When it comes to startup ecosystem and resources for entrepreneurs, it’s really hard to beat MIT. And as a MBA student at the MIT Sloan School of Management, I had full access to this extraordinary ecosystem for almost two years.
Entrepreneurial coursework is just the beginning. We can meet with professors, some of which are global experts in their fields, for consultations pretty much anytime. We have a dedicated working space, the MIT Trust Center for Entrepreneurship, where to meet with fellow entrepreneurs from the MIT community and provide each other’s feedback and encouragement. Entrepreneurs-in-residence offer us mentorship, support, and access to a broad network of industry contacts. Business Plan competitions, Mixers, Conferences happen almost every day. The beauty of this environment goes beyond the MIT campus. In the Kendall Square area, a short walk from Sloan, you can find the offices of hundreds of startups and of some of the best VC firms in the country.
MIT had a major role in the development of dueminuti, and we are really proud to be MIT’s first pasta startup. The first pitch ever of the dueminuti concept happened in 2014 in a Sloan class, Prof. Ed Roberts’ Introduction To Technological Entrepreneurship. Our first business plan was built on an Excel template from the Trust Center. I can’t even remember how many of my classmates have provided me feedback and helped me develop our idea further.
This is my last semester at MIT and the support we’re getting from this community doesn’t stop to surprise me. A team of 5 students from a Branding class is helping us to engage with customers and to develop our strategic positioning. A team from another class, Entrepreneurial Strategy, is giving us strategic advice. Trust Center’s EIR Trish Cotter is connecting us with many industry leaders to build a board of advisors.
And, last but not least, we’re semi-finalist in the “MIT 100K Competition“, one of the largest and most famous business plan competitions in the world!
We’re working very hard to bring dueminuti to the market very soon. It’s an exciting time here at MIT!
After having finish my PhD in January I took more flights than ever before in my life. Literally it was a flight a week: Seattle, Seoul, Seattle, Beijing, Seoul, Kuala Lumpur… recording a TV cooking show, setting up dueminuti, brushing up the remaining PhD work, visiting my Malaysian family… it was thrilling and exhausting. I needed some time to stop and reflect. I had a chance to do that in March, when I spent 3 weeks in the comfort of my parent’s house in Tuscany, with my wife Janet and my family all reunited again. I had to go undergo a small surgery and I took the chance of the forced relax (aka convalescence) to rediscover my culture: I talked about food with whoever I met. The older, the better.
I took cooking classes from my grandmother as a way to understand classic Italian food… and of course to get some quality time with nonna :). She is certainly not an ordinary teacher and often doesn’t know why things are done in a certain way, but I could see in her methods the wisdom of centuries of knowledge. Dinners with my uncles family and my mom’s untie where others priceless moment of culinary wisdom exchange.
My wife and I went to discover the Umbria region. Our plan: to taste as many traditional food of the region as we could. Coratina (innards of the lamb slow cooked on a wood fire), Castellucio Lentils, Prosciutto DOP of Norcia, Black Truffle of Norcia, Pork Liver Sausage, Roveja, grilled lamb and the finest ricotta I have ever tasted in my life. We talked with the chef of each restaurant we had the pleasure to dine at, it was definitively a fantastic experience. A truly unforgettable memory was a meal in a restaurant in the small town of Castelluccio, an old borgo at 1400 m above sea level that surmounted a plain famous in the word for lentils. Everything we tasted was speaking of that country side. Dishes were so simple and at the same time so tasteful that you could almost feel the farmers’ energy behind each produce. Ricotta was of such a lightness that it was a blessing. The chef was definitively one of the best chef I ever met. There was no trace of her in her dishes: her best skill, a rare one among chefs, was to respect each ingredient, and let it shine for itself. I talked to her for quite a bit and I will never forget that the most common sentence she used was “I did not do anything special to that”. She told me where each ingredient was coming from, the story of each farmer behind a particular item and how every product would fit in her cuisine.
Taking only the best ingredient was her secret, respecting them was her skill. “The greatest dishes are very simple” used to say legendary chef Auguste Escoffier about 100 years ago. We couldn’t agree more.
Making the most out of the beautiful spring day here in Tuscany, I am still working on the development of our product to bring you the best flavors packed in a nutritionally balanced pasta. Pasta made of durum wheat dates back to the 11th century AD. It has long tradition and not many people have attempted to change this ancient staple.
At dueminuti we are committed to improving the nutritional value of this amazing product without changing its flavor and texture. We endeavor to look back at our Italian roots to understand who we are and where we come from and simultaneously embrace new flours that advanced milling technologies have made available. From the ancient grains of the Etruscan coast in Tuscany, the best Semolina from the durum wheat of Sicily, the Khorasan Kamut from Egypt to super foods like Quinoa, Teff, Flaxseed, Hemp and Soy flours, we aspire to create a nutritionally balanced and yummy product with deep foundations in the Italian tradition. From our headquarter in Seattle we are looking at our Italian culinary history with critical eyes and not with nostalgic ones. We are committed to bringing to our customers only the best of our Italian roots and tradition.