The Bootcamp is designed for both aspiring founders with a new venture concept — referred to here as concept owners — and students who lack a concept but wish to gain experience with early-stage startups — referred to as independent applicants.
During the Bootcamp, students will work on a new venture concept in teams of three. If you have a concept that you'd like to work on during the Bootcamp, you can apply with or without team members. Accordingly, students will apply in one of the following roles:
1. CONCEPT OWNER APPLYING ALONE
If you are a concept owner applying alone and your concept is accepted, you must be willing to have two independent applicants join you in working on your concept. When you apply, you will have an opportunity to indicate whether or not you would like to be considered for admission as an independent applicant, in the event that your concept is rejected.
2. TWO- OR THREE-MEMBER TEAM WITH A CONCEPT
If you are applying as part of a team of RC students who wish to enroll in the Bootcamp and work on a venture concept together, we will ask that you designate one team member to submit some information about your concept. Other team members are also required to fill out an application, but they will not be asked for information about your concept. When you apply, each team member will have an opportunity to indicate whether or not they would like to be considered for admission as an independent applicant, in the event that your team's concept is rejected.
3. INDEPENDENT APPLICANT
Independent applicants do not have a venture concept and are not yet affiliated with a team that has one. After we make admissions decisions, we will run a team assembly process that matches independent applicants to concept owners who applied alone or teams who applied with only two members.
The Startup Bootcamp application is now open!
Students will be admitted to the Bootcamp through an application process that will be open until November 4th at 5:00 ET.
- Enrollment will be capped at:
- Section 1: 45: 15 teams, each with three members.
- Section 2: 45: no team requirement.
- Section 3: 60: no team requirement.
- Admissions preference will be given to 1st-year HBS MBA candidates. If capacity is available, we may admit 2nd-year HBS MBA students and other Harvard University students.
- There is no fee for the Bootcamp.
- Please review the sections below that apply to you.
- You will be notified of your status on November 10.
For applicants proposing a venture concept
You should apply ONLY if:
You are comfortable with our program requirements and your idea is at an early stage of development. Ideally, concept owners should have done just enough prior work (e.g., interviews with prospective customers; competitor analysis) to be confident they have identified a strong unmet customer need. Please read the next section to determine if you have completed too little or too much work on your venture concept.
do not apply if:
Your concept is too "raw" — say, you just thought of it this morning in the shower — and you haven't yet done enough work to be confident you've found a real pain point. It'd be disruptive for your team to abandon your concept and switch to a new one in the middle of the Bootcamp.
Your concept is too "well done" — say, you have already launched your product, or you haven't yet launched, but you are convinced that you have learned everything that you need to know about customer needs and that you have a great design. The Bootcamp is designed to help move a venture concept toward launch, not to refine an existing product and drive its growth. If your concept is too "well done," you'll be bored and frustrated when we ask you to revisit assumptions and retrace your steps.
We will select concepts based on fit with these criteria and our assessment of the venture's potential. The number of team members affiliated with a concept proposal — one, two, or three — will have no impact whatsoever on our decisions.
For independent applicants
After we select new venture concepts, independent applicants will be admitted by random lottery from a pool that includes:
- Students who did not propose a new venture concept.
- Students whose new venture concept was rejected, but who are willing to work on another concept.
You are not required to assemble a team before you apply, but we want to make it easy for students who wish to do so.
- Before we close the application process. We will conduct an information session on Thursday, Oct. 20, 4:00-5:00, Hawes 101, at which students who plan to submit venture concepts can meet students who are interested in joining a team. Students can also use our optional Team Matching Sheet to post concept descriptions and, for students seeking a team, to describe their backgrounds and preferences.
- After we communicate application decisions. To help match independent applicants to projects that require additional team members, we will conduct a planning session on Wednesday, Nov. 30, 3:30-4:40 pm, Hawes 101, and also ask admitted students to update Team Matching Sheet entries.
To ensure that we hit the ground running in January, we'll reserve the right to assign students to projects if our Fall matchmaking process leaves some orphans.