05 Mar 2014

Harvard Business School’s Start-up Funding Program Announces Winter Term Winners


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

Launched in 2010, the Rock Accelerator is designed to support students who are using the lean start-up methodology to develop a minimum viable product and test important assumptions about their value proposition or business model. This methodology focuses on rapid prototyping, a process that brings products to market as quickly as possible.

The Rock Accelerator is run over two ten-week terms during the academic year. Ninety-six teams submitted entries this term, which was open to first and second-year Harvard MBA students and their respective teams (at least one member of each team must be a Harvard MBA student). The winners were selected by a panel of ten judges and overseen by Rock Center faculty and staff.

The winning teams are matched with both professional and student mentors with whom they connect on a bimonthly basis. In addition, they attend four peer exchange workshops and a final wrap-up session, where they share what they’ve learned and what they hope to accomplish in the future.

“The Rock Accelerator is one of our most high-touch programs supporting early-stage entrepreneurs,” said Meredith McPherron (MBA 1993), Director of the Rock Center. “Students are given the seed capital to run important experiments, close mentorship to advise them on tough questions, and facilitated access to each other for feedback, idea exchange, and community support. We are delighted to support their bold vision of the future for both business and society.”

The eleven winter term winning entries (with their founders) are:

  • Alfred Club (Jessica Beck, Marcela Sapone, and Emma Toshack, all MBA 2014) is a concierge service individuals can use for their daily and weekly tasks, including dry cleaning, house cleaning, groceries, laundry, and more.
  • Be Mixed (Jennifer Ross, MBA 2014, and Cristina Ros Blankfein, MBA 2015) is a line of natural zero-calorie cocktail mixers in fresh flavors.
  • Carewrite (Eva Luo, MD/MBA 2015, David Mou, MD/MBA 2014, Linda Wang, MD/MBA 2014, Luke Marker, MBA 2014) is a mobile application that empowers caregivers to better coordinate and manage the care of their loved ones.
  • edpreuss.com (Nick Alexander, MBA 2015) is a mobile application that coordinates fast, trust-worthy deliveries of goods from local stores and restaurants between friends and neighbors.
  • LifeGuides (Mohit Rajani, Nicholas Christman, and Phil Strazzulla, all MBA 2014) is a web site providing advice on life’s most challenging events from people who have gone through it themselves – from transitioning from military to civilian life to getting married to having your first child.
  • MBAs Across America (Michael Baker and Casey Gerald, both MBA 2014) is a movement of MBA students and entrepreneurs working together to reinvent business school and revitalize America.
  • rebloom (Jennifer Soffen, MBA 2014, and Ben Sack) is a marketplace for businesses and individuals to purchase flower arrangements used at an event to eliminate waste and return money to the hosts.
  • Right Side Health (Rick McMullen and Doug Raicek, both MBA 2014) is a mobile and web application that will allow health and wellness coaches to stay on top of their clients’ progress even when they are not with them. The first product, Steps, allows coaches to build health plans for clients and allows the clients to communicate their progress in just a few seconds per day.
  • The Last Rez (Ricky Pellegrini, MBA 2014, and Tyler Faux) is a new approach to restaurant reservations that maximizes efficiency for diners and profitability for restaurants.
  • Thrive Street (Tewfik Cassis and Dimitri Dadiomov, both MBA 2015) is an online peer-to-peer lending platform for small business loans.
  • TinyJaunt (Hannah Ma and Lindsay Ullman, both MBA 2015) helps travelers explore new cities like locals by providing beautiful, step-by-step itineraries built by local experts and tailored to specific interests and preferences. TinyJaunt also links travelers with in-country concierges that can offer unique recommendations, personal stories, and logistical assistance.


Jim Aisner

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.