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Harvard Innovation Labs Announces Recipients of $900,000 in Capital from Allston Venture Fund and Social Impact Fellowship Fund

By Staff
7/30/2020

The Harvard Innovation Labs today announced that 25 ventures received $900,000 in capital from the Allston Venture Fund and Social Impact Fellowship Fund during the 2019-2020 academic year 

We’re constantly exploring ways to more effectively nurture innovators from across the Universityand one resource that students consistently need is capital to support ventures at their earliest stages,” said Matt Segneri, Bruce and Bridgitt Evans Executive Director of the Harvard Innovation Labs. Thanks to the generous support from the Allston Venture Fund and Social Impact Fellowship Fund, Harvard students from across the University now have access to early-stage capital that can help them move their ventures forward.”  

The Allston Venture Fund is an investment collaborative focused on providing both pre-seed funding and equity-free grants to ventures led by Harvard students. The Social Impact Fellowship Fund provides grants to impact-driven ventures. Launched in 2019, the Allston Venture Fund and Social Impact Fellowship Fund will distribute $7 million in investments and grants to ventures led by Harvard students through 2024. 

During the 2019-2020 academic year, the Allston Venture Fund and Social Impact Fellowship Fund awarded a total of $900,000 in investments and grants to Harvard teams. Funding recipients include: 

Allston Venture Fund 

Adventures Robotics | Maya Burhanpurkah, Harvard College 

Developing an autonomous power wheelchair for people with severe physical disabilities. 

Aikili Biosystems Jouha Min, Harvard Medical School; Laura Kelly, Harvard Business School and Blavatnik Fellow

Providing a low cost, automated, accurate diagnosis at the point-of-care for breast cancer patients who lack access to effective diagnosis.  

Breen Technologies | Mollie Breen, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences, Harvard Business School 

Targeting and mitigating device-specific vulnerabilities to maintain device functionality even after end of support and end of life. 

Concerto Biosciences | Adil Bahalim, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health; Cheri Ackerman, Broad Institute

Building custom microbial combinations to accomplish novel functions in agriculture and human health. 

Immigrants Like Us | Mary Gao, Harvard College 

A legal-tech nonprofit preparing immigration documents for free. 

Kinnos Kevin Tyan, Harvard Medical School  

Empowering people to disinfect surfaces with confidence and to provide society with peace of mind through disinfection you can see. 

Umbulizer | Shaheer Piracha | Harvard Medical School; Sanchay Gupta, Harvard Business School and Harvard Medical School

Building a reliable and low-cost device that can provide continuous ventilation to patients. 

Veri Nano | Guillermo Ruiz, Harvard Medical School 

Designing novel nanotechnologies that could be applied to multiple industries. 

Social Impact Fellowship Fund 

1Room | Jeremy Bhatia, Harvard Kennedy School 

Making education accessible to anyone, anywhere in the world. 

Coding it Forward | Chris Kuang, Harvard College; Ariana Soto, Harvard College  

Empowering the next generation of technology leaders to create social change. 

Debate Spaces Matt Summers, Harvard Law School 

Using debate to foster activism and connect middle school students from around the Greater Boston area. 

DreamworldVR Jean Jung, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health 

Combating loneliness and helping to develop emotional and social intelligence for isolated pediatric patients using immersive Virtual Reality (VR) technology. 

GOViral Jisaka van der Reest, Harvard Medical School 

Finding patients and connecting communities to care to help eradicate Hepatitis B in the Philippines. 

HumanID | Bastian Purrer, Harvard Business School 

A Single Sign-On solution enabling platforms to block bots and abusive users, and protecting users’ data from leaks and abuse. 

Loo Works  | Samlara Baah, Harvard Kennedy School 

Using recycled plastics and waste to create prefabricated toilet systems for the poor, saving lives. 

New Voters Jahnavi Rao, Harvard College 

100% voter registration and readiness in all U.S. high schools through a college mentorship program. 

Nutrifull Garyk Brixi, Harvard College 

Providing malnutrition treatment and prevention products to reach more children and support local development. 

ReadToMe | Drew Madson, Harvard Graduate School of Education; Steven Askar, Harvard Graduate School of Education 

Listening to students read books / articles aloud, coaching students, and providing data for teachers and parents. 

Shamiri Institute, Inc. | Katherine Venturo-Conerly, Harvard College; Tom Osborn, Harvard College  

Helping youth with depression and anxiety thrive, improving mental health, grades, and friendships. 

Shamsina | Sarah Mousa, Harvard Kennedy School 

Creating affordable solar technologies for all. 

Tang | Rebecca Kersch, Harvard Kennedy School 

A mobile app allowing Filipino overseas workers to send money home and the receiver to use the same app to e-pay. 

The Apprentice Project Monica Pesswani, Harvard Graduate School 

Building 21st century life skills and socio-emotional skills by using co-curricular activities as a medium. 

Trill Project | Georgie Messinger, Harvard College 

An anonymous social networking mobile application that is supportive. 

Village Nicole Ivey, Harvard Business School 

Catalyzing women’s advancement by building community spaces anchored in daycare that centralize family and childcare. 

Wala Digital Health | Dennis Addo, Harvard Kennedy School 

A digital blood service modernizing the process of going from volunteer donors to those needing transfusions. 

About the Harvard Innovation Labs 

The Harvard Innovation Labs is an ecosystem that engages Harvard students and select alumni from all 13 schools in their quest to explore innovation and entrepreneurship. The university innovation center unleashes the innovative power of individuals through a network of highly-curated advisors and mentors, peer collaboration and interaction, and comprehensive resource and programming support. The Harvard Innovation Labs ecosystem encompasses three distinct spaces and programs: the i-lab for current Harvard students interested in actively pursuing innovation and entrepreneurship; the Launch Lab X accelerator for Harvard alumni leading promising early-stage startup ventures; and the Pagliuca Harvard Life Lab for Harvard students, faculty, and alumni working on high-potential life sciences and biotech startups. Over the last eight years, the Harvard Innovation Labs has nurtured 6,000 founders who have collectively started more than 1,500 ventures across dozens of industries, from enterprise technology to life sciences, education, and social impact. The founders represent 125 nationalities, and have raised over $2.2 billion for their businesses. To learn more, visit innovationlabs.harvard.edu.

About the Allston Venture Fund 

The Allston Venture Fund is an investment collaborative focused on providing pre-seed funding to ventures led by Harvard students. The $6 million fund will be distributed over five years. The fund is currently backed by six firms who share a commitment to helping Harvard students explore innovative ideas in any industry, and at any stage: Bain Capital Ventures, General Catalyst, GETTYLAB, Highland Capital, Polaris Partners, and Underscore VC. Harvard students, regardless of their participation in Harvard Innovation Labs’ programming, are eligible to apply for the Allston Venture Fund. The Allston Venture Fund is independent from Harvard, and solely responsible for the selection of applicants to present to the committee and for all investment decisions. No Harvard employee, faculty member, or student serves on the investment committee. 

About the Social Impact Fellowship Fund 

The Social Impact Fellowship Fund supports impact-focused for-profit and nonprofit ventures, and is available to students who participate in the Harvard Innovation Labs Venture Programs. Over the course of five years, the Social Impact Fellowship Fund will award $200,000 per year in grants to Harvard student-led ventures focused on social impact.  

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