Frequently Asked Questions

What kinds of students can I expect on a typical team?

VentureShips has been historically tailored for students who were interested in entrepreneurship, but had only a technical background. You can expect teams to comprise 3-4 out of 4 members of this type of student. These students may not have the exact resume credentials for the project, but are typically much more motivated and diligent than those who have less to gain from the experience. More recently, students with diverse business experienced but no entrepreneurial experiences have been interested in the program. Successful teams have had fewer than half of their members of this type.

VentureShips also includes a "Team Organizer" on each team, who is a past VentureShips participant. This person is on the VentureShips organizational committee, and will act as the liaison for the team. It is this person's role to ensure that both the company and the VentureShips team are satisfied. Team Organizers are not required to participate on the project, but sometimes like to volunteer -- please ask them at the beginning of the semester so that you know what to expect from them.

What requirements must a company fulfill to apply?

The company must be strongly affiliated with MIT; this means that a member of the founding team must be a student, alumni or professor. Furthermore, the companies must be a part of the VMS (Venture Mentoring Service) system - a very quick process.

What kinds of projects are appropriate for VentureShips?

The purpose of the program is to give business experiences to students. Projects should be designed to answer interesting business strategy questions or how-to questions. Examples of appropriate projects include marketing, market research, financial analysis, patent research, competitive analysis, business plan writing and industry surveys. Examples of inappropriate projects include webpage design and specification lookups.

How many companies are you expecting to take?

We expect to accept 4-6 companies each semester; the exact number is dependent on the quality of the projects and companies that apply.

What if I can't make one of the mandatory events?

We understand that there are always scheduling difficulties. The mandatory events are designed for the benefit of the participating company and we expect that you block off our events on your calendar whenever possible. If you have an unavoidable conflict that you know about, you should list it on written application.

You list dates and not times for deadlines -- what time will you accept things until?

We will accept applications and team rosters by when we wake up the next morning (before 8am). However, you should try to submit them the night before. Late applications will still be considered, but lateness will be noted.

What kind of non-disclosure agreements are students required to sign?

VentureShips is not responsible for NDAs. Companies that will need to share confidential information with students need to prepare their own legally binding documents and have students sign them. Students are required to make a short 15-minute final presentation of their work to the other VentureShips participants. The content of this talk is required to be approved by company representatives before presenting.


Past Companies


The students added significant value to the company by recruiting and conducting focus groups with potential customers in two market segments. The students made the initial contact and organized and ran these focus groups.
Tim McCaffery
CEO, Lime Design, Inc.