Harvard Business School


Tess Brooks shares story of Confi, an online resource for women’s health issues and sexual assault prevention.

How did you get started at the i-lab?

I first came up with my business idea in March and I started going to the workshops, Expert Office Hours, and meeting other students. I immediately found the i-lab to be my main resource in getting my business up and running. Every step of the way I’ve felt really supported: the free legal office hours helped me form an LLC, the intern roundtable helped me find great summer college interns, Matt told me about the HBS Rock Fellowship (which provided me with funding for the summer), Alice introduced me to an OB/GYN who is now our main expert adviser, I met a fellow i-labber (Tat) at the coffee machine who has given me a ton of web design advice, and I’m now working here full-time this summer.

What’s the #1 resource you use most at the Harvard Innovation Lab? Why is/was it so useful?

I love the space itself. It’s wonderful having a space to meet with my team and be surrounded by other entrepreneurs. I find it much easier to be productive here than at home or in a cafe and am constantly meeting new people from the different graduate schools. Socially, it’s fun getting to know people with a similar interest in entrepreneurship, and professionally, people I’ve met here have told me about new resources and introduced me to really helpful contacts.

What’s next for you and your venture?

I’m going to keep working on Confi throughout next year out of the i-lab and will work on it as an Independent Project at the Business School. Our focus this summer has been on building out great content and this fall we’ll switch gears to focus on spreading the word at university campuses and testing revenue models.

If you had to give another student one piece of advice to get the most out of the i-lab, what would it be?

I would recommend being very vocal about what you’re working on and where you need help (e.g. tell everyone that you’re trying to learn about SEO or are looking for interns), and you’ll be surprised by how quickly you’ll be pointed in the right direction. There are a lot of workshops (Entrepreneurs-in-Residence sessions, Boston events, and other student teams to meet), and it can feel difficult keeping track of everything, so the more you can help others the more they will help you.

Anything we missed?

You don’t have to be a fully developed business to start using the i-lab. It can feel a little intimidating at first seeing all the teams that are so far along, but it’s never too late to start, and all the teams were “just an idea” at one point (and you can learn from them!). You’re welcome here even if you’re just starting out.”