MSIM Students Share Refinements on Innovation Sprints
With their first semester in the books, MS in Innovation and Management students have marked another milestone in their Innovation Sprints – fast-paced, intense projects that simulate the experience of launching a startup from conceptualization to commercialization and beyond.
Since their mid-semester presentations in October, many groups have continued to refine their ideas while others have pursued new ventures. Here’s a look at the progress they’ve made throughout the remainder of the fall semester. Moving into their second Innovation Sprint this spring, we look forward to seeing which ventures continue to develop and which may pivot into uncharted waters.
Team members: Kayla Fisher, Mina Karamercan, Darian Matini, Ben Webb
Cerobex, a solution that will target currently untreatable brain conditions like Tay-Sachs disease, has continued to make progress on their venture since the mid-point presentations.
Tay-Sachs disease is a rare, currently untreatable and terminal genetic condition caused by a mutation on Chromosome 15, which results in partial or total inhibition of the HEXA gene.
A challenge that scientists face in creating treatments for some neurological conditions, like Tay-Sachs disease, is the blood-brain barrier. However, they’re looking to change this by leveraging the work of Qiaobing Xu – Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering and researcher at Tufts University’s School of Medicine.
Earlier this fall, Ben shared, “We believe that our technology can solve this problem … working with Qiaobing Xu, who has developed lipid nanoparticles, which you can think of like an empty box, we can take HEXA or other medications and put them inside this patented box. Then, applying neurotransmitter-derived lipid particles, which you can think of like a patented shipping label, [it] will get this package across the blood-brain barrier.”
Team members: Nadya Ganem, Jennifer Nutter, Mark Panetta
Having conducted over 100 interviews with industry experts, nonprofit leaders and users, GeoChair is developing a “mobility solution for children with complex bodies.”
The solution, which is an all-terrain, ergonomic, and versatile wheelchair for children that incorporates advanced technology, will make it easier for them to play outside and navigate different environments.
“Current wheelchairs look and feel medical, but more importantly, they’re adult chairs that are just sized down for children. These chairs need to be designed with children in mind,” said Mark.
As a starting point, they plan to develop this wheelchair for children who have cerebral palsy. GeoChair’s four main hallmarks include a modular construction, child-centric design, weather resistance and multi-terrain capabilities.
Team members: Nawar Alqabandi, Sujin Jung, Christian North, Grant Tilson
Leveraging archetypal storytelling and online shopping, homére is breaking into the luxury apparel market with a focus on Generation Z customers.
“Current online luxury retail stores are providing features that only boost convenience for customers while they’re shopping but are failing to establish deep, emotional connections with their customer,” said Nawar.
According to the group’s research, 87 percent of customers want to build more meaningful relationships with luxury brands. To build a deeper connection with customers, homére will present users with a storyline on their website. Customers will have to make choices to progress through story, leading them to a unique ending with clothing based on that ending.
“homére plans to revitalize the fashion industry by hijacking our desire for meaning and for purpose,” said Christian.
“We are putting great emphasis on how we’re a personal and individualized brand,” added Sujin.
The group’s efforts come at a time of growth for the global luxury fashion market. The group says that by 2025, the global luxury fashion market will be valued at $130 billion, which is higher than its current valuation of $94 billion.
Team members: Lia Aftandilian, Ethan Frisch, Victor Kao
Lighthouse is a platform that’s geared towards 20-to-30-year-olds who move to new cities, helping them meet friends through different social experiences.
“When millennials move to move new cities, [they] move to an area where they don’t know anyone or anything. You just have to figure it out and find your way. This could take up to months,” said Ethan. “The solution that Lighthouse has come up with is creating connections through experiences.”
Citing a sense loneliness among millennials who move to new cities, the group plans to connect people using a unique cohort system based on their lease dates.
Ethan said, “When people start a new job … they [might] start at a small or medium-sized business. They’re the only new person in their office and everyone else in their office has already figured out what to do, who to see, and already has their made connection.”
Social experiences will range from baseball games to escape rooms and scavenger hunts. The platform will generate revenue through experiences, memberships and corporate partnerships. They estimate a service obtainable market of 1 million people.
Team members: Faris Alquaddoomi, Spencer Langdon, Megan Morrissey, Su Hnin Pwint
Started earlier this semester as Smart Therapy, Mobius Health is developing a two-pronged solution to make physical therapy more effective.
Since their conceptualization, the group has focused their initial target customer to be orthopedic knee patients who are between 40 and 70 years old. While the founders plan to expand to other injuries in the future, they chose to initially focus on knee injuries as the knee has an easy-to-measure range of motion.
“When patients first start physical therapy, they’re excited to recover and gain progress. But when they don’t see the progress and they don’t move quickly enough, they start forgetting their exercises when they’re at home and they’re only being held accountable once a week by physical therapists,” said Megan.
Mobius Health aims to ensure that patients don’t forget to do their exercises or how to do them. Patient care teams will also be able to gain visibility into their patient’s progress.
The group says that there are three key things that separate them from competitors: a community aspect, low cost, and higher number of uses for their solution.
Team members: Jack Donohue, Nathan Niemiec, Ajay Parthasarathy, Noor Semaan, Kan Zhou
Connecting engineering students with career development opportunities, Zinque is “a platform that strives to put undergraduate engineers in the best possible position to be successful beyond graduation,” said Jack.
Through Zinque’s digital platform, companies can post project opportunities for university students so that they can gain hands-on, experiential knowledge. Zinque will also offer a project management tool through their portal so that companies and students can make the most of their relationship.
“Zinque is a marketplace that connects companies with educators searching to give their students real-world experience,” added Nathan.
Zinque positions itself on three pillars: providing engineering projects/opportunities, generating revenue for universities and providing students equal access to prospective employers.