A startup looking to cut industrial energy waste took home the grand prize at the 2021 MIT $100K.
Osmoses, which is developing a new membrane separation technology, will use its winnings to buy equipment to build an industrial prototype, co-founder Francesco Benedetti, PhD ’19, said during the virtual event.
Traditional separation methods at industrial gas and vapor plants are effective but inefficient, because they require heat, Benedetti said. While membrane separation technology does exist and doesn’t require heat, the separation quality isn’t always good. Osmoses’ compact membrane module is designed to be both efficient and effective, and will help customers cut production costs as well as carbon dioxide emissions, Benedetti said. The module will be built to fit into existing membrane separation systems.
“We know it’s a very tough journey, but we know it’s something incredibly important,” Benedetti said after the grand prize announcement. “There needs to be startups and people who want to do this and create the future for this infrastructure.”
The virtual event was the culmination of the MIT $100K Entrepreneurship Competition. The overarching competition is divided into Pitch, Accelerate, and Launch contests. Pitch judges 90-second elevator pitches, while Accelerate offers early-stage teams ideas and support from industry experts and entrepreneurs. The Launch competition encompasses whole business plans after a process of legal, design, and business mentorship.
This was the second year the entrepreneurial competition went virtual, the result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The flagship competition started in 1989 and has served as the springboard for a variety of successful startups, including HubSpot and Akamai Technologies. Each year more than $300,000 in non-dilutive funding is awarded to the startup companies.
Mach9 Robotics, a startup building large-scale, subsurface datasets to create a sort of Google Street View for underground utilities, took home the second-place prize of $25,000.
The other 2021 finalists included:
Azeki Road is a technology startup that helps African luxury brands with their direct-to-consumer operations.
Candelytics is a 3D analytics startup using machine learning and artificial intelligence to help customers collect, manage, and store 3D data.
Resolute is a startup developing tinted mineral sunscreen for a range of skin tones.
Synthera Health connects people who are iron deficient with treatment and prevention solutions using a combination of an app, personalized dosing, and a related blood test.
UltraNeuro is building a wearable sleeve that emits low-intensity ultrasound waves to treat chronic pain caused by a type of nerve disease called peripheral neuropathy.
Volthub’s web platform connects electronic companies with printed circuit board manufacturers.