2023 Venture Accomplishments from the Harvard Innovation Labs
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2023 Venture Accomplishments from the Harvard Innovation Labs

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Since opening its doors in 2011, the Harvard Innovation Labs has grown from a university innovation center that supported dozens of students, to one that has helped nurture well over 10,000 student innovators who have collectively started more than 4,000 ventures.

In 2023, the Harvard Innovation Labs’ staff and global network of advisors has worked with thousands of entrepreneurs across its three-lab ecosystem: the Harvard student i-lab for ventures across all 13 Harvard schools, Launch Lab X GEO for alumni-led ventures, and the Pagliuca Harvard Life Lab for biotech and life sciences startups. Additionally, the Harvard Innovation Labs team observed incredible achievements from members of the Harvard Climate Entrepreneurs Circle, as well as former Harvard Innovation Labs ventures.

Below is a selection of more than 100 extraordinary 2023 accomplishments from current and former ventures. You also can read more about Harvard Innovation Labs’ 2023 milestones, from receiving the highest honors in the 2023 Global Consortium of Entrepreneurship Center (GCEC) Awards for “Outstanding Contributions to Venture Creation” to hosting new accelerator programs.

Student i-lab

The Harvard Innovation Labs announced record-setting student participation in its programming throughout 2023, with more than 1,300 students joining the i-lab membership program in the spring and more than 1,700 students in the fall.

Notable student-led venture updates from 2023 include:

Pagliuca Harvard Life Lab

The Pagliuca Harvard Life Lab is a wet laboratory with co-working space for early-stage, high-potential biotech and life sciences startups founded by Harvard students, alumni, faculty, and postdoctoral scholars.

Here is a selection of the accomplishments from Life Lab ventures in 2023:

  • BioFeyn is a life science company developing a platform for environmentally sustainable nutrient, medicine, and vaccine delivery in animal agriculture. The team achieved critical validation of technology in multiple animal trials, won the Seafood Innovation Prize in Norway, and formed several new industry partnerships.
  • InGel Therapeutics is a biotechnology company leveraging stem cell and tissue engineering to rescue and restore vision for blind patients. InGel was a $75,000 award recipient in the 2023 Harvard President’s Innovation Challenge, presented its novel assets at select ophthalmology conferences, and proved the efficacy and safety of their lead asset in six different preclinical studies.
  • Kestrel Therapeutics is developing new drugs that target RAS oncoproteins in human cancer. Kestrel Therapeutics has developed a lead pan-KRAS inhibitor series, with broad potency against a spectrum of KRAS mutants, as well as potent NRAS inhibitors. Together, these candidate compounds have the potential to treat difficult-to-treat patients with pancreatic, colon, lung, blood, and skin cancers. The company’s investors have released the third tranche of its Series A capital.
  • Modulate Bio is a therapeutics company developing fine-tuned allosteric therapies to treat Central Nervous System disorders. Modulate Bio is currently advancing its lead small-molecule drug candidate to provide a safer, long-term treatment to patients struggling with Essential Tremor. The venture generated compelling data validating its approach in mouse models, filed IP for a lead ET drug, and started raising its seed round.

Launch Lab X GEO

Launch Lab X GEO is a global startup leadership program designed to help early-stage, Harvard alumni-led ventures grow into sustainable and disruptive businesses. Venture accomplishments from 2023 include:

  • GoTeacher, a venture streamlining digital curriculum management and empowering educators and administrators with data-driven insights, has successfully secured $1 million in funding. The platform offers a comprehensive ROI dashboard that enables school district decision-makers to monitor curriculum effectiveness and spending.
  • How to Change the World is a social enterprise solving the sustainability skills gap with transformative educational experiences that provide skills and mindsets for students, educators, and professionals who want to make a difference. The social enterprise has reached more than 600 students, secured its first $300,000 investment, and had its credit-bearing course approved by academic committees at more than 15 top Canadian universities.
  • IAMBIC launched its AI-tailored, size-inclusive footwear, with its first limited edition release, the Executive Edition, selling out in two weeks. The brand’s MODEL T line gained national acclaim as a TIME Best Invention of 2023. IAMBIC’s fusion of technology and traditional shoemaking, featured in Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, and other media, has set a new standard in the footwear industry, marking it as a leader in innovative and size-inclusive design.
  • Illumicell AI is redefining fertility diagnostics, bringing the power of a fertility lab into any physician’s office with AI-powered sperm analysis. The team has secured a major portion of their seed funding, gained entry into Techstars Deeptech ’23 and Creative Destructive Labs’ AI program, expanded to eight team members, and signed over 20 LOIs with top fertility providers globally, marking a step forward in their mission to build the top choice for male fertility screening tools.
  • InConfidence, a company treating urinary incontinence and overactive bladder with smart-patch technology, was a $75,000 winner of the 2023 Harvard President’s Innovation Challenge and received non-dilutive funding through the Australian Government’s Medical Devices Fund. The company also closed an oversubscribed seed investment round with Rohto Pharmaceuticals as lead investors, and was invited to the White House to meet with the Australian Prime Minister, The Hon. Anthony Albanese.
  • Koroid is a platform for data-driven workforce and resource management, optimization, and logistics in healthcare. Following a large commercial deployment with a major academic health system, Koroid has secured further relationships with some of the most well-known healthcare systems in the U.S., and launched a go-to-market campaign to make aspects of the technology widely available.
  • Mineral Forecast, a machine-learning platform designed to enhance drillhole targeting for discovering critical metals essential for a greener economy, has expanded its reach to Mexico, marking the addition of a third country to its portfolio of customers. Throughout the year, Mineral Forecast’s clients have successfully drilled some of the company’s AI-based targets, achieving success rates more than four times higher than the traditional approach. Mineral Forecast also was accepted into the Techstars Boston Fall ’23 cohort.
  • Meomind, a digital alternative to psychotherapy, deployed its solution with two health plans, including one of the largest national health plans in the U.S. Meomind also raised $1 million in funding.
  • ai helps retailers scale via gamified sales competitions and by building a high-performance and engaged workforce. Moonstar secured its second Innovate UK grant, having been recognized as one of the country’s most innovative companies, and has been scaling its user base across Europe and North America to reach 10,000+ users. Moonstar.ai also was a finalist in the 2023 Harvard President’s Innovation Challenge.
  • Neuronspike Technologies, developer of brain-inspired AI chipsets and the AI software to run generative AI models efficiently, raised $1 million in funding from Lair East Labs, The MBA Fund, and Sunstone Management to bring generative AI to the edge devices.
  • Plantaizin’ is a fun and tech-enabled brand that makes plant-based snacks. The venture recently was one of the winners of a Harvard Ventures pitch competition, expanded DTC, and grew its B2B customer base to include the YMCA, Gold’s Gym, NFL teams, various micro-markets, and more.
  • Plastimber is a board made from recycled materials that is inherently waterproof and can be used 50x more than traditional plywood for poured concrete. Plastimber is now being manufactured in a plant built by the Bogotá Recyclers Association with a loan from the Inter American Development Bank (IDB).
  • SubjectToClimate, a nonprofit organization connecting K-12 educators to credible and engaging resources on climate change, launched three state-based hubs (Maine, Oregon, and Wisconsin), created a climate change education micro-credential opportunity with the National Education Association, and reached 215,000+ unique visitors to its hub.
  • The TecHustle AFi Payments platform helps small businesses in Africa and the African Diaspora send and receive trade payments globally. Recent achievements include obtaining a debt facility from Mastercard’s Young Africa Works; expanding from Ghana to its neighbor and trade partner, Togo; partnering with CinetPay for payment processing of 24 mobile money operators in 10 West and Central African countries; and being accepted into the Bank of America Breakthrough Lab.
  • Thermaband, a smart bracelet that provides cooling relief and health insights to menopausal women, was a $25,000 winner in the 2023 Harvard President’s Innovation Challenge.
  • WurQ, a software platform that connects with existing wearables for effortless tracking of strength and functional workouts, has initiated its first pilots. The MVP is now live and undergoing testing by local CrossFit athletes. The company earned a National Science Foundation grant for innovative research and successfully raised $500,000 in funding.

Climate Circle

Since launching in 2021, the Harvard Climate Entrepreneurs Circle has incubated more than 65 ventures founded by Harvard students and alumni that are actively uncovering new, unexpected ways to take on climate change.

2023 Climate Circle Venture Updates include:

  • Beam is revolutionizing how people are heated and kept comfortable through its smart, all-electric, high-efficiency heating system. This year, the company grew from two co-founders to a team of eight, and has been rapidly iterating on its product in preparation for 2024 pilot programs.
  • Bright Feeds was featured in Greenwich Free Press for converting tons of food waste into animal feed daily.
  • Carbon Re was featured in The Wall Street Journal for developing AI to master the production of materials for a zero-carbon future.
  • Coastal Protection Solutions was featured in The Boston Globe for developing The Wavebreaker, wave “speed bumps” to protect coastal communities. The company also won The Clinton Global Initiative Prize for $25,000, and presented The Wavebreaker at the UN Climate Change Conference COP28.
  • Coolant is building software for carbon project developers to decide where to plant mangrove trees for maximum carbon sequestration. This year, Coolant raised nearly $1 million in venture capital funding, signed its first three customers, crossed $30,000 in revenue, and established a flagship study with the Ocean Foundation.
  • Earthacre, a venture unlocking biodiversity as an underutilized asset for Indigenous landowners, announced a historic first in conservation funding — the sale of an option on biodiversity assets.
  • Earthbond, the one-stop-shop for businesses that need reliable solar energy and saves them money on fuel for their generators, was a finalist in the Harvard Business School New Venture Competition.
  • MyGug was featured in Silicon Republic for its food waste disposal startup.
  • OCOchem, a venture converting carbon dioxide into useful products and storing renewable energy, announced $5 million in funding, won a $2.5 million grant from the Department of Energy, and unveiled the Carbon FluX Electrolyzer, the world’s largest CO2 electrolyzer for making formic acid.
  • Physis Investment, a platform providing real and objective data to help institutional investors measure, build, and communicate the impact of investments, was listed on FinTech Global’s ESGFintech100, and named 2023’s best sustainable investment platform by Wealth & Finance International, reaching eight industry recognitions so far. Over the last year, Physis Investment increased its coverage from 10,000 to 14,000 companies.
  • Polyose Bio develops a novel process for upcycling food and organic waste into high-value chemicals. This year, the company filed its first provisional patent, and was a finalist in the Carnegie Mellon Tepper Clean Tech Competition, Harvard New Venture Competition, MassCEC Catalyst Program, and MIT Water, Food, & Ag Innovation Prize.
  • Quino Energy is building a water-based flow battery that is half the cost of lithium-ion batteries, doesn’t catch fire, and has excellent battery lifetime. In 2023, Quino Energy raised $4.55 million in funding and received a $4.58 million award from the Department of Energy. The company was recently featured in Chemical & Engineering News in 10 Start-Ups to Watch.
  • Vulcan Elements, a manufacturer of rare earth magnets, announced $5 million in funding.

Where Are They Now? Updates from Former Harvard Innovation Labs Ventures

The Harvard Innovation Labs has supported more than 4,000 ventures over the last 12 years, many of which go on to achieve significant milestones after graduation. Here’s a sample of former ventures’ accomplishments from 2023: