Today, the Harvard Innovation Labs announced that the university innovation center awarded $300,000 in Spark Grants to 100 ventures during the 2020-2021 academic year.
“Spark Grants fill a critical funding need for early-stage student entrepreneurs, providing much-needed capital for building prototypes, testing products, and reaching customers,” said Matt Segneri, Bruce and Bridgitt Evans Executive Director of the Harvard Innovation Labs. “Over the last academic year, the 100 ventures who received Spark Grant funding built an extraordinary array of products and services, from made-to-measure apparel for women to a technological ecosystem for blind individuals. Our hope is that all of the Spark Grant recipients are able to use this funding in a way that has a meaningful impact on their ventures, and the people their ventures serve.”
For Harvard students with a demonstrated commitment and passion for a venture idea, Spark Grants enable them to reach the next stage of their development. These non-dilutive grants are distributed by the Harvard Innovation Labs in increments ranging from $500 to $5,000. Students use Spark Grants primarily for demand validation, through activities including low-fidelity prototyping, minimum viable product (MVP) testing, and customer discovery. Grant recipients work with the Harvard Innovation Labs advising staff and network of entrepreneurial experts to clarify key venture milestones, and develop a plan of action to achieve these milestones.
2020-2021 Spark Grant Recipients include:
Apparel, Art, and Design
Code Palette: An interactive online generative art gallery for selling individualized art prints.
Genso: Branding and selling Japanese traditional arts internationally through an online platform, localizing the way of marketing.
IXORA Apparel: Providing trend-driven made-to-measure apparel for women.
Northern Paiute Cultural Recognition and Research Initiative: Recognizing the Native American cultural heritage and history of central Oregon through community-sponsored public art and educational programming.
PlayHouse: A mobile show companion that makes the virtual live performance experience more interactive and immersive.
Spencer Jane: A young women’s professional pantsuit company.
Career Services and Development
Bossgirl: Empowering companies’ female workforce by providing talented, external cohorts of mentors.
Fork Careers: Advancing individuals to higher-wage and more fulfilling careers.
FUTURELY: A digital career coaching program for high school students in Italy.
HowWeLead: An online platform that equips and empower women to lead education at all levels.
illume: A virtual mentorship platform connecting design students and industry professionals for career discovery.
Innovate for Africa: Training African graduates to be innovators and then placing them at a start-up to support and create the next generation of African entrepreneurs.
KadaKareer: A one-stop-platform for low-income Filipino students on all things related to career exploration, navigation, and preparation.
Pathlight: Matching jobseekers to the most fulfilling tech career path, then connecting them with the resources and community to help them get there.
Private Social Media dots: A private family website/app, which works on every platform available to connect every generation from anywhere.
Purpose Pipeline: A career exposure platform that will inspire students of color to pursue careers in the technology and innovation economy.
Relevo: Helping teenagers from a low-income rural area in Caracas pursue professional careers.
RESET Third Space: A platform for finding, testing, and utilizing the full range of self-care resources on the market.
UpGrowth: Human analytics platform applying hard science to soft skills.
Consumer Products, Services, and Apps
Aspen Apothecary: Creating moments of calm in a chaotic world through fragrance.
Breeze: A dating app by college students, for college students.
Centiments: Making it easy to support the online content you love, with just a few clicks.
Chord: A tool for building communities online.
Cshflow: Using blockchain to provide financial services to the unbanked.
Garage: Offering reliable and low-cost auto maintenance for sub-Saharan Africa.
Hibiscus Monkey: Pioneering “soil-to-skin” mass beauty, creating superior products that shatter stereotypes around beauty, personal care, and menstrual needs in India.
Milestones: An online storybook that brings families together by letting them share the stories lives are made of.
MinE: A platform where advertisers and internet users find each other willingly by blocking ads and giving part of the monetization to the users.
NameHunt: Finding good names with AI.
Oak Systems: Delivering black people the best black-owned products for their specific hair.
tys: A beauty services booking and reservation platform.
Amazing School of Life: Helping connect retired individuals and teenagers of 13-19 by providing an online learning website and app platform.
Aul.Inspired: An online education toolkit using peer-learning technologies to teach computational literacy, and social-emotional skills to children in rural Kazakhstan.
Books for Him & Her: Providing a physical safe space for adolescents 10-19 to access sexual and reproductive health resources.
ChalkEd: Making online class more engaging by providing data insights and recommendations to educators.
CycleAwareXR: Leveraging XR technologies to reimagine bike safety training in immersive learning experiences for children.
Edukita: An online, live classes platform for K-12 students in Indonesia.
Erevna: Providing students with online intercollegiate initiatives to conduct research, connect with experts, and create change in public policy.
Gedit: Providing insights for teachers based on student self-reported responses and offering recommendations on the best SEL and pedagogical practices.
GlobalEd Envoys: Creating an urban teacher cohort network in Title I districts to imbed global competency in their existing curricula through training.
Mathcasters: Creating multiplayer learning games that build core mathematical fluencies, combat math anxiety, and foster collaborative problem solving.
Milan Global: Equipping underserved Indian youth with 21st century career skills by teaching them social movement building skills with entrepreneurs.
NeuroDev: For high schools that need to improve students’ life-preparedness, NeuroDev provides science-driven programs that make teaching personal development simple.
Nile Prep: Helping high school students reach their potential through skills that aren’t taught, such as self-advocacy, network-building, and time management.
Prioritas: Aiding students in managing federal aid and scholarship funds/grants responsibly through fintech.
ProEdit: An online platform providing English editing services to Chinese students and small business owners, by connecting Canadian professional editors.
The Research Science Network: A platform that provides summarized video content in a rapid and concise manner for scientists that struggle in keeping up with current literature.
Tierra de Luz: Showing Colombian children the richness of Colombia through children’s books and other didactic content.
Try AI: Making AI research more inclusive by inviting students to try it early in their careers and inspiring them to continue.
twofiftyseven: A B2C platform where women can attend workshops with a gender lens on topics such as influence, negotiation, and power and seek advice.
Wave Learning Festival: Combatting long-standing educational inequity by providing free, live educational resources and a global community of mentorship and opportunity.
Enterprise Products, Services, and Apps
BiomassTrust: Breakthrough IP able to validate the largest potential of eucalyptus biomass in the world, allowing it to comply with wood pellets fuel.
Candelytics: Building the digital tools to make 3D data accessible, intelligent, and impactful.
Clarity: Consolidating fragmented sources of information—calendar, email, chats—into a uniform and highly secured flow for professionals.
Collect.io: Helping businesses collect their account receivables.
Conduct Science: A marketplace for revenue-based tech transfer of academic inventions.
First90: A platform to build training “bootcamps” for new employees, using team-based simulations to help employees practice and receive feedback.
Flash: Providing drone delivery solutions, including food, healthcare, and pharmaceuticals, to both large and small enterprises on the market.
LISUS: Exploring for Lithium rich environments using remote sensing and artificial intelligence, and facilitating its extraction using our technology.
Mineral Forecast: Supporting mining exploration teams that are struggling between their data to decide where to put their next drillhole and discover what is underneath.
Soft Builder: Providing a no code platform that builds tailored business management applications.
Stochastic: Democratizing AI acceleration, to make the best machine learning accessible to all companies.
Food and Beverage
Chaku Foods: Making better food for better outcomes.
Conig Technology Private Limited: A consulting service focused on enabling access to sustainably farmed, nutritious, zero-waste food.
Future Farm, Inc.: Advancing farm cooperatives by marrying tradition to technology for better access to resources and markets.
Healthy Tea: Creating a premium chain of retail tea lounges for millennial and Gen-Z customers.
Health and Fitness
Anise Health: Creating a culturally-competent, digital mental health platform with a full spectrum of services to enable easy access to treatment and long-term wellbeing.
dData: Using Big Data to track COVID-19’s impact on economic activity globally, without having to wait for official statistics to be released.
EverActive: Developing wearables to track and assess performance during strength training sessions, and provide customized training programs.
FIND Surgical Sciences: Integrating neuroimaging and electrophysiological datasets for better surgical training, planning, and execution.
Hibiscus Motherhood Center: A community-based postpartum care provider for helping new mothers recover from childbirth and successfully transition back to work.
Hive Health: B2B2C health insurer providing affordable, quality healthcare to Filipino employees through a data science-powered digital platform.
Kinnos: Developing an additive that turns disinfectants blue so healthcare workers can better see when cleaning and protect themselves and their patients.
Last Mile Vision (LMV): We develop low-cost, mobile platforms for rapid, point-of-care screening of corneal diseases.
Mobile Memory: Harnessing the power of AI/ML to detect vocal biomarkers of Alzheimer’s disease.
Nearsighted Globe: Using the NG Refractive Kit, Nearsighted Globe provides myopia diagnosis to hard-to-reach rural communities in low- and middle-income countries.
spark by gabby: Where fitness meets impact.
Stria Labs: Creating a technological ecosystem for blind individuals.
The Only CONVOY: Personalizing happiness by leveraging AI to learn your motivators, aggregate resources, and curate a personalized plan that puts your joy first.
Tongatong: An online bamboo music therapy program and tools for an environmentally mindful life.
Real Estate and Construction
acelab: Finding building products, simplified.
HiHome: Developing a homebuying management—the first instant home matching tool that delivers a faster and more personalized home search.
Hilbert: Making fractional ownership of a residence feasible for people who cannot afford a house on their own.
Mudango: An on-demand moving solution for people in Latin America.
Pineway: An online marketplace for the lumber and building materials industry facilitating lumber procurement across the supply chain.
RESE: Letting people invest in real estate just like in stocks.
Chayo Agriculture: Revolutionizing the industrial management of weeds through deep learning and robotic technology.
Morphology: Designing and fabricating material technologies for smart homes and buildings, focusing on smart lighting and robotic furniture.
Second Sight: Creating devices that aid the visually impaired and blind by letting them hear what they cannot see.
Social and Environmental Impact
Almond Finance: Providing people around the world with the tools they need to escape poverty and achieve economic growth through mobile financial inclusion.
Altru Technologies, Inc.: A platform that curates a custom portfolio of nonprofits for your donation based on the causes and issues you care about in a local context.
ArchEPI: Turning small scale design decisions into large scale change on climate and chronic disease.
Campfire: Illuminating hidden similarities to tackle complex problems.
Good Green: Giving cash back on every plant-based purchase, with the option to keep that cash or pay it forward to grow rewards for others.
Sacred Innocence International, Inc.: Helping adult victims of sexual abuse heal through our 14-session curriculum accessed through online live support groups and an interactive website.
Sahayak: Connecting local industry, skilling agencies, and unskilled labor in rural regions through data collection and analytics to tackle issues of mass migration.
Students vs Pandemics: An interdisciplinary group of graduate and undergraduate students committed to promoting education, advocacy, and service.
Voyaj: Connecting people from around the globe for one-on-one meaningful exchanges to foster global understanding and peace.
Wellfree: A social network that specializing in building quality relationships, promoting kindness and supporting the local community.
Well-Made World: A marketplace designed to help people discover, and support sustainable products and initiatives, leading the journey to a Well-Made World.