SolidEnergy, a startup developing a battery technology that will improve the safety and energy density of rechargeable batteries, walked away with $12,000 in February after beating out 28 teams of semifinalists during the inaugural MIT Accelerate Contest held on the campus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Mass. SolidEnergy won the $10,000 Daniel M. Lewis Grand Prize along with a $2,000 Audience Choice Award.
MIT Accelerate was introduced this winter by the 22-year old MIT $100K Entrepreneurship Competition as another channel to encourage entrepreneurs to turn their ideas into reality, according to the school. Participating teams submitted a demo ranging from a hardware prototype to experimental data to a beta web service to prove the concepts behind their business idea.
SolidEnergy introduced a patented battery technology that has more than twice the energy density of a regular lithium-ion battery, and can safely operate from -40C to 250C. It is also the first rechargeable battery to be used in oil drilling, enabling recharging downhole while in the process of drilling. The battery technology also has applications in electric vehicles, consumer electronics, biomedical devices and military.
Team members includes Qichao Hu, a graduating doctoral student at Harvard University and co-inventor of the battery; Louis Beryl, a graduating master's student at Harvard Business School and Harvard Kennedy School; Mike Hagerty, a graduating master's student at MIT Technology and Policy Program; and Vishwas Dindore, an MIT Sloan Fellow with experience in the oil and gas industry. Their advisor is MIT Professor Donald Sadoway, co-inventor of the battery technology.
"We were blown away by the level of competition and impressed by the other pitches," said Hagerty. Hagerty said he believes their winning status came from "combining a potentially groundbreaking technology with a realistic and exciting opportunity to move it to the market."