Neurotechnology Ventures

[Class Content]   [Fall 2014]  [Fall 2013]  [Fall 2012]  [Fall 2010]  [Fall 2009]  [Fall 2008]  [Spring 2007]  

MIT Course Numbers: 9.455 ~ 15.128 ~ 20.454 ~ MAS.883
Instructors: J. Bonsen ~ E.S. Boyden ~ R.G. Ellis-Behnke
Units: H-level ~ 2-0-7 Units
Time: Thursdays, 2-4pm
Place: E14-525


Neurotechnology Ventures is a seminar and project-oriented course on the challenges of envisioning, planning, and building startups (both entrepreneurial and intrapreneurial) to bring neuroengineering innovations to the world. Class sessions include either a survey of a broad topic area or a live-case study of a current, specific, development or commercialization effort in that area, or a panel discussion with clinicians or venture capitalists, all oriented towards identifying and executing towards a compelling venture concept. Explorations will cover a broad array of issues ranging from the deeply technical to the analysis of market realities.

Topics Include -- Neuroimaging, Neuromarketing, Neurology/Psychiatry Screening & Diagnosis, Mood & Behavioral Influencing, Rehabilitation, Neurosurgery, Neuropharmacology, Brain Stimulation, Prosthetics, Sensory and Motor Augmentation, Regenerative Neuromedicine, Learning, Memory & Cognitive Influencing, and more.

Limited Enrollment -- Please email two paragraphs summarizing your: (1) Professional Skills & Experience, and (2) Inventive/Entrepreneurial Aspirations.

Student Venture Project & Deliverables -- Students will work in teams to analyze opportunities and create an elevator pitch, a 6-slide company plan, and a business plan executive summary and final presentation aimed at solving a major problem through neurotechnology. The project will develop and evolve throughout the term, with multiple reviews, and culminating in a final presentation. We expect that some projects may go on to become successful ventures.


Thu., Sept. 8 Overview of the state of neurotechnology.

Overview of the class, case studies and team projects.

How to succeed at the class.


Instructor 1-minute elevator pitches.

Thu., Sept. 15 GUEST PANEL: Clinicians. The big needs in neurology, psychiatry, and neurosurgery. Panel members: TBD.

Thu., Sept. 22 1-minute elevator pitches by class members.


"How to Think" - getting resources, researching, collaborating, synthesizing.

Thu., Sept. 29 GUEST SPEAKER: Vinay Gidwaney

Title: Neurotechnologies for improving behavior and decision-making

Thu., Oct. 6 GUEST SPEAKER: Ariel Garten, CEO, InterAxon

Title: Thought controlled computing: from popular imagination to popular product

Thu., Oct. 13 No class (Media Lab sponsor week).

Thu., Oct. 20 Midterm presentations: the 6-slide presentations.

Other class members will write very brief critiques, to learn the process of evaluating.

Thu., Oct. 27 Resources: legal, financial, fundraising, networking, the Boston community, the global neurotechnology community.

Thu., Nov. 3 VC/Investor panel. Panel members: Brian Chow (Third Rock), Jonathan Behr (Enlight), another member TBD.

Thu., Nov. 10 GUEST SPEAKER: Ben Rubin

Title: Zeo: a sleep analysis company

Thu., Nov. 17 GUEST SPEAKER: Casey Stengel

Title: Neuralynx: an electrophysiology tools company

Thu., Dec. 1 GUEST SPEAKER: Vincent Pieribone

Title: Marinus Pharmaceuticals: a neurosteroid development story

Thu., Dec. 8 Final presentations by each team.

Neurotechnology Entrepreneurship Panel will be present to provide feedback. Panel members: Steven Schachter (professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School, Chief Academic Officer of CIMIT), Alain Hanover (Managing Director and CEO of Navigator Technology Ventures).