Why I Joined RoughDraft
Three semesters ago, I was a bewildered 17-year old kid who was thrown onto the campus of one of the best universities in the world. As soon as I could, I started reaching out to everyone I saw as a resource, I joined student clubs, I started doing research in Artificial Intelligence, and even did a varsity sport. Though busy, I still felt unsatisfied. On the side I was continuously hacking away on small side-projects and I kept feeling like I wanted to do something more. I wanted to change the world and I wanted to start now.
One day in the elevator in my dorm I stepped and saw a handsome young man, who I’d seen around. In the minute that we had in the elevator I told him my research and what I was involved in. He stepped out and said “You seem like someone who likes making things, you should come to this entrepreneurship class I’m helping start”
A week later, and after a couple of meetings with MIT administrators we had officially registered the MIT GSD “Get Shit Done” class. The idea of the class was that there are a lot of MIT students who work on side projects and are going through the same difficulties. Drinking from the fire hose of MIT can let a lot of things slip to the side, including projects you are passionate about. During one of these meetings with an administrator, I was asked what sort of support I wanted. All I asked for was time where I could work each week with other people, just not on classes.
For the rest of that semester, a group of students met each week on Mondays at 8 PM. MIT fed us a great dinner and we did a standup meeting. We would talk about what we finished the last week, our goals for the next week, and our blockers. One idea that I had for the class was to do a demo day at the end of the semester, where each of the teams presented in front of a group of people we invited.
Fast-forward a year later, and we’ve had some awesome companies come out of it: FilePicker, DataNitro, Podimetrics, just to name a few.
Last night we had our demo day and I wanted to walk through the 13 companies that came out of this semester’s class:
StyleUp is helping women dress up with new and exciting outfits using clothes they already own and appropriate for the weather in their hometown. Kendall is growing this product fast and I’m really excited to see where this goes. I love when people create something from their own passions, that is, Kendall worked at several fashion magazines before coming to MIT.
AudioCommon is working on a platform to have artists, producers, and sound engineers collaborate on music together online. What amazes me is that the founder managed to help throw the Music Hack Day in Boston and even hosted Lady Gaga’s producer Fernando Garibay, all through connections from the GSD class.
Now Onboard is working on bringing online retail to the Carribean. In these islands, there is no such thing as Amazon Prime. Most of the populace makes a decent middle class income, but in order to participate in retail, they have to take a vacation and bring products back with them.
KangaCruise is working on bringing the cruising industry into the 21st century. Currently almost all bookings occur over the phone or through a travel agent, but with the cruising market shifting farther and farther away from those at the age of retirement, a digital solution is needed and I believe Kangacruise is exactly that.
Lifetime Supply is the idea that you can give your friends gifts of lifetime supplies of everyday objects. Everything from socks and gum to jars of Nutella. What amazes me about this project was the speed of idea to implementation. The amazing Max Kanter (Same kid who hacked the Dropbox Space Race)
OneTesla is building Tesla Coils that play music by adjusting the voltage provide to crate the arcs. Watch this demo (At about 1:11) to understand how amazing this is. Hoping to see this go big on KickStarter soon.
RobieOne is creating personal care robots which can be operated remotely through a cellular device. Need to check if you left your keys at home? No problem. Too lazy to go to the fridge or feed the cat? Do it from the couch.
Hoowenware, i.e. Who? When? Where? is working on making group travel a flawless experience. No more bickering over which hotel to use or which flight to take, instead hoowenware has hotels and airlines bid for your group and then presents the same option to all those in your group. From there you can invite more friends to come along and have all their details sorted out.
Nightingale is actually my project that I’m working on. We played around with an idea around communication problems in coumadin clinics. We actually made a prototype and spent a decent amount of time in coumadin clincs seeing how we could integrate with their workflow. We ended up making the tough decision to ditch this idea and are currently working on an idea around medication adherence. Note, we are named after Florence Nightingale
Pill Pack is working on a online pharamacy. Request your medication at the click of a button? Done. Deliver to your home? That too. Keep track of when your prescription runs out and send you refills automatically and report that information to physicians? Working on it.
EagerPanda is working on changing the way we learn. It allows experts and learners to pair up in a webinar format. The expert teaches his pupil, and the entire lesson is recorded. From there, both members can post the footage from the lesson with their comments and sell it.
Indivly is working on making content creation for marketng managers a much less painful process. Want a brochure to look good on Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook all at the same time? Then Indivly is there for you!
Mediuum is woking on bringing the display of art to modern times. Display art on tablets, TVs and your cell phone. Throw a galleria online. This is for curators, artists, and art-lovers.
Projects like these are what keep me inspired. All of these projects are being done by full-time MIT students. Throughout the semester I kept noticing that one of the issues everyone was having was obtaining a small amount of funding. We weren’t looking to go around to get a seed round. But sometimes it’s nice to have some money to run experiments on AdWords, acquire your first users, or even just for some server space. This is why I’ve decided to join as a partner for RoughDraft.
Watch the coverage at TechCrunch and follow the discussion at HackerNews.