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MIT startups: 17 to watch

What some of MIT’s most promising entrepreneurs have been working on all summer.

By Zach Church  |  September 12, 2016

Macauley Kenney

Macauley Kenney, co-founder of Kumwe Logistics, presents at MIT Delta V Demo Day. Photo: Justin Knight

A home device that could reduce infections in chemotherapy patients. Online learning videos compressed for download in the developing world. An on-demand wardrobe for “boss ladies.”

MIT student entrepreneurs have been busy this summer turning ideas into new companies, presenting their progress at a Sept. 9 demo day on the MIT campus. Watch video of the event.

Each company participated in the summer MIT Delta V startup accelerator program, previously known as the MIT Global Founders’ Skills Accelerator. Participants in Delta V receive entrepreneurship training, access to coaches and mentors, mock board reviews, up to $20,000 in equity-free funding, office space, and access to prototyping tools and lab space. MIT students on the team also receive a $2,000 monthly stipend from the Goss Fellowship.

Now comes the real test in the real world.

“They’ve made it to escape velocity,” said Bill Aulet, managing director of the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship. “They’re getting kicked out of the house.”

Alfie
A new way of funding college, Alfie issues loans that are repaid based on a fixed percentage of a student’s future income. The founders say they have a proprietary approach to predicting future income and believe their model will encourage people to pursue careers of impact without facing mounting student loan bills.

Armoire
A wardrobe-as-a-service company, Armoire rents and delivers high-end clothes for busy professional women. With a growing waitlist, the company aims to serve what it calls the “boss lady.”

Deepstream
Deepstream helps broadcasters of livestream and on-demand videos increase viewer engagement by integrating articles, polls, maps, and social media feeds from across the web. Early customers include news organizations, but the founders plan to expand to serve sports and other live events.

dot Learn
An online education platform for the developing world, dot Learn delivers full-length courses for less than the cost of text messaging. The company is starting its work with a study course for the West African Senior School Certification Examination, a test similar to the SAT.

Emerald
Emerald uses radio signals to provide a home fall detection system that works without a wearable device. The system can also track a person’s mobility, sleep quality, and health status.

FactoryShop
Bringing capacity-sharing to manufacturing, FactoryShop helps busy machine shops take on more customers even when a shop’s own resources are maxed out. Shops at capacity can increase sales and have lower acquisition costs for new customers.

FleteYa
From a team of students from Instituto Tecnlógico Autónomo de México, FleteYa is a platform that helps freight carriers turn return trips into additional income by connecting them with shippers in need of a carrier.

HiveMaritime
Predictive analytics, operations theory, and machine learning combine to reduce congestion in shipping lanes and ports. HiveMaritime offers ship owners and operators route optimization tools that help them save money.

Kiron
Kiron brings the wearable performance analytics of the pros to non-professional soccer teams. The company’s smart vest includes a heart-rate sensor and GPS tracking. The first prototypes will be used by teams at MIT, Harvard University, and Boston College.

Kumwe Logistics
A freight brokerage company lowering the cost of transportation in East Africa, Kumwe Logistics uses an online marketplace to connect shippers and truck owners—and gives the truck owners smartphones to make it happen. The company is up and running in Rwanda with expansion plans for early 2017.

LeanOnMe
A text-based college mental health support network, LeanOnMe connects students in need with trained peer supporters. The anonymous process is being tested at MIT with plans to expand to the University of Chicago and University of Pennsylvania.

Leuko Labs
Leuko Labs has developed an in-home device to monitor white blood cell counts in chemotherapy patients. Use of the device could lower the risk in outpatient chemotherapy and reduce hospital visits for infection. The device is in clinical trials.

Perch
Perch is a real-time weightlifting analytics device that recommends workouts to improve strength and safety. A prototype is being used in an MIT weightroom and will soon be used at Boston University, Harvard University, and University of Massachusetts Lowell.

Rendever
Offering virtual reality for an aging population, Rendever gives older adults an opportunity to travel the world or visit favorite locales, helping to increase happiness and lower depression in an at-risk population. The founders are preparing research reporting on their work so far.

Ricult
Offering lower interest rates on credit and lower prices on inputs like seed and fertilizer, Ricult seeks to replace price-gouging middlemen to improve productivity and profit for Pakistani farmers. Launched in February, the company has more than 600 customers. Read more about Ricult.

Solstice Initiative
A facilitator of community solar projects, Solstice helps people without roof space participate in solar energy creation and returns. With funding from the U.S. Department of Energy and Obvious Ventures, Solstice is working on seven community solar projects in Massachusetts.

uLink
With a smart energy router and a cloud-based analytics platform, uLink is developing plug-and-play microgrids for the the $12 billion off-grid electricity market.