Harvard Business School (HBS) Announces 9 Student Entrepreneurs as Winners of the Minimal Viable Product (MVP) Fund

March 2, 2011 · Leave a Comment 

Harvard Business School’s (HBS) Arthur Rock Center for Entrepreneurship has announced nine winners of Minimal Viable Product (MVP) Fund, a brand new startup fund providing $50,000 in prizes to student entrepreneurs working on entrepreneurial projects during the school’s winter term.

What is the Harvard Business School Minimal Viable Product (MVP) Fund?

The Minimal Viable Product (MVP) Fund is the brainchild of first-year MBA students Dan Rumennik, Jess Bloomgarden, and Andrew Rosenthal. Funded by the Arthur Rock Center, the MVP Fund is based upon the Lean Startup methodology, which focuses on fast prototyping, a procedure that brings products to market as rapidly as possible. This methodology was popularized by Eric Ries, an Entrepreneur-in-Residence (EIR) at HBS this academic year. In his role as EIR, Eric advises student entrepreneurs and collaborates with faculty members on program improvement.

Who are the 9 Winners of the HBS Minimal Viable Product (MVP) Fund?

Eighty-eight groups, with at least one current HBS MBA student, submitted entries. The 9 successful entries (and their founders) are:

  • Adiply (Omar Restom, HBS 2012): A self-serve tool that executes online advertising direct deals (that is, instances in which an advertiser works directly with a publisher — the Web site selling ad space) to buy ad inventory on that site.
  • AfterSteps (Jessica Bloomgarden, Alex Stratoudakis, and Emma Taylor, all HBS 2012): An online end-of-life planning platform with educational resources and tools to create a plan, store it, and transfer it to designated beneficiaries.
  • Children’s Stories for American Muslims (Mohammed Aaser, HBS 2012): A children’s entertainment and education brand for the underserved North American Muslim population. The business will start as a subscription service delivering monthly stories and will later expand into toys, books, games, videos, and licensing.
  • MatchLend (Jeffrey Engler, HBS 2011, and Charles Deutsch): A tool to improve loan underwriting accuracy by incorporating data often missed by traditional methods.
  • MyDayz (Vasile Tofan, HBS 2012, Ecaterina Demcencov and Alex Rishojis): A web application that allows women to keep track of their health data, focusing on period and fertility monitoring.
  • Rewardly (Aleem Mawani, HBS 2011, and Jasen Kimis): A rewards program that works with the customers’ existing credit cards wherever they make purchases.
  • UpStart (Sarah Dillard, Jevan Soo, and Shiyan Koh, all HBS 2011): A program that seeks to do for entrepreneurship what Teach for America did for teaching by creating a well-branded path for young talent to work at promising startups and learn entrepreneurial skills.
  • Vinamea (Gurvan Rallon and Cornelius Frey, both HBS 2012): A platform that allows people to rent a portion of a vineyard, follow an online wine production process from grape to bottle, and ultimately receive their share of the year’s vintage in a customized package.
  • Zumper (Anthemos Georgiades, Tom Dye, and Ken Sim, all HBS 2012): An online real estate market in which students and others can bid on and secure properties in a more efficient and transparent manner.

Successful Entrepreneurs from Harvard Business School (HBS)

Some 50 percent of Harvard Business School alumni describe themselves as entrepreneurs 10 to 15 years after they graduate. Among the many HBS graduates who have founded successful business ventures are Marla Malcolm Beck (MBA 1998), founder of bluemercury; Michael Bloomberg (MBA 1963), founder of Bloomberg L.P.; Marc C. Cenedella (MBA 1998), founder, president, and CEO of TheLadders.com; Scott Cook (MBA 1976), chairman and cofounder of Intuit; Rajil Kapoor (MBA 1996), cofounder and former chairman and CEO of Snapfish; Alexis Maybank and Alexandra Wilson (both MBA 2004), cofounders of Gilt Groupe; Christopher Michel (MBA 1998), founder of Military.com; Tom Stemberg (MBA 1973), founder of Staples; and Jeremy Stoppelman (MBA 2005), CEO and cofounder of Yelp.

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