Life Sciences Dominate MIT $50K Entrepreneurship Competition Finals

Winner to be announced at MIT awards ceremony on May 9

Cambridge, Mass, May 5, 2005 — Seven teams of finalists selected by noted venture capitalists based on their potential of becoming “tomorrow's leading firms” are one step closer to claiming $50,000 in start-up money and the winning title in the 16th Annual MIT $50K Entrepreneurship Competition, which concludes on May 9, 2005.

More than 80 companies have been formed from student teams that have competed since the MIT $50K Competition launch in 1990. These companies, in turn, have employed approximately 1,600 people and have a valuation of over $4 billion. Recent IPOs have included Akamai, net.Genesis, and C-Bridge Internet Solutions.

A panel of about 20 industry professionals – including venture capitalists, patent lawyers and entrepreneurs – judged business plan entries submitted by 86 competing teams comprised of students from MIT's management, engineering and science schools.

Susan Hockfield, President of MIT, will offer opening remarks at the May 9th awards ceremony being held on the MIT campus at 7 p.m. in Kresge Auditorium, 77 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge. Keynote speaker is David Edwards, the Scientific Founder of Advanced Inhalation Research, a subsidiary of Alkermes, Inc. The seven finalists are:


Nearly half of the United States population is affected by a balance or vestibular disorder sometime during their lives. Balico™ is a privately held medical device company that is developing and commercializing a wearable vibrotactile balance aid that accurately estimates and displays body tilt to help individuals reduce the risk of falls.


HealRight will leverage its patent-pending, proprietary technology to create the next generation of wound-healing products. Their initial product is a needleless, pain-free wound closure system targeted at the multibillion dollar wound closure industry.

Previva, Inc.

Previva, Inc.'s first product, VentStar, controls asthma and similar pulmonary diseases that afflict approximately 26 million Americans and incur costs of $22 billion annually. VentStar uses a proprietary “smart inhaler” to predict asthma attacks and prevent them with early, low-cost interventions.

Nanocell Power

Nanocell Power's technology enables the viability of fuel cells for portable electronics and paves the way for tomorrow's automotive fuel cell market. Their patented manufacturing process provides more efficient distribution of expensive catalyst and carbon nanofibers in the fuel cell membrane.

Renal Diagnostics

Renal Diagnostics' Renostat system for the early detection of acute kidney failure is designed for non-invasive use in the 5 million patients who receive care each year in hospital Intensive Care Units.


TissueVision provides high-content tissue knowledge for the pharmaceutical and academic research markets. Founded by MIT researchers, TissueVision was awarded a prestigious National Institute of Health grant to fund development of a working prototype of its patent-pending, state-of-the-art, three-dimensional tissue imaging system.

Vacuum Excavation Technologies

Because the top ten feet of soil are densely packed with utility wires, gas mains and sewer pipes whose locations are often poorly mapped, excavation with traditional backhoes often damages utilities and puts operators at risk for catastrophic injuries. Vacuum Excavation Technologies offers a new excavation device that works with existing machinery to enable efficient operation without risk to utilities or operators.

“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 to foster innovation,” said Lawrence Walmsley, co-lead organizer and MIT Sloan MBA student. “It also has tremendous educational backing in the form of workshops, MIT Sloan entrepreneurship classes, professional mentoring for all semifinalists, and the network of MIT entrepreneurs who have formed more than 4,000 companies. The MIT $50K offers a process for becoming an entrepreneur, which is perhaps more valuable than winning the prize money.”

For more information on the MIT $50K Entrepreneurship Competition, please visit

Contacts for Media:

Armina Karapetyan, $50K Communications Lead

Kathleen Rowe, MIT Sloan Media Relations

Once named “Asian Businessman of the Year” by Fortune Magazine, MIT Sloan alumnus Keiji Tachikawa is the former president and CEO of global powerhouse NTT DoCoMo.

For Media Inquiries

Paul Denning
Director of Media Relations
Tel: 617-253-0576
Fax: 617-253-5875

Patricia Favreau
Associate Director of Media Relations
Tel: 617-253-3492
Fax: 617-253-5875