Health and Wellbeing Ventures Win in HBS’s Startup Competition | TopMBA.com

Health and Wellbeing Ventures Win in HBS’s Startup Competition

By Tim Dhoul

Updated July 3, 2019 Updated July 3, 2019

MBA student winners in Harvard Business School’s annual entrepreneurship competition this year show a strong focus on matters of health and wellbeing.

The student business track – one of three categories to the Harvard Business School (HBS) New Venture Competition – was won by Astraeus Technologies, which is hoping to produce a better screening test for lung cancer through something known as the L-CARD. Teams fighting for the US$50,000 prize in this category had to include at least one HBS MBA student and Astraeus Technologies could lay claim to two members of its class of 2017, Jay Kumar and Graham Lieberman.

Tiny houses for hire from one Harvard Business School runner up

The runners up in the student business track and winners of US$25,000, meanwhile, contained an MBA student member of this year’s graduating class, Jon Staff. Their venture, Getaway, designs and rents out tiny houses to stressed city-dwellers and, as such, has a stated focus on wellbeing, as the team described in the lead up to this week’s competition finale:

“We really look at ourselves as a wellness company more than a hospitality company -- a way to react to and escape the constant beeping and buzzing of our technology and the fact that work now fills every hour of the day and every day of the week.”

Further MBA student and alumni winners

Two further MBA student members of this year’s graduating class at Harvard Business School, Tess Brooks and Polina Dekhtyar, were behind the venture named as runner up and the winner of US$25,000 in HBS’s social enterprise category. Again, wellbeing underpins the purpose of Confi, which seeks to provide women with expert advice, yet in the style of a ‘big sister’, on personal health and topics often seen as awkward to broach.

First place and the US$50,000 prize in the competition’s alumni track was awarded to Cobli, a startup looking to improve Brazil’s car fleet logistics and which features a graduate of HBS’s MBA class of 2012, Parker Treacy, among its founders.

Harvard Business School’s annual New Venture Competition is hosted jointly between the school’s Arthur Rock Center for Entrepreneurship and its Social Enterprise Initiative. To date, 3,000 students from across the Harvard community are said to have participated in the competition. Guest speaker at this year’s event and HBS alumni, Jeff Sandefer, who founded the entrepreneurship-focused Acton School of Business and Acton Academy talked through his experiences, telling attendees at the finale to: “Live with a mission and remember to see setbacks as lessons.”

This article was originally published in April 2016 . It was last updated in July 2019

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Tim is a writer with a background in consumer journalism and charity communications. He trained as a journalist in the UK and holds degrees in history (BA) and Latin American studies (MA).

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