Collapsible air freight crate wins MIT $100K Elevator Pitch Contest

Fourth annual contest unfolded against backdrop of Time Travel theme

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., October 28, 2010 — Green Logistics, creator of a new collapsible air freight crate, won the 4th Annual MIT Elevator Pitch Contest, sponsored by the MIT $100K Entrepreneurship Competition. The winner was announced during the final round of pitches held in front of an in-person and virtual crowd of more than 600 people on the MIT campus Wednesday night. More than 300 teams competed in this year’s contest, representing 23 colleges across the Northeast.

$100K Elevator Pitch Contest Winner Jarrod Phipps (MIT $100K Assoc. Director), Luke Behnke (MIT $100K Elevator Pitch Contest Director), Dean Cynthia Barnhart (Dean, MIT School of Engineering), Daniel Vannoni (MIT $100K Managing Director), Anad Dass (Elevator Pitch Contest Winner)

Twelve finalists with ideas ranging from honey bee vaccines to instant night life updates delivered their pitches, with Green Logistics, pitched by Anand Dass, an MIT Sloan School MBA student, taking home the $5,000 Grand Prize. The aspiring startup Supply Change, pitched by Shayna Harris, an MIT Sloan School MBA, focusing on sustainable supply chain awareness, was awarded the $2,000 Runner-up and the $1,000 Audience Choice award. Best Bees, pitched by Noah Wilson-Rich, a Tufts PhD student, which focuses on delivering vaccines to honey bees to increase their productivity, was also recognized with a $2,000 runner-up prize.

“Five billion dollars in jet fuel is spent every year, shipping empty containers around the world” said Dass in his pitch. “Our invention solves a real problem and will help reduce this expense by 85%.”

All Elevator Pitch Contest finalists, who were announced on the spot, were called down live out of the audience to deliver their pitch in 60 seconds or less to a panel of investor and entrepreneur judges. Said MIT Sloan MBA and contest director Luke Behnke, “We introduced this element of surprise into the contest this year, with the intent of simulating what an entrepreneur might encounter when entering an elevator with an unknown investor.”

This year’s contest was set against the thematic back drop of Time Travel, illustrating how the projects and research unfolding at MIT represent a vision into the future. The stage was dwarfed by a six-foot foot high time machine, with a flux capacitor, which greeted finalists as they came down to deliver their pitches.

During a fireside chat that kicked off the evening, Cynthia Barnhart, MIT Interm Dean of Engineering, and Bill Aulet, Managing Director of the MIT Entrepreneurship Center, talked about how MIT is leading the way in entrepreneurship and innovation, and how the MIT $100K plays an integral role in linking the campus. When asked why MIT students make such good entrepreneurs, Barnhart noted, “MIT students see a problem, and want to solve it. Our students want to make a difference, and this want, along with a culture that ignores barriers is what drives students here to be so entrepreneurial.”

Aulet elaborated on the theme of cross-campus collaboration. “The more collisions of great minds we can create at MIT the better,” he said. “The MIT Entrepreneurship Center, for example, was designed from the beginning to serve all five schools across MIT, and promote education between the schools.”

The MIT $100K will start the next phase of its competition with the Executive Summary Contest, announcing its winners in February 2010, followed by the Business Plan Contest, where more than $350,000 in cash and prizes will be awarded to aspiring entrepreneurs.

For more on the MIT $100K, please visit: http://www.mit100k.org

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