Erik Schluntz '15-'16

On campus, he is the Co-President of the Harvard-MIT Robotic Futbol Team and an Associate Director for the Harvard College Consulting Group. “They’re two pretty different organizations,” says Erik Schluntz '15-'16. “One is much more technical and one is much more business oriented, but I feel like the two of them together are pretty representative of what I like to do.”

Combining technical skill with business savvy comes naturally to Schluntz, a born innovator who has already made a name for himself in the world of startups. During his freshman year in CS50, he co-founded Posmetrics to help businesses collect customer feedback data using iPads at the point of sale. The project soon turned into an i-lab sponsored startup—one that not only won awards from the Harvard College Innovation Challenge, but also garnered the support and patronage of several businesses around Harvard Square.

The next step for Erik? Y Combinator—a prestigious seed accelerator in Silicon Valley that provided mentorship and training to founders as well as access to investors for their early-stage ventures.

Upon his acceptance to Y Combinator, Schluntz took a semester off from Harvard to work on Posmetrics full time. “We were waking up, working on the company, eating dinner, working on the company, sleeping, dreaming about it, and then waking up and working on it again,” he recounts, “and that was my life for three or four months.”

Fortunately, the hard work paid off. Posmetrics attracted several investors, raised half a million dollars in seed funding, scaled quickly, and soon became acquired by a larger tech company.

After a successful acquisition, Schluntz decided to go back to school. Wasting no time, Schluntz activated advanced standing to pursue a combined Bachleor’s and Master’s degree in electrical engineering. “I realized I was spending all of my electives on graduate engineering courses anyway, so I may as well get some credit for it,” he says.

After working for himself for two summers in a row, Schluntz interned at Google X, a semi-secret research facility run by Google that worked on projects like self-driving cars and Google Glass. Schluntz worked to prototype the smart contact lens, a piece of wearable tech that diabetics can wear to measure their blood sugar levels through the glucose in their tears instead of drawing blood. “It’ll be hitting the market in a couple years,” Schluntz says of the yet-to-be-released technology.

Next year Schluntz will be a flight control software intern at Space X, where he will be in close proximity to one of his idols, Elon Musk. “I don’t know how on earth he’s been successful so many times in a row,” he remarks reverentially. “I’d be curious to see how he manages to tackle such big issues when everything he does seems to be impossible, but he always manages to pull it off.”

In terms of his outlook on life, Schluntz believes that the best philosophy is to make your own luck. “If I look back at what I’ve done, it feels like I’ve kept getting lucky over and over again,” he says. “But you have to put yourself in those situations where you go out and those opportunities can find you.”

“Or I can phrase it as the Pfoho house motto,” Schluntz adds with a smile, revealing a glimpse of house pride: “Fortune favors the brave.”