Now in its fifth year, I3 pairs up students who mentor each other to develop their thoughts into something more tangible. Last school year, 78 teams of students participated; 25 made it to the semifinals, and six — including PollVaultr — received awards. From there, the two set up shop at the Harvard Innovation Labs, a 30,000-square-foot university-sponsored facility that is part incubator and part tutorial. “We try to help students apply the ideas they are learning in the classroom,” says its director, Gordon Jones. And it’s not only PollVaultr; the Innovation Labs houses around 160 student startups. Meanwhile, Lutsky and Schluntz are thinking they may take off spring semester to further grow their business. Far from earning them a disapproving lecture from a dean, that plan is being encouraged.
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