2014 Harvard i-lab StartUp Scramble


  • Open Pitch
  • Venture Building & Prototyping (15-20 hours)
  • 3 Team Deliverables
  • 3 Rapid Skill-Building Sessions - Venture Modeling, Legal Stuff for Student Startups, & the signature Scramblytics™ (3 hours)
  • Expert Coaches Rotation (3 hours)
  • Final Panel Venture Showcase

The Scramble™ is the training-grounds where we’ll develop your core startup and innovation skill sets. Scrambles™ are NOT HACKATHONS. This program condense an early-stage startup experience into a fast-moving 40 hours designed to identify and overcome major pain points and bottlenecks to success. Attendees pitch, build teams, skill-build, eat, demo, and get coached by pros at some of Boston's most exciting companies and startups.

Hundreds of new student ventures and collaborations have taken root at Scrambles™ on world-leading campuses, creating offerings that range from hi-tech products to innovative services. Past Scramble™ attendees and teams have gone on to:

  • Top accelerators in the US (such as Techstars and YCombinator)
  • Land jobs and internships through new connections.
  • Launched dozens of startups
  • Win local and national startup competitions.
  • Use new skills and relationships to tackle emerging student leadership and professional challenges.
  • Receive over $1 million in investor funding for ventures.
  • + Scramble™ alumni count thousands of students from dozens of campuses. Each program unlocks the campus's universe of student talent, transfers emerging and best-practices across the campus, and strengthens campus-community bonds.

At the 2014 i-lab Scramble, 115 attendees joined forces to pitch 75+ ideas and team-up prototype 17 new ventures. Teams piloted social enterprises, demo'd education and personal lifestyle mobile apps, and modeled health and life sciences startups. The Scramble forged hundreds of new cross-campus relationships as attendees test-drove ideas and prepared for the President's and Deans' Challenges.

A Scramble is designed to make good use of the time you invest. Past Scramble alumni also had a few things to share:

"Prior to this experience, I've had a huge mental block, thinking that I would need to capture a perfect idea before getting started. At the Scramble, the experience of failing and refining was really beneficial from a personal development standpoint."

"Recognizing that similar to the real-world, perseverance matters. It was also wonderful to push ourselves beyond our comfort zones."

"[I learned] How to approach a pitch and build a pitch deck [and] tools/resources available to prototype/ launch web businesses. Developing a good idea is hard, executing is even harder."

"The Scramble experience was great - amazing to experience the assimilation of new ideas, structuring and development of epic ideas in such a short span of time."

"Met and worked with incredible people. Learned about new software and websites—immensely useful for my future."'

"Getting to connect with people from across campus was the best part! I even connected up with other people to pursue different start-ups that we plan to work on after this weekend."

"This is what I always imagined college and grad school would be like -- collaborating with people with different interests from across the university. I've learned things you definitely don't learn in medical school, and I'll be back next year."

"Best use of $ in a long time . . . especially since it included food. I don't believe that, in terms of this project, my time could have been used more effectively this weekend."

"This was a great opportunity to connect and see what people are doing around the Harvard community. It was a great way to collaborate and work on a shared project."

"This was my first real introduction to the complete start up process. From the discovery to the business plan. I learnt a lot and hope to continue with our project."
"Yes, the energy and the networking is a tremendous opportunity."

"Definitely valuable! An amazing bootcamp that enabled us to develop skills in taking an idea from initial pitch, to team building, to design, to final pitch, peppered up with valuable coaching time, personal / team analytics and input from champions panel."

Past coaching faculty and guests have represented organizations as diverse as:

Acme Packet
Ashoka Innovators for the Public
Campus Direct
Community Wealth Ventures
Compass Partners
Core Capital Partners
Cornell Iron Works
Devonshire Investors
Disney Research
Eagle Point Advisors
Flybridge Capital Partners
Harvard i-Lab

Highland Capital Partners
Mass General Hospital
One Source Staffing
PepperJam Networks
Raffa Consulting
SRA Touchstone Consulting

Who should attend a Scramble?
Undergraduates, graduate, PhD, and postdocs seeking to develop and refine their startup and innovation skills enrolled in any of Harvard's 14 Schools.

Whether you are brand new to the Harvard startup scene and just want a taste, you have an idea to share and are seeking teammates, or you are interested in stepping up your collaboration game, you’ll find the Scramble™

Please note this event is for Harvard students only. We check attendee registration at the door. Bring a printed or smartphone copy of your EventBrite registration and Harvard student ID if you have registered as a Harvard Student. Attendance will be limited to registered guests and tickets will not be available at the door.

What should I bring?

  1. Laptops w/ charger
  2. Phone w/ charger
  3. Pen & notebook
  4. Reusable water bottle (ecofriendly)
  5. Pre-design your own lanyard (not required)
  6. Props (i.e. helmets for Xtreme coding, costumes, personal mascots, etc.) for inspiration, motivation, & feel-good entertainment.

*All campus policies apply.

Do I have to pitch an idea? What if I don't have an idea?
We believe it's important to bring a few ideas to share even if you aren't interested or committed to pursuing those ideas. Ideas are the currency through which you transact initial introductions and build relationships with fellow attendees. You encounter new challenges, problems, and questions everyday - these are all potential ideas to pitch. You have ideas.

What if someone steals my idea?
Scrambles embrace an open and free-flow exchange of ideas, interests, and efforts. Scrambles are notan ideal venue to share or develop proprietary products and services unless you take proper measures to protect intellectual property (IP) before attending. If you intend to pitch an idea that is potentially proprietary or confidential, consult an attorney prior to attending or simply do not pitch the idea.

We also believe ideas are worthless without execution. All pitches are considered "open source," which means any idea shared by Attendees at the Program goes into a common pool of ideas that can be freely licensed by anyone. The reason is, someone else might be able to help you push your idea into a functioning protoytpe. If this is a concern, have a strategy to approach this situation prior to attending. After the Scramble you can continue refining the concept into proprietary IP. If you decide not to pitch an idea, focus your efforts leading up to the Scramble on creating a personal learning agenda - do you want to test-drive coding or app prototyping technology? Do you need to brush up on your presentation or project management skills?

Harvard Shuttles have a stop directly across from the i-lab, and you can track the shuttles online here: http://harvard.transloc.com/ If you are driving, please park in the i-lab's lot (entrance on Western Avenue, directions and payment information are here: http://i-lab.harvard.edu/parking).


Just email Stephen at: STEPHEN [@] SCRAMBLESYSTEMS.COM or Skype at SJDOUGLASS