The Experiment Fund welcomes Accel, Polaris, and new advisers
June 26, 2012
Seed-stage venture capital fund, anchored at Harvard and designed to cultivate local innovation and bold experimentation, expands its reach
Cambridge, Mass. – June 26, 2012 – Today, Accel Partners, Breyer Capital, and Polaris Venture Partners join New Enterprise Associates (NEA) as partners of The Experiment Fund (www.Xfund.com), a seed-stage venture capital fund anchored at Harvard and designed to cultivate innovation and bold experimentation in the Boston area.
Also announced today are several new advisers to the Fund, including former Harvard Law School professor and former Director of the Berkman Center John Palfrey, Facebook co-founder Andrew McCollum, noted entrepreneur and MIT researcher Hugo Liu, and an ex-officio post created for the President of Harvard Student Agencies.
Launched by Cherry A. Murray, dean of Harvard’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) in January 2012, The Experiment Fund will increase its fund size to further its mission to seek out and support the best engineers, entrepreneurs and designers starting their companies and careers in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
"We could not be more enthusiastic about assisting entrepreneurial students and teams at Harvard. It is personally as well as professionally very exciting to be active in fostering next-generation innovation at Harvard," says Jim Breyer, a Partner at Accel and the President of Accel Management Company. Breyer has been an investor in over 30 consumer Internet, media, and technology companies, including Facebook, that have completed public offerings or successful mergers.
“Polaris has a strong commitment to innovation coming out of academia, and has deep relationships with Harvard,” says Alan Crane, a partner in the Boston based office of Polaris Venture Partners who was previously President and CEO of Momenta Pharmaceuticals, senior vice president of global corporate development at Millennium Pharmaceuticals, co-founded and served as CEO of Cerulean Pharma, and co-founded Visterra.
Both Breyer and Crane, who will serve as Experts-in-Residence at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, have strong ties to the University. Breyer received his MBA from Harvard Business School after being educated at Stanford University, and Crane received his M.B.A. from Harvard Business School, his A.M. and A.B. from Harvard College, and attended Harvard Medical School.
New advisers will also join The Experiment Fund to assist the Fund’s portfolio companies in building relationships with academia, identifying talent, and providing strategic and operational value. The new advisers are:
- John Palfrey ’94, JD ’01, fifteenth Head of School of Philips Academy Andover, formerly Co-Director of The Berkman Center and faculty member at Harvard Law School;
- Hugo Liu, Ph.D.(MIT), Chief Scientist of Hunch and startup adviser
- Andrew McCollum ‘07, Ed.M. ‘11 co-founder of Facebook and angel investor;
- Ex officio, the undergraduate President of Harvard Student Agencies (HSA). Founded in 1967, HSA is the largest student-run corporation in the world, operating 11 product and service business units, retail space in Harvard Square, and the Harvard College Innovation Challenge.
“We are honored to partner with Accel and Polaris as well as nationally respected entrepreneurs and university leaders to lay the foundation for our longterm vision,” says W. Hugo Van Vuuren, Partner at The Experiment Fund.
“Our vision for this bold experiment at Harvard has always been to bring the very best company-building resources to serve the very best Harvard and Boston-area teams, and we’re excited to amplify those resources with exceptional new partners and advisers,” says Patrick S. Chung, who along with Van Vuuren and Harry Weller are Partners of The Experiment Fund.
The Experiment Fund is active in the Harvard community and in the greater Cambridge and Boston area, and is deeply situated in a broad network of academic and entrepreneurial resources at Harvard and MIT, including the Harvard Innovation Lab (i-Lab), the MIT Media Lab, and experienced researchers and practitioners. The Experiment Fund invests in companies and teams regardless of their university affiliation or background.
About Accel Partners
Accel Partners is a global venture and growth equity firm. Accel funds companies from inception through the growth stage. Using dedicated teams and market-specific strategies for local geographies, Accel manages over $8.8 billion from offices in Palo Alto, California, New York City, London, India and China (through a partnership with IDG-Accel) Over the last three decades, Accel has helped entrepreneurs build over 300 successful companies, many of which have defined their categories, including Facebook, Groupon, Cloudera, AdMob, Brightcove, Dropbox, Etsy, 99Designs, Glam Media, Spotify, Etsy, Angry Birds (Rovio), Braintree, Legendary Pictures, SunRun, TRUSTe, Kayak, Macromedia, metroPCS, and Walmart.com. For more information visit: http://www.accel.com
About Polaris Venture Partners
Polaris Venture Partners is a partnership of experienced investors, operating executives and entrepreneurs. The firm manages approximately $3.5 billion from offices in Boston, Palo Alto, New York, and Dublin, Ireland. Polaris’s mission is to identify, invest in and partner with seed, early-stage and middle-market businesses having exceptional promise, helping them to grow into market-leading companies. The firm invests in businesses across a number of sectors including technology, healthcare and consumer services. Past Polaris-backed successes include: Adnexus (acquired by BMS), Advanced Inhalation Research (acquired by Alkermes), Akamai Technologies (AKAM), Allaire (ALLR, acquired by Adobe), Alnylam Pharmaceuticals (ALNY), Asthmatx (acquired by Boston Scientific), Athenix (acquired by Bayer), Glycofi (acquired by Merck), Internet Brands (acquired by Hellman and Friedman), Ironwood (IRWD), LogMeIn (LOGM), Momenta Pharmaceuticals (MNTA), Powersoft (PWRS, acquired by Sybase), Solidworks, and TechTarget (TTGT). Its current portfolio includes notable investments which include: Adimab, Art.com, Cardlytics, Confluence, e-Rewards, Focus Financial, LegalZoom, LivingProof, and ShoeDazzle. For more on the firm, its mission and its portfolio companies: http://polarisventures.com.
About New Enterprise Associates
New Enterprise Associates, Inc. (NEA) is a leading venture capital firm focused on helping entrepreneurs build transformational businesses across multiple stages, sectors and geographies. With approximately $11 billion in committed capital, NEA invests in information technology, healthcare and energy technology companies at all stages in a company’s lifecycle, from seed stage through IPO. The firm's long track record includes more than 175 portfolio company IPOs and more than 290 acquisitions, including investments in technology leaders like Data Domain, CareerBuilder, Diapers.com, Fusionio, Groupon, Juniper, Macromedia, Salesforce.com, and TiVo. In the U.S., NEA has offices
in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area; Menlo Park, California; and New York City. In addition, New Enterprise Associates (India) Pvt. Ltd. has offices in Bangalore and Mumbai, India and New Enterprise Associates (Beijing), Ltd. has offices in Beijing and Shanghai, China. For additional information, visit: www.nea.com.
About The Experiment Fund
The Experiment Fund is an agile seed investor bridging America's oldest center of learning and its most storied venture capital firms. Whether through the scientific method, artistic discovery, or lean optimization, we help tomorrow's technology leaders, engineers, entrepreneurs, and designers, test and build their visions today. We support these founders with seed capital, company-building expertise, and unparalleled access to resources. For more information, visit: www.xfund.com.
About the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) serves as the connector and integrator of Harvard’s teaching and research efforts in engineering, applied sciences, and technology. Through collaboration with researchers from all parts of Harvard, other universities, and corporate and foundational partners, we bring discovery and innovation directly to bear on improving human life and society. Alumni of note include: Steve Ballmer A.B. ’77, co-founder and current CEO of Microsoft Corporation; Leo Beranek, Ph.D. (S.D. ’40), HBS A.M.P. ’65, former President of BBN Technologies, National Medal of Science winner; Tony Hsieh A.B. ’95, founder of online shoe seller Zappos.com; and Bob Metcalfe Ph.D. ’73, University of Texas Austin, Polaris Partners, National Medal of Technology winner, co-inventor of the Ethernet. For more information, visit: www.seas.harvard.edu.