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Harvard Innovation Labs Introduces the Allston Venture Fund and Social Impact Fellowship Fund

10/7/2019

The Harvard Innovation Labs today announced two funds that are now available to Harvard student-founded startups: The Allston Venture Fund, an investment collaborative focused on providing both pre-seed funding and equity-free grants to ventures led by Harvard students; and the Social Impact Fellowship Fund, a provider of grants to impact-driven ventures. Collectively, the Allston Venture Fund and Social Impact Fellowship Fund will distribute $7 million in investments and grants to ventures led by Harvard students over the next five years.

“Over the last eight years, The Harvard Innovation Labs has focused on giving thousands of students from all 13 Harvard schools access to resources for every stage of their innovation journey — from programming that helps students nurture ideas at their earliest stages, to expert advisors who mentor students through the process of turning their ideas into real-world ventures,” said Jodi Goldstein, executive director of the Harvard Innovation Labs.

She added, “Since capital is a relatively scarce resource for early-stage ventures, but one that can be critical for helping them develop their solutions and bring them to market, we felt it was important to open new doors to funding and grant opportunities.”

The Allston Venture 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. The first recipients of seed funding from the Allston Venture Fund include:

  • Manifold Bio: Integrating novel experiment platforms and machine learning to enable measurement-driven design of the next generation of biologics.
  • ReMana: Reinventing the way women pump, store and feed their breastmilk through reusable bottles designed for efficient storage in the freezer.
  • Smoodi: Making people happier and healthier with personalized, fresh smoothies through their self-cleaning blender.
  • Vincere Health: Using real-time financial rewards and behavioral nudges to motivate people to live healthier lives.

Many of the ventures that received capital from the Allston Venture Fund have participated in the Harvard Innovation Labs Venture Incubation Program, which is designed to nurture current Harvard students as they pursue their entrepreneurial ideas. Teams selected for the program receive dedicated resources, access to mentors, industry-specific roundtables for peer-to-peer learning, and exclusive office hours and dinners with experts in their respective fields.

Additional recipients of grant funding from the Allston Venture Fund and Social Impact Fellowship Fund will be announced in the fall of 2019. To learn more about the Allston Venture Fund and Social Impact Fellowship Fund, visit https://innovationlabs.harvard.edu/funding-opportunities/.

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 both pre-seed funding and equity-free grants to ventures led by Harvard students. The $6 million fund will be distributed over the next 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. All 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 startups, and is available to students who participate in the Harvard Innovation Labs Venture Incubation Program. 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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