One Year Out: Class of 2011 startups stay close

Published: July 5, 2012

MIT Sloan Class of 2011 StartupsMIT Sloan Class of 2011 Startups

One startup is developing an airborne wind turbine. Others are turning waste into energy. Still others are developing innovative fashion and dating websites.

In all, more than 30 companies operated by or employing MIT Sloan Class of 2011 graduates or, significant partners, were featured in a showcase at Reunion 2012 last month, giving visiting alumni a chance to connect with startup managers seeking partnership and guidance

Dubbed “One Year Out,” the event generated buzz from the crowd, said Rafaele Colella, MBA ’11, the co-founder of email service Cannonball—which is in private beta and welcoming signups—and one of the event organizers.

“The idea is to get alumni closer to the blossoming parts of the community,” Colella said. “Lots of people, I had the sense, reached out to these companies.” The event was sponsored by the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship, the MIT Sloan Master’s Program Office, and the MIT Sloan Office of Alumni Relations.

With Whitney Braunstein, director of marketing and strategy at digital content sales company TinyPass, and Jamay Liu, mobile product manager at online invitation company Paperless Post, both MBA ’11, Colella cataloged new companies in an online slide deck.

Finding the startups wasn’t hard: Class of 2011 entrepreneurs have been meeting on a regular basis to share notes on the rapid, tumultuous, and exciting first years of startup life.

“We hope that these events showcasing startups coming out of the School will be a tradition at upcoming reunions,” Colella said. “It’s a great way to gather the potential and support of the wider connections in the MIT Sloan community.”

The Class of 2011 startups are a continuation of an MIT tradition of entrepreneurship and innovation. MIT alumni have started more than 25,000 active companies, employing 3.3 million people and generating $2 trillion in revenue, according to a 2011 report by MIT Sloan’s Edward Roberts, David Sarnoff Professor of Management Technology and chair of the Trust Center.

“Creating startups is the most original contribution that we can make to the business world as MIT Sloan alumni,” Colella said. “We bring new energy to the system.”