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Launch Lab X GEO – Harvard Alumni Accelerator

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 July 27th! Apply here.

1. What’s the length of the program?

The program will begin in October 2020 and run for approximately nine months through June 2021.

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.
  • Teams need to demonstrate that they have funding to sustain their ventures for the nine-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 27, 2020. 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 and are 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 only open to individuals who have graduated from a degree-granting program and have Harvard alumni status. We will check all individuals for alumni status. Postdoctoral students may have alumni status based on their relationship at their specific Harvard school.

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 Monday, July 27th at 11:59 EST.

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 twice per month and requires approximately a 3-4 hour time commitment. We expect all participants to take part in Founder Talks, Tactical Workshops, Alumni Circles, and Pitch Sessions. Attendance is mandatory for Founder Talks and Alumni Circles. Tactical Workshops will be recorded if you are unable to attend.

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 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 Sessions.

10. What is new about LLX GEO for 2020?

This is the first time that the Harvard Innovation Labs is offering this program to our global community virtually! The program previously had been available only to 12 teams housed at the i-lab. This is an incredible opportunity to network with extraordinary alumni founders across the globe and connect into international innovation ecosystems.

In addition, we will continue to offer our successful foundational programming that is the core of our in-residence program which includes Founder Talks, Tactical Workshops, Alumni Circles, and Pitch Sessions.

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?

At this time, the Harvard Innovation Labs will not be open to LLX GEO teams for the foreseeable future.

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 Sessions of our program, teams that complete the program will be invited to Online Demo Day in May/June 2021. This event will provide you with access to 400+ 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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