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MIT startups: 18 to watch

The highest number of startups ever took the stage at this year’s MIT delta v Demo Day.

By Kara Baskin  |  September 11, 2017

2017-pine-health

Pine Health’s Lina Colucci discusses how the company is helping patients follow through on doctors' orders.

Why It Matters

Having a great idea isn’t always enough to get a startup up and running, but the right guidance and support can help companies really take off.

Robotics-inspired strength-training equipment. A platform that digitizes and markets artwork from indigenous artists. Sensors in women’s clothing to monitor them for heart disease.

These are just a few examples of the startup products student entrepreneurs presented at a demo day on Sept. 9 at Kresge Auditorium. These companies were formed during the intensive summer-long MIT delta v capstone educational accelerator.

Saturday’s event was the largest in delta v’s history, said Bill Aulet, managing director of the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship. Twenty-one teams participated this year, and 18 presented on stage.

“This year’s cohort is special in a lot of ways. It’s our biggest cohort ever and our most diverse program ever. We have [students] from Costa Rica, Singapore, Mexico, Canada, Russia, Germany, Tunisia — even someone from a farm in Arkansas,” Aulet said.

The accelerator is one of the Martin Trust Center’s most visible programs. Over three months, selected participants receive entrepreneurship training, mentorship, mock board reviews, up to $20,000 in equity-free funding, office space, and access to lab space and prototyping tools. MIT students also receive a $2,000 monthly fellowship from the Goss Foundation to pursue their ideas.

“This is the World Series, plus the Super Bowl, plus the NBA Championships — and Boston wins them all,” Aulet said.

Alba
Alba has developed a marketplace to help parents in Latin America find babysitters, something that is particularly needed as more women join the workforce there. They match more than 5,000 qualified caregivers with busy families.

Biobot Analytics
Biobot’s mission is to equip cities with data to build healthier and safer communities. Its first application is generating a new type of data on the opioid epidemic, focusing on a proactive instead of reactive model of measuring opioid consumption. The company’s first prototype deployment was completed with support from the Cambridge Public Health Department.

Blockparty
Too many people don’t know where their next meal is coming from. Blockparty combats this food insecurity by connecting foodies with engaging, fun cooking classes where the food they prepare is provided to the needy. So far, they’ve served more than 1,000 meals through four pilot events.

Bloomer Health Tech
Forty-six million women in the United States live with heart disease, but medical research is still focused to men. Bloomer delivers medical-grade sensors embedded in a woman’s bra to monitor biomarkers using algorithms, so her physician can track her vital signs and tailor treatment.

Divaqua
The Divaqua team aims to improve the wastewater treatment process. They’re developing cost-effective technology for limiting toxic industrial effluents, and their initial solution focuses on improving mercury removal systems in coal-fired power plants.

Infinite Cooling
Infinite Cooling helps power plants, the largest U.S. water consumer, reuse freshwater used for cooling by reintroducing it back into the cooling cycle, improving efficiency. The U.S. power industry can save about $3 billion per year by reusing water.

KLARITY
Taking (some of) the stress out of legal work, KLARITY aims to provide access to trustworthy legal advice through intelligent technology that reviews contracts using a proprietary analytical engine.

Mayflower Venues
Mayflower’s platform, technology, and tools allow unique spaces like farms, orchards, and ranches to easily market and manage themselves as potential venues for events, like weddings.

Mesodyne
For a 72-hour mission, soldiers carry 10–20 pounds of batteries with them. Aiming to reduce this load, Mesodyne provides technology to enable ultra-portable, reliable, and affordable energy generation through mini-generators with on-the-move charging capabilities.

Octant
Octant provides a data-curation platform to accelerate the development of autonomous vehicles, ensuring that these self-driving cars are safe for public roads.

Pine Health
Aiming to help patients follow doctors’ orders after they’ve left the office, Pine Health offers an adherence platform that delivers semi-automated conversations through an AI-augmented health coach. The initiative could lead to a large reduction in preventable health care costs each year.

ReviveMed
ReviveMed focuses on metabolomics — the study of small molecules, like glucose. Their precision-medicine platform aims to improve health and develop targeted therapeutics by unlocking metabolomic data.

Roots Studio
Roots Studio is a for-profit social enterprise that curates, digitizes, and markets artwork from isolated and indigenous artists. Artists can transact with buyers wherever they reside. Founder Rebecca Hui has set up scanners and computers in rural villages and trained artists to digitize their work.

Sigma Ratings
This is the world’s first non-credit risk-rating agency. Using artificial intelligence and machine learning, Sigma Ratings helps companies efficiently navigate regulatory challenges by assigning dynamic non-credit risk ratings and scores to their counterparties. Their initial focus is on financial crime compliance.

Sophia
Recognizing the difficulty of finding effective psychiatric help, Sophia pairs patients with therapists using a data-driven matching process. So far, they’ve matched more than 30 clients with providers.

TradeTrack
TradeTrack’s mobile application aims to improve personalized customer services in the fashion industry. Their app captures employee evaluations and a personalized record of customer preferences so shoppers can learn about offers, discounts, or new collections.

W8X
W8X developed strength-training equipment that adapts to athletes’ individual needs. The company’s robotics-inspired weight-lifting system creates resistance electrically, without requiring physical weights.

Waypoint
Waypoint substitutes cumbersome training documents with augmented reality glasses that help frontline workers — particularly those who work in manual tasks like advanced manufacturing — rapidly capture, access, and scale knowledge.