Harvard Business School’s (HBS) Arthur Rock Center for Entrepreneurship announced on Oct. 24 eight winners in the first round of the Minimum Viable Product (MVP) Award for the 2012-2013 academic year, giving $5,000 to each team of student entrepreneurs.
The MVP fund, which supports the Award, was proposed in 2010 by MBA students Dan Rumennik, Jess Bloomgarden, and Andrew Rosenthal, all members of the Class of 2012. The Rock Center provides the funding. MVP is based on the Lean Startup methodology, which focuses on rapid prototyping, a process that brings products to market as quickly as possible. This methodology has been advanced and popularized by Eric Ries (currently an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at HBS), who advises students and collaborates with faculty members on research and course development.
The Rock Center offers two rounds of MVP Awards during the academic year. Forty-five teams submitted entries for the first round, which was open to second-year MBA students only (at least one member of each team must be a Harvard MBA student). The winners were selected by a panel of three faculty members and three students. The deadline for the second round, which will be open to both first and second-year MBA students, will be January 25, 2013.
The winning teams are required to meet with a mentor from the program on a monthly basis, attend a monthly gathering of all MVP teams, present lessons learned from the MVP program at the end of the semester, and participate at some point in a session that is open to the community.
“We continue to be impressed by the high level of creativity our students have shown in planning and developing these business ventures, which span a wide variety of industries,” said Meredith McPherron (MBA 1993), Director of the Rock Center for Entrepreneurship, in a statement. “Our students’ dedication to making their business ideas a reality demonstrates how passionate they are about entrepreneurship. The MVP Award, which will be called the Rock Accelerator Award going forward, is one of several ways we support their dedication and enthusiasm.”
The eight winning entries (with their founders) are:
- ActivePepper (Yasi Baiani, HBS 2013, Ramsey Abouzahra, Sean Beck, and Andrew Jambor) is a platform that helps people find sports partners and sports activities nearby. With ActivePepper they can locate, for example, tennis partners, local pick-up basketball games, or running or cycling groups and then easily schedule their participation in these activities.
- adtime (Nikhil Sachdev, HBS 2013) is a mobile platform that rewards users for engaging with ads and providing high-value consumer data to potential advertisers.
- ChillBaby (Joseph Blair, HBS 2013) is a subscription service that provides parents with packages of children’s clothing specifically geared to a child’s age, style preferences, and the season.
- Cryoocyte (Dmitry Kozachenok, HBS 2013, Alex Stimpson, Allen Torng, James Webb, and Avi Wolfson) aims to revolutionize the aquaculture industry by developing a technology to cryopreserve fish eggs.
- DATAPiXY (Nadav Benbarak and Rotem Iram, both HBS 2013) connects laptops, tablets, and phones to the internet when people are abroad for only $10 per day, thus eliminating roaming and other charges that lead to big bills.
- The New Academy (T.T. Nguyen Duc, HBS 2013) develops globally-competitive high school graduates through high-quality and affordable online education.
- Outbreak (Eric Chernoff and Mike Schutt, both HBS 2013) provides an online platform with which businesses can implement a brand or product awareness campaign by hosting crowdsourced competitions.
- Vorsorge-Wird-Vorfreude (Sebastian Legler, HBS 2013) is an online brokerage for financial products in Germany that aligns product distribution with consumer interests.