Summer Founders Program
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Summer Founders Program

Introducing the Cambridge Summer Founders Program, or the Harvard Hacker House Founder Fellowships

Where: Cambridge, MA

Why Harvard?
  • Every semester at Harvard College, ~10 founders take a leave. Many more would take a leave if they had somewhere to live and something cool to do.
  • There have been 170 Harvard unicorns in the last 20 years. That’s 8/year. We just need one of them to be in the program to yield $20m+ in equity.
  • VC funds like GC, NFX, Soma, Pear, EF, Z Fellows, etc all set aside funding for Harvard startups.
  • Harvard has invested $4b into AI + Allston recently, including the Harvard Innovation Labs, the SEC, Harvard Grid, and the Kempner Institute.
  • We have world-class infrastructure, facilities, and services. Kendall Sq has the most patents, researchers, and labs within a square mile.
  • Harvard and MIT combined make the most unicorns and correspondingly send the most founders to the Thiel Fellowship (9/20 of the 2024 cohort) and YC (which has a 5% unicorn rate and just raised $2b).
  • While our members are affiliated with Harvard, we are not a university initiative
Startup Resources at Harvard

What: Hacker House Fellowships

Why hacker houses?
  • The best part of any org is the people, and people who live together become lifelong friends and supporters of each other.
  • In the previous hacker house house, once dubbed Dropout House, four startups were launched in one year: Ostium, Toppings, DAOHQ, and Seed Labs. Each of them raised at $15m+ valuations from investors like Mark Cuban, A16Z, General Catalyst, Balajis, and Pareto Holdings for a total of over $6m in funding in about 6 months.
  • If we took 2% from founders in the house, in the last two years, we’d have over $4m in equity, free and clear. We currently plan to create holding companies for each cohort, so we can share equity between founders in the house, so they also get upside. We also plan to have a non-profit, so we can take tax-deductive donations to improve the houses and educational programming.
  • And historically, we haven’t even run applications, and just accepted almost everyone. Imagine how good we’d get with an acceptance rate lower than YC. In fact, YC was founded 19 years ago at Harvard. Sam Altman, Alexis Ohanian, Steve Huffman, Zak Stone, Justin Kan, Emmett Shear, and Aaron Swartz were a part of this original Summer Founders Program.
  • We can meet them where they are, and return to the original roots of YC, Silicon Valley, and Big Tech: staying around campus over the summer to work on moonshot products.

How: Startup Incubation Residencies

What do you mean?

When: June-August 2024

Why now?
  • Students have the most time over breaks and the summer. Facebook and Microsoft were founded before exams over the winter. Facebook was founded 20 years ago, and accelerated over the summer at a hacker house (next to Stanford).
  • This time around, it’s the (eternal) Summer of AI. AGI is predicted in 2 years, making launching easier and more important, yet tech hiring/job postings have declined by 2/3 from the peak, so both compute and human capital is cheap.
  • Recently, Pillar even ran a $1m moonshot challenge for Harvard. We’re also inspired by Launch House, HF0, Telora, Solaris, ZFellows, EntrepreneurFirst, and Somewhere Campus.
  • With the Summer Founders Program, I will launch startups, organize weekly programming, and spin up residencies catalyzing future tech, with the top people in the world, when they have nothing better to do.
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The Golden Age of Residencies

Who’s running this: Lucas Chu

Why me?
  • I run C House. See harvardentrepreneurs.com
  • So far, I've helped grow over a dozen non-profit and communities, from the Coronavirus Visualization Team to Dropout.Club. Three of them have reached over 5k attendees: Erevna, Gen Z Mafia, and Cerebral Valley
  • Previously, I raised millions from Mark Cuban and friends, to found a crypto exchange, which I exited, as well as a decentralized AI protocol incubated by A16Z CSS, which later lead a $40m round into the idea gensyn.AI
  • I’ve organized over a dozen hackathons, with over 4k+ hackathon attendees, creating millions in startup value and reallocating billions of dollars. For instance, Gen Z Mafia resulted in the connecting of hundreds of startup founders, worth over >$1b at this point

For whom: serial founders starting again

From where?
  1. Over the last year, we coordinated 20+ people to stay with us.
  2. People came from places like OpenAI, Goldman Sachs, SpaceX, Emergent Ventures, MIT, University of Waterloo, and more.
  3. We host Haitian, Ukrainian, Russian, Persian, Chinese, German, Austrian immigrants
  4. We have also been home for the youngest mayoral candidate for London, The Augmentation Lab, and XOUL.AI.

Interested in joining?

Interested in partnering?

Email me or text me at lucas@harvard.co or (424) 453-8881

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