Application for the Venture Incubation Program

Fall 2017 Applications Now Closed

The Venture Incubation Program (VIP) is a 12-week program designed to help current Harvard students make significant progress on their startup 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 extensive support to help them reach their milestones. For students who are not quite ready for the VIP the i-lab offers access to coworking space, an expansive advisor network, a slate of inspirational and foundational workshops and more.

Applications for the Spring 2018 cycle will open in November and be due at the end of December. We recommend you spend all of the Fall 2017 term working on your venture and taking advantage of the plethora of i-lab resources available to all Harvard students.

Harvard i-lab’s Venture Incubation Program (VIP) Fall Session

The i-lab’s VIP Fall Session is for student teams from any Harvard school that are ready to take their startup idea to the next level. Applying teams don’t need a fully baked business plan but do need to have done the work necessary to answer some fundamental questions about their startup idea and the market(s) they intend to serve. The Fall Session is effectively a runway for select teams to prepare for the Spring 2018 VIP Session and the chance to compete in the $300,000 President’s Innovation Challenge.  Teams will be supported by assigned Staff Advisors and have access to a wealth of other resources including:

  • A Staff Advisor with expertise in their space
  • If requested, an assigned Mentor
  • Access to Experts-in-Residence, Lawyers-in-Residence, Funders-in-Residence, and Functional Specialists
  • Industry & Topic-Specific Roundtables
  • Various perks including tech credits and discounts with local retailers
  • A well-equipped maker space
  • A fully-equipped Augmented and Virtual Reality Studio
  • A shared wet lab bench in the Life Lab (additional evaluation required)
  • Most important, a vibrant community of fellow entrepreneurs!


Selection Criteria and the Application Process

New Ventures

To be eligible for the Fall VIP Session, new ventures must be able to convey the following on their application:

  • Deep and intimate understanding of a problem they propose solving and its material nature
  • A compelling, thoughtful solution to that problem
  • Some initial thinking regarding the business case, i.e. how the venture will become financially sustainable
  • Some initial thinking on how the venture will get traction, e.g. piloting, acquiring customers, building capacity
  • Some initial thinking regarding the requisite skills and competencies necessary to start and establish the venture
  • Specific and actionable milestones to be achieved during the session
  • A desire to help other teams and contribute to the i-lab ecosystem as a whole

Renewal Ventures

Any venture team in good standing from a previous VIP Session whose founder is still a current student or postdoctoral fellow is eligible to apply for the Fall Session.  Access the application link below.

All applying New and Renewal teams must also:

  • Be founded or co-founded by at least 1 current, full-time, matriculated Harvard student or postdoctoral fellow, who will act as Team Lead. Team Leads are eligible to apply for the session following their final semester of classes, i.e. those who finished classes in April can apply for a Summer VIP session, but those who finish in December are only eligible for the following Spring session and not the Summer. HUID status will be checked.
  • Have at least 1 Harvard founder present at the i-lab on a regular/weekly basis during the 12-week program


Participation Expectations:

All accepted New and Renewal venture team founders and team leads are expected to actively participate during the 12-week VIP term (Monday September 18th through Friday December 8th) as follows:

  • Attend VIP Orientation on Tuesday September 19th
  • Engage with your designated Advisor on an ongoing basis
  • Connect with and assist other Venture team members
  • Participate in VIP-designated programming and events whenever possible


How to Apply:

We have two separate applications: one for returning VIP teams wishing to renew and one for applicants hoping to become first-time VIP teams. Please choose the appropriate one below. The application is hosted through SlideRoom; your Team Lead will have to create a free account and label it with your venture name.

Renewal VIP Application: due August 7th

New VIP Application: due August 15th

The deadlines are strict and we cannot accept late applications. If you have questions or issues with the application, please read through our VIP Application FAQs page. If your question is not answered there, please reach out to the i-lab Community Manager