Two teams connected to MIT's System Design and Management Program (SDM) have been named semifinalists in the annual MIT $100K Business Plan Competition, an event called "the granddaddy" of business-plan contests worldwide.
A third SDM-associated team is a runner-up in the competition, which received a record 260 entries this year. "I was delighted to hear so many SDMs were advancing in the $100K, but I wasn't surprised," said SDM Industry Codirector Joan Rubin. "Looking at problems from a systems perspective is a good way to find innovative approaches to business problems."
The $100K named just 25 semifinalists—five in each of five categories. Each semifinalist receives a $1,000 expense account to fund the team's venture and enters a mentorship program to help members flesh out their business plan in advance of the competition finals in April.
"It was one of my dreams to take part in this grand event," said Rupreet Singh Soni, SDM '11, whose team is a runner-up, earning the chance to compete for a "wild card" spot. "This competition not only allows students to come up with cutting-edge ideas with regard to business, but also nurtures entrepreneurship."
The three SDM teams are:
- ReceiptsOnDemand, a business designed to replace paper receipts with an electronic system, is a semifinalist in the Web/IT category. The team was formed by three first-year SDM students—Hassan Mousaid, Ke Ning, and Alex Thomas—and two MIT Sloan School of Management MBA students—Neheet Trivedi and Michael Goulet.
- Evolving Technologies, a venture focused on developing an endoscopy device to meet the needs of patients and physicians in impoverished communities, is a semifinalist in the Emerging Markets category. The team was formed by Avi Latner and Sassan Zelkha, both SDM '10, with members from outside MIT.
- Aulus Mobile, a team that includes Soni and Vivin Nath, SDM '11, Sloan MBA student Jeff Anderson and three member from the MIT Media Lab, has a "wild card" spot in the Products & Services category. Aulus Mobile is developing an inexpensive mobile device to detects eye cataracts. As a runner-up, Aulus Mobile will be have to compete with 24 other teams for the last two semifinalist spots. "I hope for the best to come in the future rounds," Soni said.