HBS Announces 15 Teams for Rock Accelerator Program, Includes Indian Students

BOSTON—Harvard Business School’s (HBS) Arthur Rock Center for Entrepreneurship has announced fifteen teams that have been selected for the Rock Accelerator. Each team has been awarded $5,000 in the first round of funding from a pool of $150,000 for the 2017-18 school year. The winners include Indian students.

Launched in 2010, the HBS Arthur Rock Center Accelerator is a highly immersive program designed specifically for Harvard Business School student founders of early stage startups. The focus is on building and validating a “minimum viable product” that the teams can bring to market quickly, with a strong emphasis as well on developing plans for testing it. The chosen teams experience deep-dive coached sessions and check-ins, feedback on their product pitches, and opportunities to pitch for seed funding. The goal is for teams to emerge from the program with a strong foundation for building or expanding a market-ready product.

The Rock Accelerator is run over two terms during the academic year. Forty-four teams submitted entries this term for consideration. The competition was open to second-year Harvard MBA students and their teams. At least one member of each team must be a Harvard MBA candidate. The teams were selected by a panel of HBS students interested in venture capital who are part of the Rock Venture Partners program, where practicing venture capitalists provide in-person mentoring and advice to HBS student entrepreneurs. This program is led by Senior Lecturer Jeffrey Bussgang and Rock Center staff members.

Spring Campus Shoots

Past participants in the Rock Accelerator include greeting card maker LovePop (lovepopcards.com), personal helpers Hello Alfred (helloalfred.com), and Getaway (getaway.house), which provides escapes to custom tiny cabins in the woods.

“The Rock Accelerator helps HBS students focus on testing their value proposition and ensuring that their tests validate their assumptions,” said Jodi Gernon (MBA 1991), Director of the Rock Center. “It’s exciting to see these students apply the advice they receive, build their skills, network with investors, and gain confidence as they launch these new enterprises. Last year’s HBS New Venture Competition winner, Veho technologies, an innovative package-delivery service, was fostered in the Rock Accelerator.”

Since 1947, the study of entrepreneurship has been a vital part of the Harvard Business School MBA program, which includes a required course in the first-year curriculum, numerous electives in the second-year curriculum, and a thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem that includes the annual New Venture Competition, the Rock Accelerator Program, Rock Summer Fellows, Rock Loan Reduction, and the Rock 100.

The Rock Center for Entrepreneurship, which has earned accolades as the top program for entrepreneurial studies in the nation, supports faculty and their research in the field of entrepreneurial management as well as spurs the HBS community with the energy and spirit needed for new ideas and innovations to thrive and grow. Through a community that provides support, access to content, and a gateway to entrepreneurial ecosystems everywhere, the Rock Center helps students and alumni create ventures that revolutionize in both the for-profit and social enterprise sectors.

The fifteen teams in the 2017 Fall Rock Accelerator (with their founders) are:

Abridge News (Laura Carpenter, MBA 2018)
Abridge News helps readers develop a balanced perspective on trending news stories by showing the most compelling opinions on all sides of a debate.

Alpha Vantage (Olivier Porte and Steve Z., both MBA 2018)
Alpha Vantage provides a cloud-based platform democratizing access to financial market data for software developers and investors.

BundleUp (Aditi Kumar, MBA 2018)
BundleUp is an online platform that facilitates discussion between voters and political candidates, allowing voters to make more informed decisions at the polls.

Coverd (Christie Horvath, MBA 2018)
Coverd is changing what it means to be an insurance company by offering flexible and affordable coverage when you need it, cash back when you don’t.

Endorse (Brandon Freiberg, MBA 2018; Eugene Chung)
Endorse is an esports influencer marketing venture that connects brands to video game players for authentic product sponsorships.

Faktor (Doug Shultz, MBA 2018)
Faktor is democratizing hardware development by streamlining and simplifying the product engineering and manufacturing process.

FastFloss (Todd Joseph, MBA 2018)
FastFloss is the comfortable, easy, and quick new way to floss all your teeth at once.

Frank (Gorick Ng, MBA 2018)
Frank helps undergrads navigate more successfullly the internship/job search one step at a time.

FullFill (Vicente Fauro, MBA 2018; Lyrisse Van Der Mescht; Mario Dominguez)
FullFill is a logistics services marketplace matching merchandise owners and warehouses with empty space.

Lazy Bear Tea (Drew Fink and Erik Ornitz, both MBA 2018; Daniela Uribe)
Lazy Bear makes teas from cascara, the dried fruit of the coffee cherry, which is delicious, refreshing, and low in sugar.

Myos (Rich Horgan, MBA 2018; Angela Lek)
Myos is developing a new approach to cell therapy to treat muscular dystrophy by delivering and fusing healthy cells for muscle regeneration.

Nalagenetics (Levana Sani, MBA 2018; Astrid Irwanto)
Providing a personalized prescription for better outcomes, Nalagenetics offers genetic testing, clinical decision support, and patient engagement tools, targeting drugs with long-term use. The company’s first module will be for a breast cancer adjuvant therapy.

trey (Rebecca Feickert, Regan Rau, and Timothy Erps, all MBA 2018; Ivana Roulhac; Brian Reynolds)
trey helps athletes use college sports as a springboard to lifetime success.

Waypoint (Varun Mani, MBA 2018; Sara Remsen; Umar Arshad)
Waypoint rapidly scales knowledge by using augmented reality to train frontline workers on complex processes using holographic workflows.

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