21 Feb 2013

Revamped Harvard Business School Startup Funding Program Announces Second–Round Winners


BOSTON—Harvard Business School’s (HBS) Arthur Rock Center for Entrepreneurship has announced ten winners in the second round of the annual Rock Accelerator Award Program, previously known as the Minimum Viable Product (MVP) Award, giving $5,000 to each team of student entrepreneurs.

Launched in 2010, the Rock Accelerator Award is designed to help students who are using the lean startup methodology to develop a minimum viable product. This methodology focuses on rapid prototyping, a process that brings products to market as quickly as possible. The lean startup approach has been advanced and popularized by Eric Ries (currently an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at HBS), who advises students and collaborates with faculty members on research and course development.

The Rock Center offers two rounds of Accelerator Awards during the academic year. The first round of eight winners--open to second-year MBA students and their teammates from HBS or other institutions--was announced in October 2012. Seventy-three teams submitted entries for the second round, which was open to first and second-year students and their business partners (with at least one member of each team from the Harvard MBA program). The winners were selected by a panel of three faculty members and three students.

The winning teams are required to meet with a mentor from the program on a monthly basis, attend a monthly gathering of all Rock Accelerator teams, and present lessons learned from the Rock Accelerator program.

"There is a great opportunity in the market today for entrepreneurs who have the courage and capability to articulate a compelling vision and work to experiment and validate their hypotheses," said Meredith McPherron (MBA 1993), Director of the Rock Center for Entrepreneurship. "This is a very exciting time for entrepreneurship and innovation at HBS. The Rock Accelerator, which will be followed this spring by the New Venture Competition, is just the beginning of the entrepreneurial journey we encourage our students to undertake."

The ten winning entries (with their founders) are:

  • Booya Fitness (Prita Kumar and Savannah Sachs, both HBS ’14) is an online platform for on-demand fitness videos created by high-end gyms and instructors.
  • EdFolio (Eve Lebwohl, HBS '13, Graham North, and Sam Jacoby) is an online platform that allows students to discover online courses, consolidate academic achievements, and convey those achievements to schools, employers, and recruiters.
  • EngagedHealth (Andrew Kaplan, Justin Oppenheimer, Daniel Stein, MD, all HBS ’13) is a unique post-hospitalization service that addresses psychosocial issues in underserved patient populations to improve patient outcomes, reduce hospital readmissions, and reduce system costs.
  • CareSolver (Shana Hoffman and Arick Morton, both HBS ’14, and Grant Hamm) is a healthcare technology startup helping family/informal caregivers provide better, more coordinated care to aging relatives and loved ones living at home.
  • Hypeli (Stephanie Frias and Shereen Khanuja, both HBS ’13) is an online marketplace that uses video to showcase emerging performance talent to increase their exposure to potential employers.
  • Lingua (Michael Monagle and Anna Ying, both HBS ’14) is a language education solution that reinvigorates language learning by providing students with immersion-based experiences that enable them to build practical and effective conversation skills.
  • myProxy (Amy Flaster, Azalea Kim, and Margaret Terry, all HBS ’13) is a web-based platform that provides a simple and streamlined way for patients to legally and securely designate a health care proxy and document preferences for end-of-life care.
  • Quickstor (Rebecca Greene and Todd Rudnianyn, both HBS ’13) is a mobile platform for self-storage rental intended to make it easier for customers to obtain storage units by providing a self-service solution.
  • SURROUND (Momchil Filev, HBS ’14) is an application technology that allows users to sync multiple Android and iPhone devices to play music together, creating a spontaneous surround-sound experience.
  • TrackMaze (Andrei Brasoveanu and Teddie Wardi, HBS ’14) is a sensor-based technology solution designed to track customer shopping habits as they move around a store and feed real-time information back to shop owners.

About The Arthur Rock Center:
The Arthur Rock Center for Entrepreneurship was created through the generosity of prominent venture capitalist Arthur Rock (MBA 1951), who donated $25 million to Harvard Business School to support the entrepreneurship faculty and their research, fellowships for MBA and doctoral students, symposia and conferences, and outreach efforts to extend the impact of the School's extensive work in this field. HBS offered the country's first business school course in entrepreneurship in 1947 and, today, entrepreneurship is one of the largest faculty units at the School, with over 30 faculty members conducting entrepreneurship research and teaching. The Rock Center works closely with the HBS California Research Center in Silicon Valley on entrepreneurship-related research and course development efforts.


Kristen Raymaakers

About Harvard Business School

Founded in 1908 as part of Harvard University, Harvard Business School is located on a 40-acre campus in Boston. Its faculty of more than 250 offers full-time programs leading to the MBA and PhD degrees, as well as more than 175 Executive Education programs, and Harvard Business School Online, the School’s digital learning platform. For more than a century, faculty have drawn on their research, their experience in working with organizations worldwide, and their passion for teaching, to educate leaders who make a difference in the world. The School and its curriculum attract the boldest thinkers and the most collaborative learners who will go on to shape the practice of business and entrepreneurship around the globe.