CloudTop, a startup that enables developers of Web applications to integrate users’ online content, was awarded the Robert P. Goldberg $100,000 prize after beating out seven other finalist teams during the MIT $100K Entrepreneurship Competition finale held on the MIT campus.
This year’s teams of finalists in the business plan contest – whose offerings included, among others, the cryopreserving of fish eggs and new patent-pending wireless throughput-increasing technology – emerged from a pool of 215 teams.
By handling authentication and application programming interface integration, Cloudtop’s offering, Filepicker.io, allows developers to integrate Dropbox, Gmail, and other services into their application with only one line of code. Filepicker.io’s vision is to become the underlying infrastructure layer for Web applications that allow users to view, manage, and work on files entirely within their browser.
CloudTop was founded by Brett van Zuiden, 22, an Electrical Engineering and Computer Science student at MIT who was named by the Phenom List as one of the top five undergraduate computer scientists at MIT. Van Zuiden’s fellow co-founders are Anand Dass, 31, an MIT Sloan MBA 2012 who ran a $35 million sales organization at a global IT services company; Liyan David Chang, 22, an MIT senior studying Computer Science and Political Science who served as a key researcher in the MIT Media Lab’s Sixth Sense Project; and Thomas Georgiou, 19, an MIT sophomore studying Computer Science whose team won this year’s MIT 6.570 Mobile App Competition. Georgiou won first prize in the 2011 Facebook Hackathon held at MIT.
The MIT $100K Competition’s runner-up team, LiquiGlide, also nabbed the Audience Choice Award sponsored by KPMG. LiquiGlide has created a super slippery coating that allows for easy and complete dispensing of food items such as ketchup and mayonnaise. Developed in the Varanasi Research Group at MIT, this new coating is made from nontoxic materials and is easily applied to food packaging.
The MIT startup Janus Data, which provides users with the opportunity to monetize data, was presented the Thomson Reuters Data Prize, a $10,000 award given to a team for the most innovative use of data as a core part of a company’s business plan.
The winner of the Catherine B. Reynolds Foundation YouPitch Prize was the MIT startup Invisergy, which offers a transparent, solar power generating window technology designed to offset up to 10 percent of a building’s energy usage. This YouTube-based elevator pitch contest was open to students around the world who were invited to present a 60-second pitch of their business ideas and then promote these videos to solicit as many “likes” on YouTube and Facebook as possible. All teams with over 500 “likes” were judged by an elite panel of entrepreneurs.
The MIT $100K Competition remains an economic barometer on what new ideas are being funded by venture capitalists. Since its debut in 1989, the MIT $100K Entrepreneurship Competition has facilitated the birth of more than 160 companies, which have gone on to raise $1.3 billion in venture capital and build $16 billion in market cap. More than 30 MIT $100K startups have been acquired by major companies such as Oracle and Merck. Over 4,600 people are currently employed by MIT $100K companies.
[Image Courtesy: MIT]