Startup Foundry

The Startup Foundry bridges the gap from research to startup by providing business and technology resources, support, and networks to a select group of academic entrepreneurs (faculty, researchers, and postdocs) working on projects related to the D^3 mission and communities of practice.

What Does the Foundry Offer?

We’ll work closely with you to analyze and address the initial technical and market uncertainty and begin productizing your offering. At the same time, we’ll help you develop an entrepreneurial mindset and business skills that will set you up for success. Projects selected to participate receive a bespoke set of learning experiences, product advisory support, and curated connections to people who can move you forward at an accelerated pace. 

For additional startup-building assistance, we work hand in hand with other Harvard entrepreneurship and innovation resources such as the GRID, the Harvard iLab, and the HBS Rock Center that provide programming, community, and non-dilutive funding for your startup.

Who is Eligible?

Projects selected for entry into the Startup Foundry should be early-stage and have at least one Harvard-affiliated academic on the team. We define early-stage as ranging from early scientific insights that need to be reproduced, documented, and protected via IP efforts to already legally formed companies that have yet to raise their first dilutive capital. Most projects will be “pre-commercial,” but “post-scientific” (i.e. most science risk has been retired, even if meaningful technical risk remains).

Projects should be working on solving problems using AI/ML/digital business and related to the D^3 communities of practice.

How Do I Apply?

  1. Start an Application
  2. Interview with the Foundry Manager
  3. Materials Reviewed by the Innovation Committee
  4. Decision Notification & Next Steps

Applications are currently closed and will reopen in early 2024


How long is the program?

The program is not time-bound, it is based on milestones created with each team. Some will go through the milestones faster than others – either because of what they are building or where they started. 

Can I also be working in another Harvard entrepreneurship or innovation program at the same time such as the GRID or Harvard iLab?

Yes, we encourage you to use as many resources at Harvard as you need or want.

Is there funding available for my company? 

Not currently, but soon. We hope to have some funding grants available in 2024 that will be awarded based on milestones reached. 

Do I have to give up my job or appointment at Harvard to do this? 

You do not. You can keep working in your current role, but you will need to be sure you can make time to work on your venture as well.

Are there specific industries or technologies that you are focused on supporting?

We are specifically looking for innovations that are in the AI/ML/digital business and related to solving problems related to the D^3 areas of impact. 

Who runs the Startup Foundry?

The Startup Foundry is a platform of the Digital, Data, and Design Institute at Harvard.

Who should I ask if I have other questions? 

Please email Debi Kleiman.

Innovation Committee

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