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TRUMP UNIVERSITY ENTREPRENEURSHIP 101
the enterprise he co-founded became a dramatic success. Since then, he has
gone on to launch several other ventures and then to earn a master’s degree in
business administration (MBA) from the MIT Sloan School of Management,
where he was a Sloan Fellow.
Fulop’s most recent venture, A123Systems, Inc., is poised to be his greatest
entrepreneurial accomplishment yet. In 2001, he began to focus on energy
storage technology for the transportation industry as a means of reducing
greenhouse gas emissions. He was determined to make a dent in global warm-
ing. The absence of a formal background in material science did not slow
down this self-starter, who has been described as an “unstoppable rainmaker
with an unsurpassed Rolodex ﬁle.”
He quickly acquired extensive knowledge
in lithium-ion battery technology through self-study of the technical jour-
nals, attendance at energy conferences, and discussions with scientists and
personnel in the MIT Technology Licensing ofﬁce. His quest brought him
into contact with Yet-Ming Chiang, a brilliant MIT professor of material sci-
ence who specialized in the ﬁeld of lithium-based ceramics. Fulop and Prof.
Yet-Ming Chiang rapidly developed a strong rapport and agreed to launch
A123Systems, along with another co-founder, Bart Riley (CTO). That part-
nership was the launch pad for the company’s vertical ascent. Consider this
synopsis of the company’s astounding upward trajectory:
2001: A123Systems established R & D laboratories to optimize
battery manufacturability and performance (power, safety, and life)
for the hand tool and motor vehicle market.
2005: The company announced a new higher-power, faster recharg-
ing lithium-ion battery system based on technology licensed from
2006: A123Systems was awarded a $15 million development con-
tract by the United States Advanced Battery Consortium with a
focus on systems that are high-power, abuse-tolerant, long-lasting
and cost effective.
2007: Separately, General Motors and Daimler Orion an-
nounced plans to co-develop lithium-ion battery technology with
A123Systems for use in their future hybrid and electric vehicles.
2007: A123Systems received a $30 million investment to support
scale up and recent contract awards in the automotive and power
2007: President George W. Bush met with A123Systems’ CEO to
discuss advanced batteries for plug-in hybrids capable of over 150