22 Oct 2013

Harvard Business School‘s Startup Funding Program Announces First–Round Winners


BOSTON—Harvard Business School’s (HBS) Arthur Rock Center for Entrepreneurship has announced nine winners in the first round of the annual Rock Accelerator Award Program, 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, advanced and popularized by Eric Ries (formerly an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at HBS), focuses on rapid prototyping, a process that brings products to market as quickly as possible.

The Rock Center offers two rounds of Accelerator Awards during the academic year. Forty-eight teams submitted entries for the first round, which was open to second-year MBA students only (at least one member of each team must be a Harvard MBA student). The winners are 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.

"Interest in entrepreneurship at Harvard Business School is at an all-time high,” said Meredith McPherron (MBA 1993), Director of the Rock Center. "The Rock Accelerator program is one of the many resources and opportunities available to student entrepreneurs at HBS.”

The nine first-round winning entries (with their founders) are:

  • 23 Percent (Christina Pawlikowski, MBA 2014, and Josh Hawn) helps small businesses find and pursue federal contracts more effectively.
  • Bachelorettey (Romy Drucker, Claire Friedman, Meera Shah, all MBA 2014) is a premier online destination for planning bachelorette parties.
  • Chefstro (Rohan Pradhan and Dipish Rai, both MBA 2014) brings professional chefs from top restaurants to craft a fine dining experience in your home for a price that is cheaper than dinner at a restaurant.
  • Cobalt (Diane Chang, MBA 2014) offers easier access to customized women’s flats using specific measurements, high-quality materials, and thoughtful design.
  • Easily (Heidi Kim and Kelly Schaefer, both MBA 2014) partners with companies to offer employees fresh and healthy meal kits for easy home cooking.
  • Healo (Nathan Ie, MBA 2014 and Gino Inverso and Peter Jackson, both students at the Harvard School of Dental Medicine) enables a mobile solution for doctors to remotely monitor and manage chronic wound care.
  • openmind (Andrew Dubowec, MBA 2014) is an online network for mental health, allowing physicians, case managers, and counselors to coordinate patient care.
  • StudyHippo (Alexander Harding and Rena Xu, both MBA 2014) matches people to research studies that fit their needs and make it easier for researchers to recruit study participants.
  • Trendly (Charles-Albert Gorra, MBA 2014) is an online and mobile retailer of women’s pre-owned quality clothes in the United Kingdom.

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.


Cullen Schmitt

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.