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Program Encourages All Students to Pursue Discoveries and Entrepreneurship

BOSTON, MASS., Jan. 25, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Polaris Partners today announced its support of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's launch of the Sandbox Innovation Fund program. Rooted in a desire to engage more innovators across the Institute, Sandbox will provide educational programming, financial resources, and mentoring for all MIT undergraduate and graduate students who are interested experiencing the entrepreneurial journey. Polaris, one of the initial partners who helped conceive the program, is a founding sponsor of Sandbox LLC, an important source of support for the program, and will serve as a mentor to MIT teams and provide counsel on student funding proposals.

Sandbox is a non-competitive, collaborative program that will be fully integrated into the MIT academic experience, and will be coordinated with classroom and research activities. The program allows for all 11,000 MIT students to apply for up to $25,000 to explore their business ideas, and grants them access to world-class business expertise. Sandbox will also work as a bridge to other existing campus programs, including business plan competitions, research and teacher centers, and the Venture Mentoring Service.

Polaris Managing Partner Amir Nashat, who completed his PhD as a Hertz Fellow at the Institute, serves on the Partners Innovation Fund and is a Catalyst at the Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation, cited the firm's deep commitment to supporting the student innovations that emerge from the outstanding work being done at MIT:

"Our involvement in Sandbox represents all that we value in our long standing relationship with the MIT innovation ecosystem," said Nashat. "Our history demonstrates the remarkable discoveries that are born in the labs and the classrooms, and the more we can promote this activity, the better.  We are thrilled that the Sandbox program will be integrated throughout the Institute from which we have had the honor of co-founding and funding more than 20 companies that made a meaningful impact in the world."

Nashat is one of many strong connections Polaris has to the MIT innovation ecosystem.  Partner Emeritus Alan Spoon, SB '73, SM '73, sits on the board of the MIT Corporation and was instrumental in working with MIT leadership to bring the Sandbox program to life. 

"We commend School of Engineering Dean Ian Waitz for spearheading this initiative which seeks to develop future entrepreneurs in a highly constructive manner," said Spoon. "We look forward to participating fully in the effort to bring real world experience to what promises to be a cadre of exciting, passionate innovators who are poised to change the world for the better."

More information about the Sandbox program can be found at

About Polaris Partners

Polaris Partners invests in exceptional technology and healthcare companies across all stages of their life cycles.  With offices in Boston, San Francisco, and Dublin, we partner globally with an unparalleled network of repeat entrepreneurs, top scientists and emerging innovators who are making significant contributions in their fields and improving the way in which we live and work.

Contact:  Emily Mendell, Polaris Partners,, 781-522-6732

CONTACT: Emily Mendell
         VP, Communications, Polaris Partners

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