After Peter Thiel announced he’d pay students to drop out of college, the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship announced they’d pay students to stay in college. The Center debuted the Founders’ Skills Accelerator pilot, offering up to $20,000 in zero equity grants to teams who completed pre-determined, customized milestones.
In less than a week, 129 teams applied. Despite only 10 teams receiving admittance, however, just over 40 were selected to participate in the Beehive Cooperative, which still promised free office space for the teams to work in, mentorship, workshops and a speaker series.
Yesterday, 15 teams from the Founders’ Skills Accelerator and the Beehive Cooperative demoed the work they completed over the summer in front of over 40 different investors and venture capitalists, including the original investor of Pinterest, as well as Drew Houston, founder and CEO of Dropbox.
“It’s wonderful to see MIT making all of these resources available,” Houston said, noting that every company has humble beginnings. “Some of the best companies were built in dorm rooms, fueled by coffee, Mountain Dew and ramen noodles.”
And that idea of inspiration was a theme carried throughout the day.
“At the end of today, we hope that you are inspired,” said Bill Aulet, the managing director of the Martin Trust Center, to the students sitting in the back of the room. “If you are inspired, you could become an entrepreneur.”
Other fellow MIT alumni took the stage, as well, to present the 15 teams below, including founder of Vitzu Technologies Ash Martin, who’s company was recently acquired by 3D Systems. “I had no previous startup experience when I came to MIT,” Martin admitted. Yet, he was able to make over half a million dollars in bootstrapped revenue and sell the company in just 24 months.
Vanessa Green, CEO of OnChip Power, told students they just needed to “show up and keep showing up. Take advantage of the ecosystem.”
As MIT Chancellor W. Eric L. Grimson said, “An MIT education happens just as much outside of the classroom.”
Rallyt — A social media startup that aims to redefine how social and political change is achieved.
Infinite Analytics — Provides retailers with a personalized product recommendation engine by creating a Social Genome of the user’s profile on the social networks.
Wecyclers — Starting in Lagos, Nigeria, Wecyclers will reduce unmanaged urban waste in low-income neighborhoods and provide a reliable supply of materials to the local recycling industry.
LiquiGlide — A revolutionary, super-slippery coating platform. LiquiGlide allows thick sauces and condiments like mayonnaise, ketchup, mustard, jelly, and even honey, to slide easily out of their bottles.
Delightfully — We help gift givers create a moment for the people they care about.
Smart Scheduling — Smart Scheduling is developing software for medical clinics that takes the guesswork out of patient scheduling by optimizing the day’s appointments.
AudioCommon — AudioCommon is a web-based platform that allows for a new avenue of communication and commerce for musicians and other members of the audio production community.
SasaAfrica — An e-commerce platform that connects craftspeople from developing regions to the global marketplace, using a simple mobile phone.
GeckoCap — A monitoring, adherence, data analysis system that helps parents and children that suffer from asthma.
Optimix — Optimix uses newly developed algorithms to help businesses with a relatively fixed capacity, such as airlines, hotels or sport clubs, maximize their occupancy and revenues.
WiCare — Develops innovative medical devices that are clinically effective and affordable worldwide.
Mediuum — Mediuum is building a platform so people can discover, purchase and view digital art content on any wireless-enabled device.
Gradeable — A grading and assessment platform that enables teachers to practice data-driven instruction, effectively target student needs and give timely feedback.
Podimetrics — Provides an early warning system that predicts and prevents diabetic foot ulcers.