MIT Launch Club
A Winning (Business) Pitch
At the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, nine teams of high school students from around the world pitched their companies at the 2016 MIT Launch Clubs Finalist Pitch Competition. Two teams from LHS had qualified through a video submission for the top ten among 160 teams: OST, consisting of John Qian, Jason Huang, Jason Hu, Vamshi Eppanapally, and Richard Kim; and InMyMind, consisting of Priansh Shah, Krishen Seth, and Mark Frees.
LHS finalists OST and InMyMind were the penultimate and ultimate teams to pitch to a panel of eight judges, which included graduate students of MIT’s Sloan School of Management, leaders of the MIT Innovation Initiative, and successful entrepreneurs. The competition on April 30 was intense, as students of Arizona, Belgium, France, and more pitched their companies, whose missions ranged from advancing education through virtual reality to promoting sustainability by using wasted fruits for juice concentrates. Five thousand dollars were to be distributed among the nine teams present, and LHS teams vied successfully for this funding.
OST, which provides a streamlined medium (website) connecting high school students in need of academic assistance with high school tutors, won the first-place prize of $800. The team had given an exemplary presentation and answered the judges’ questions with confidence and detailed explanation. Junior John Qian, CTO of OST, reflected on the year-long experience, saying that “MIT Launch has taught me the importance and difficulty of maintaining a highly motivated team with aligned long-term visions.”
InMyMind finished with the second-place prize of $600. Its product is a camera that allows users to constantly capture up to 10 minutes of video feed (deleting a second to record another) and access footage of memories from any common cloud storage drive. Showing their prototype in their excellent presentation, the team members impressed the judges as the only company with a hardware product. After hearing of the team’s win, sophomore Mark Frees, CMO of InMyMind, claimed that “Launch has been an incredible experience, allowing us to get a running start in becoming entrepreneurs.”
With its great success in its first year, LHS Launch Club will resume next school year as the teams continue their ventures. With the spirit of innovation spreading throughout LHS, it’s possible that all students may unleash their inner entrepreneur.
This article was submitted by Melinda Hu, founder of LHS Launch Club.