Harvard Innovation Labs Introduces 12 Alumni-Led Ventures for Launch…
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Harvard Innovation Labs Introduces 12 Alumni-Led Ventures for Launch Lab X Startup Accelerator

LLX Team Ursure Photograph holding the Hi Sign

The Harvard Innovation Labs today announced the 12 ventures selected to participate in the second annual Launch Lab X program, a nine-month startup accelerator for Harvard alumni-led companies.

“When designing the Launch Lab X program, we had many conversations with Harvard alumni who were founding companies about the need for a startup accelerator that offered a longer-term, more tailored approach to helping them grow viable businesses,” said Jodi Goldstein, executive director of the Harvard Innovation Labs. “Seeing what the first Launch Lab X cohort accomplished in the last year validated our hypothesis that ventures could make significant progress in an accelerator that didn’t just last longer than a typical program, but also placed more of an emphasis on developing the leaders of the ventures.”

Launch Lab X is an equity-free accelerator designed to support ventures — with an emphasis on nurturing leadership teams — as they progress from seed-stage startups to sustainable businesses with real-world impact. During the program, ventures participate in three 90-day sprints. Each sprint culminates in a pitch and 360-degree feedback session with investors, prospective customers, and industry leaders, giving teams the time and guidance necessary to improve. Throughout the program, ventures receive dedicated space, participate in tailored programming, and work towards meeting the goals on the milestone-based roadmap designed explicitly for their businesses. Launch Lab X participants also compete for $100,000 in non-dilutive funding as part of the Harvard President’s Innovation Challenge Alumni Track, with prize money funded by The Bertarelli Foundation.

“We hit an inflection point mid-2019 at Surround Insurance, where we went from two people and an idea to a team of ten with business partners, technology, and capital,” said Kate Terry, chief operating officer and co-founder of Surround Insurance. “We thought that the mentorship, the opportunity to work side by side with other entrepreneurs, and the staged structure of the Launch Lab X program would provide the support we need on the next stage of our journey. And so far, we've been right. We're proud to be part of this community.”

More than 150 ventures applied to 2019 Launch Lab X program. Founders represent 9 Harvard schools, and are working on a wide variety of products and services, from an augmented reality system for assisting surgeons to an application that helps businesses in West Africa grow.

The 2019–2020 Launch Lab X teams include:

  • ArbiLex brings predictive analytics and AI to International Arbitration to enhance decision-making by law firms and litigation funds.

  • Bensen AI takes orders for restaurants on the phone, on voice assistants like Alexa, by text, and more—improving allocation of labor and recovering sales from missed calls.

  • Epigene Labs is developing a technology platform for the aggregation and analysis of genomic data for drug discovery, with the ultimate objective of transforming biopharma into a truly data-driven industry for the benefit of cancer patients.

  • OZÉ is a platform that allows small business owners in West Africa to collect their business information and make decisions based on it. The company aggregates that data to provide context-specific recommendations. As entrepreneurs use OZÉ to learn about their business, OZÉ learns about them and uses this data to predict their credit risk and connect them to capital.

  • Proton.ai delivers Amazon-quality AI to B2B distributors that predicts what customers will buy, improving sales efficiency and driving revenue growth both online and with sales representatives.

  • Rise: the Membership supports the development of high-potential female leaders in their early career. Through community building, mentorship and targeted trainings, Rise combats isolation, anxiety and imposter syndrome — the most common barriers to women entering male-dominated fields and organizations.

  • Settlyt is an iOS app that helps friends make, track, and resolve everyday competition. Settlyt energizes friendships by making competition real and creating a home for competitive banter.

  • Smoodi makes people happier and healthier with on-demand, fresh and customized smoothies through our proprietary self-cleaning blending unit.

  • Surround Insurance believes that technology and design can help the insurance industry deliver more customer-centric products. The company’s first product will be a subscription starter pack of insurance for people living in cities who rent an apartment, rent or borrow cars or bikes, freelance, and care about their phones.

  • UrSure makes diagnostic tests that measure and improve adherence to HIV medications. The company has commercialized a lab-based test and completed development of a point of care version of their tests. UrSure's tests have been associated with a 75% improvement in adherence at the clinics using them nationwide.

  • Vincere Health uses real-time incentives and behavioral nudges to motivate people to live healthier lives. The company encourages its users to make healthier decisions, saving them money and reducing their employer's health costs.

  • Z Imaging has built an AR system that provides surgeons with intuitive, step-by-step guidance during surgeries, helping them operate more easily, accurately and safely.

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.