by Kavya Kopparapu
It’s been almost a year since our first Ventures Initiative, and our winning teams have been hard at work revolutionizing and making significant impacts in their respective fields. As an organization, we’re incredibly proud to support organizations who sustainable and mission-driven, as well as provide a forum on campus for the exchange of ideas between students and companies.
Since last year, our three winners have had significant progress in their respective ventures:
Loro: Grand Prize Winner
Loro is a startup building a smart personalized companion device giving people with limited mobilities the freedom to connect with the world.
The team has worked hard in the past year and has gained significant traction! Loro has been tested on over 60 users who have demonstrated overwhelming enthusiasm and support for the product. Currently, Loro already has 75 customers on their waitlist and plan to launch product Loro 1.0 soon!
In April, Loro won First Place at the Harvard College i3 Innovation Challenge, Harvard's premier startup competition; Second Place at the Harvard China Forum Pitch Competition, winning funding from GGV Capital and ZhenFund; First Place at the AARP Innovation Challenge in New Orleans; and a $160K grant from Fit4Start in Luxembourg.
Apothecary: Grand Prize Runner-Up
Apothecary.ai is a data-driven skincare consultation service. They take the guessing out of product discovery with targeted recommendations and enable users to test out products for less through their curated collection of trial minis. Apothecary is in beta testing and is looking to raise their pre-seed in the next couple of months.
MakerFleet: Sustainability Prize
MakerFleet is making hardware as scalable as software by building a distributed manufacturing system, providing hardware modules that connect underutilized 3D Printers to the cloud to increase accessibility. They had their own booth in the startup section (Eureka Park) of CES 2019, one of the largest technology trade shows, in Las Vegas! MakerFleet is currently undergoing a pivot that will allow the company to be much more scalable and decreases marketing costs by leveraging a unique network effect.
As we gear up for this year’s Ventures Initiative, we’re looking to support another group of talented students looking to change the world with great ideas. If you think your student-run venture fits this description, apply for the 2019 Ventures Initiative! We’re looking forward to your application.