October 11, 2013
Acceleration: The Story of Gentoo (Part II)
Benjamin Nadeau, Biomedical Engineering ’13, and Greg Affsa, Industrial Design ’15, continue their Gentoo story in part two of our three-part series. In this installment the team begins its first pitch in the final round of the MassChallenge.
Written by Greg Affsa and Benjamin Nadeau
On October 3, the culmination of the last four months of work spent at MassChallenge reached its pinnacle. We had reached the first pitch in our final round of judging at the competition.
We had 10 minutes to present to six judges about the progress we’ve made and our potential for the future, and to show that we have built a solid company. Following our 10-minute pitch were 10 minutes of questions by the judges.
As you’re presenting, every minute feels like an eternity. However, the second that it’s over you can’t believe how fast it went by.
Our time overall at MassChallenge was the same. Days started bright and early as we made our way into the office in the Seaport District with the morning rush hour traffic. MassChallenge had tons of programs every week, from networking events, to classes in Excel, to presentations on marketing, design, accounting, and sales. To take in everything is impossible, so you need to pick and choose which sessions best suit your company.
On top of those programs, we had mentor meetings, manufacturer meetings, and consulting meetings at hospitals and infusion centers. We accomplished so much, and yet it’s hard to believe that four months went by so quickly.
The first round we just completed will narrow 128 teams down to 26. These 26 will then pitch in front of the sponsors who actually write the checks for the prize. We will not find out who won a prize until October 30. As wonderful as winning prize money would be, it’s very true what they told us in the beginning: The value in MassChallenge is in the journey, not the prize.
We’ve used the last four months not just to advance our product but to build a business. Unlike a class where your final project gets handed in and it’s over, Gentoo will go on and continue to grow even after MassChallenge. Plans are being put in place that will allow us to move into production whether we win any prize money or not. It’s a pretty amazing feeling to know we’ve built something that will make a positive impact in people’s lives, and that it is turning into something bigger than ourselves.