Two years after taking to the stage at Kresge Auditorium, Bill Aulet, SF '94, (Professor of the Practice, Technological Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Strategic Management; Managing Director, Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship) returned in mid-September to serve as the emcee for the 2021 MIT delta v Demo Day.
"We're here to celebrate these incredible young people who are going to change the world," Aulet told the crowd. "Today, we're going to show you entrepreneurship in action."
Seventeen teams comprised of graduate and undergraduate students from MIT, Wellesley College, and other participating institutions presented their innovative solutions for solving some of the toughest problems facing multiple industries to the audience at Kresge and those watching the livestream.
Each group demonstrated the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship's commitment to Aulet's "entrepreneurship in action," as well as the dedication of MIT Sloan alumni and friends who support the MIT delta v accelerator and its participants.
"MIT as an institution values an entrepreneurial mindset. It's something I've worked hard to bring to my own companies," says David Lucchino, SF '06, co-founder, president, and CEO of Frequency Therapeutics. His first company, Semprus BioSciences, was born out of the 2006 MIT $100k LAUNCH business plan competition and took home the top prize.
"It's a privilege to be able to give back in some way by contributing to the unique learning experience of MIT delta v," he says. "I'm always excited when I get the chance to see some of the most talented students showing not just outstanding book smarts, but also their entrepreneurial savvy. That's a combination that's hard to beat."
Lucchino, who co-founded Frequency Therapeutics in 2014 with Robert Langer, ScD '74, (David H. Koch Institute Professor) and Christopher Loose, PhD '07, recalls how Aulet reached out to him for his help with delta v.
"It's a program that I'm honored to help with now and in the future," he says. "As a mock board member, I watched a talented student team navigate their first board meeting—something many executives don't get to experience until it's the real deal. It was a process of helping them to understand that the entrepreneurial journey isn't a straight line, and you must be able to adapt."
Grace Ueng, SB '87, founder and CEO of Savvy Growth and a professional advisor at the Trust Center, couldn’t agree more.
"Entrepreneurship—bringing new products and services to life—has been a core theme of my work over the years," she says. "I love seeing the energetic and passionate entrepreneurs at delta v make meaningful progress in a short amount of time."
Beyond participating throughout the accelerator and attending the demo day festivities, delta v supporters are excited to see how far the teams progress with their ideas. They are especially excited when the students continue to reach out to them for advice and assistance long after the stage at Kresge has been cleared.
"I still get calls from past students. I even get some calls from teams I never worked with who are just looking for some input," says George Petrovas, a serial entrepreneur who also serves as a Trust Center professional advisor and delta v mock board member.
"Entrepreneurship is the lifeblood of the country," he continues. "It allows one to fulfill their dreams. It takes courage, belief, and hard work—but the positive impact one can have on improving people’s lives can be realized by the entrepreneur."
Aulet echoed this sentiment during his closing remarks to the in-person and virtual audiences last month.
"We're all about having an impact on the world's greatest challenges," he said of the Trust Center and delta v. "That's what we're here for and we'll never stop doing that."