Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, an independent, research-driven graduate-level university focused on advanced energy and sustainable technologies, today announced that a team led by one of its faculty won an “elevator pitch” competition at the INSEAD/SMART Entrepreneurship Bootcamp in Singapore.
Dr. Raed Hashaikeh, Assistant Professor for Materials Science and Engineering at Masdar Institute, led his team of entrepreneurially-inclined researchers to victory over eight other teams of principal investigators, researchers, post-doctoral and graduate students at the program.
Titled ‘Entrepreneurship Bootcamp: From Laboratory to Marketplace’, the program was organized from 14-16 October by the INSEAD Business School and Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology (SMART) Innovation Centre.
With a balance of lecture discussion and breakout sessions, the three-day intensive hands-on, action learning experience was focused on technology entrepreneurship. The objective was to teach the best practices developed by MIT and INSEAD to help the academia push technology from laboratory to the marketplace.
Program directors included Professor Patrick Turner, Affiliate Professor of Entrepreneurship at INSEAD, Professor Howard Califano, Director of Innovation Centre at Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research Centre, Professor Charles L. Cooney, Department of Chemical Engineering, MIT, and Linus Koh, Chapter Chair - MIT Enterprise Forum Singapore. The directors put together a program that provided participants with the opportunity to familiarize themselves with key business plan development concepts such as ‘Go-to-Market Analysis, ‘Selling to Customers’, ‘Venture Financing’ and ‘Cash Flow’ during the workshop.
Dr. Raed Hashaikeh was joined by two faculty members from Singapore institutions. The team’s concept focused on a novel biodegradable material produced from processing cellulose that has been developed at Masdar Institute. The material when mixed with sand in right proportion provides three times higher water retention capability. Dr. Hashaikeh’s team won the competition for effectively selling the idea that the material could be used to improve water storage and availability in sandy soils and reduce irrigation costs in arid climates.
Each of the eight teams involved in the elevator pitch competition were required to pitch their own marketing ideas within two minutes to two angel investors without the aid of slides or notes.
Dr. Steven Griffiths, Executive Director, Office of Institute Initiatives, Masdar Institute, said: “The competition provided an opportunity for one of the innovative technologies developed through research at Masdar Institute to win recognition for its potential commercial impact. The payoff from research is realized when ideas generated in the lab are eventually commercialized. Dr. Raed Hashaikeh’s success in the competition is good example of this process in action.”
Dr. Hashaikeh said: “The concept behind our marketing strategy originated from the team’s ability to envision a near-term product opportunity. The value proposition that a biodegradable material can reduce consumption of irrigation water seemed attractive enough. The venture capitalists at the competition liked the idea and accepted our proposal. It was teamwork that helped us win the competition.”
Dr. Raed Hashaikeh has completed his Ph.D. in Materials Engineering from McGill University. Before joining Masdar Institute, he spent two years at FP Innovations-Paprican division, Canada, as Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Industrial Research and Development Fellow. In 2008-2009, he was a visiting scholar at MIT.
Established as an on-going collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Masdar Institute integrates theory and practice to incubate a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship, working to develop the critical thinkers and leaders of tomorrow. With its world-class faculty and top-tier students, Masdar Institute is committed to finding solutions to the challenges of clean energy and climate change.