Co-founded by Keaton Swett ’11, MindSumo is a modern answer to two age-old dilemmas: Businesses want problems solved on the cheap, and soon-to-be college graduates want the attention of prospective employers. Swett’s startup allows companies to post their challenges—for example, boosting energy-efficiency at a popular resort—for a fee. Then, college students from around the U.S. have free rein to submit ingenious solutions. The winner, as decided by the company, gets a few hundred bucks and, more importantly, a meaningful connection with the organization. This way, students “can prove they can get the job done,” the website boasts. “Beats an interview, wouldn’t you say?”
Students can also compete in challenges just for fun—most challenges award $200 to the winner, along with public recognition on mindsumo.com. Companies like Facebook and Microsoft have already tapped into the MindSumo network, which has helped bring fast success for Swett and his five-person team. And students from universities such as MIT, Stanford, UPenn, Harvard, and, of course, Johns Hopkins, have submitted solutions.