The mother of all university startup competitions, the MIT 100K business plan competition, kicked off last night at the funky Stata Center at MIT. The competition takes three months–the finals are on May 14. I had a chance to talk to many participants. It’s truly wonderful to see aspiring entrepreneurs attempting to tackle big problems without the burden of conventional wisdom–the knowledge that these particular problems “cannot be solved”.
Polaris Venture Partners has a longstanding history of supporting this event because of our tight links to MIT. I am a judge in the IT/Web 2.0 track this year. My partner Amir Nashat is a mentor.
The format has evolved to multiple tracks in order to force more diversity in the later stages of the contest. (There was a tendency to follow either the hot trend of the day or go for “greater good” winners, as one organizer told me.) The current format is outlined below.