Active Joint Brace wins MIT $50K Entrepreneurship Competition

Cambridge, Mass., May 13, 2004 — Active Joint Brace was selected as the Robert P. Goldberg Grand Prize winner at last night's 15th annual MIT $50K Entrepreneurship Competition, held in Kresge Auditorium at MIT. Hyperscore and LiquidPiston ™ were selected as the two runners-up. The winner receives $30,000 and the runners-up receive $10,000 each. MIT's competition has launched more than 80 companies, with more than 1600 employees and over $4 billion in value. Companies include Akamai Technologies (NASDAQ: AKAM) and other companies acquired by Microsoft, Motorola, Broadcom and others. This is the sixth year in a row that a medically-based team has won this prestigious award.

Robert P. Goldberg Grand Prize Winner:

Active Joint Brace — an electromechanical orthotic device that increases functional independence by working in tandem with existing muscles. It is a portable, low-cost, non-invasive device that helps an individual perform activities of daily living and can allow self-therapy. The product is targeted for the 10 million Americans with disabilities that have difficulty lifting light objects and need help with daily activities.
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Hyperscore — software that allows the user to compose music by drawing lines and shapes of various colors across a computer screen, unlocking musical creativity without needing years of training. This software will be targeted for children, educators, and professional musicians.
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LiquidPiston — a combustion engine that doubles fuel efficiency and reduces nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions by 90%, using patent pending LiquidPiston ™ technology. Their first market will be the auxiliary power unit (APU) market which supplies long-haul trucks with power during rest stops.
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“We found these plans to be extraordinary — among the best we've ever seen,” said MIT Sloan Lecturer Joe Hadzima, a $50K judge since year one and managing director of Main Street Partners LLC. “In judging it was difficult to select a winner, a tribute to the fact that the MIT $50K has become a very serious generator of ideas and plans.”

Seven finalists were chosen from 127 entrants with 425 team members participating. Judges, including noted venture capitalists and entrepreneurs, selected the winning teams based on their potential of becoming “tomorrow's leading firms.” The other finalists this year were Active Spectrum, Advanced Diamond Solutions, LumArray and MicroLaser.

“The MIT $50K's value is in the learning process. Participants learn how to take an idea, build a team around it, formulate a strategic vision, and develop and articulate it in the form of a business plan.” said Marcus Lopez, lead organizer and MIT Sloan School of Management student. “They then pitch and secure interest for their plan, often turning it into a real business. It is the process of becoming an entrepreneur, which is far more valuable than winning the prize money.”

Each finalist team presented its plan to an audience of venture capitalists and business leaders at the Final Awards in MIT's Kresge Auditorium. The event reached a global audience through a live Internet broadcast. Along with the winners, many of the finalists and other entrants are planning to launch their businesses. The ceremony's keynote speaker was Vinod Khosla, founder of Sun Microsystems.

The MIT $50K Entrepreneurship Competition is the world leader among business plan competitions. The strength of the MIT Competition over others is the combination of students from one of the top management, engineering, and science schools in the country. It also has tremendous educational backing: workshops, 11 MIT Sloan entrepreneurship classes, professional mentors for all semifinalists, and the network of MIT entrepreneurs who have formed over 4,000 companies. The MIT $50K organizers each year share best practices with competitions around the world through their Global Startup Workshop. This year people came from more than 35 countries.

Dr. Zhen-Hong Zhou, winner of the first MIT $10K Entrepreneurship Competition and founder of three companies, says, “The experience to take an idea into an executable business plan is invaluable, not only to start- up companies but also in big corporations.”

Contacts for Media:

Armina Karapetyan, $50K Communications Lead

Kathleen Rowe, MIT Sloan Media Relations

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