About the SECON Pitch Competition

We are excited to invite you to pitch at the SECON Pitch Competition hosted by Harvard Business School and Harvard Kennedy School. 
 
The SECON Pitch Competition offers you an incredible opportunity to be exposed to investors, mentors, collaborators, customers, and the Harvard community. Five finalists will be selected to pitch to a panel of expert judges, and winners will receive up to $5,000. The competition will be held on Sunday, March 5th.  
 
The competition is designed for early ideas and ventures tackling social and/or environmental issues. Any type of corporate structure (nonprofit, for-profit, B Corps, etc.) is welcome to apply to the competition. 
 
 
Application Closed: February 1st at 5pm ET
Finalist Decisions Emailed: February 26th by 5pm ET
The Competition Day: March 5th  at 2:30-3:45pm ET

Last Year Finalists

Equiity

Equiity

Equiity, created to combat income inequality, is an interactive reskilling education platform for low-wage and underemployed employees.

KiaKia Health

KiaKia Health

KiaKia is dedicated to HER Health. Quick access to contraceptives and all other reproductive healthcare services

Mandala for Us

Mandala for Us

Mandala is a belonging & well-being platform that helps BIPOC build self-compassion & social connection.

Vaiven

Vaiven

Vaiven simplifies and personalizes the loan underwriting journey from beginning to end, allowing borrowers to compare and shop for loans and credit card options seamlessly and quickly.

Barefoot Edu Foundation

Barefoot Edu Foundation

Barefoot Edu Foundation is a grassroots organisation committed to empowering society by improving the learning outcomes of children

Last Year Judges

Stephanie Khurana

Stephanie Khurana

Managing Partner & COO and Member, Operating Committee | Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation

Stephanie is a member of DRK’s Operating Committee, a leadership team that sets priorities, manages organizational culture and develops strategies for the Foundation and serves as a Managing Partner & COO of the Foundation where she plays a lead role in sourcing new investments and working with the leadership of those organizations as an operating partner and board member as they grow to build capacity and to achieve their maximum impact. As a member of the Foundation’s senior leadership team, she also helps to execute the Foundation’s strategy and goals and contributes to its thought leadership and external outreach. Stephanie currently serves on the boards of DRK portfolio organizations Be GirlJaza EnergyKinvolvedMORTARPropel AmericaTrey AthletesThe Well CDC, and WattTime. She previously served on the boards of DRK grantees BravenEdBuildEmpower SchoolsGlobalXplorerImmigrant Justice Corps, and Onward.

Stephanie was on the founding team of Cambridge Technology Partners (CTP), a visionary startup in the tech space that went public and was one of the first entities to foresee the transformation from mainframe-centric solutions to client-server architecture and packaged solutions. She previously was Co-Founder, CEO, and Director of Surebridge, a web-based software provider that was ultimately sold to Time Warner.

She has served as Acting Executive Director at the Tobin Project, a nonprofit organization that sits at the forefront of major research initiatives that address some of society’s most pressing problems and helps transform public policy debates, inspired by economics Nobel laureate James Tobin. She currently serves on their Board of Directors. Stephanie received a “Top 40 under 40” award from the Boston Business Journal in 1999. She serves on the President’s Council of Cornell Women and is a co-Master of Cabot House at Harvard University. She has consulted with clients ranging from early-stage to established organizations in the nonprofit, technology, and healthcare sectors and serves on several social enterprise boards.

She received her BS in Applied Economics with a concentration in International Relations from Cornell University, an MBA from the Harvard Business School and an MPP from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.

Brian Trelstad

Brian Trelstad

Senior Lecturer | Harvard Business School
Brian Trelstad is a Senior Lecturer at Harvard Business School in the General Management Unit, teaching an elective course on Social Entrepreneurship and Systems Change and the first-year required course on Leadership and Corporate Accountability (LCA).  His teaching and research focuses on social entrepreneurship, systems change, impact investing, and the role of business in society. 

Brian is also a Partner and Board Member at Bridges Fund Management, an impact investing fund that invests in health, education and environmental services business.  Prior to Bridges, Brian was the Chief Investment Officer of Acumen, where he oversaw investments in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. Brian is a co-chair of Impact Capital Managers, a national membership association of impact investors in the United States and a founding board member of the Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs (ANDE). Prior to Acumen, Brian worked as a consultant at McKinsey & Company, was a lead environmental staff person at the Corporation for National Service, and has been involved in a range of non-profit and for-profit start ups.  Brian serves on the board of VisionSpring, Candid, and New Jersey Future and is both a Kauffman Fellow of the Center for Venture Education and a Henry Crown Fellow of the Aspen Institute.
Matt Flannery

Matt Flannery

CEO | Branch

Matt serves as the CEO for Branch. Prior to founding the company, he co-founded the ground-breaking microfinance non-profit Kiva.org, where he served as CEO for nearly a decade.

Jim Bildner

Jim Bildner

CEO | Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation

Jim Bildner is the CEO of the Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation (www.drkfoundation.org), one of the largest venture philanthropy firms in the world.  DRK has made more than 190 investments in early stage non-profit and for-profit social enterprises working to solve complex societal issues including systemic poverty, food and water insecurity, access to healthcare and economic opportunities, sanitation, homelessness, criminal justice, social justice and climate change and adaptation strategies. In the aggregate, its portfolio organizations have directly impacted more than 150 million lives. He is also an Adjunct Lecturer in Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School and a Senior Research Fellow at the Hauser Institute for Civil Society and the Center for Public Leadership at Harvard University. At the Kennedy School, his research interests include understanding the role of private capital in solving public problems, extending the capacity of foundations to solve complex societal issues and the sustainability of public and private systems when governments disinvest in these systems. At HKS, he teaches MLD 836, a foundational course on the role of for-profit and non-profit social enterprises in creating social impact and lasting impact when tackling complex societal issues.

Among his many board affiliations, he is a trustee of The Kresge Foundation and chair of its

Investment Committee. He serves on the boards of for-profit social enterprises including Landed

Inc. and UpTrust and serves on the boards of a number of non-profit organizations including

Public Citizen Foundation, Education SuperHighway, Open Biome, Just Capital, The

GroundTruth Project, Climate Central, Service Year, Education Pioneers, the Healthy Americas Foundation (National Alliance for Hispanic Health Foundation) and a number of boards of arts and culture institutions including the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, Dallas Symphony Association, Pérez Art Museum Miami, The Africa Center, and on the Board of Advisors of the

Hopkins Center at Dartmouth College.  He is a Trustee Emeritus at Case Western Reserve University, an Overseer Emeritus of the Boston Symphony and an Emeritus Trustee of the board of the Lizard Island Research Foundation in Australia.  He is a member of Young Presidents and a member of the Chief Executives Organization.

In his board service, Mr. Bildner serves on the Investment Committees of boards with aggregate endowments in excess of $4 B as well as a member of numerous finance, investment and/or audit committees of these boards.

Mr. Bildner is a nationally recognized lecturer, panelist, and speaker on nonprofit organizations, social enterprise, the role of boards of organizations, impact investing and the institutional role of philanthropy in solving complex societal issues.  His prior experience includes 22 years in the private sector including as a consultant at Deloitte and serving as the CEO of two public companies.  Mr. Bildner’s government service includes serving as a legislative aide and speechwriter in the United States Senate, a run for the NJ State Assembly, election to two terms as a Selectman in Manchester by the Sea and an appointment by the United States Secretary of Health and Human Services to the Advisory Panel on Medicare Education of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services of the Department of Health and Human Services.

Mr. Bildner has written numerous articles, op-ed pieces and commentaries for newspapers, magazines and radio including NPR’s Morning Edition, The Boston Globe, The Boston Globe Sunday Magazine, Harvard Business Review, Stanford Social Innovation Review, The Chronicle of Philanthropy, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Hampshire Daily Gazette, Inc. Magazine, as well as cases for the Harvard Business School (Education SuperHighway) and Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government (The Role of Philanthropy in Community Revitalization).  A lifelong sailor and pilot, he has published two recent books, A Visual Cruising Guide to the Maine Coast, published by McGraw Hill in May of 2006, and A Visual Cruising Guide to Southern New England, published in November of 2009.

Mr. Bildner earned his AB from Dartmouth College, his MPA from Harvard, his J.D. from Case

Western Reserve School of Law and an M.F.A. from Lesley University.  He is a member of the Bar of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.  In 2008, Mr. Bildner was awarded the Dartmouth Alumni Award for service to the College and to his community.

 

March 4-5, 2023

Harvard Business School, Harvard Kennedy School