On Tuesday the Accelerator had its first “non speaker” session. Lianna and I have been spending a lot of time concentrating on bringing in the best possible speakers/experts we can find – I believe the total is 7 in December alone – and so it was a relief to have Tuesday (the 11th) be a “work day” for the Finalists, with no experts around.
At the same time, it was a bit nerve-racking, because we weren’t sure whether the session would be productive.
The result? A big success, and in surprising ways. A couple of Finalists scheduled mentor meetings during the time, which we said was fine. The rest hung out in the room and, from all accounts, had engaging, thought-provoking, entertaining, and productive discussions about EVERY Finalist’s project! I honestly didn’t think this would happen – I thought the group would split up into groups or even singles and just plug away on their projects. I’m really happy that this sharing took place among the whole group, and in particular that it happened spontaneously. The Finalists continue to find different ways to help one another.
I also want to give a plug to our Lawrence digs at Cambridge College. Joe Miglio, Director, has arranged for the Sandbox Winter Accelerator to use Cambridge College’s facilities throughout December, January, and February! The classrooms are beautifully arranged, each with movable tables, good chairs, overhead projectors, Wifi, and white boards. We’re thrilled to have such great facilities – thanks Joe and the rest of the Cambridge College staff!
On Thursday, again at Cambridge College, Bill Contente a start-up attorney at Gesmer Updegrove in Boston spent a few hours with the Finalists answering many questions about the typical legal needs of startups. Incorporation, LLC versus C/S Corp, non profit, IP issues (patent, trademark, copyright), contracts, NDAs, insurance – Bill covered it all! I suspect a number of the Finalists were a bit dismayed at how important legal advice is, and in particular how expensive it can be, but once Bill detailed the potential downsides of the various issues, it became clear. Bill did a nice job of making sure to answer all the questions posed by the group. Thanks very much Bill!