Harvard’s Launch Lab turns one, adds space for 35 more alumni startups

Rendering of the expanded Launch Lab space.
Rendering of the expanded Launch Lab space.

The Harvard Innovation Launch Lab, a workspace for startups launched by university alums, is expanding.

Come Sept. 1, the Launch Lab will take the wraps off 6,500 square feet of leased space adjacent to its current digs in Allston.

Once the paint dries on what was once a CrossFit studio, the Launch Lab will have room for a total of 130 workstations and could host up to 50 startup teams.

In a city teeming with co-working spaces for fledgling startups, the Launch Lab launched last year to be a subsidized roosting space for Harvard alums who are first-time entrepreneurs. Any startup with at least one founding member who is a graduate of Harvard College or any of Harvard’s graduate schools is eligible to apply.

Rent for a desk costs $300 per month, and the space features the standard perks including a beer tap, a conference room, open social spaces, and private “phone booths” from which to take phone calls.

Rendering of the expanded space. (Image via Harvard i-lab)

At launch last year, the Launch Lab hosted 15 startups, and some of those will continue into the next year.

“We are agnostic to graduation date,” said Jodi Goldstein, managing director of the Harvard Innovation Lab. So in theory startups can stay as long as they want.

But in choosing startups who qualify, Goldstein said the focus is on “high growth” ventures started by first-time entrepreneurs who have for example, some existing institutional backing or funding source. “We want people to outgrow us, that’s the intent,” she said.

Though it’s is just across the street from the Harvard’s i-lab, the university’s entrepreneurship support center for startups run by Harvard students, the Launch Lab is independently funded by donor contributions from Harvard Business School alums.

Still, Launch Lab members can cross the street to access some of those facilities, including speaker sessions and a rapid prototyping space with machine tools.

Nidhi Subbaraman writes about science and research. Email her at nidhi.subbaraman@globe.com.
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