How did you get started at the i-lab?
We had a big idea – feed people insects for a more sustainable world. But as you can imagine, it was an idea with few precedents, and as college students with little experience in startups, we had no idea where to start. So we ran to the i-lab because we had heard that the i-lab was the hub of innovation at Harvard. We got into the VIP program, and that was a point of inflection for us, because our learnings from the workshops and mentors helped us break down our big idea into actionable steps to help propel our business forward.
What’s the #1 resource you use most at the Harvard Innovation Lab?
The #1 resource at the Harvard Innovation Lab is the other entrepreneurs you connect with at the i-lab. Chances are, if you have a problem, someone else at the i-lab or an i-lab alumni has tackled that same problem before. And the big secret to successful startups is not reinventing the wheel if you don’t have to. We were able to leverage the expertise and insights of our fellow i-labbers to help tackle challenges ranging from corporate structuring to financing to HR issues, saving us a ton of time and money.
Why is/was it so useful? What’s next for you and your venture?
We are moving to San Francisco to scale distribution of Chirp chips in the Pacific Northwest region!
If you had to give another student one piece of advice to get the most out of the i-lab, what would it be?
You get out of the i-lab what you put in. No one will hold your hand, and if you expect that, then you shouldn’t be an entrepreneur in the first place. Put yourself out there and talk to everyone, whether they are a student, staff member, or mentor. Ask questions. Ask for help. And offer help in return. You won’t make it on your own, so built a strong support network to help get you where you need to be.
Anything we missed? Feel free to wax poetic here…
The i-lab is one of the best places to start for a first-time entrepreneur. The world out there is scary – there are billions of ideas and only finite resources available, and if you’re not comfortable hustling immediately, then the i-lab will help get you there. It’s a real family here, and that’s very special and rare, so be a part of it while you can!