Inventing China’s future

November 18, 2014 - storage organizer

In 2011, China’s legislature permitted a inhabitant five-year devise that emphasized, among other things, a need for a boost in creation and entrepreneurship opposite a country.

That has turn a pushing force behind a annual MIT-China Innovation and Entrepreneurship Forum (MIT-CHIEF), orderly by a series of MIT’s Chinese students.

Launched in 2011, a forum aims to encourage exchanges between MIT and Chinese tech entrepreneurs — and researchers and students — in hopes of advancing modernization efforts in China to solve energy, environmental, and other issues.   

This year, hundreds of researchers, entrepreneurs, investors, and students from China and MIT — and opposite a United States — attended a forum, that enclosed row discussions and lectures by some-more than 30 speakers.

Panel contention topics enclosed new advancements in robotics and synthetic intelligence; a destiny of online education, including large open online courses; handling and appropriation startups in China and a United States; opportunities for space record and health caring entrepreneurship; and a significance of U.S. and Chinese startup incubators.

“We trust that good ideas can be practical anywhere. Because many of a attendees are Chinese, we wish they can take impulse from a forum and request those ideas behind to China,” says Yichao Pan, a PhD tyro in automatic engineering and co-president of this year’s MIT-CHIEF.

But a vital member of a forum is a business devise foe for immature startups that have intensity to innovate in China. With a innovative and entrepreneurial ecosystem, Pan says, MIT is a ideal place to horde a forum, whose thesis this year was “Invent a Future.”

“MIT is a good place to start a company, so we wish to extend a change of MIT to other places by a larger Boston area and, by those students in attendance, substantially to China,” he says.

Keynote speakers enclosed Donald Sadoway, a John F. Elliott Professor of Materials Chemistry; Joe Chen SM ’95, owner and CEO of heading Chinese amicable network use Renren; Semyon Dukach, a handling executive of a Techstars startup accelerator in Boston; Bill Aulet, handling executive of a Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship; and Peng Yang, co-founder of a One Foundation gift and a Society of Entrepreneurs and Ecology environmental insurance organization.

Opening remarks were delivered by Alexander “Sandy” Pentland, a Toshiba Professor of Media Arts and Science. Yasheng Huang, associate vanguard for general programs and movement training during a MIT Sloan School of Management, delivered a shutting remarks.

Investing in a future

This year, some-more than 200 teams submitted ideas to a forum’s business devise competition, with usually 6 — hailing from MIT and 5 other universities opposite a United States — creation it to Saturday night’s finale.

The 6 teams any took home a square of a $20,000 pot, with one $10,000 first-place winner, dual $3,000 second-place winners, and 3 $1,500 third-place winners. Competiting startups, and other entrepreneurs, were also invited to representation their ideas to Bob Xiaoping Xu, owner of ZhenFund, a Chinese seed-fund organisation for early theatre startups.

Taking home a grand esteem was Prometheon Pharma, a group formed during a University of Florida. The startup, founded in 2011, has grown biodegradable rags for needleless drug smoothness of large-molecule drugs, such as insulin. When practical to skin, a regulation on a patch melts into an glue jelly that also serves as a drug reservoir, so a remedy can be usually delivered by a skin, with formula allied to those from needle injections.

Prometheon expects to launch a product in 2018 opposite Asia, where diabetes is a flourishing problem. Devon Grimmé, Prometheon’s executive of business development, says a esteem income will financial an arriving outing to accommodate with Chinese curative companies.

But a large check was usually one advantage of participating in a competition, Grimmé says: “The money’s great. But a value unequivocally is a networking and a feedback from a people in attention that are fanciful investors. Just being comparison as a finalist kind of affirms that we’re on to something.”

Earning a third-place esteem was an MIT team, BelLEDs Technologies, that is building intelligent LED lights that can wirelessly bond to a Internet and change colors to compare people’s moods and music, with aims of accelerating adoption of appetite fit LED lights worldwide. The MIT co-founders are Michael Chen, a PhD tyro in chemistry; Daniel Taub SM ’09; and Alan Zhou PhD ’94. 

The dual other third-place teams were WeeeApp, an app to make recycling wiring easier, and GreenPoints, that is building record to magnitude appetite use in hotel rooms. The dual second-place winners were RapidSOS, that is creation a push-button mobile app that connects people now with 911, and Sintact Medical Systems, that is building a polymer film that can be practical to viscera to forestall scarring and fusing after surgery.

As partial of a program, a series of participating teams via a five-stage foe — including a finale, several workshops, and demo days — had entrance to networking and mentorship, as good as a possibility to transport to China over any summer to representation a business to investors and intensity partners.

This year, 12 startups — 10 from MIT — specializing in purify tech and health caring done that China trip, including dual winners of other MIT entrepreneurship competitions this year: $100K Entrepreneurship Competition leader Disease Diagnostics Group, that is conceptualizing a magnetic-based malaria detector that’s faster and some-more accurate than normal tests; and Clean Energy Prize leader Unified Solar, that is creation a circuit that augments a outlay of partially shadowy solar cells.

“We unequivocally wish to uncover people what’s opposite about MIT startups,” says Pan, who has been an organizer for MIT-CHIEF for dual years. “They wish to make a outrageous impact in a world. They’re not usually going after money. We’re looking for plain technologies, like purify tech and health care, and move them to China.”

Previous business-plan contestants have enclosed Smarking (2013), that was comparison for California’s Y-Combinator accelerator this year; Strikingly (2012), that enrolled in a 2012 Y-Combinator; Hermes HQ (2013), that enrolled in Boston’s 2013 Techstars accelerator; and FACES (2014), that is now rising in China.

Zhibiao Rao, a PhD tyro in automatic engineering, participated in past MIT-CHIEF events, eventually apropos desirous to launch his possess startup, Framely. This year, he took his startup by a business devise contest, where he beheld other Chinese students removing in on a action.

“This forum rarely inspires Chinese abroad students to start adult their possess companies,” he said. “In 2011, many Chinese students participated in this event, since they were meddlesome in it. This year, people not [only] speak about ideas and interests, though [also] some-more about actions. They are starting adult companies and perplexing to get gifted people to join them.”

Speaking of entrepreneurship

Forum panels and keynotes focused on a hurdles of bringing novel technologies to marketplace and a hurdles of rising a companies, from both U.S. and Chinese perspectives.

The panel, “Early Stage Investment and Incubator,” moderated by Christina Chase, entrepreneur-in-residence during a Martin Trust Center, for instance, had U.S. and Chinese investors import in on how to get financing here and in China. Another panel, “Start-up Development” — moderated by Elaine Chen, a comparison techer during MIT Sloan — focused on financing, team-building, and patron family in a startup world.

In his keynote, Sadoway addressed a hurdles of rising his startup, Ambri, that is building a liquid-metal battery, formed on high-temperature fiery steel and salt, that can yield most longer appetite storage for a grid. Ambri skeleton to recover a product by late subsequent year. But vital hurdles embody production a batteries during scale, a immeasurable complexity of introducing novel technologies to energy, and anticipating a initial client.

“They say, ‘The early bird gets a worm,’ though it’s a second rodent that gets a cheese,” Sadoway said. “Nobody wants to be that initial adopter.”

Chinese investors who attend MIT-CHIEF are speedy to take mind of such innovations entrance out of MIT, Pan says. “That’s another approach to overpass a U.S. and China,” he says.

This year’s forum was sponsored by 26 initiatives, businesses, and organizations, including ones during MIT, China, and opposite a larger Boston area.

MIT expertise and staff advisors include: Aulet; Huang; Gang Chen, a Carl Richard Soderberg Professor of Power Engineering; Karl Koster, a executive executive of Corporate Relations during MIT’s Industrial Liaison Program; Alan White, a comparison associate vanguard and comparison techer during MIT Sloan; and Victor Zue, a Delta Electronics Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.

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