For aspiring entrepreneurs considering the MBA track, business plan competitions have obvious appeal. They’re an awesome opportunity to get expert feedback on an idea, win some much-needed cash, and generate valuable buzz.
But how helpful are they really? And how do business plan winners actually fare in the marketplace once the initial buzz has died down?
To start answering this question, we looked through the last five years’ winners of what some believe to be the granddaddy of business plan competitions: the MIT $100K.
Check out where they are now!
The Winner: KSplice
The Elevator Pitch: Linux security updates with no need to reboot.
Where Are They Now? It may be early to say, but the buzz is good. Not only are they getting customers (Host Gator, MediaTemple, Dreamhost and more…), but they’re winning awards. They were nominated “Best Security Innovation” by The Wall Street Journal and “Best Cybersecurity Startup” by the Global Security Challenge. Not bad!
The Winner: Diagnostics For All
The Elevator Pitch: Saving lives through the creation of low-cost, easy-to-use diagnostic devices designed for the developing world.
Where Are They Now? With a $100K grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, this non-profit start-up has a lot going for it. In January 2009 it established an R&D laboratory in Cambridge, MA and launched a program to develop critical organ function tests. Our diagnosis: awesome.
The Winner: Robopsy
The Elevator Pitch: Inexpensive medical robotics enabling faster, more precise interventions.
Where Are They Now? Hard to tell… Despite considerable buzz and a lot of awards between 2005 and 2008, the company has more recently gone silent in the press. Last we heard was in August 2009, when the company still needed FDA approval for their prototype to start marketing it to the healthcare industry, a process estimated to cost around $3 million. We wish them luck!
The Winner: Semprus BioSciences
The Elevator Pitch: Delivering paradigm-shifting technologies to improve patient outcomes and reduce complications associated with medical devices.
Where Are They Now? Rocking, apparently. After securing $2.7 million in seed capital in 2007, they completed an $8 million Series A financing the following year. In June 2010 they were listed among the “50 Companies to Watch” by MD+DI, a medical devices trade magazine.
The Winner: Balico
The Elevator Pitch: Wearable balance aids for aging adults and individuals whose primary sensing systems are affected by disease.
Where Are They Now? Who knows… Since winning the MIT business plan competition, they seem to have all but disappeared. But we’re still curious, so if you happen to have some info, do post in the comments!