Become a Solver
Solver® teams join our MIT-backed network and receive 9 months of personalized support from Solve's community of peers, funders, and experts to advance their innovative work
Do you have a solution to the world's most pressing challenges? We encourage you to apply to Solve's Global Challenges, which are open for solutions until June 18, 2020 at 12pm ET.
Finalists in our Challenges will pitch their solutions to a live audience of 400+ leaders and expert judges at Solve Challenge Finals in September during UN General Assembly Week in New York City. Those that are ultimately selected as a Solver will:
- Join a supportive community of peers, funders, and experts to help advance their innovative work through Solve's nine-month program;
- Receive mentorship and strategic advice from Solve and MIT networks;
- Attend Solve at MIT, our annual flagship event in May; and
- Receive access to more than $1.7 million in prize funding for the 2020 Challenges.
In the last three years, thanks to our partners, Solve has brokered commitments of over $25 million in funding for Solver teams and entrepreneurs, in addition to in-kind support such as mentorship, technical expertise, media and conference exposure, and business and entrepreneurship training.
Who can apply to Solve's Challenges?
Anyone, anywhere around the world can submit a solution to Solve's Challenges. You can be an individual, a team, or an organization. You can be an applicant from previous years or already part of our community. If you have a solution, we hope you'll apply.
For full participation details, please see our Terms of Service.
2020 Challenge cycle timeline
What type of solutions will Solve accept?
Solve seeks innovative, human-centered, tech-based solutions to our Global Challenges. Our definition of "tech-based" is broad: in addition to AI, blockchain, and virtual reality, Solver teams have leveraged a plant-based fiber that absorbs oil spills, biodegradable sanitary pads, and user-friendly mobile apps. Learn about all our Solver teams' diverse technologies.
Through open innovation, Solve is looking for a diverse portfolio of solutions across geography, development stage, and team members’ gender and background. We encourage people of all backgrounds to submit applications.
Solution applications must be written in English. We will consider solutions at all stages of development:
- Concept: An idea being explored for its feasibility to build a product, service, or business model based on that idea. Please note that concept solutions are unlikely to be selected; you have until the application deadline to prototype and experiment with your idea!
- Prototype: A venture or organization building and testing its product, service, or business model. If for-profit, a new company getting off the ground that has raised little or no institutional capital (less than $500,000) in pre-seed fundraising.
- Pilot: An organization deploying a tested product, service, or business model in at least one community. If for-profit, a young company that is working to gain traction and that has raised less than $2 million in institutional capital in seed funding.
- Growth: An organization with an established product, service, or business model rolled out in one or, ideally, several communities, which is poised for further growth in multiple communities or countries. If for-profit, an early-stage company that has established a track record and is seeking to raise a round of roughly $2 million to $15 million in institutional capital in a Series A or potentially B round.
- Scale: A sustainable enterprise working in several communities or countries that is looking to scale significantly, focusing on increased efficiency. If for-profit, a successful company that is scaling its operations and seeks to raise a round of more than $15 million in institutional capital.
How does Solve's platform work?
Solve’s award-winning open innovation platform was designed based on 10 years of research conducted by the Climate CoLab, a project of the MIT Center for Collective Intelligence, which studies how people and computers can be connected so that collectively they act more intelligently than any one person, group, or computer has ever before.
Innovators and entrepreneurs, wherever they are in the world, can submit their solution to Challenges hosted on Solve’s platform using a user-friendly interface that encourages user participation beyond solution submission in the form of community commenting, voting, and editing solutions. In addition, all judging is completed inside the platform, where solutions are assigned to specific judges to evaluate those solutions.
How will my solution be evaluated?
Our judges are experts and leaders from across industries and sectors. Solve's staff and community (including our Members, MIT faculty, and Solver teams from previous cycles) will conduct an initial review to select semi-finalists, then Challenge Leadership Groups will review semi-finalist solutions and select finalists. Judges will score solutions along the following criteria:
- Alignment: The solution uses technology to address one of Solve's Global Challenges.
- Potential for Impact: The planned solution implementation has the potential to impact lives.
- Feasibility: Solution implementation is feasible, and the team has a plan for financial sustainability.
- Innovative Approach: The solution includes a new technology, a new application of technology, a new business model, or a new process for solving the Challenge.
- Scalability*: The solution can be scaled to affect the lives of more people.
- Partnership Potential*: The applicant clearly explains how the solution would benefit from the broad range of resources that the Solve community is positioned to provide.
*This criterion will not be considered during the initial review to select semi-finalists.
Finalists will pitch before the Challenge Leadership Group and a live audience at Solve Challenge Finals. If you are invited to pitch at Solve Challenge Finals, travel to New York will be reimbursed and accommodations will be provided.
The most promising solutions will form the new Solver class and build partnerships with the Solve community.
What will I get if my solution is selected?
There's more than $1.7 million of funding available for the 2020 Solver Class. If you are selected as a Solver, you’ll receive a $10,000 grant from Solve, as well as access to significant additional prize funding. Visit each Challenge page to learn more about prizes.
However, being a Solver is about much more than prize funding. When you join our MIT-backed network, you'll receive nine months of personalized support from Solve staff and Members of Solve’s cross-sector community. Through these connections, you'll build the partnerships needed to accelerate your work, validate your impact and business model, and scale your solution.
MIT’s network and contacts have opened doors to avenues that we would otherwise have not been able to access. Going through such a rigorous due-diligence process—having your product reviewed in microscopic detail by such a renowned institution—was valuable validation of our impact. MIT Solve represents a true standard of excellence and signals that a solution is more than just a hopeful dream.
—Priya Lakhani, Founder and CEO of Solver Century Tech
Read about all the transformational benefits of being a Solver.
What is Solve at MIT?
Solve at MIT is our annual flagship event held on the MIT campus in May in Cambridge, MA, bringing together more than 500 cross-sector leaders as well as MIT faculty and students. The event features Solver teams on stage, in online and written materials, and through dedicated Challenge workshops. In 2020, Solve at MIT will be held virtually.
Photo: Solver Neopenda