A Smarter Incubator: How Harvard based iLabs can provide the equation for success.

To allow anything to grow, sometimes all that is needed is space; In November of 2011, that was what Harvard Innovation Labs (iLabs) hoped to accomplish. The organizers of iLabs believed that giving space to a startup to work in, allowed them the time needed to “hatch and ultimately scale” to a point where they could eventually grow and move to their own larger location.

Two years later, iLabs’ vision has come true for a handful of select startups that have truly risen to the occasion. These startups have been working out of iLabs since the early days and have thus created a name of their own in the business community. Six of the iLabs startups have graduated to their own offices or have taken the necessary steps to move on. There are five startups that are staying with iLabs in the Boston-area while one has chosen to move to New York City.

The ILabs approach differs from that of other entrepreneurship centers. iLabs accepts any student from any Harvard school with an idea fostering cross-disciplinary, cross-universal collaboration. The iLab resources support student ventures spanning social and cultural entrepreneurship, health and sciences, technology, and consumer fields. ILabs is student centered and faculty enabled, with programming supplied by schools across Harvard to help students take their ideas as far as they can go. The iLabs serves as a new model for university collaboration as it is co-governed by each of the Deans of Harvard and the Provost.

Here is a List of the six companies (Descriptions from iLabs.)

Vaxess:  “Was founded on a business idea born in a Harvard classroom to improve the delivery of vaccines in developing countries. The company is commercializing technology that uses silk to stabilize routine vaccines and eliminate the need for refrigeration in transport and delivery.”

-          Funding: $3.75 million from investors including Norwich Ventures and angel investor Jeffrey C. Walker

-          Location: Moved to Lab Central in Cambridge’s Kendall square.

Philo:      “Enables college students to watch live TV online.”

-          Funding: $6.3 million from investors including New Enterprise Associates, HBO, Mark Cuban’s Radical Investments, Flybridge Capital Partners and the Experiment Fund.

-          Location: Moved to Lab Central in Cambridge’s Kendall square.

Mark43:                “Provides instantaneous access to accurate and organized data to help law enforcement officers tackle gang violence, murders, and violent crime. Emerged from a Harvard College class and was created by three undergraduates.”

-          Funding: $1.95 million from investors including Spark Capital and General Catalyst Partners.

-          Location: Moved to Manhattan in the fall.

Plastiq:   An online platform enabling consumers to use credit cards for payments when they previously could not such as for tuition, taxes, utilities and rent.”

-          Funding: $8.6 million from investors including Atlas Venture, Flybridge Capital Partners and Next View Ventures.

-          Location: Moved to 181 Newbury St. in Boston in the spring of 2012.

Bobo Analytics:  “A group creating a workout monitor that you can wear on your wrist. The wrist-like product can monitor your heart rate and movement and help you get the most of your workouts.”

-          Funding: Company reported raising $3.38 million in funding in August. Board members include Jeff Fagnan of Atlas Venture.

-          Location: Bobo Analytics plans to move to the Fenway area.

RallyPoint:  “Working to connect returning military veterans for career opportunities.”

-          Funding: $6.6 million from investors including DBL Investors and Asset Management Ventures.

-          To be determined; company plans to remain in the Boston area after moving.



About Cathie Briggette

Cathie is responsible for planning, development and implementation of all Touch Ahead Software’s marketing strategies, marketing communications and public relations, both internally and externally. She also serves as the Marketing Director for NSK Inc., which she joined as an associate in 1997 and where she worked as a developer on multiple mission-critical projects — including several financial projects. Prior to Touch Ahead and NSK Inc, Cathie was the Marketing Manager for the US Software Division of Objects 9000, a German-based company. And before that she was the Marketing Director for Pelikan Pens.

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