It’s a Wrap: MIT’s Educational Accelerator Demo Day 2016!

mit-gfsa-demo-16

Congratulations to all of the teams that presented at our Educational Accelerator Demo Day! We kicked off MIT’s campus-wide t=0 celebration of entrepreneurship and innovation, which will continue through September 18.

If you couldn’t join us, this post gives a quick recap; and you can catch all of the presentations on video as well. For an overview of the companies presented, check out this BostonInno article – “These are the 17 Startups MIT Kept Hush-Hush this Summer.”

First of all, in my last post I had let you know that our Global Founders’ Skills Accelerator (GFSA) would be changing its name. We are now MIT’s delta v accelerator.  Why the name change? The derivative of velocity is acceleration!  Hence, the MIT Acceleration Program delta v.

delta v literally means a change in velocity, and we believe this truly captures what happens to these students when they join us for MIT’s accelerator program.

The delta v Demo Day is focused on MIT students, and students filled the auditorium and were even sitting in the aisles. Our Managing Director Bill Aulet kicked of the program and explained how these startups have reached “escape velocity” and have been “kicked out of the house” so to speak.

Bill was followed by keynote speaker Dharmesh Shah, the CTO of HubSpot and an MIT grad. He talked about increasing the success for these student startups – how to get started, why you should avoid stealth mode, why speed matters, how to find a co-founder, attract amazing people, and give yourself crazy ambitious goals. He tells students to take advantage of all your classes to hone your skills… and he says he has never heard of a single entrepreneur who regrets taking a shot at a startup (even if it failed).

Governor Charlie Baker also joined us at Demo Day, and spoke about the amount of wizardry that comes out of MIT and the staggering contribution that MIT has made to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the country and the world.

It was then on to the student presentations. Fourteen startups made it through to Demo Day, and their company ideas covered topics from mental health to virtual reality.  We saw compelling videos from farmers whose lives have been changed because of MIT students, transportation in Rwanda and Mexico that will reduce costs for carriers, a way to make freight transportation more efficient and increase the income of truck drivers, and several ways to improve the environment.  We learned about innovations could change the lives of families dealing with cancer treatment and students in Africa.

Interested in learning more? Check out the companies that presented. They are listed below, in alphabetical order, along with links to their websites.  And, if you have a bit more time, check out the teams presenting in our Demo Day video recording.

Alfie
Armoire
Deepstream
dot Learn
Emerald
Factory Shop
FleteYa
Hive Maritime
kiron
Kumwe Logistics
Lean on Me
Leuko Labs
perch
Rendever
ricult
Solstice Initiative

I think everyone who attended Demo Day was inspired and impressed by the power of entrepreneurship at MIT. Now, we’re onward and upward, with t=0 this week with a full schedule of activities every day. Later this month, the delta v teams will be heading to New York City and San Francisco to meet with alumni and investors.

We hope you are inspired too!

Advertisements

Join us September 9th for MIT’s Educational Accelerator Demo Day!

demo-day-banner

I’m wrapping up “boot camp” with this year’s MIT Global Founders’ Skills Accelerator (GFSA) cohort this week, and wanted to let you know about our Educational Accelerator Demo Day on September 9th! As Associate Director of the Martin Trust Center and the Director of the GFSA program, it’s been an amazing summer for me, helping to shape our teams of entrepreneurs and guiding them as they prepare to present their companies.

Sign up Now

On Demo Day, each of the groups that have been working in the accelerator will reveal their company to a live audience. This event is free and open to the public – just register here and then join us at MIT Kresge Auditorium; the program runs from 4 – 7 pm, and Dharmesh Shah, founder and CTO of HubSpot will be our keynote speaker.

Demo Day is the culmination of three months of intensive work and focus by our student teams in the educational accelerator. It’s the first chance to present their world-changing products and services to an audience of MIT students, mentors, friends, investors, and potential customers.

Who are this year’s Entrepreneurs?

Our 2016 cohort is bigger than last year with 86 entrepreneurs on 17 teams. We can’t reveal the companies or their concepts until September 9th, but innovative ideas will be presented by the fantastic teams – in vertical industries from healthcare to energy to logistics. To give you an idea of what Demo Day involves, here’s a round-up of inspiring startups from Demo Day in prior years.

As the premier university student accelerator in the world, the MIT GFSA provides a capstone educational opportunity for MIT student entrepreneurs and prepares them to hit “escape velocity” and launch their companies into the real world. We hope you can join us for this amazing event.

We’re Live Streaming too!

Can’t be there live? You can still watch the live stream. (Visit now and mark your calendar.)

After the Boston event, we’re on to New York on September 15 and San Francisco on September 22 to present Demo Day in those cities as well.

 

P.S. We’ll also be announcing a name change for the GFSA program at Demo Day … stay tuned.

MIT Demo Days in Review: Whirlwind through Boston, NYC, and San Francisco!

MIT Demo Day 2015 - Boston

MIT Global Founders’ Skills Accelerator (GFSA) student entrepreneur teams
and their advisors at Demo Day 2015 in Boston

What an exciting few weeks it has been! Starting at the MIT campus on September 12, MIT’s Global Founders’ Skill Accelerator (GFSA) has recently completed outstanding presentations to over 1,200 attendees at Demo Days in Boston, New York City, and San Francisco.

Fourteen teams started with the accelerator at the beginning of summer – my first summer as GFSA program director and Entrepreneur in Residence. Twelve teams made it through the summer boot camp, yet the experiences of the two that didn’t make it to Demo Day are as important as the 12 that did. The lessons of leadership and commitment – along with knowing when to pull a plug on a business or pivot when the business doesn’t align with your goals – are key lessons for entrepreneurs.

The teams that came into the boot camp were students as undergraduates, Masters students, and Ph.D. students. Many graduated from MIT in June after the Accelerator program started, savoring their accomplishments for just a day or two before jumping back into the demands of an educational accelerator boot camp. Directing this program for the first time, I observed a very ambitious group that was also very aligned with the MIT community culture, which supports the teams through its educational process and ecosystem.

Life in Entrepreneur Boot Camp

The boot camp curriculum was mixed with faculty from MIT and community practitioners that offered the students the fundamentals and the application of concepts that are key to building a company, understanding your customer, creating a product customers will purchase, having a team that is committed and understands the vision, as well as understanding business and investment fundamentals. The boot camp puts a heavy emphasis on learning about the motivations and needs of every participant in the value chain you want to enter.

The focus on the customer and primary market research for many of the teams was a challenge. I came into the program with the belief that MIT students can solve any technical problem and that was validated. However, I did see many students challenged when it came to listening to customers, iterating on their product based upon that feedback, and communicating to investors, other students and the community about their company.

Can the MIT accelerator experience be replicated? I am sure it can, but MIT is helped immensely by its culture and its ecosystem. The MIT culture one of creativity, supported by an ecosystem that puts an instructional focus on user-focused business and product design. It is a culture that supports entrepreneurial activities at every stage of the journey.

2015 MIT Global Founders’ Skill Accelerator Companies

Here are the 12 outstanding startups that presented on Demo Day. If you are interested in learning more, their website or contact information is included. At this stage, many of the companies are actively looking for advisors, are hiring and several will be fundraising. You can also view the video of the entire Boston Demo Day event here.

Genesis DNA is developing a next-generation gene synthesis technology that can synthesize gene length DNA at a fraction of the price and turnaround time of existing services. (Genesisdna.com)

Humon is building a wearable which non-invasively measures the way athletes’ muscles use oxygen in real time, identifying their lactic acid threshold and unlocking their true potential. (Humon.io)

Intentiv Robotics is creating the first Aerial Control System for drone cinematography, giving videographers full manual control of their aerial camera and allowing them to execute complex aerial shots intuitively. (Intentiv.io)

Khethworks makes reliable, solar-powered irrigation systems designed for small-acreage farmers that enable their customers to cultivate year round and already has multiple pilot sites on the ground in east India. (Khethworks.com)

Lumio is building a digital health companion, powered by their revolutionary device that provides clinical-grade diagnostics in the home in hours instead of weeks. (Email info@lumiohealth.com)

Morphlab is a company that is focused on furniture with superpowers. The team is creating scalable technologies that enable reconfiguration of interior spaces that dramatically increase efficiency, affordability and functionality of urban micro-apartments. (Morphlab.com)

Sandymount has proprietary tools to ship natively brewed beers internationally while maintaining the flavor and experience they would have in their region of origin in a cost effective manner. (SandymountTechnologies.com)

Spyce is developing the world’s first completely automatic restaurant. A Spyce kitchen cooks and serves delicious meals from fresh ingredients with no human involvement. (spyce.io)

Tekuma connects artists with Airbnb hosts to create personalized galleries in shared living spaces. At the nexus of art, hospitality and real estate they can enhance exposure, environments and guest experience. (tekuma.io)

Woobo opens the world of imagination, fun and knowledge to children, bringing the magic of a robot companion to their lives. A plush doll with artificial intelligence capabilities, Woobo gives children infinite access to stories, music, and knowledge, which are developmentally appropriate and will help them grow. (woobo.io)

In addition to the MIT-led teams there were two international teams:

Emma from ITAM in Mexico City is a company that provides companionship and mobility assistance for the elderly generation. It connects decision makers, their son or daughter, with a companion that best fits their love one’s needs. (miemma.com)

VSParticle from TU Delft in the Netherlands is revolutionizing how electronics are manufactured. The company core technology enables them to fundamentally change the current production system, replacing the wasteful etching process by a simple printing process. (vsparticle.com)

Again, all the best to the spectacular start-ups that worked so hard this summer!