Rock Accelerator Award Program
Congratulations to the 2012-2013 Rock Accelerator Award winners (round 2):
Booya Fitness, Inc. (Prita Kumar, MBA '14, Savannah Sachs, MBA '14)
CareSolver (Shana Hoffman, MBA '14, Arick Morton, MBA '14)
EdFolio (Eve Lebwohl, MBA '13, Graham North, Sam Jacoby
EngagedHealth (Andrew Kaplan, MBA '13, Daniel Stein, MBA, '13, Justin Oppenheimer, MBA '13)
Hypeli (Shereen Khanuja, MBA '13, Stephanie Frias, MBA '13)
Lingua (Michael Monagle, MBA '14, Anna Ying, MBA '14)
myProxy (Azalea Kim, MBA '13, Amy Flaster, MBA '13, Margaret Terry, MBA '13)
Quickstor (Todd Rudnianyn, MBA '13, Rebecca Greene, MBA '13)
SURROUND (Momchil Filev, MBA '14)
TrackMaze (Andrei Brasoveanu, MBA '14, Teddie Wardi, MBA '14)
Read more about the teams in the HBS News Release, BostInno, and Boston Business Journal.
Launched in 2010, the Rock Accelerator (previously known as the MVP Award) is designed to help students who are using the lean startup methodology and developing a minimum viable product. To learn more about this set of ideas, visit Eric Ries' blog, Lessons Learned, Eric Ries' response to an Inc Magazine article on Minimum Viable Product and the article, The Minimum Viable Product Dissected.
In addition, you may be interested in The Entrepreneur's Guide to Customer Development by Cooper & Vlaskovits. Available for the Kindle for $24. Or as a PDF download for $25.
There will be two rounds of Rock Accelerator Awards in the 2012-2013 academic year. Details for round 2 are below; please note that the deadline for submissions will be just before the start of classes, on Friday, January 25, 2013 at 12:00 noon.
Round 2 is open to both RCs and ECs.
For Round 2, awards of approximately $50,000 will be made to student teams with a target of ten $5,000 awards. The deadline for round 2 applications will be Friday, January 25, 2013 at 12:00 noon. Both the poll and softcopy application materials must be submitted by this date. NOTE: the electronic version should be a SINGLE PDF with the title being the last name of the team leader and must be received by Alice Moses (amoses+hbs.edu) the January 25 12:00 noon deadline. Late applications will not be accepted.
We also expect that we will have more applications than we can fund and therefore that the process will be competitive. Awards will be determined by a joint faculty and student committee. The exact process will sift the paper applications down to a set of finalists, and then those finalists will make live presentations to the committee and a final selection made.
Contact Alice Moses (amoses+hbs.edu) with any questions.
Requirements & Application information
- Round 1 (fall term) is open to ECs only. Round 2 (winter term) is open to RCs and ECs. All teams must include at least 1 current HBS MBA student.
- Students may participate on only one (1) team/project and teams may submit one (1) proposal/application per round.
- RCs: note that you may not work on the same business idea/start-up for both the Rock Accelerator and your FIELD III course. Winning a Rock Accelerator award precludes you from working on this same venture for FIELD III.
- All teams must submit this application poll (one poll response per team).
- No team may have raised/spent more than $10,000 in capital to advance the business to its current state.
- The Rock Accelerator program has a number of top-tier VC firms as sponsors and mentors. Senior VCs will be available for feedback, input and mentoring. Winners must be willing to participate in this program.
- A written proposal is due by email by these deadlines: Monday, October 1 at noon (round 1, ECs only) or by Friday, January 25 at noon. NOTE: the softcopy should be a SINGLE PDF with the title being the last name of the team leader. Email the softcopy to Alice Moses (amoses+hbs.edu).
The proposal should, at minimum, consist of:
- a description of the business idea and why you believe it represents an attractive opportunity, as well as a detailed sense of any progress you have made pursuing the venture to date (partners, customers, team, etc.);
- a description of any capital invested/raised/spent to date;
- the members of the team and resumes/bios/roles;
- a description of the minimum viable product you intend to build, and a detailed accounting of the specific resources you will need to accomplish this, the identified sources of those resources (e.g., web developers, prototypes, etc.) and the cost of those resources, which should add up to your budget and requested award. Also indicate what resources you may already have raised or invested in the venture.
- the specific hypotheses about customer needs/demand that are embedded in this view of the MVP, why you hold those hypotheses, what data will constitute a confirmation or disconfirmation of those hypotheses, and how you will collect and analyze that data; and,
- what specific results the MVP is designed to provide and how the results will help the team progress with business idea.
- Finalists will be asked to present to the Rock Accelerator selection committee in person a few days after the application deadline. This committee will consist of HBS faculty, current students and possibly alumni.
- All funded teams must agree to:
- check-in at least monthly with a mentor from the Rock Accelerator program;
- attend a monthly gathering of Rock Accelerator teams;
- present lessons learned from the Rock Accelerator program and process at some point at the end of the semester; and,
- participate in a "poster board" session (that is open to the community) at some point.