Launch Lab X GEO – Harvard Alumni Leadership Circle

Frequently Asked Questions

Thank you for your interest in LLX GEO! We’ve aimed to answer your questions below. A reminder that applications are due no later than 11:59 EST on Monday, August 2! Apply here.

1. What’s the length of the program?

The program will begin in October 2021 and runs through April 2022 with a break in January 2022.

2. Who is eligible to apply for LLX GEO?

LLX GEO is open to for-profit and nonprofit Harvard alumni founded ventures across a wide range of industries. Your venture should be a pre-seed to seed stage venture working towards product-market fit. Ventures that are admitted into the program may have achieved some of the following milestones: monetization as proof of demand, an ongoing or completed pilot study, and/or meaningful feedback and traction from end-users. Our goal is to have teams at a similar stage of venture creation.

Here are our eligibility requirements:

  • Teams must have a Harvard alum as a full-time founder and can’t be working in another role or capacity.
  • Teams need to demonstrate that they have funding to sustain their ventures for the six-month program. We want to ensure that founders are working full-time on their ventures.
  • Ventures must have less than $2 million USD in revenue. In addition, they may not have raised more than $2.5 million USD (not including grants) in total debt/invested equity capital. Teams must meet both criteria. Invested capital is defined as funding appearing on the plan’s balance sheet at the time of submission, which is no later than July 30, 2021. Teams will disclose any prior funding received at the time of application.
  • Harvard investors are not eligible to submit companies unless they are identified as a founder or co-founder and hold a majority stake in the venture and involved full-time in the day-to-day operations.
  • The Harvard founder must be represented at all events and be the pitch lead.
  • Investment funds, acquisitions, and consulting services are not deemed “ventures” and are not eligible.
    Previous Launch Lab and Launch Lab X participants cannot apply with the same venture.
  • The Harvard Innovation Labs reserves the right to remove an individual or team that violates the rules or spirit of the program. The decision of the Harvard Innovation Labs is final and binding.

3. Do Extension School, Executive Education, HBS Online, and postdoctoral students qualify for LLX GEO?

This program is for individuals who have graduated from a degree-granting program and have Harvard alumni status. However, LLX GEO is open to Harvard Postdoctoral fellows who may or may not have alumni status. We will confirm your relationship to the school during the application process.

4. Can former Harvard Innovation Lab teams or President’s Innovation Challenge participants apply?

Yes! We welcome alumni who have already participated in our programs as well as those who are new to the Harvard Innovation Labs.

5. What are you looking for in a venture (and how early is too early to apply)?

If you are just developing your idea, exploring potential customers, and validating the problem, you are likely too early. A good litmus test is your ability to answer at least 90% of the questions in the application. The sooner you apply, the more time we’ll have to review your application and reach out to you if we have questions. As a reminder, the deadline is 11:59 EST on Monday, August 2!  Apply here.

6. What is the acceptance rate?

The acceptance rate is determined by the quality and stage of applicants. LLX GEO is a program designed for a carefully curated community of teams that are at a similar point in their venture’s life cycle.

7. For accepted venture teams, approximately how many hours of programming are there each week?

Programming happens 1-2 times per month and requires approximately a 3-4 hour time commitment. Participation in Founder and Tactical Talks is Optional. Attendance for the Leadership Circles & Pitch Feedback Sessions is mandatory.

Unless there are extenuating circumstances, if you do not attend two or more learning sessions during the course of the program, we may ask you to withdraw. Active participation is key to your success in the program. Our goal is to build and maintain a cohort of individuals and teams that are connected to each other and committed to the learning process.

8. With the program being online, how much structure do you envision it having?

In order to create consistency and ease for founders, most programming will take place on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, or Thursdays with sessions primarily in the mornings or afternoons Eastern Standard Time. (We may update the timing based on speaker availability and the geographies of teams.) We will provide you with a calendar of events for the year, and we may offer new sessions on timely topics. You will also have the opportunity to participate in community building events in order to forge deeper relationships with your cohorts.

9. How do I get personalized advice on my venture?

We provide LLX GEO teams with access to experts who cover a wide range of topics. Some of these experts may turn into your advisors and, at the same time, we will ensure that you have several opportunities to receive structured feedback from experts during Pitch Feedback.

10. What is new about LLX GEO for 2020?

For 2021, we will continue to bring teams from around the globe and across diverse industries. Rather than an accelerator format, we’ll focus on the leadership circles which will provide coaching, community, and opportunities to learn from global thought-leaders from within the Harvard ecosystem and beyond.

In addition, we will continue to offer our successful foundational programming that is the core to LLX but open it up to the larger alumni community. This includes Founder Talks and Tactical Workshops.

11. Is there a cost to the program?

There is no cost to participate in the program. However, if in-person opportunities become available, and if it’s safe to meet, you will be responsible for covering your own travel and accommodation expenses.

12. Does Harvard Innovation Labs take any equity in the venture?

Harvard Innovation Labs does not take any equity in your venture and remains an “IP-free zone.”

13. Do all the co-founders need to be Harvard Alumni?

No, your venture must have at least one co-founder who is a Harvard alumni in order to be eligible.

14. For those located in Cambridge, will the Harvard Innovation Labs be open at all during the year? Or will it be closed for the whole academic year?

Due to COVID protocols, the Harvard Innovation Labs is still assessing if LLX GEO teams will have access to the Harvard Innovation Labs.

15. Based on recent years: what are the typical things people might leave out of an application that you would like to know about the venture/team?

Our reviewers come from a diverse range of backgrounds. If you have a sophisticated venture or are entering a new space, please take the time to fully explain the breadth and scope of your venture. It’s important to highlight how big the market opportunity is for your venture, the unit economics, and how you will generate revenue. Most importantly, we want to understand why you want to join the program and how you believe you will contribute to the LLX GEO community now and into the future.

16. For the requested financial projections attachment in the application, how detailed does that need to be? (A full financial model? Just key metrics and assumptions?)

You just need to provide high-level financial projections. We do not need to see your financial accounting! What are the key drivers of business economics (e.g., price points, margins, customer acquisition costs)? What do you anticipate as the primary cost / revenue streams? Please define your assumptions so it is clear to us that you have developed a realistic model. Please upload any financial projections on the Portfolio Tab.

17. Can you speak to how the accelerator supports raising a seed round or other funding?

Aside from connecting you with VCs during the programming and Pitch Feedback Sessions, teams that complete the program will be invited to Online Demo Day in May/June 2022. This event will provide you with access to 1000+ investors.

18. Who do we contact if I have more questions?

Please contact Thara Pillai at i-labalumni@harvard.edu with any/all questions regarding the program or the application process.

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