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Stories. Reflections. Entrepreneurial Thoughts.

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July 2015

In Focus: PurchaseMate

purchasemate team

Hi, we’re PurchaseMate and we’re here to help you be a more conscious and effective shopper.

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PurchaseMate is a social impact data company, working to educate both shoppers and corporations on the products that they stock, ship, and buy. We work through a user base of socially responsible shoppers; people who are looking to vote with their wallet.

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Lauren Yang: So Much More

Lauren70 incredibly intelligent students, four weeks, one unforgettable experience: MIT Launch. When I first found out that I had been accepted into MIT Launch, a four week summer entrepreneurship program, I was excited to not only to be learning about entrepreneurship but also to be meeting like minded peers. Little did I know that this program would provide so much more. Throughout the four weeks at Launch, I have learned a myriad of lessons. The entrepreneurship panels, engaging lectures, and market simulation activities have exposed me to everything from how to conduct primary market research to defining an MVP. From my mentors and teachers, I’ve absorbed tidbits of advice, like “perfect is the enemy of done” and “don’t drop out of college”. Launch has helped me develop my skills as an entrepreneur, as a teammate, and as an individual.

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The uniquely quirky culture at Launch is also something that is key to the program. Living with 70 other makers, comedians, hackers, fearless risk takers, scientists, artists, innovators, and everything in between has given me the opportunity to learn from some of the most talented students in their respective fields.

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One of my favorite memories was when my peers and I were on a duck boat tour. By the end of the trip, everybody on the boat had chanted songs, laughed, and taken pictures together. At that point, Launch no longer felt like a summer program; it became an experience that I’d never forget. By the end of four weeks, we were no longer just 70 talented individuals, we were a family and a community that had pushed each other to accomplish what we never imagined we could. thumb_DSC_6988_1024Perhaps on the surface it seems that Launch is just 4 weeks, just 70 students, just a summer program. But it’s also where people truly believe in the capability of high school students to do so much more, and that is exactly why Launch IS so much more.

In Focus: Bites

Hello! We’re Bites and we’re on a mission to make sure you never miss a home-cooked meal again!

Bites

Bites connects hungry students to chefs in college campuses to sell home cooked meals to each other. Through a mobile app platform, Bites creates a marketplace where chefs sell meals with ease to students to pick up near them.

Team:

Ishani Thakur: Chief Technology Officer

Xavier Rivera: Chief Marketing Officer

Cao Andong: Chief Design Officer

Jack Zeiders: Chief Finance Officer

Experience: For us, one of the greatest lessons Launch gave us was how to live and breath your business. With Bites, we decided that testing the viability of our concept was crucial for us to see if making this company was worth it or not. Throughout our time at MIT, we ran multiple MVP’s that required so much coordination and demanded so much of our attention that we found ourselves working on the Bites Beta tests all the time outside of our team’s working hours. This showed us what it takes to bring a pretty concept to rugged reality. People questioned every facet of our freshly made business decisions relentlessly as they were beta testers. In our classes, we seemed to have an answer for every question our teacher asked us regarding our company, but Launch taught us that in concept, there is always the right answer, but in practice, when you’ve launched (and are generating revenue) that is when the most valuable lessons are learned.

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Future: Going forward, we’re launching Bites in our team’s local universities. We also plan on starting Bites in new apartment developments where Bites can really spark a food sharing community. We would love to come back to MIT Launch and work as interns next year because it would be the perfect way for us to pass on our lessons from Launch to the next batch of amazing entrepreneurs next year just as this year’s interns generously shared their insights with us. For the future, we hope that Bites will spread to new communities and that we are able to get as much feedback as possible to continue growing and developing the company.

In Focus: Dropwise

dropwise

Hi! We’re the Dropwise team, and we’re here to connect you to your water usage in a smarter, more effective way.

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Dropwise uses modernized technology to connect homeowners to their water usage in a smarter, more effective way to encourage smart water conservation. Our device clips easily onto water meters and transmits real-time water usage data to a smartphone app, where users can track and understand their water usage throughout the day. By providing homeowners with the tools to easily monitor and act on their water usage, we can help them both reduce their water bill costs and save the environment.

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Ayden Howle: A Home Away from Home

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Walking through those large transparent doors, I already knew was entering my new home: a place where we are all family, where we are welcome. Here at Launch, valuable speakers from across the world present our lessons, creating this wonderfully powerful learning environment. While brainstorming and pitching, other teams always are willing to help and give advice. Here at Launch, innovation is driven by collaboration, rather than competition. Since I entered the program, I already made lifelong friends, both with members of my team and with everyone within Launch. The people at Launch are unlike any group I’ve met. Everyone is unique, with different passions and skills. In less than five minutes, Launchies immediately connect. When I came to Launch, everyone accepted me for who I was. All the life skills we learn in the classroom can be implemented socially. I really feel that we embrace each other’s differences and we are careful to not make quick assumptions.

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Two Mini-Businesses In Two Days

It’s been just two days and each group of our students has already started not just one, but two mini businesses! A market simulation and app simulation gave students the necessary tools and skills to conduct market research, come up with a MVP through prototyping and receive customer feedback.

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Marshmallow Challenge

Marshmallows were first invented as throat medicine in Ancient Egypt and in Ancient Rome gladiators rubbed the marshmallow plant’s sap into their bodies in preparation for the challenges. Here at MIT Launch, our students use it in an even more creative way.

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You Get Only One “First Day of Launch”

There is nothing more exciting than the beginning of something new. New ideas, new phase of life, new friendships, new careers…

Today we welcomed 70 brilliant self-starters from around the world to Session 2 of our MIT Launch summer program. This is the beginning of an amazing entrepreneurial journey for both our fearless students and us here at MIT Launch! Who knows what new challenges they will solve? How many heights they we conquer? How many exciting new connections they we make?

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Bill Aulet, Managing Director of the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship and a passionate MIT Launch program advisor joined us for the welcome lunch. “Entrepreneurship is a mindset and a skillset”, he said to the students today, “In order to be taught, it just requires an environment in which you can do that. You have to get the spirit and the skills.”

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In just four weeks from today, teams will have formed and executed on their business ideas, which for many of them include coming up with a revenue model, prototyping a beta version of their app, product, or service, plus putting together a full business pitch. However, Launch isn’t all work and no play. Students embarked on a mad dash across campus, collecting “selfies” with iconic MIT buildings and completing fun challenges as part of an MIT themed scavenger hunt.

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We are looking forward for the upcoming session: challenges are exciting! We’ll finish today’s post with words of Annie Zhang, our Marketing Coordinator who spoke to the class today: “I encourage you to grow, I encourage you to jump off the metaphorical cliff and to do something that scares you a little bit, every single day.”

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Good luck Session 2 of 2015!
We’ll keep you posted on all the exciting things that will be happening here!

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