A number of the companies participating in the MIT CIO conference’s Innovation Showcase can point to CIOs as important sources of technology direction and product evolution.

CIOs aren’t just new technology buyers, but technology influencers who help IT startup companies shape their products.

That’s the experience of a number of early-stage companies participating in the 2017 MIT Sloan CIO Symposium’s Innovation Showcase. The showcase highlights 10 young companies selected by a group of judges consisting of MIT faculty and students, entrepreneurs and early-stage investors. Relationships between CIOs and the startup community can range from informal chats to more structured programs and can even involve tech matchmaking on the part of venture capital firms.

CIO input plays an important role at PreVeil, a cybersecurity startup based in Boston and Innovation Showcase participant. The company asked 50 CIOs for feedback when it was devising its end-to-end encryption technology approach. PreVeil sought to bring technology to market based on MIT research on technology for enabling computation on encrypted data.

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