This page provides answers to your most burning questions!
The ACCELERATE Contest is a completely new contest this year focused on helping entrepreneurs turn their ideas into reality. The MIT $100K will provide resources and mentorship to Semi-Finalist teams as they build a demo of their idea over December and January. These demos can be a presentation of a proof of concept, experimental data, a beta service, or whatever else demonstrates the potential of the idea.The Contest culminates in a Finale Show in February where Finalist teams will show off their demo to a crowd of hundreds. The winner will take home $10,000 and the glory of having won the first ACCELERATE Contest!
The ACCELERATE Contest is the next evolution of the Executive Summary Contest. Traditionally for the Executive Summary Contest, we asked you to start thinking through the commercial aspects of your idea. Now, with the ACCELERATE Contest, we’re asking you to go beyond that and actually take steps to turn your ideas into reality. We believe this contest will be an even greater catalyst for entrepreneurship than the Executive Summary Contest was.Executive summaries are certainly not going away. In fact, the Semi-Finalist teams will still need to submit one as part of the Finalist Judging Round in early February. We’re just now asking you to take it to the next level.
No! This contest is open to entrepreneurs of all stripes. What we want to see is for entrepreneurs to turn their ideas into reality, whether the idea has to do with medical device coatings (like Semprus Biosciences, the 2006 BPC winner) or a new way to update computer software without rebooting (like Ksplice, 2009 BPC winner).
If an idea involves elements of multiple tracks, teams should enter the track that fits the idea most closely. See the Track Information page for a description of each track.Please reach out if you have any questions.
Absolutely! All of the $100K Contests are independent of each other, so not entering one contest has no bearing on whether you can enter another.
Each team needs at least one MIT student in order to enter. Thus if you don’t already have an MIT student on your team, you will need to recruit one in order to enter. The MIT student needs to be an active participant in your team and is required to be a part of your demo (both the video and at the Finale Show).
Feel free to change your idea. Your responses in the initial registration form will not be taken into account in the Finalist Judging Round. Just make sure that what’s in your Demo is at least as awesome as what you described in your registration form.
You simply need to answer the questions on the registration form. Registration will open on November 11.The main questions you’ll need to answer are:What problem are you trying to solve?What is your proposed solution?What other solutions are available, and what’s unique about yours?How can you make money from this?Who’s on your team and what are your backgrounds?What (if anything) have you done so far to develop your idea?What do you plan to do over the next 2 months to develop your idea? How would you spend your $1,000 expense account?
Our judges are successful venture capitalists and entrepreneurs. In evaluating applications, they are looking for teams that show the most potential. Thus our advice to you is to: come up with a great idea, assemble a rockstar team, and put together a solid plan to build a demo by February. Do those, and you’re sure to go far.
Some of the resources that the MIT $100K will be providing include:A $1,000 expense accountMentoring from industry expertsPresentation coachingVideo recording assistanceProduct design coaching
No! While we think teams will benefit greatly from the resources and mentoring we’ll be providing in Boston during January, we know that many teams will be all over the world during that time. Several successful teams in past $100K contests have used January as a time to meet with potential customers, run field trials, and perform on-the-ground research. No matter where you are in January, all we need you to do is submit your video demo and executive summary by February 3.
For the Finalist Judging Round, you need to submit the following by February 3:5-minute video demo (see below for more details)2 page Executive Summary
Our judges are looking for the most promising teams. The most promising team will have a combination of a great idea, the right skills, and a demonstrated ability to turn that idea into reality. Thus if you have a great team and great idea, but have nothing to show for it in February, it probably won’t work out too well.
Demos can be a presentation of a proof of concept, experimental data, a beta service, or whatever else demonstrates the potential of your idea. Each demo at the Finale Show will be 5 minutes long.
We want you to show us the tangible progress you’ve made towards turning your idea into reality. This can mean many different things depending on what your idea is. For instance:If your idea is to build sustainable sanitation in urban slums (like Sanergy, the 2011 BPC winner), you could present the results of the pilot you ran in Kenya in JanuaryIf your idea is a new type of diabetes drug (like SmartCells, the 2003 BPC winner), you could present data demonstrating the viability of your approachIf your idea is an innovative video game concept (like Harmonix, a 1995 BPC Finalist), you could present your hardware prototypeIf your idea is an web-based audience response system (like Poll Everywhere, a 2008 BPC Semi-Finalist), you could present the beta version of your serviceThe demo is your opportunity to show the world why your team is on track to make it big, all in 5 minutes.
Before the Finale Show, we will host a Demo Session for all of the Semi-Finalist teams. Each Semi-Finalist team will have table space where they can show off their demo. The audience for the Demo Session will include venture capitalists, angel investors, and successful entrepreneurs, so it’s a great opportunity to attract attention for your startup.
Yes you can, but you only have 1 minute to set up for your demo. Thus if you are going to bring in a physical product, we suggest that it be easily transportable. Also, it will be difficult for the entire audience to see your physical product. We recommend utilizing PowerPoint to the greatest extent possible for your demo.
Any number of team members can present, but remember that you only have 5 minutes on stage. Also, remember that at least one MIT student MUST be a part of the demo presentation.
The winner of ACCELERATE will win the $10,000 Daniel M. Lewin Grand Prize. There is also a $2,000 Audience Choice Award, which will be chosen by the audience at the Finale, in addition to the AARP Foundation Prize of $2,000. Thus be sure to invite all of your friends to the show!