Honey Homes raised $9 million Series A to continue their work building a membership service for busy homeowners

Honey Homes, closed their Series A recently, led by Khosla Ventures and supported by Pear and others. To mark the occasion, we thought we’d do a little lookback of our history working with the Honey Homes team over the last few years.

We were first introduced to Honey Homes’ Founder and CEO Vishwas Prabhakara through DoorDash alums, including Evan Moore. The Khosla team knew that the Honey Homes team had a promising early idea and felt Pear would be great seed partners in shaping it into a venture-scalable business. 

Once we met the team, we were excited about backing them for a few key reasons:

  • First of all, we knew this was a massive and unsolved market opportunity. US homeowners spend $250 billion annually on their homes via a highly-fragmented vendor network. The Honey Homes team saw a big opportunity to streamline that network and create a product experience that has never existed for home owners. Most home services companies are marketplaces or managed marketplaces, so it is challenging to make the economics work and keep the quality bar high while scaling. This results in churn from both the supply and demand side. Honey Homes saw an opportunity to do things differently and build out a new model – a homeowner subscription business where they employ handy people. This changes the economics and raises the quality bar substantially.
  • Secondly, they had a clear vision for a product to meet that market demand. The Honey Homes team wanted to build a membership service for busy homeowners to manage and complete to-do lists. I was a new homeowner myself at the time, could easily relate the never ending list of tasks to maintain my home and  the difficulty of finding and keeping handymen. I found the idea of a reliable membership service really enticing. 
  • Finally, we felt that the team was really strong and perfectly suited to tackle this problem. Vishwas was Yelp’s first General Manager and he was also COO of Digit, where he gained valuable experience as an operator. He understood first hand the piecemealing that homeowners have to do for maintenance and improvement work. Avantika Prabhakara, who leads Marketing at Honey Homes, has a rich marketing background from organizations like Opendoor, Trulia, and Zillow, so she’s also deeply familiar with the challenges people face on finding reliable contractors and handyman services.
The Honey Homes app is easy-to-use for homeowners.

Khosla and Pear co-led the seed round in July 2021. Over the last two years, they’ve focused on building out the infrastructure to make this service work, growth in their initial markets, and eliminating key risks in order to raise their Series A. They grew from just a co-founding team to 12 employees and 14 handymen during this time. They also expanded across the Bay Area and Dallas and onboarded 500+ subscription customers. In total, over 20,000 home tasks have been completed for members through more than 10,000 Honey Homes visits over the last two years. 

I’ve been lucky enough to not only be an investor into Honey Homes, but also an early customer. I started using Honey Homes in March 2022, and I’ve had hundreds of tasks completed in my home ranging from fixing a frustrating leaky pond to helping us move our furniture to fixing water-damaged cracks in our ceiling to cleaning out dryer ducts. We use the service so regularly that even my daughter knows our handyman, Miguel, by name. Honey Homes has had an incredibly strong customer response: everyone who hears about it wants to join and they’ve done an excellent job retaining customers. 

We’re so proud of the team for successfully raising their Series A and cannot wait for their continued growth and success!

Welcoming Aparna Sinha as Pear’s newest Partner!

We’re excited to share that Aparna Sinha is Pear’s newest Partner! Aparna has made an outsized impact in her time with us as a Visiting Partner, and we couldn’t be more thrilled that she’s joining our team full time.

Aparna brings a strong thesis and a depth of experience in enterprise, developer, and AI to Pear and is excited to work with ambitious founders during this breakout moment in AI. “We’re in the midst of unprecedented technological advancement. AI is re-shaping our present and enabling  the most significant breakthroughs of our lifetimes. The breadth and pace of this technological shift creates an opportunity for startups to disrupt the value chain and reshape how we interact with our world,” says Aparna. “Pear’s co-founder is a female former founder with a PhD in engineering, and our work to grow top female technical entrepreneurs resonates with me,” she continued. 

Over the last six months, Aparna helped launch PearX for AI, a new track of the PearX program tailored towards AI builders. We recently welcomed six teams to the inaugural PearX for AI cohort and are excited for these founders to debut their companies with the world soon. Through the PearX for AI program, Aparna is partnering with founders to define their product, win early customers, and grow. She’s able to leverage her deep experience from Google and in enterprise software to give Pear’s portfolio companies an advantage in the market.

Aparna is also building out our AI advisor community, connecting Pear founders with industry experts from organizations like Stanford, Google, OpenAI, Hugging Face, McKinsey and more. At this moment, AI is touching every single facet of technology and she’s been working to build a top notch council of advisors to assist Pear founders on their entrepreneurial journeys.

We’re so excited to welcome Aparna. If you’re a founder looking to connect, please email her at aparna@pear.vc

Welcoming Naomi Chetrit Band as Head of Dorm!

Last week, we welcomed Naomi Chetrit Band to the Pear team to lead our Dorm program as a Senior Associate on the investment team. At Pear, we have a long history partnering with students to build the next wave of category-defining companies. We met the founders of companies like Affinity, Viz.ai, Nova Credit, and WindBorne when they were still in school, and we love partnering with students to build businesses from the ground up. With Naomi joining our team, we’re excited to take our program to the next level. 

Pear Garage in 2014. We’ve been investing in students since our start.

Naomi is excited to concentrate on supporting student founders. “My lifelong excitement for learning and education finds its natural home on campuses and inside classrooms. Living in Israel, surrounded by a vibrant startup ecosystem, I developed a strong inclination towards working with founders and supporting early stage startups. Being at Pear now allows me to blend both of my passions, for which I am truly grateful,” says Naomi.

Naomi joins us from the Wharton School, where she just completed her MBA. She also worked as a Pear Fellow during her time at UPenn. Naomi is also an Israeli CPA and Attorney with a career spanning EY-Parthenon, EY, and S. Horowitz & Co.

Naomi pictured with the 2022 Fellowship cohort.

Welcome to the team, Naomi! If you’re a student builder or want to learn more about our Dorm program, you can connect with Naomi on Twitter, LinkedIn, or at naomi@pear.vc

Welcoming Louis Corso as Finance Director at Pear

Louis’ journey to finance and accounting began with his life-long card playing hobby. He loves working with numbers and rules, and describes himself as quietly a very competitive person. During high school and college, Louis was a professional-caliber Magic: the Gathering player, peaking as a top 300 player in the world while he was in graduate school, but his first love is cribbage, which he grew up playing with his family.

Professionally speaking, Louis is an expert at VC finance. Prior to Pear, Louis worked across finance, tax, and fund accounting at firms like Emergence, Ohana Real Estate Investors, and Foundation Capital. At Pear, Louis’ role involves managing the financial functions of the firm and working across our four funds. He closely monitors budgeting and operating finances, portfolio valuations, LP reporting, and manages the annual tax and audit process. He’s also focused on helping Pear build scalable finance processes that will meet Pear’s needs as we continue to grow.

“I am excited to be at Pear because we are working with founders at the very start of their journey. It’s so fun to be with them from day one, with a ton of excitement and opportunity in front of them. I am also excited to be working with such a humble, collaborative team. It’s fun to feel like we’re all pushing in the same direction, building something together,” Louis says.

Outside of work, Louis lives in the Bay Area with his wife, two young children, and two cats. Questions for Louis? You can reach him at louis@pear.vc or find him on LinkedIn.

PearX S20 alum Federato raised $25 million in Series B funding to accelerate their work running a RiskOps platform for property and casualty insurance

Last week, PearX S20 alum Federato announced their $25M Series B round led by Caffeinated Capital and joined by Pear and Emergence Capital

We first met Federato’s Co-founders Will Ross and William Steenbergen in March 2020, when they were first year grad students at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business. They were winners of the 2020 Pear Competition and we also invited them to join PearX, our early-stage bootcamp for founders. 

The early Federato team.

When we met Will and William, they only had a product concept and some initial customer validation. But even though they didn’t have solid proof yet, we decided to partner with them in building Federato for a few key reasons:

  • First, we saw a big market opportunity. New risks like climate change, cyber security, and social inflation were changing the landscape. In the insurance industry, risk is the opportunity, and it’s a really hard problem to solve. Insurers operating processes are unable to accommodate emerging risks, but Federato brought a solution to the table to help insurers take on risks of under utilized data assets. We knew at the time that climate change was already affecting the insurance industry in dramatic ways. The elevated frequency of damaging weather events drove more than $100B in uninsured losses between 2018-2019 alone, and this number has only continued to grow since then. 
Elevated frequency of weather events drove more than $100B in uninsured losses in 2018-2019. Read more: SwissRe “Closing the Protection Gap Together

  • Second, even though they were early in their journey, the founders had a clear vision. We believed in their vision to bring AI into how insurance companies manage the risks associated with an ever-changing world, including the elevated frequency of damaging weather events caused by climate change. They concluded that the best way to achieve this was through a federated learning mechanism (hence the name Federato) that would allow insurance companies to benefit from their own data, as well as other entities’ and insurance companies’ data, safely. We also appreciated that their solution delivered a simple, convenient, and beautiful UX experience, where every interaction was optimized for the user. 
  • Third, we believed in the team from the get go. In their early days, they described themselves as “two deeply passionate, data science/product people who came together to do something about climate change with machine learning.”  Will conceived of the concept behind Federato when he was an Associate at Venrock and William built ML models for the insurance industry at his prior startup, Building Blocks. Together, they researched and deeply understood the space. They didn’t just bring us an idea on a slide deck, but instead they brought a thoroughly thought out plan with multiple in-depth customer interviews, a light proof of concept built on publicly available data, and a clear understanding of the end user and end buyer. We could see that this was a team with a clear analytical mind and a bias for action, which is a rare occurrence.

During PearX, the team coined the term RiskOps, which is about realizing that risk cannot be priced without taking distribution into account. This is a tricky concept to explain clearly, but we worked closely with them to articulate this vision at Demo Day. We also partnered closely with Will and William in developing the first version of their operational underwriting software that continuously monitors risk at every underwriting decision, rather than only a few times per year. Arash and I remember working together to create hand drawn mockups of their initial software over long Zoom meetings during the height of Covid lockdowns. 

Federato’s Co-founder Will presented to thousands of investors during PearX’s first ever virtual Demo Day at the height of the COVID pandemic in 2020.

Shortly after presenting at Pear’s S20 virtual Demo Day, Federato closed a Seed round led by Caffeinated Capital. Between their Seed and Series A rounds, we worked with them on important company-building milestones, like refining the product, building a strong company culture, and navigating long sales cycles through acquiring their first few customers. 

We also helped the Federato team prepare for a successful Series A raise through our Series A Bootcamp. They successfully raised their Series A from Emergence in 2022. 

Federato sharing their vision and progress with Pear’s team and investors in 2022.

In less than a year following the Series A raise, Federato proved itself even more. They truly became an economically efficient marketplace that connects data to the value it can actually create in underwriting. In this year, Federato team tripled their customer base, doubled their spend with existing customers, and entered new segments. 

Riding off of this strong momentum, they just closed their Series B round from Caffeinated, Emergence, and Pear, and we’re excited to continue working with Will, William, and the entire (growing!) Federato team on their mission to modernize the insurance industry!

Dorm room to board room: key learnings from Pear VC’s masterclass in pre-seed investing with Stanford founders

Last month, I had the immense privilege of helping judge Pear VC’s Stanford student Competition. The event highlighted the brightest student founders from Stanford vying for their first check. The Pear Competition has a history of identifying and nurturing exceptional talent, supporting unicorn companies such as Viz.ai and other breakout companies including Nova Credit, Federato, Conduit Tech, and Wagr.

Pre-seed is a notoriously hard stage to invest, as startups often lack any metrics, product, traction, or proven revenue model. The excitement and challenge lies in the ability to identify hidden gems despite the uncertainty, requiring a skillset that combines intuition, experience, and a deep understanding of market landscapes across a wide range of industries.

With the invaluable experience of judging and doing diligence on close to 100 founders alongside renowned investors and proven operators, Mar Hershenson and Ilian Georgiev, I wanted to share 5 key takeaways in pre-seed investing from one of the best early-stage VCs:

1. Passion and Market Insight

Impressive founders had a deep understanding of their market, derived from a unique blend of professional experience, customer interviews, and thorough research. They could clearly pinpoint “hair on fire” problems and delve into pain points along the customer journey in excruciating detail, ultimately laying the foundation for a compelling vision for the problem they aim to solve.

These founders masterfully answered highly nuanced follow-up questions, while still demonstrating a humbling awareness of what they still needed to learn.

2. High Learning Rate

Another exciting key trait of founders was a demonstrated “high rate of learning”. These founders were unafraid to openly discuss assumptions and hypotheses that were proven wrong, providing insights into how their understanding of the market and potential solutions continually evolved. This grounded reflection illustrated their willingness to pivot when necessary, ensuring they could navigate the inevitable uncertainties of the startup journey.

3. Execution Velocity

Several founders stood out with their relentless drive to move fast. They leveraged no-code tools, pounded the pavement to connect with customers, and used smokescreen tests to gauge demand. These tenacious entrepreneurs consistently found ingenious, low-cost, and scrappy ways to rapidly test hypotheses, never allowing a single obstacle to halt their progress. They made do with what they had, not waiting on “ideal” resources or the “perfect team”.

4. Commitment

High commitment and perseverance was another trait we looked for in founders. Despite the glamour of eye-catching TechCrunch headlines, the reality is that the founder journey is an uphill marathon. Most startups must navigate the treacherous “pit of despair” for an average of 18 months before achieving product-market fit. A demonstrated ability to weather these upcoming challenging times after the initial excitement fades is a vital asset to tackle the inevitable hurdles of entrepreneurship. 

Some of these founders had a history of starting previous businesses, often grappling with numerous setbacks and pivots. They could detail stories of struggles and challenges they faced in their founding journey, demonstrating a balance of grit and determination to continually refine their craft. 

5. True Meaning of a “No”

Perhaps the most insightful lesson was that a “no” from a VC often does not mean that the founder or the business wasn’t exceptional. Many factors can contribute to a “no” despite an impressive company, such as a competing investment, the market size, or a mismatch with the VC’s sector focus. Founders often forget that building an outstanding business and securing funding from a specific VC are distinct pursuits. Never let a single “no” derail your founding journey. Embrace the challenge, learn from the feedback, and keep building. Success is not solely defined by the checks you secure but by the impact you create through the relentless pursuit of your vision.

In essence, the art of pre-seed investing lies in recognizing founders who possess a unique combination of passion, adaptability, and resilience. These entrepreneurs are driven by their vision and demonstrate an uncanny ability to navigate uncertainty, making them invaluable assets in the early-stage startup ecosystem, and proving that success is ultimately measured by the tenacity to transform a compelling idea into a lasting impact.

Guest post written by Alex Wu, a Pear Fellow at Stanford.

Welcoming Arpan Shah as Pear’s newest Partner

We’re excited to announce that Arpan Shah will be Pear’s newest Partner. A Visiting Partner for the last year, as well as former Robinhood founding engineer and founder of Flannel (acquired by Plaid), we couldn’t be more thrilled to have him permanently onboard. 

An alumni of Pear Garage, Arpan has always embodied the people-first Pear ethos and now follows the operator-turned-investor journey. He will continue working on investments in his wheelhouse of Fintech, developer tools as well as data platforms and AI. 

“I’m excited to find companies that have more innovative approaches that are both scalable and cost efficient in this world where more and more data will be used in more and more interesting ways.”

As a Visiting Partner, Arpan has supported portfolio companies at the intersection of Fintech, AI and Data. He’ll continue providing his expertise with PearX for AI (the first cohort of which is still open for applications).

“I really like working with founders who are trying to build companies that seem ridiculously hard. Those are the types of founders that I think are quite exciting, because they’re really motivated to not pursue small wins, but really make transformational change happen in an industry.”

Sound like you? Email him at arpan@pear.vc

Announcing Pear Fund IV: $432M to power the future of tech

10 years ago, we started what is now Pear VC under the name Pejman and Mar Ventures. But the story dates even further back to 2009, when Pejman approached me with the goal to build a fund that serves world class entrepreneurs and supports their efforts with know-how, network, and capital. Pejman had a clear vision to build a seed stage firm with a true legacy: one that would be talked about in the history books.

By that time, Pejman had established himself as a savvy angel investor, and he even backed some of my own startups. When setting out to start a fund, he wanted to partner with someone that had a complementary skillset: while Pejman had over ten years of experience investing, I had founded three companies. It was a great match, but I was initially pretty reluctant to dive into the world of venture. Pejman, like any great founder, did not give up. He spent four years trying to convince me, and ultimately the two of us agreed to set out and raise an initial seed fund in 2013. Raising our first fund was not easy. After all, neither of us had any venture experience and we did not fit the mold of typical VCs.  After facing a series of no’s, a few brave LPs put their trust in us, and we were off to the races with a $50M seed fund.

 Me and Pejman in Pear’s first office in Palo Alto in 2013.

So here we are, 10 years later. We are incredibly proud of how far we have come, but we’re also well aware of how much lies ahead of us. Over the last decade, we’ve seeded over 150 companies including marquee companies like DoorDash (NSDQ: DASH), Guardant Health (NSDQ:GH), Senti Bio (NSDQ: SNTI), Aurora Solar, Gusto, Branch, Affinity, Vanta, Viz.ai and many more. 

Although we have come a long way since 2013, our DNA has not changed. Perseverance, can-do mentality, collaboration, service, and legacy remain the pillars of our fund.

The team has grown quite a bit. We now have a world class team of 26 (and growing!) Pear team members. Our investment team brings deep expertise across our vertical areas – from consumer to biotech to fintech to AI and beyond. We’ve also invested our resources in building a best-in-class platform team, with extensive backgrounds in company building – from talent to GTM to marketing and more.

Pear’s amazing team in our Menlo Park HQ.

Just like on day one of Pear, we are at the service of our founders. When we partner with a company, we are an extended member of their team and we do whatever it takes to help them be successful. We tell founders to think of us as “Ocean’s Eleven”: we’re a unique cast of colorful characters, with specific skills, a common plan, and coordinated execution.  In fact, coordinated collaboration is at the heart of what we do. 

We remain as optimistic as day one. Over the last decade of building Pear, we have witnessed the market go through its fair share of ups and downs. Despite the current economic downturn, we firmly believe that there is no better time to invest at the seed stage. The market is teeming with exceptional talent starting companies, the advent of AI is propelling company building at an unprecedented pace, and sales and marketing can be done at scale with fewer resources. In light of these factors, we are confident that the next wave of iconic companies will emerge from this downturn, and we are looking forward to being their initial backers.

This week, we celebrate raising our fourth fund at $432 million, but we know that fundraising is just one milestone. We have our eyes set on the decades that lie ahead, and we are already hard at work building new initiatives that will help us deliver on our promise to back and support early-stage companies. 

Since day one, we’ve built Pear on this belief that people truly make the difference. We are deeply grateful to our LPs and to our founders who put their faith in us as partners every day. 

We look forward to building the future of tech with Pear Fund IV. We couldn’t be more excited for the next decade of Pear!

AR/VR/XR/PEAR: our call for mixed reality builders 

In the past few months, we have seen the beginnings of rising interest in building AR, VR, mixed reality, and extended reality infrastructure and applications (we’ll just call it “XR” for short): XR applications to PearX are up 5x this year, dedicated XR hacker groups are proliferating at top engineering schools like Harvard and Stanford, and our tracking shows hundreds of founders have left venture-backed and major tech companies to build in the XR space.  

We think this is because XR has the potential to represent one of the most consequential new platforms of the coming decade, and there is substantial alpha to be had for builders who study this burgeoning space and seize early opportunities. 

We expect interest in building in XR only to increase dramatically – particularly following Apple’s upcoming Reality Pro headset announcement. We see builders with a measured sense of urgency having an advantage, and we’ve put together a high-level guide for exploring ideas in XR. What follows is merely one way of cataloging opportunities; we would love to meet and speak with founders who are building early, quickly, and curiously in the broader XR space. 

XR Builder’s Guide to Exploring Ideas

A Familiar “Infrastructure and Applications” Approach

With any new technology, there are opportunities in foundational infrastructure (making the technology easier to deploy or adding capabilities to what can be built for / with it) and novel applications (tools built with the new technology to help users achieve something they could not previously do).

This approach often starts by asking what new infrastructure developers are building, and then asking what applications can be built atop it. 

In XR, substantial existing infrastructure will be first-party specific to headset makers. So, it is worth considering what initial applications may be built on foundations purpose-built for available devices – and which use cases may find breakout success among users of those devices. 

XR applications

Consumer

Gaming appears to be the first breaking wave of consumer XR, and will likely lead the way for the foreseeable future. Unity’s 2023 report showed that more than half of all console developers are now building for VR platforms, too. It’s been said that “Every game developer wants to be a VR game developer – they just need to find a way to get paid for it.” This may not be a problem soon enough.

According to The Economist and Omdia, global gaming spending will eclipse $185B this year, with half of consumer spend going to mobile games. As AAA titles and boredom-busting mobile games alike are rendered in XR, it stands to reason that anyone with access to an XR device will prefer gameplay in a more immersive form – meaning that a sizable share of the gaming market may shift to XR in the next decade.

Gamified consumer training is already proving its effectiveness in athletics: thousands of baseball players, amateur and professional alike – including the reigning MVP – use WIN Reality’s Quest app to perfect their swings, with measurable improvements on their performance. 

We are also excited about consumer applications in more passive streaming entertainment, social content sharing, education, and commerce. Many of the hours of daily screen time spent watching asynchronous content – social media feeds or professional productions – or browsing e-commerce sites may feel more vivid in an immersive environment. 

Enterprise 

Hardware fragility and cost may prevent near-term widespread enterprise adoption of B2B XR across business types. Meanwhile, few people – including us – are excited about open-ended co-working in an immersive XR environment. 

But, there are impactful vertical and horizontal applications alike that may soon make enterprise XR familiar and essential in many use cases, especially at large companies. Horizontal enterprise tools may include general-purpose training and demo environments: collaborative spaces built to allow anyone to host a classroom or sales presentation. Early deployments of immersive training tools have shown efficacy in use cases as diverse as nursing, UPS driver safety, and law enforcement.    

For more specialized B2B applications, initial verticals may include architecture and interior design, product design and mechanical engineering, repair and maintenance diagnostics and installation, and healthcare diagnostics and treatment simulation – among many other sectors.

Key questions for XR application builders 

With any application, we encourage prospective founders to consider first-party risk: What core applications are platform creators likely to want to own? FaceTimeXR may be a more likely winner than a new developer’s video chat app for Apple RealityPro. But, a social app to flip through your photo library immersively, in real-time and alongside the friends in those images, may be less likely in Apple’s first-party domain.  

We also encourage XR builders to have an airtight “why XR” case for any application: what vital benefit does an immersive, co-present environment offer to your user over alternative interfaces? 

XR Infrastructure

Developer tools 

Wise founders will study the initial wave of XR adoption and ask which high-use applications are breaking, underwhelming, or borderline impossible on existing first-party or open infrastructure. Many of the most most compelling opportunities will be in bolstering core experiences: interactivity and copresence, audio, messaging, 3D asset generation, 2D/3D web interoperability, streaming reliability and observability. 

Monetization enablement 

An entire ecosystem of companies will support familiar business models, applied to XR use cases. While many elements of these business models may be unchanged for a new interface, there will undoubtedly be novel components. E-commerce checkout flows will feature transaction-splitting for social shopping. A wave of analytics and marketing tools will help businesses identify lucrative, impression-rich actions users take in XR applications, and usage-based billing providers will emerge to track and monetize novel ways of product use. 

Key questions for XR infrastructure builders 

Although removed from the end XR application consumer, XR infrastructure builders should start with this headset-adorned or AR-phone-app wielding user profile in mind. In a nascent space, an infrastructure builder needs to be sure there are enough end users who will in turn adopt what your own customers build with your tool or on your platform. Even if a developer can build something novel and powerful with your tools, your success relies on that developer’s distribution.   

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These are merely a few of the possible areas to explore. The promise of XR lies in the experiences we cannot yet clearly see, and the infrastructure built to enable them. If you’re building now — send us a note to XR@pear.vc. And if you’ll be in LA for LA Tech Week, join us on 6/7 at our XR breakfast — there will be plenty to discuss the week of Apple WWDC!

Pear Competition: Harvard Winners

At Pear, we have a long history partnering with students to build the next wave of category-defining companies. In fact, we started working with the founders of companies like Branch, Aurora Solar, Bioage, and Affinity when they were still students.  Each year, we host Pear Competition where students can receive up to $100,000 to launch their startups.  

This year, there were five winners of Pear Competition at Harvard, and they received prizes between $25,000 and $100,000 each. These winners were selected based on their ideas across various fields from AI infrastructure to virtual reality and more. We’re excited to shine a spotlight on this year’s winners:

Civic Roundtable 

Civic Roundtable is a collaboration platform for public servants: a “Reddit meets LinkedIn”– designed with and for public servants. Founders Madeleine Smith and Austin Boral are joint Harvard Business School / Harvard Kennedy School of Government student with experience working in and with the public sector, where they saw firsthand the inefficiencies that state, local, and federal workers face in their attempts to collaborate. Civic Roundtable brings these workers together in one place to share knowledge and coordinate their joint efforts. 

Gigit.ai

Gigit.ai was founded by Harvard Business School student Inez Wihardjo, is a plug-and-play infrastructure to enable enterprises to own and train specialized AI models. Unlike existing players, Gigit offers an integrated self-hosted system of AI + subject-matter experts to ensure no hallucination, utmost accuracy, while preserving the data privacy of the enterprises.

Delilah

Delilah is a personalized AI assistant founded by Harvard College undergraduates Khoi Nguyen and Raunak Daga, two members of Pear Garage at Harvard. Khoi and Raunak are hackers at heart, and have built and battle-tested a suite of productivity tools with their target market of GenZ students. We couldn’t be more excited to support their mission to bring the game-changing tools of an all-purpose AI assistant to this demographic. 

BuyXR

BuyXR, founded by Harvard College undergraduates Sam Suchin and Will Schrepferman, is a virtual reality e-commerce platform that allows any seller – from the world’s biggest brands to limited edition creators – to offer their merchandise in an immersive, gamified world. 

Stealth 

More to come about our fifth winner when they launch! 

We’ve long believed that, with the right tools and resources, student builders can build extraordinary companies. These five Harvard Competition winners embody the spirit of student entrepreneurship and innovation, and we’re excited to see where they go!