Startup RAD

A Startup Rad is a group of founders working to develop their startups and sharing feedback

The term 'Rad' comes from R&D, research and development, and over the evolution of the program has come to stand for  a unique educational experience that helps students act, think and feel like a startup founder by practicing  within a community of their peers,  researching and developing a new idea amidst peer and coach feedback.  Becoming a member of a startup rad is a commitment to working hard, creating good startup practices and openly giving and receiving feedback along the way.

The course is for students seeking actual experience as a founder of a startup, whether commercial, social or another type of innovative project.  Students working in teams are preferred.  Requires self-directed, independent work and active search for and outreach to mentors, customers, and partners for guidance and feedback in addition to that provided by the instructor and peer founders.  Students will share their work regularly in an online and classroom feedback forum that includes their peers.

Engineering Sciences 95r: Startup R&D goes by course catalog number 60126.  Enrollment is limited and by agreement with the instructor.  Students founders who have taken the course in the past have used the course to create or advance startups such as

  • Foodlinker
  • Butlr
  • Veritas
  • Athlete
  • Plastiq
  • Perceptus
  • Bobo
  • Newsle
  • PushPage
  • College Copywriters
  • DareDvl
  • Appkick
  • Vaulti
  • Branch.ly
  • Most
  • Valet.io
  • Mark43
  • Innovium Technologies
  • OforO
  • myLingo
  • SaleSight
  • Side

Interested in taking startup rad?

Apply by email to pbottino@seas.harvard.edu; Subject: Rad App Term Year (e.g., Rad App Spring 2017) and please include the following:

  • Team name (include startup URL, if any).
  • Name, class year, and concentration of each team member.
  • Attach a resume in pdf format  for each team member.    
  • Briefly describe the startup you would like to work on: the target user and the product; when and how it began; what you have done to build it so far; and what you would like to do in the next three months. 
  • A link to a video (5 minutes max) introducing yourself, teammates, and your startup (nothing fancy required, just you in front of your computer or phone is fine).

The Rad has been oversubscribed each semester.  Applications are accepted anytime before the first class meeting.  An interview  with the teaching staff is usually required before enrollment permission is granted.  You will be contacted to schedule an interview if needed.  Enrollment decisions are made no later than the evening before study card day.

Students should expect to meet with the full Rad every week and individually or in teams with the teaching staff every other week.  A fixed 2 hour meeting time is scheduled for Thursdays 4pm-6pm.  Students must have this time free on their schedule to enroll.

There is no general syllabus for ES95r.  Each student or team project is custom designed and grading is based on progress toward mutually agreed upon goals and preparation for and participation in class, team meetings, and the feedback forums.