Arpit Gupta (MBA ’22) shares exciting updates for the early stage fund spurring innovation.
The MBA Fund is an early-stage fund that backs student and alumni founders from Harvard, Stanford, and UPenn. We are a community of investors and operators who are not afraid to take the riskiest leaps with founders who are just getting started. Our mentors and backers are co-founders, partners, and presidents at top-tier VC firms and Fortune 500 companies.
The MBA Fund was started in 2018 with a $2M fund by four MBA students: Josh Hoffman-Senn (HBS), Hiro Tien (GSB), Sieva Kozinsky (Wharton), and Hansae Catlett (GSB). Julia Maltby (Wharton), a prior campus investment partner who led the Wharton investing team, has also recently been announced as a fifth General Partner. Since our launch, we have invested in over 70 early-stage startups. In this limited time, two MBA Fund portfolio companies have become unicorns, several have exceeded $100M+ valuations, and many others have seen uprounds from prominent VCs. In 2021, we raised our second fund which is a $6M fund. MBA Fund likes to partner with founders early on in their journeys, at the earliest signals of product market fit or initial customers, by investing $50k-$75k.
In 2021, The MBA Fund invested in 8 startups from the Harvard community, including Hue Beauty, BoldVoice, Nix, AllSpice, ChipBrian, Condor Health, GameFi and an additional startup that is in stealth. Hue Beauty is a digital platform that helps consumers find their perfect makeup shade match and helps brands efficiently distribute samples. BoldVoice is an accent coaching app that helps non-native English speakers be as well-understood in English as in their own language. Nix is a consumer diagnostic company with a wearable hydration sensor that empowers athletes to manage their hydration status in real-time. AllSpice has prepared a git platform for hardware engineers, allowing hardware teams to collaborate on design reviews and iterations similar to software teams. ChipBrain designs communication-assistance AI that empowers sales professionals with augmented empathy and persuasion in conversations. Condor Health helps life sciences companies manage their clinical trials and research and development spending. GameFi is a gamified banking solution to help users build their finances.
Last semester in Fall 2021, we welcomed new campus investment partners—CIPs—to our team from HBS. They are Ashutosh (Ash) Panchang (Section K), Inez Wihardjo (Section I), Layla Behrouzian (Section D) and Danny Eck (Section F). Together they bring experience as operators and investors in industries ranging from consumer internet, healthcare, fintech and many more. For the first time, The MBA Fund organized a retreat.
We are very excited about the Spring semester, especially about The MBA Fund Pitch Competition, where every year winning startups receive funding in the form of uncapped SAFEs. Last year, 5 Harvard startups won $500k from prominent VC funds who judged the competition including Contour Venture Partners, Switch Ventures, Brightlane, and NFX. Apart from the pitch competition, we will also organize meetups and founder events.
The MBA Fund CIPs and GPs are committed to helping the Harvard founder community in any way possible. Please feel free to ping any of the CIP with your ideas.
Arpit Gupta (MBA ’22) is Lead Investment Partner at The MBA Fund. He is a big believer in entrepreneurs and is usually interested in discussing startup ideas with Harvard teams. Before coming to HBS, Arpit founded Loktra.