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Meet the 150 Finalists for 2016's 50 on Fire

Boston Inno

Boston is packed with world-class thinkers, companies, and higher-ed institutes. We know how deep that talent really is after sifting through thousands of nominations for this year’s 50 on Fire awards. Each and every day our team has an ear to the ground, attending events, interviewing entrepreneurs and scoping out every damn angle of this highly charged little world that we call “Boston’s Innovation Community.” Once a year, it’s our job to consolidate our expertise and highlight the best from the past year of editorial coverage. We do this with a little guidance from our community of investors and founders who read BostInno every day. Some of them helped us with dozens of nominations. Our 30+ judges will help us narrow the list of 150 finalists down to 50 winners.

Take note. This isn’t your typical rankings list where companies and individuals have to be under a certain age or fit into a well-defined box. We carefully consider every nomination, from two person design shops to behemoths that just moved to Boston (Hi, GE). 50 on Fire is a reflection of Boston – a collection of people and organizations in different roles, stages and categories who are making an impact on this city. Setting it on fire, if you will.

Below are your city’s 150 finalists for this year’s event, broken up into 11 categories – Civic, Design, Food and Drink, Education, Retail, Health and Medicine, Marketing and Advertising, Professional Services, Sport and Fitness, Technology, and Investment.

Our judges have until November 11 to deliberate then we reveal all the winners live at 50 on Fire at the Moakley Courthouse on December 7. Early Bird tickets are on sale for only a bit longer. Buy tickets here.


Civic Finalists: We looked for the game changers in our community who are making a lasting local and global impact with their work. These are the catalysts for change socially, economically and environmentally that are on fire this year.

Ayanna Pressley: City of Boston
Elsa Sze: Agora
Gilad Rosenzweig: Smarter in the City
Gina Fiandaca: Park Boston
Inner City Weightlifting
Jenn Faigel: Commonwealth Kitchen
Matt Hoey: Canopy City
Nigel Jacob: City of Boston
Resilient Coders
South End Open Market
Vicky Wu Davis: Youth Cities

Design Finalists: From awe-inspiring architecture and innovative public gathering spaces to 3D printing and digital design, these individuals and organizations are creating a better future for our city and its residents.

CBT Architects
Creative Mornings Boston
Disruptor Beam
Fresh Tilled Soil
Jesse Louis-Rosenberg & Jessica Rosenkrantz: Nervous System
Rob Maloof: Gauntlet Films
RODE Architects
Sam Aquillano: Design Museum Boston

Retail Finalists: Boston is home to some of the most innovative brands in the industry. They are shaping the way we buy & sell goods within our community with new consumer concepts.

Josh Schanker: BookBub
Jules Pieri: The Grommet
Justin Kittredge: ISlide
Mike Festa: Wayfair
Ministry of Supply
New Balance
Parlor Skis
Suzanne Schalow: Craft Beer Cellar
Tara Foley: Follain
True Fit
Wine Riot

Food & Drink Finalists: We want to learn about the chefs, bartenders, restaurants and breweries that are crushing traditional tactics and establishing a new level of cuisine in the hub.

Chris Coombs: Boston Chops
Joanne Chang: Flour
Jody Adams & Eric Papachristos: Porto, TradeSaloniki
Josh Lewin: Juliet & Bread and Salt Hospitality
Lauren Abda: BranchFood
Oath Craft Pizza
Paint Nite
Shea Coakley: Leanbox
Tasty Burger
Trillium Brewing

Education Finalists: When education and technology converge to create a successful story, we always want to be first to know. Tell us who you think is doing this in the most creative and effective manner this year.

Debi Kleiman: Babson College Arthur M. Blank Center for Entrepreneurship
Jodi Goldstein: Harvard Life Lab & Harvard Innovation Lab
MIT Trust Center
Nick Ducoff: Northeastern University
Shorelight Education

Health & Medicine Finalists: Biotech, life sciences, medtech, digital health and more. We are the biotech hub of the world. Therefore, we’ll have plenty of competition in this category. Tell us who is breaking boundaries in this industry with new discoveries that will change our world.

2020 On-site Optometry
Analog Devices
Docent Health
Iora Health
John Brownstein: Boston Children’s Hospital
Katrine Bosley: Editas Medicine
Lesley Solomon: Brigham Innovation Hub at Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Ovuline/Ovia Health
Veritas Genetics

Marketing & Advertising Finalists: With the extreme growth in adtech, marketing technologies and agency work in Boston, it will be difficult to determine who deserves honors in this category.

Allen Bonde: Placester
Baba Shetty: Invisible Science
Courtney Lawrie: Wayfair
Crimson Hexagon
Dave Gerhardt: Drift
Ellie Mirman: Toast
Jennifer Lum: Adelphic
Matt Johnston: Mautic
Melina Engel: SimpliSafe
Tom O’Keefe: BostonTweet

Investment Finalists: Boston is now a major hub for investors—from individual angels to heavily backed venture firms— there is no shortage of deal flow in Boston. Who are the best ones?

BOSS Syndicate
David Fialkow: General Catalyst
Devon McDonald: OpenView
G20 Ventures
Katie Rae: Project 11
Payal Agrawal: .406 Ventures
Peter Boyce: Rough Draft Ventures
Romulus Capital

Sport & Fitness Finalists: Boston is the hub for all things sports and fitness related – not to mention, the sneaker capital of the world. From health and wellness technologies to household fitness brands – we are the leader for new trends in the industry.

Crossfit Southie
EveryBody Fights
Fortified Bicycle
Jessica Gelman: Kraft Analytics Group
Lose It!
Martellus Bennet: Patriots
Matt Taylor: Tracksmith
Spartan Race

Professional Services Finalists: Offering customized knowledge-based services to clients is essential to building the local businesses around Boston. This includes law firms, accountants, real estate agencies and more. How are these professional services companies leading the pack?

Building Engines
Carol Fulp: The Partnership
Janeiro Digital
John Valentine: MassChallenge
Liberty Mutual
Lindsay Hyde: Baroo
Melissa James: Black Tech Meetup & Tech Connection
Nick Francis: Help Scout
Pamela Aldsworth: Silicon Valley Bank
Samuels & Associates
T3 Advisors
Vinayak Ranade: Drafted

Technology: New start-ups and public tech anchors have made Boston a spot on the tech map that cannot be missed. Which Boston-based tech companies and individuals are worthy of the 50 on Fire honors?

BitSight Technologies
Carbon Black
Circle Internet Financial
Dan Lyons: ‘Disrupted’ Book
Dharmesh Shah: HubSpot
Doron Reuveni: Applause
General Electric
Paul English: Lola Travel
Rethink Robotics
Tara Haas: LogMeIn
Tom Ebling: DemandWare

Want to be in the room for the big 50 on Fire reveal? Snag your Early Bird ticket to the main event on Dec. 7 to catch the premiere of the high-octane video announcing the winners, and celebrate with some of Boston’s top influencers. Early Bird tickets are on sale through Nov. 4 so grab them while this deal is hot.

Thank you to our 50 on Fire Sponsors

If you are interested in being a 50 on Fire Sponsor contact us.


Editor’s note: Accion was incorrectly linked and a person was mistakenly nominated, instead of the entire company. The correct nomination is now above for the microfinance investment firm.