15 Mar 2024

Harvard Business School Rock Center for Entrepreneurship Hosts First Annual Demo Day

Select group of ventures emerging from HBS pitch early-stage investors

BOSTON—The Harvard Business School (HBS) Rock Center for Entrepreneurship recently hosted its first schoolwide Demo Day, a showcase event for early-stage investors. Highlighting a wide variety of student ventures emerging from the School, the inaugural event was led by Faculty Chair Julia Austin and faculty advisors Lindsay Hyde, Allison Mnookin, and Christina Wallace.

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Video courtesy Ann Hermes.

Select student teams delivered five-minute pitches, others presented posters, and a carefully curated group of early-stage institutional and angel investors networked with students throughout the day.

“This event gives both students and investors the opportunity to get to know each other in a more intimate way and create connections,” said Austin. “While all teams were not actively seeking fundraising, it was an amazing sneak-peek opportunity for the investor community to meet up-and-coming HBS ventures, while also providing the students with valuable exposure and real-world experience.”

“I found the whole experience incredibly fruitful, both as a forcing function to get my pitch together ahead of investor conversations this spring and as an opportunity to meet interested investors,” added Katherine Manweiler (MBA 2024).

Alumni founders Yinka Ogunbiyi (MS/MBA 2023) from Halo Braid, Wombi Rose (MBA 2015) from Lovepop, and Anthony Tayoun (MBA 2019) from Dexai Robotics introduced the student teams.

“Demo Day was awesome, as the caliber of startups was incredible,” said Ogunbiyi. “I was really impressed by how far the startups had come in terms of revenue and product fidelity. The Rock Center was a phenomenal help to Halo Braid during (and after) our time at HBS and I’m excited to see entrepreneurship continue to thrive there.”

“HBS, specifically the iLab and Rock Center, incubated my robotics startup, introduced me to my co-founder, and helped me secure our first paying customer and seed investors,” Tayoun remarked. “It was great to be back for Demo Day and watch entrepreneurs take the first steps on their journeys to change the world. I loved their energy and I'm excited to follow their progress.”

Ventures had to be at post-ideation phase and have, at minimum, a proof of concept or prototype in progress. Each venture submitted an application with short student bios, reasons for applying, a draft of a seven-slide (minimum) pitch deck, and a short three-minute intro video. Invited applicants continued to develop their presentation materials with help and coaching from faculty, staff, and advisors.

The student ventures have been supported by HBS entrepreneurship programs such as Startup Operations, Startup Bootcamp, Rock Accelerator, Rock Summer Fellows, Social Enterprise Accelerator, New Venture Competition, and the Entrepreneurship Club among others.

This is the first of what will now be an annual series of Demo Days. Ventures at this year’s event and their student founders included:

ARAME Luxury Oral Care
Brittany Arnett (MBA 2024)
A luxury oral care brand that offers high-quality, clinically effective products.

Reese Donohue (MBA 2024)
A B2B SaaS solution that transforms retail spaces into data-driven immersive experiences.

Giovanni Estrella (MBA 2024)
A loose-leaf tea infused with functional mushrooms.

Brian Elliott (MBA 2024)
An end-to-end software development platform to let anyone build software.

Jinal Shah (MBA 2024)
An AI-driven E2E benefits navigation tool serving as the one-stop-shop for health equity, eradicating the complexity around social and health benefits.

CGM Sports
Sean Woods (MBA 2024)
A mentorship platform for youth athletes and their parents.

Cobalt ID
Priya Murali (MBA 2024) and Rohan Dasika (MBA 2024)
A business identity verification platform to tackle fraud.

Crop Diagnostix
Brandon Chi (MBA 2024)
Technology which analyzes gene expression in plants to help farmers optimize their inputs and maximize yield.

Risha Rathore (MBA 2024)
A dating app that fosters in-person connections through a three-step process.

Data Dots
Harschal Patel (MBA 2024)
A software platform that will identify anomalies within existing physical supply chains.

Skyler Lewis (MBA 2024)
Helping organizers find, book, and coordinate their events in a more transparent and efficient way.

Paul Omoregie Okundaye (MBA 2024)
An African neobank for remote workers and creators.

Clint McCoy (MBA 2024)
A rent-to-own housing platform that lets renters move into their dream home today.

Grain Hair
Chelsea Grain (MBA 2024) and Hilary Evans-Krstajic (MBA 2024)
A high-performance, clean haircare brand for the tight-curl-haired consumer.

Sandra Yamada (MBA 2024)
The next generation of protein to help you stay in the groove and keep living life with power.

Cherie Chung (MBA/MPP 2024) and Brendan Hellweg (MBA/MPP 2024)
Facilitating effective and accessible city service delivery and resident outreach.

Sarah-Scott Lewis (MBA 2024)
An employee health benefit enabling working family caregivers to deliver the best care possible, as efficiently as possible.

Mariam Baqai (MBA 2024)
Fostering peer support for medical professionals.

CC Salzman (MBA 2024)
Clean and healthy electrolyte products that are lifestyle forward.

Infinity World
Oscar Gonzalez (MBA 2024)
A future-forward production house that brings diverse collaborators on and off screen for global audiences and developing film-tech innovations.

Steve Goulas (MBA 2024)
A rental marketplace that leverages shared communities.

Marcus Stromeyer (MBA 2024)
A farm management solution for farms across Latin America.

Modulate Bio
Andrew Thomson (MBA 2024)
Next generation 'fine-tuned' therapies to treat central nervous system disorders, starting with essential tremor.

Katherine Manweiler (MBA 2024)
A brand discovery platform.

Lindsey Chrismon (MBA 2025)
A personalized bundled subscription home maintenance package with one location to pay, schedule, and communicate with vendors.

Prateek Rastogi (MBA 2024)
Making networking targeted, personalized, and friendly for students or young professionals.

PALM Care Technology
Sally Su (MBA 2024) and Jamie Gong(MBA 2024)
A mobile platform to empower families caring for their elderly relatives, especially those with dementia.

Michael Schulte (FIELD X)
An AI driven tool that enables people who are not tech-savvy, or have a disability, to use their computers effortlessly.

Narek Dshkhunyan (MBA 2024)
Enabling drug manufacturers to produce life-saving biologics more efficiently.

Katharina Kelm (MBA 2024)
Ex-urban storage spaces leased to urban customers.

Harold Zhu (MBA 2024) and Alice Zhai (MBA 2024)
An AI agent for management consultants.

Rea Savla (MBA 2024)
An on-demand solar irrigation service to Indian farmers.

Starkenn Technologies
Sumedh Badve (MBA 2024)
An advanced driver assistance system (ADAS) for vehicles to make roads safer in developing countries.

Katie Waugh (MBA 2024)
A supply management platform that accelerates adoption for sustainable materials at scale.

Michael Bervell (MBA 2024)
An automated web content accessibility guidelines (WCAG) compliance platform.

Ayushi Sinha (MBA 2024)
Empowers providers to connect diverse patients with clinical trials.

Taieb Bennani (FIELD X)
An AI-powered platform that provides scientifically validated health information and personalized recommendations.


Mark Cautela

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.