March 8, 2024

MIT and Harvard Alumni Launch Groundbreaking Blockchain Accelerator for Web3 Founders

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Harvard alumni have joined forces to inaugurate the MIT x Harvard Blockchain Accelerator, a pioneering program dedicated to nurturing early-stage web3 founders associated with these prestigious institutions. This exclusive accelerator is poised to redefine the landscape of blockchain development, promising a transformative experience for its participants.

A Non-Dilutive Approach: Focused on Pure Mentorship

One distinctive feature that sets the MIT x Harvard Blockchain Accelerator apart is its non-dilutive nature. Unlike traditional accelerators, this program does not seek equity in the startups it supports. Sam Lehman, a core contributor, emphasized, "The accelerator does not take any equity in the startups we accelerate. Our focus is solely on providing unparalleled mentorship." This commitment to mentorship underscores the accelerator's dedication to fostering organic growth within the web3 space.

The Driving Forces: Meet the Core Contributors and Mentors

At the helm of this ambitious venture are MIT's Sam Lehman, Luke Xie, and Hannah Shen, along with Harvard's Liang Wu – a formidable team of individuals with diverse expertise in blockchain and entrepreneurship. The accelerator's founding mentors boast an impressive lineup, including Tieshun Roquerre, founder of the NFT marketplace Blur and the Ethereum Layer 2 Blast, as well as Keone Hon and Eunice Giarta, co-founders of Layer 1 blockchain developer Monad Labs.

The accelerator has also enlisted the expertise of Kenny Li, co-founder of Layer 2 network Manta, and Mirza Uddin, head of business development at Injective Labs, a leading player in Cosmos-based Layer 1 blockchain networks. Notably, the accelerator has attracted mentors from prominent crypto firms such as a16z, Avalanche, Dragonfly, Galaxy Digital, Nascent, and Polygon, adding an extra layer of credibility and insight to the program.

Inclusivity at its Core: Eligibility Criteria for Startups

To be part of the MIT x Harvard Blockchain Accelerator, startups must have at least one team member associated with either MIT or Harvard. Eligible members include current students (undergraduate or graduate), alumni, faculty, researchers, and staff. This inclusive approach aims to create a diverse cohort that benefits from the rich academic and professional backgrounds of the MIT and Harvard communities.

First Cohort Unveiled: A Glimpse into the Future

The eagerly awaited first cohort program is set to commence next month, promising an intensive and transformative experience for the selected startups. The core contributors, in collaboration with leaders from the institutions' student clubs, will meticulously review applications and make final decisions on the cohort composition. This rigorous selection process ensures that only the most promising and innovative projects become part of this exclusive accelerator.

A Unique Approach to Growth: Non-Dilutive, Yet Impactful

Despite being a non-dilutive program, the MIT x Harvard Blockchain Accelerator has a clear vision of its impact. When questioned about the program's gain, Lehman stated, "Our goal is to make the MIT & Harvard alumni ecosystems and the broader Cambridge crypto ecosystem as strong as possible." This strategic focus on strengthening the ecosystem reflects a commitment to long-term success rather than immediate financial gains.

Beyond Borders: A Comparison with Stanford's Blockchain Accelerator

While MIT and Harvard lead the charge, Stanford University also boasts a similar blockchain accelerator that has successfully launched notable companies. Modulus Labs, Nocturne, Zero Gravity, and Caldera are among the success stories emanating from Stanford's accelerator. The emergence of these programs signifies a growing trend in leveraging the power of academia to fuel innovation in the blockchain space.

Looking Ahead: A Bright Future for Web3 Founders

As the MIT x Harvard Blockchain Accelerator takes its first steps, the trajectory for web3 founders appears promising. With a focus on mentorship, a stellar lineup of mentors, and a commitment to inclusivity, this accelerator is poised to become a cornerstone for blockchain innovation. The success stories of its future cohorts will undoubtedly echo across the crypto landscape, reinforcing the pivotal role of academic collaboration in the evolution of the web3 ecosystem.


In conclusion, the MIT x Harvard Blockchain Accelerator stands as a testament to the power of collaboration between esteemed institutions to drive innovation in the blockchain space. Its non-dilutive, mentorship-focused approach sets it apart in the competitive landscape of startup accelerators. As the first cohort gears up for an exciting journey, the impact of this initiative on the broader crypto ecosystem remains eagerly anticipated.

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