Last week, Singularity University hosted the Closing Ceremony of its 2014 Graduate Studies Program, the pinnacle of an annual program that brought 80 entrepreneurs and visionaries from 35 countries to Silicon Valley for an intense 10-week crash course on exponential technologies and global grand challenges. Now in its sixth year, the event was a celebration of the participants’ commitment to solving the world’s greatest challenges, culminating in 21 team projects sure to produce viable companies that will positively impact a billion people worldwide.
I had the opportunity to attend this sold-out event at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, which showcased the collective talents of the participants along with the dedication of all involved in making this year’s GSP a success.
After opening remarks by Ross Shott, the Managing Director of the GSP, Co-Founder and Executive Chairman of SU, Peter Diamandis took the stage saying, “We here at SU believe that the world’s biggest problems are the world’s biggest business opportunities, that the best way to become a billionaire is to help a billion people…and that this convergence of power and technology is creating a world where there is nothing we cannot do.”
He added, “That’s what makes this institution special. I don’t know of many places in the world where that is the basic, fundamental premise.”
After announcing Singularity University’s first book, Exponential Organizations by Salim Ismail, who is SU’s Global Ambassador, Diamandis directed his attention to the GSP14 class and said, “[Going] through SU changes the way you view the world and, for me, it says that you’re someone who is playing a much bigger game.” He then introduced Ray Kurzweil, his fellow co-founder. Kurzweil stated, “The heart and soul of Singularity University is its summer graduate program. You can see the passion and enthusiasm that the students bring–the staff and the faculty contribute to that as well–building an ever larger community and it’s a thrill for me to be a part of it.”
Nicholas Haan, the Director of Global Grand Challenges, then took the stage to thank all the people that made the summer possible–including faculty, staff, and mentors as well as the Impact and Corporate Innovation partners. “Tonight is about honoring the teams,” Haan said, then went on to explain that the team projects were evaluated by a panel of judges along six criteria: the degree of innovation, application of exponential technologies, billion-person impact potential, market viability, prototype produced, and the delivery of the team presentation.
Based on these criteria, the five teams selected to present during the ceremony included:
Besense – Assessing selected biomarkers in menstrual blood via a smart pad
Tridom – Enabling 3D printing of houses and small business by retrofitting cranes
Peared – Focusing on senior lifestyle enhancements with a smart, health-monitoring earpiece
Bibak – Landmine detection system that is sustainable, coordinated and community-led
Mitera – Early disease detection through weekly, in-home biomarker analysis
You can check out all 21 team project videos from GSP 2014 at SU’s dedicated page.
In addition to the team presentations, the GSP14 class selected Murilo Gun as their class speaker. Murilo, who was part of team Peared, is not only an entrepreneur but a comedian in Brazil. In rapid succession, Gun delivered keen observations about SU, his fellow classmates, and the entire GSP experience relating it to a reality TV show.
Following the event, an expo of the 21 teams allowed for an opportunity to meet the class and provide valuable networking with SU’s greater community as well as partners and investors closely monitoring the startup space.
As in years past, the GSP14 class will undoubtedly produce companies that will take off exponentially and join a growing legacy of impact and innovation that Singularity University continues to strive for.