MIT Sloan students $50K winners

May 2003, MIT Sloan home page

MIT Sloan students John Hebert and Robert Bruch and three fellow team members won the coveted $30,000 Robert P. Goldberg Grand Prize at the MIT $50K Entrepreneurial Competition this month.

The two MIT Sloan MBA students are part of SmartCells, which aims to market a once-a-day, self-regulating insulin delivery for diabetics.

This is the fifth year in a row a medically based team has won the prestigious award.

“The life sciences teams in recent years have tended to be very cross-disciplinary,” said Mike Grandinetti, a $50K judge who is a lecturer at MIT Sloan and a veteran entrepreneur. “The depth and breadth of the teams' perspectives and experience has been recognized by the judges.”

SmartCells was selected as the grand prize winner from eight finalists who presented their plans to an audience of venture capitalists and business leaders at the final awards in MIT's Kresge Auditorium Wednesday, May 14. This year's runners-up were NeuroBionics and Brontes. The other finalists were Agrivida, Alsys, Granular Ink, hepatometrix, and MolySym.

In addition to Hebert and Bruch, SmartCells is made up of Todd Zion, an MIT Chemical Engineering doctoral student, and Harvard Business School students Martin Curiel and Tsafrir Vanounou. The technology behind the business plan uses a new kind of biodegradable polymer to produce stimuli-responsive nanoparticles for controlled drug delivery.

SmartCells and the other finalists join an elite club. The $50K is hailed as the premier business plan competition in the world, and it has launched more than 75 companies, including Akamai Technologies (NASDAQ: AKAM) and other companies acquired by the likes of Microsoft, Motorola and Broadcom.

Related links

- Background on the $50K

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“One of MIT's strengths is to advance science and technology, but also to transform these discoveries into new products and services — the Sloan School has been a vital part of this tradition.”

Former MIT President
Charles M. Vest