Led by Michael Martin (MBA 2015), three Harvard Business School MBA students were part of the winning team in the Harvard University Innovation Lab’s (i-lab) prestigious President’s Challenge 2015. Two other HBS MBA students and two HBS alumni were also among the winners and runners-up in the recently announced Dean’s Challenges awards.
Martin is the CEO of RapidSOS, a company he founded after his father was involved in a serious accident at his home and could not get through to 911 operators. RapidSOS, which focuses on using technology to make emergency response and communication systems more efficient, secure, and reliable, was awarded the $70,000 grand prize in the fourth annual Harvard President’s Challenge, the flagship competition at the i-lab that charges participants with creating entrepreneurial solutions to some of the world’s most pressing problems. The team’s victory came just 24 hours after they won the $50,000 grand prize in the HBS New Venture Competition. Team members also include Alex Santana (MBA 2016) and Joe DiPaolo (MBA 2015), Nick Horelik, Kellen Brink, and Kaiying Liao, who were among nearly 300 students from across Harvard that competed in the Challenge.
Also hosted by the i-lab, the four Deans’ Challenges are sponsored by five Harvard University deans and the director of Harvard athletics. They award $220,000 in prize money to students and fellows (including HBS Blavatnik Fellows) that “create and develop solutions that have meaningful impact for people around the world.” HBS Dean Nitin Nohria is the co-chair of three Challenges in the areas of Health and Life Sciences, Cultural Entrepreneurship, and the newly-added Innovations in Sports category. The competition also includes the newly-added Food System Challenge.
The HBS-affiliated awardees were:
Alexandra Dickson (MBA 2013), a member of LuminOva, winners of the Bertarelli Foundation Grand Prize in the Health and Life Sciences Challenge and $40,000 for their efforts to increase in vitro fertilization success rates through embryo viability monitoring.
Meredith Unger (MBA 2010), a member of Nix, winners of the Grand Prize and $40,000 in the Innovation in Sports Challenge for creating a dehydration biosensor patch.
Aiden Feng (MBA 2016), a member of Canary, the first runner-up in the Health and Life Sciences Challenge and recipients of $10,000 for their work on point-of-care home diagnostics that enable quicker pregnancy detection.
Henry Liu (MBA 2016), a member of EuMotus, runners-up in the Innovation in Sports Challenge and recipients of $15,000 for their work developing biomechanical technologies that help optimize physical fitness and performance.
Twenty finalists in the Deans’ Challenges, drawn from 161 initial proposals across 13 Harvard Schools, participated in the Deans’ Challenges Demo Day, with runners-up and grand prize winners announced the week of May 1, 2015.