick for helping to create an environment where companies like Uber could succeed. Schmidt echoed that praise, adding that “If you want to solve the economic problems of the U.S., create more entrepreneurs and get more immigrants in as well.”
This year’s top prize winners include: Catie’s Closet, which improves school attendance and removes social stigmas by providing clothing and necessities to students living in poverty; Disease Diagnostic Group, which is creating a hand-held malaria diagnosis device; Drinkwell, which converts arsenic and fluoride water into safe drinking water; and SQZ Biotech, an MIT biotech startup that squeezes molecules into cells.