Opportunities abound for student entrepreneurs amongst the MIT community.
Today I’d like to take a look at Dorm Room Fund, a venture fund run by students for students. At DRF, college students become investment partners and scour their campuses for the most innovative student startups to invest in. I found out about them from one of my friends, Yasyf M. ’17, who is an investment partner there, I’ve been following them ever since.
What’s interesting is that a lot of DRF backed startups in the Boston chapter have been founded by MIT, Harvard, and Tufts students. There’s also a lot of grad student startups, as DRF isn’t only limited to undergrads. They’ve expanded greatly since they started, with chapters in Boston, New York City, Philadelphia, and the Bay Area, and an average investment of $20,000 per new startup.
DRF has invested in over 100 student-run companies. Here are some of the many MIT students & alumni involved in these DRF backed startups:
Gabe Blanchet, co-founder and CEO at Grove Labs, an intelligent indoor garden that enables people to grow fresh food year-round. B.S. in Mechanical Engineering at MIT.
Jamie Byron, co-founder at Grove Labs. B.S. in Aeronautics & Astrononautics at MIT.
Sergey Gorbunov, co-founder at Aikicrypt, a new way to encrypt cloud data. PhD in Cryptography and Information Security at MIT.
Chidubem Ezekea, co-founder at Bevspot, an online platform to bring smart data to bartenders. M.S. in Computer Science at MIT.
Sean Grundy, co-founder at Bevi, a smart water cooler that helps you create your own flavored and sparkling drinks. MBA at MIT Sloan School of Management.
Frank Lee, co-founder at Bevi. MBA at MIT Sloan.
Charles Huang, co-founder at Charitweet, allowing you to make donations to your favorite charity with a simple tweet. B.S. in Material Science and Electrical Engineering at MIT.
Colin Sidoti, director of product at Charitweet. MIT Computer Science and Engineering Department at MIT.
Samantha Simmons, founder at Curative Orthopaedics, designer of comfortable orthopaedic garments. MBA focusing on healthcare innovation at MIT Sloan.
Alessandro Babini, co-founder and CEO at Humon, an algorithm and wearable sensor company that empowers athletes with unique insights. M.S. in Management Studies at MIT Sloan.
Daniel Wiese, co-founder and CTO at Humon, Masters & PhD Candidate in Mechanical Engineering at MIT.
Wombi Rose, co-founder at Lovepop, greeting cards with intricate 3D paper sculptures. M.S. in Computation for Design and Optimization at MIT.
Harrison Hunter, co-founder and CTO at MaestroIQ, which help apps and sites build a better customer experience. B.S. in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering at MIT.
Demetrios Kellari, part of the core team at Potluck Energy, coordinating construction and allocation of electricity from shared solar installations. M.S. at MIT in Technology and Policy.
Nick Horelik, co-founder at RapidSOS, a universal mobile safety & security system to provide peace of mind for you and your family at home and on the go. M.S. and PhD in Nuclear Engineering with a minor in entrepreneurship at MIT.
Siping Wang, co-founder and CTO at TetraScience, connecting scientific instruments to the cloud. M.S. in Electrical Engineering & Computer Science at MIT.
Most of these companies are new to me, but I have heard of some of them before. Grove Labs came to speak at my 15.390 New Enterprises class, one of my friends now works at RapidSOS, and I got to attend a Shark Tank viewing party for Lovepop. What amazes me the most about the MIT students in DRF startups is their breadth of backgrounds, different majors, different interests, and different levels of experience. There’s clearly no one required “pathway” to be an entrepreneur as some of these MIT students have founded companies in areas completely unrelated to their majors.
Over the past few years I’ve gotten very involved in the Boston startup ecosystem, and yet I’m still surprised each day by the amazing number of opportunities available not just to MIT students but to students in general.