HBS Opens A ‘Startup Studio’ In New York

Avanti Patel, new director of Harvard Business School's Startup Studio

Avani Patel, new director of Harvard Business School’s Startup Studio

Last year, 84 of 932 graduating MBAs at Harvard Business School did their own startups. If you subtracted the sponsored students who were returning to their employers, that means that slightly over 10% of the class launched new businesses, more than the 65 MBAs from Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business who became entrepreneurs by graduation last year.

The Harvard founders mainly launched their companies in technology, finance, consumer products and services, but also a host of other industries, from health care to consulting. Some 27 of the new organizations have a social mission, and nearly 60% of them are based in the northeast.

So those numbers put into context today’s (Jan. 11) announcement that HBS and its Arthur Rock Center for Entrepreneurship has opened an HBS Startup Studio in New York City and appointed Avani Patel, who has an MBA from Columbia Business School, as the new facility’s director. Although HBS has long had a network of offices around the globe dedicated to supporting faculty research, the school said this is the first off-campus facility for graduates of the school who are practicing entrepreneurs. It complements the broad variety of programs offered to Harvard MBA students by the HBS Rock Center and Harvard University’s Innovation Lab.


The Startup Studio, which is temporarily located in midtown Manhattan (1460 Broadway) before moving to a permanent and larger location in Silicon Alley next spring, will be both a gathering place for the many HBS entrepreneurial alumni in the Greater New York City area and a workspace for New York-based teams with at least one founder who is a Harvard Business School graduate. The Studio’s mission is to help foster connections and collaborations among alumni, whether they are founders, investors, or among those who have joined one of the many high-growth startups for which New York City has become well known.

“HBS alumni in New York have been at the forefront of the surge in startups there with companies such as Birchbox, Blue Apron, Rent the Runway, Oscar, and Hello Alfred, to name a few,” says Jodi Gernon (MBA 1991), director of the Rock Center, located on the School’s campus in Boston. “For years, many of them have returned to HBS to interact, seek advice, and network with others facing similar challenges. Now they can do that by staying in New York and making use of our Startup Studio.”

Teams gain access to the Studio by application. They must have seed funding in excess of $500,000 and fewer than seven employees. Teams will reside at the Studio for up to eighteen months, depending on their growth stage, and will be able to take advantage of all events and programming at the Studio, such as founder forums, subject matter and industry expert councils, and general networking events.

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