AI and Web3 for Impact: Venture Studio | Demo Day 2022


John Werner

John Werner

On December 8, 2022 at the MIT Media Lab, 14 teams took to the stage as part of Demo Day, an opportunity for students to showcase projects that were designed not only to make a difference in the world, but also to create successful businesses. The event marked the culmination of a course titled “AI and Web3 for Impact: Venture Studio” (MAS.665), which is offered annually and structured so students can interact with mentors, as well as engage with VCs, CEOs, and other academics. In the history of the entrepreneurship-focused class, about a quarter of students continue their work and start real ventures themselves. 

During the Demo Day event, students had three minutes to pitch their venture ideas and two minutes to answer questions. A few of the projects included “Moxie,” a platform similar to LinkedIn for refugees and pivoters; “blueLabs,” a tool to predict the impact of global pollution in any location; and “MediCipher,” an AI-enabled medical billing and data sharing program. The class behind Demo Day is offered annually, and the fall 2022 iteration was co-taught by Media Lab professor Ramesh Raskar, MIT Sloan School of Management alum Shahid Azim, Media Lab lecturer Joost Bonsen, and Media Lab postdoctoral researcher Vivek Sharma. “This course is about the early stage—an innovator may or may not be an entrepreneur,” said Professor Raskar. “The Venture Studio class focuses on a spot-probe process where students spot the opportunities and probe the solutions.”

Student teams received seed funding based on scores from eighteen VCs, CEOs, and investors, many of whom participated as mentors in the class throughout the semester. These mentors included Jamie Goldstein, founding partner of Pillar VC, and David Blundin, founder of Link Ventures, among others. Judges evaluated projects based on their potential societal impact once launched, the uniqueness in the presented market and/or solution, and whether the pitch covered market competitors’ short- and long-term plans. Hesam Motlagh, chief of staff at Khosla Ventures and adjunct professor at Stanford University, applauded the teams’ “solidity in identifying and pinpointing the problem of their high impact ideas,” and reminded students “to question and be their own worst critic during the ideation process.”

Co-instructor Shahid Azim noted that the class’s goal is to “empower teams to think at scale and think of impact at scale. Next [semester] we are trying to focus efforts around climate and health.”

Below is a full list of the fourteen projects presented by the student teams:

  • Loamy ~ Empowering Your Fertility Journey
  • blueLabs ~ Predicting the Impact of Pollution at Every Location on the Planet
  • MyFarmNet ~ Decentralized Social Network Powering Precision Farming
  • Linkteen ~ Empowering Teens to Build an Exceptional Future
  • iSight ~ Tokenized Tele-Help for Vision Assistance
  • Mycelium ~ The Central Data Bank of Biology and AI
  • SleePro ~ Voice-Based Circadian Diagnostic and Management Platform for Better Sleep, Performance, and Holistic Health
  • MediCipher ~ AI-enabled Clinical Billing Automation and Data Mining
  • TrustChain ~ Human-powered Verification System for Social Impact Projects that Builds and Abridges Trust between Donors, NGOs, and Communities
  • Moxie ~ Rediscovering Your Strengths for Refugees + Pivoters
  • FanCoin ~ Democratizing Fan Ownership in Sports Teams
  • Ledger Research ~ Democratizing Data Collection
  • Socratis ~ Predicting Societal Reactions to Multimedia Content
  • ReFi DAO ~ A Web3 Venture Studio for Climate Startups
Related Content