Venture Incubation Program

The keystone initiative of the Harvard i-lab.

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What is the
Venture Incubation Program (VIP)?

The Venture Incubation Program is a 12-week program designed to help current Harvard students make progress on their entrepreneurial ventures. We encourage students to apply who are committed to building their venture among an engaging community at the i-lab. Selected teams will have access to VIP-only resources and support to help them reach their milestones.

Examples of resources provided to help guide student teams toward success:

  • Shared coworking space
  • Private workshops
  • Industry-specific roundtables
  • Mentor-matching program
  • Founder Dinners with visiting entrepreneurs
  • Exclusive Office Hours with guest experts
  • i-lab Staff Advisor
  • Technical resources including hosting credits
  • Access to our hardware prototyping lab

What is it like being a part of the VIP?

The VIP is not just a co-working space. It is a community where the diverse skills and backgrounds of the students, mentors, and staff are leveraged. We work hard to encourage collaboration and establish community, and the sharing of experiences amongst student teams.

But don’t take our word for it. Just a sample of recent feedback:

“I recently closed a $250K seed round… This would not have been possible without the i-lab, and being at the i-lab was the single best thing I got to do at Harvard, so thank you!”
— Harvard College ’15 VIP team lead

How can I ensure I am taking advantage of everything the VIP has to offer?

The i-lab staff realizes that not one size fits all. We realize that different teams require different resources depending on their development stage. Most of our Directors and Assistant Directors offer VIP-Only office hours. They are here to help students set milestones, discuss the best way to utilize the resources, and establish a plan for the semester. We will help tailor their program to fit the needs of their venture. You can learn more about our staff here.

How is the VIP Mentor Program set up?

The Mentor Program is exclusively available to VIP teams. Students and mentors must commit to an entire semester of meeting and the point of contact must be the lead team member. Student teams will attend a Mentor Matching Event to ensure that each team is appropriately matched with an experienced serial entrepreneur. We encourage students to meet with their mentor several times per month. The goal of this program is to make progress within their venture and develop deep, personal working relationships.

My venture is industry specific though. How can the VIP help?

We have many staff on hand that have industry specific experience that are at your service!

  • Matthew Guidarelli is the Assistant Director of Social and Cultural Entrepreneurship at the i-lab. An avid creator of startup programs and initiatives, Matthew is passionate about cultivating, empowering and advising the next generation of leaders capable of driving social change.
  • Alice Ly is the Assistant Director for Health and Sciences (H&S) at the Harvard Innovation Lab. She works with students, postdocs and clinical fellows to develop and execute on ideas that bring Health and Sciences innovation and entrepreneurship to society.
  • Phil Greenwald is the Interim Assistant Director for Technology, with vast experience in startup software development.  He is passionate about business empowerment and enabling people to bring an idea to reality without outsourcing every aspect of the development and details.

How do I apply to the VIP?

Visit the VIP application page for links to the application and key dates.

Want more? Sign-up for our email newsletter here. You will be notified of all important application requirements and deadlines. You will also stay up-to-date on our general workshops and programming.

2017 Calendar Year Key Dates:

  • Spring 2017 VIP:
    • Applications due early January
    • 12-week VIP term: January 30 – April 21, 2017
  • Summer 2017 VIP:
    • Applications due late April
    • 10-week VIP term: early June through early August
  • Fall 2017 VIP:
    • Applications due in mid-August
    • 12-week VIP term: late September through mid-December

What are the criteria or restrictions for applying?

At least one of the venture co-founders must be a current, full-time, degree-seeking student at any Harvard school across the University, and must plan to be a consistent participant at the i-lab. The i-lab takes no equity, and there are no restrictions on participating in other incubator/accelerator programs.

The competitive process for team selection is done by a panel of expert evaluators. The panel looks for demonstrated dedication to the venture’s growth and implementation.