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MIT Demo Day Showcases Student Summer Projects

Every summer, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology hosts an intensive twelve week summer program called the Global Founders’ Skills Accelerator (GFSA), in which teams of student entrepreneurs develop their own startups. This past week, teams that had participated in GFSA presented their company pitches and products in a demo day on campus.

All the teams had access to resources and expertise from all five schools at MIT, including the MIT Sloan School of Management. The teams were selected from a competitive applicant pool. Teams can earn up to $20,000 for reaching certain milestones in developing their business over the summer.

Six international teams from China, Germany, Turkey, Russia, Scotland, and Canada joined seven teams from MIT for this year’s program. The managing director of the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship supported the inclusion, arguing that entrepreneurs need a global perspective, and the program now provides it by encouraging people from all over the world to work side by side.

Paul English, a co-founder of the travel price comparison site Kayak.com, spoke to students at the demo day. He seemed to support MIT’s team-based entrepreneurial challenge, saying that he looks for companies with strong teams to invest in: “Most [company] failures are team-related, with infighting and disagreement about roles.”

One of the startup companies that provided a demo for its product at the demo day was 6Sensorlabs. The founder of 6SensorLabs, Shireen Taleghani (Sloan MBA class of 2013), is allergic to gluten. Like many other people with a gluten allergy, Taleghani often suffered because of food that was falsely labelled “gluten free”. She and co-founder Scott Sundvor created a portable gluten tester for food.

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