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Creating better entrepreneurs Mentors sharing experience

Without good entrepreneurs, you

Nevertheless, Dingee figured out on

groups of three or four experts sitting

cannot build good companies.

his own how to build a successful

with new entrepreneurs in

business venture, and went on to create

brainstorming sessions over the course

Creating entrepreneurs who can take

several-including Nexabit Networks, a

of several months, sharing years of

an idea, formulate a business model,

company sold in 1999 for the highest

experience and knowledge.

and start a successful company is the

figure ever paid at that time for a

mission of MIT's Venture Mentoring

company in a pre-product stage..

Service. VMS is one of the many ways

"We provide a place where entrepreneurs who want to give

MIT encourages the entrepreneurial

Dingee wanted to give back to the

something back can get together and

spirit for which it is so well-known.

Institute, and he decided to share his

pool their knowledge," says Sherwin

hard-won knowledge with the MIT

Greenblatt, who was the first employee

MIT's hallways, classrooms, and labs

community. He knew firsthand what it

of Bose Corporation and after retiring

are filled with brilliant minds that are

was like to try and start a company

from Bose became the director of

bursting with good ideas for new

without a mentor's help, and he wanted


technologies, new products, new

to find a way to ensure that today's

services, and new businesses. But

MIT entrepreneurs did not stumble

VMS complements and works

there's a big gap between the moment

over those same obstacles.

cooperatively with the many MIT

when that light bulb goes off and when

centers and programs promoting

a business owner starts hiring people

Dingee teamed up with David Staelin,

entrepreneurship and providing many

and selling products. Turning an

another entrepreneur and a professor

resources to encourage formation of

inspiration into a company takes

of electrical engineering and computer

businesses and to move technological

additional steps and skills.

science, and in 2000, the two of them

knowledge from the laboratory to the

created the MIT Venture Mentoring


Sharing hard-earned lessons

Service. The original idea was simple pair up experienced entrepreneurs and

Entrepreneurship for all

Alec Dingee, a serial entrepreneur and

experts with MIT students, faculty,

VMS is open to all members of the

1952 graduate of the MIT Sloan

staff, and alumni who had ideas and

MIT community, so the ideas have

School of Management, learned that

wanted to start new businesses. The

been varied. They include software,

lesson the hard way. He was once one

seasoned business leaders would give

alternative energy, medical devices,

of those MIT students overflowing

some one-on-one advice and help the

biotech, consumer goods, and

with ideas. But, what he lacked at the

budding entrepreneurs commercialize

nanotech. They are all a testament to

time was a mentor to show him how to

their ideas. VMS was such a success

the creativity, ingenuity, and ambition

turn those ideas into companies.

that the model quickly evolved into

of the MIT community.

MIT Venture Mentoring Service - Massachusetts Institute of Technology - 77 Massachusetts Avenue - Cambridge, MA 02139-4307 617-258-0720 (office) 617-253-0953 (fax)


Creating better entrepreneurs  
Creating better entrepreneurs  

brief history and description of VMS