Sloan Fellow Vishwas Dindore and his SolidEnergy teammates won the $10,000 Daniel M. Lewis Grand Prize along with a $2,000 Audience Choice Award at the MIT ACCELERATE contest held recently at MIT.
SolidEnergy, a start-up that's developing a battery technology to improve the safety and energy density of rechargeable batteries, walked away with the $12,000 after beating out 28 teams of semi-finalists during the inaugural MIT ACCELERATE contest, which was introduced this winter as part of the MIT $100K Entrepreneurship Competition — now in its 22nd year — as another channel to encourage entrepreneurs to turn their ideas into reality.
Participating teams submitted a demonstration, ranging from a hardware prototype to experimental data to a beta web service, to prove the concepts behind their business ideas. Judging was conducted by a panel of industry experts and venture capitalist judges.
"Huge markets, pioneering technology and a dynamic team ... what more do you need?" asked ACCELERATE Judge Chris Gabrieli, a partner at Bessemer Venture Capital, on the judges' selection of SolidEnergy.
SolidEnergy introduced a patented battery technology that has more than twice the energy density of a regular lithium-ion battery, and can safely operate from -40 degrees C to 250 degrees C. It is also the first rechargeable battery with the potential to be used in oil drilling. The battery technology also has potential applications for consumer electronics, electric vehicles, biomedical devices and the military.
Team members included Qichao Hu, a graduating PhD student at Harvard and co-inventor of the battery; Louis Beryl, a graduating student at Harvard Business School and Harvard Kennedy School; Mike Hagerty, a graduating master's student in the MIT Technology and Policy Program; and Dindore, an MIT Sloan Fellow with experience in the oil and gas industry. Their adviser is MIT Professor Donald R. Sadoway, who is also co-inventor of the battery technology.
"We were blown away by the level of competition and impressed by the other pitches," said Hagerty, who added that their win came from "combining a potentially groundbreaking technology with a realistic and exciting opportunity to move it to the market."
Registration for the upcoming MIT $100K Entrepreneurship Competition will start next week and will end March 23.
For more information on the MIT ACCELERATE Contest, the 28 semi-finalists, and this year's MIT $100K, visit the competition website.