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MIT $100k Pitch Contest Finale

MIT100kLogoLast night 18 teams of MIT students delivered 1-minute pitches in rapid-fire succession on new business ideas in areas ranging from mobile technology, life sciences and energy as part of MIT’s well-known $100k Entrepreneurship Competition. In a record year with over 270 applications, multiple rounds of judging by leaders in venture capital narrowed the focus to 10 teams of semi-finalists in each of the 6 categories.

The Pitch contest is the first event in the 100k series, where rough ideas and direction are presented to a panel of judges and a live audience. The Pitch contest is followed by an Accelerate series culminating in February 2014, focused on prototype validation, and then later by Launch, the premier event of the $100k contest where teams present business plans with the hope of winning the $100k grand prize.

Before the event I had the pleasure of chatting with several participants in the contest. I spoke with John Hobgood, whose firm sponsors the event. John’s an intellectual property attorney at WilmerHale and helps entrepreneurs strategically formulate patents and understand their IP. He’s worked with teams emerging from the 100k contest before, and is mentoring teams in this year’s contest.

I also got to chat with John Lewandowski, a PhD student at MIT, and the CEO of Disease Diagnostics Group.

DDG has an awesome idea to address the problems with today’s malaria diagnostics, which are prohibitively expensive for use in the developing world, inaccurate and slow. DDG’s solution for rapid and accurate diagnosis of malaria could help save 1 million lives every year using only refrigerator magnets and a laser pointer.

The technology leverages the metallic properties blood infected with the malaria parasite. By applying a magnetic field, by-products in the blood called hemozoin align, blocking transmission of light through a blood sample in direct proportion to parasitemia. This is really cool stuff ya’ll. The technology has been developed in collaboration with Case Western Reserve University’s School of Medicine.

The crowd was certainly won over by John’s pitch, which landed him an award of $2,000 as the audience choice winner. Congrats DDG!


Other MedTech ideas from the 100k contests include:

Twiage, a HIPAA-compliant app for helping EMTs communicate a patient’s condition to the hospital before the ambulance arrives.

ProductivitEEG, FitBit for your brain. A device that monitors EEG signals to maximize your productivity throughout the day.

Prioritas, an algorithm for prioritizing electronic reports so a doctor can address the most urgent ones first.

Willbe, a corporate wellness initiative using fitness trackers to reward employees for reaching quantified fitness goals with proportional rewards.

Other winners of the contest included:

Zooming micro camera, second runner up for $1,000, with an idea for an external optical lens for smart phones.

Polished, first runner up for $2,000, with an idea for scheduling on-site manicure services for busy women.

EcoVent, winner of $5,000, with an idea using sensors and vent controls to regulate the temperature in rooms of your house for energy savings.


Congrats to all participants, and a big thanks to the 100k Leadership Team, especially all-stars Haya Al Ghanim and Allison Yost, co-managing directors!

Article written by Shannon Moore, PhD 

shannon@medtechboston.com | @ShannonMoorePhD

Shannon Moore

Shannon Moore

    Shannon is an Associate Consultant at DRG Consulting, where she helps clients in the life sciences approach strategic problems. As a new-comer to Boston, she's very excited about all of the medical innovation happening in her neighborhood, and loves learning about the people and resources that make it so vibrant. Shannon also holds a PhD in Biomedical Engineering where she studied the biomechanics of bone regeneration. She can be reached at shannon@medtechboston.com.

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