MIT $100K Entrepreneurship Competition goes viral with first YouPitch contest winner

New startup Clear Ear beats out international competitors

CAMBRIDGE, MA, May 6, 2011—YouPitch, a new contest launched by the MIT $100K Entrepreneurship Competition, awarded Clear Ear, the creator of a product that makes it easier and safer for practitioners to remove people’s ear wax, its top honor for the most appealing, 60-second online business pitch.

Combining the viral power of social media with the traditional best practices of business plan pitching, YouPitch contestants participated by communicating their business ideas via YouTube. They then solicited as many ‘likes’ as possible over a twenty-day period in Facebook and YouTube, which served votes. Seven teams made it to the final judging round, which resulted in Clear Ear being picked as the winner. YouPitch attracted competitors from four continents and 19 universities, reaching an overall audience of more than 30,000 people.

Clear Ear will receive a $2,000 award at the MIT $100K's Grand Finale on May 11. Watch this video to see their on line pitch.

The YouPitch contest grew out of last year’s Twitch competition, which harnessed the power of Twitter to capture the most effective business ideas in 140 characters or less. According to MIT $100K organizers, MIT’s business plan competition was the first to create a business plan competition using Twitter and the first to use YouTube in the same manner. Both competitions highlight the increasing importance of creating viral content an using social media to promote entrepreneurial ventures.

“YouPitch perfectly matches the mission of the MIT 100k competition of promoting entrepreneurship,” says Kourosh Kaghazian, an MBA student at MIT Sloan and managing director of this year’s MIT $100K Competition. “This new contest also takes the mission one level further by using social media to erase geographical borders so that entrepreneurs from all around the world can participate.”

The MIT $100K’s grand finale will be held on Wednesday, May 11 on MIT’s campus. Six finalist teams will compete to win the $100,000 grand prize. Since its debut in 1989, the MIT $100K has facilitated the birth of over 150 companies that have gone on to raise $1.3 billion in venture capital build $16 billion in market cap. Over 4,600 people are currently employed by MIT $100k companies. Recent successes include SmartCells Inc, winner of the business plan contest in 2003, which was acquired by Merck for $500 million in 2010.

For more information about the MIT $100K Entrepreneurship Competition and its YouPitch contest, visit http://www.mit100k.org.

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