Celebrating Our Entrepreneurs


Photo credit: MIT

It is with fond memories that I watched this year’s MIT delta v Demo Day presentations. Even though I was traveling out of the country, Demo Day generates the kind of enthusiasm and excitement that had me tuning in and watching the passion of these student entrepreneurs. (You can catch the replay of the Cambridge presentation here. The group also presented in San Francisco and New York City.)

MIT delta v Demo Day

Demo Day is an annual event that showcases the culmination of three months of work with the intensive delta v capstone educational accelerator program. Why am I so passionate about delta v? For five years I served as the director of this MIT program – a full immersion into a wide variety of innovative technologies and startups.

This year, watching from abroad, I saw a new cohort of entrepreneurs pitch their innovative and potentially world-changing companies to an audience of MIT students, mentors, friends, investors, and perhaps even customers. Kudos to Executive Director Paul Cheek, Jenny Larios Berlin, and Ben Soltoff, along with the entire Martin Trust Center staff for a successful Demo Day! Like any successful performance, there is an immense amount of hard work and preparation that goes into the final production. Like a proud parent, it was gratifying to pass the torch and see the program grow and move forward.

delta v 10-year Impact Study

In addition to celebrating this year’s delta v entrepreneurs, MIT just released an in-depth longitudinal study of the impact of delta v. I’d like to highlight some of the findings here to show how much this program has meant to the students and their startup companies, the MIT community, and to demonstrate the overall economic impact of the program.

The study was based on 10 cohorts of delta v students who comprised 181 teams. There were 692 participants during that time (67% were MIT students), and 322 of them (47%) responded to the survey. Some of the highlights include:

  • Survival Rate: Since its inception, 61% of delta v projects have become real companies that either continue to exist to this day or have been acquired. (For companies from the past five years of delta v, that number increases to 69%.)
  • Attractiveness to Investors: 63% of all the projects have resulted in companies that raised money.
  • Funding Attracted: The companies that have raised funding to date have totaled over $1 billion, and that continues to grow.
  • Founding Other Companies: Over 130 new additional companies have been created and raised an additional $2 billion beyond the companies started from the projects worked on in delta v.
  • Broader Entrepreneurship Communities: 68 (37.5%) of delta v startups were accepted into external, private/for-profit accelerators, including Y Combinator, TechStars, and Mass Challenge.
  • Connected Community: 83% of survey respondents say they are still in touch with their delta v cohort.

What’s Next for Me?

So, how can we help the next generation of entrepreneurs around the world be successful in their endeavors? Now that I’m working on the “fourth act” of my career, I’m working one-on-one with entrepreneurs and their startups in a consulting and coaching role.

These days I’m also traveling more for both pleasure and business. And, I’m working on an e-book resource on Global Entrepreneurship and Accelerator Programs around the World.

Interested in the e-book? Sign up here and I’ll send you a copy once it’s completed.

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