15 Feb 2012

Harvard Business School Announces Second-Round Winners for Minimum Viable Product Award

Twelve student teams receive financial assistance from student start-up competition

BOSTON—Harvard Business School's (HBS) Arthur Rock Center for Entrepreneurship has announced twelve winners of the second round of the Minimum Viable Product (MVP) Award for the 2011-2012 academic year, awarding $5,000 to each team of student entrepreneurs.

The MVP Fund was started last year by MBA students Dan Rumennik, Jess Bloomgarden, and Andrew Rosenthal (all members of the Class of 2012), and funded by the Rock Center. It is based on the premise of the Lean Startup methodology, which focuses on rapid prototyping, a process that brings products to market as quickly as possible. This methodology 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.

This academic year, the Rock Center offered two rounds of MVP Fund awards. The first round was open to second-year MBA students and recognized seven winning teams last fall. Sixty-five teams submitted entries for the second round, which was open to both first-year and second-year MBA students.

Funded teams are required to meet with a mentor on a monthly basis, attend a monthly gathering of other MVP teams, and present lessons learned from the MVP program at the end of the semester.

"Now in our third round of this funding competition, we have seen hundreds of student teams participate and continue to be amazed by the initiative and creativity they have shown," said Tom Eisenmann, the Howard H. Stevenson Professor of Business Administration in the HBS Entrepreneurial Management Unit. "We are delighted to see the high level of interest in entrepreneurship among our students and the high quality of their ideas and projects. The MVP Award is just one way we can support them."

The twelve winning entries (with their founders) are:

  • allyDVM, Inc. (Jonathan Mangum and Brady Broadbent, both HBS 2012, and Jason Wernli): allyDVM is a resource for veterinarians, providing hospitals significant discounts on supplies and lab work and enhancing profits for vets through practice management and client relationship management software.
  • brandNEW (Dana Hork, HBS 2012, and Danielle Orden): brandNEW is a women's apparel brand and e-commerce retailer, creating essential pieces that women want to wear.
  • CrowdCam (Adam Pines, HBS 2012, and Rene Reinsberg): CrowdCam is an auction platform for live mobile video streams from smartphones, focusing on global breaking news events.
  • How Jack Met Jill (Jennifer Gee, HBS 2013): How Jack Met Jill is an exclusive and casual dating experience that drives engagement through game-like elements.
  • PayPlug (Camille Tyan, HBS 2012): PayPlug is a mobile service that enables European merchants to use their smartphone to process credit card payments.
  • Peoplematics (Alex Pak and Levi Belnap, both HBS 2013): Peoplematics categorizes, contextualizes, and visualizes relevant information from emails to help businesses minimize knowledge loss when training new employees.
  • PhysaLife (Melvin Makhni, HBS 2012, and Nick Doering-Dorival, Carmine Petrone, Eric Makhni, and Sam Powel): PhysaLife empowers patients to achieve their at-home physical therapy goals through a personalized, dynamic, web-based platform.
  • Portable Realm (Brad Sewell, Nicholas Freund, and Mike Rothenberg, all HBS 2013, and Greg Smith): Portable Realm develops high-quality, easy-to-assemble furniture that will be sold online.
  • pymetrics (Frida Polli, HBS 2012, and Julie Yoo): pymetrics has developed software technology to assess individuals' cognitive and socio-emotional abilities with the goal of enhancing employee fit, performance, and engagement.
  • ReCharge Health (Royce Cheng and Albert Chiou, both HBS 2013, and Jeffrey Ishizuka): Through mobile applications that combine medical expertise with emotionally engaging tools, ReCharge Health removes barriers to effective care of serious chronic illnesses.
  • Tailour (Chrissie Gorman, HBS 2012, and Jennifer Raines, HBS 2013): Tailour offers young professional women stylish dress pants that are high-quality, affordable, and can easily be transitioned from the office to after-work events. The line will be sold through an e-commerce platform with improved sizing and fit.
  • Wonderhop.com (Mark Lurie, HBS 2012, and Michael Segal): Wonderhop is a flash sale e-commerce experience designed to deliver daily product information to creative homemakers.

Among the many HBS graduates who have founded successful business ventures are Marla Malcolm Beck (MBA 1998), founder of bluemercury; Michael Bloomberg (MBA 1963), founder of Bloomberg L.P.; Marc C. Cenedella (MBA 1998), founder, president, and CEO of TheLadders.com; Scott Cook (MBA 1976), chairman and cofounder of Intuit; Jennifer Hyman and Jenny Fleiss (both MBA 2009), cofounders of Rent the Runway; Rajil Kapoor (MBA 1996), cofounder and former chairman and CEO of Snapfish; Alexis Maybank and Alexandra Wilson (both MBA 2004), cofounders of Gilt Groupe; Christopher Michel (MBA 1998), founder of Military.com; Tom Stemberg (MBA 1973), founder of Staples; and Jeremy Stoppelman (MBA 2005), CEO and cofounder of Yelp.

About The Arthur Rock Center:
The Arthur Rock Center for Entrepreneurship was created through the generosity of prominent venture capitalist Arthur Rock (MBA '51), 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.

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.