Introducing the Fall 2017 Harvard Innovation Labs Social Impact, Cultural and Education Ventures

This fall, the Harvard Innovation Labs is home to 33 ventures working in the areas of social impact, education and culture. These teams are working to solve a wide variety of challenges facing society, including making healthy eating more accessible to low-income urban families and connecting job-seekers without four-year degrees to high-paying jobs.

Associate Director for Social Enterprise Scott Overdyke sees a significant number of teams focused on making education more accessible and effective for children and adults.

“From creating better multi-sensory theatrical experiences for people of all ages with autism to providing affordable test prep services to francophone Africa, this fall’s VIP cohort is tackling an incredibly diverse set of education issues,” Overdyke says. “We currently have 16 education-focused ventures in the fall cohort — an all-time high for the Harvard Innovation Labs.”

These social impact, cultural and education startups account for 23% of all ventures within the Harvard Innovation Labs ecosystem. The startup founders represent eight of the twelve Harvard schools, including the College, Business School, Extension School, Graduate School of Design, Graduate School of Education, Divinity School, School of Public Health, and Kennedy School. This variety of backgrounds brings life to the One Harvard vision of inter-school collaboration, and exemplifies our belief that diversity in experience is a necessary ingredient for innovation.

Harvard Innovation Labs is a dynamic ecosystem that unleashes the innovative power of the Harvard community and helps people take their ideas further, faster. Student-based ventures work and receive support in the Harvard i-lab, while alumni ventures are headquartered in the Launch Lab, a collaborative co-working space and resource-supported community for high-potential early-stage startups. Our newest space, the Pagliuca Harvard Life Lab, houses high-potential early-stage life sciences startups.

Read on to learn more about the 33 social impact, cultural and education ventures that are part of the Harvard Innovation Labs fall cohort:

Social Impact and Cultural

Anuel Energy is using crowdfunding to channel energy loans to African households and leveraging mobile money to collect the loan repayments.

Bluelaces creates immersive, multi-sensory theatrical experiences for people of all ages with autism and other developmental disabilities.

COCO Music Series aims to desegregate classical music by presenting musicians and composers of color in the classical idiom alongside other genres.

Coding it Forward inspires and empowers people to use their tech skills for social good.

Community Collective is a platform connecting friends/family to save as a group to: build savings, access affordable loans, and improve credit scores.

EasySolar offers a low-cost, portable, solar generator for easy deployment in remote areas that can be used as an easy and quick power source.

EatWell makes healthy eating more accessible to low-income urban families, reducing cost and inconvenience barriers with a 30 minute one pot meal kit.

Find Your North uses machine learning to enable job seekers to obtain quick, personalized, affordable and reliable career services, and refer peers for jobs.

Growing Communities integrates backyard farming technology and a distributed agriculture model to commercially grow vegetables & fish in economically-challenged communities.

Gusto & Gecko build children’s awareness and empathy for cultures around the world through quirky storytelling.

Joro uses smartphones as sensors to track individuals’ real-time, granular carbon emissions and make better energy consumption decisions.

The Mozambique School Lunch Initiative links agricultural investment to school feeding programs to improve food security.

PERIOD. The Menstrual Movement advances menstrual equity through the global distribution of period products, and the engagement of a global network of campus chapters.

SEA-CG leverages data science and climate modeling to undertake risk assessments of climate perils where weather measurement infrastructure is limited.

Skillist connects talented job seekers without four-year degrees to high-paying jobs that value their skills.

SPOUTS OF WATER (SPOUTS) manufactures and distributes affordable ceramic water filters to improve the access to clean drinking water in Uganda.

Trey uses data to help high school athletes and their parents successfully navigate college athletic recruiting.

Education

AllHere is an app that increases K12 school attendance 10% a year by notifying families of student absenteeism and improving family engagement.

BACprep is the first large scale provider of affordable test prep services in francophone Africa.

ClassForward uses its online video platform to provide teachers with evidence based feedback from instructional coaches.

Girls Health Champions uses peer-to-peer education to train adolescents in India in critical health topics.

lehrermarktplatz.de is a sharing-economy platform where teachers can share, sell and buy digital teaching resources such as lesson plans.

IvyEdge offers virtual workshops and mentorship programs to help students  develop their passions through hands-on, project-based learning.

IvyHurdle is an ed-tech startup that provides elite college counseling at an affordable rate through near-peer mentoring.

Koru Strategy Group provides customized and data-driven professional learning, strategic planning services, and coaching to schools and districts.

Likha Collective is an EdTech company that will close the achievement gap using virtual reality to accelerate educator skill and unearth implicit bias and prejudice.

PANAL teaches you how to start a company, with a personalized road map and curriculum, by doing one.

Parachute Teachers is creating an on-demand marketplace of part-time teachers to provide flexible human capital to school districts.

Profilum is a data-based recommendation system that helps parents and teachers select co-curriculum activities to maximize a child’s potential.

Room2Learn is a design consultancy helping architects design smarter learning spaces using technology and research.

Sparkle’s product is a STEM toy aimed at girls, intended to give girls an equal opportunity to fall in love with STEM through the power of play.

StudyBuddy is a mobile app that helps students connect with classmates.

Trajectory Hope is awakening educators awareness of bias regarding black male identities while shifting their mindsets, to amend school discipline outcomes for them.