Making bus travel easy
LP Maurice MBA 2008
LP Maurice is the CEO and cofounder of Busbud, a venture-backed e-commerce startup focused on intercity bus travel. Previously, Maurice worked in Silicon Valley at Yahoo, LinkedIn and Radar Networks (acquired) in product management, marketing and business development. Maurice holds an MBA from Harvard Business School, as well as a master's degree in corporate law and a bachelor's degree in finance from the University of Montreal.
Maurice is codirector of the Founder Institute accelerator in Montreal, managing director of seed investment fund Interaction Ventures and member of angel investor network Anges Quebec. He is also the cofounder of Entrepreneurs Anonymous group, cofounder and organizer of the Startup Open House Montreal event, and founder of non-profit project GeoDonation.
Maurice mentors at Founder Fuel, Startup Weekend, The Next 36, Next (powered by Google for Entrepreneurs) and Institut du Nouveau Monde. He is a 2014 NYC Venture Fellow and recently spoke at TedX. He also serves as VP of the HBS Club of Montreal and the Harvard Club of Quebec. He is based in Montreal and New York City.
Busbud makes bus travel easy. By connecting travelers to bus operators, Busbud makes it a breeze to search, compare and book intercity bus tickets, anywhere in the world. Busbud.com and the free mobile application are the most comprehensive source of city-to-city bus schedules and tickets around the world, gathering schedules for over 10,000 cities in 90 countries, in 10 languages and 15 currencies. Travel aggregators have radically changed the way we search and book plane and train tickets, but nothing of the sort has been available for buses until now. Much like Kayak and Expedia have done for air travel, Busbud is quickly becoming the go-to tool for bus travelers worldwide.
Busbud is based in Montreal (main office) and New York City. Our team currently has 25 employees. We've raised $1.2M in May 2013 from iNovia Capital, Real Ventures and White Star Capital and have advisors from TripAdvisor, Google, Expedia and Facebook. Busbud was named as one of the "Top 20 Most Innovative Companies" in Canada twice in 2013 and has garnered more than 10 awards for innovation. In early 2011, Busbud cofounder and CEO LP Maurice backpacked for several months through South America on an eye-opening journey from the southern tip of Argentina to the mountains of Peru. Throughout these travels, Maurice experienced a number of obstacles while booking bus travel, including the need to consult multiple sources (guidebooks, websites, forums), the difficulty of finding reliable schedules online (especially without going to the bus station), the lack of payment and language support on websites and the lack of mobile-friendly options to purchase tickets.
Busbud is disruptive in that it provides a new platform for international travelers to search and book bus tickets in their own language and currency for hundreds of bus operators. This disrupts the traditional paradigm where travelers must typically go to physical bus stations to buy bus tickets. Busbud take a commission on tickets sold directly through its platform. This "pay-for-performance" model with zero upfront costs ensures the alignment of interests between Busbud and its bus operator partners, while providing a large new international traveler clientele to bus operators. Busbud partners with hundreds of bus operators worldwide and has built sophisticated proprietary back-end technology to manage intercity bus schedules and inventory.
We believe that there is great potential to improve the world of transport, like innovators Uber, Hailo & Lyft are currently changing car riding experiences and in a similar way to how Kayak and Airbnb have changed others travel categories through worldwide aggregation. The immense popularity of buses worldwide gives Busbud a truly international reach and impact. We believe that the bus is a great and more environmentally friendly alternative to solo cars or planes. Every bus replaces 50 cars on the road! Buses are already very green and budget-friendly. Now we are helping to make traveling by bus easier than ever. In 2014, we are looking forward to make Busbud the world's favorite bus app!
Vocational Education and Workforce Development:
Training linked to jobs
Misan Rewane MBA 2013
West Africa Vocational Education (WAVE)
Misan Rewane is CEO and co-founder of WAVE, a vocational training model that seeks to empower millions of West African youth with industry-relevant employability skills that transform their mindsets and access to employment opportunities that enhance their social mobility whilst broadening employer access to the best-suited young talent for their job opportunities. After earning her Economics degree from Stanford University, Misan worked in management consulting with The Monitor Group in New York and London on a wide spectrum of projects in both the private and public sector. Post-Monitor, she worked as a consultant for TechnoServe, Cote d'Ivoire and with the Center for Public Policy Alternatives in Lagos, Nigeria. Misan holds an MBA from the Harvard Business School.
There are 43 million West African youth who never had the opportunities a lot of us had, by no fault of their own. And their reality is chronic unemployment, disillusioned poverty and a loss of dignity that leads to growing levels of frustration across the continent. This is a ticking time bomb. So what do we do about it? Enter West Africa Vocational Education (WAVE) - a vertically-integrated vocational education platform focused on tackling this issue. Using the "hire for attitude, train for skill" model, WAVE screens young people for innate strengths, trains them in skills that employers require and places them in technical apprenticeships where they earn while they learn. So what's unique about this? We bring the latest methods to screening based on emotional intelligence, flexible tailored curriculum combining online and in-person learning and mobile-based technology to manage the job placement process. Our two-sided business model aims to share the cost of training between the student and the employer charging them on both sides. Hence, there are three main revenue streams from our skills training program:
1) training fees ($60 per trainee)
2) placement fee (one-third of first month's earnings
3) employers charged an amount equivalent to one-third of the employee's first month's salary.
Additional revenue sources that the WAVE model has already begun generating are fees from training existing employees of our employer partners as well as content development fees from customizing our soft skills curriculum for employers' in-house training needs. WAVE approach is boldly innovative in its:
a) Focus on EQ and soft skills levels the playing field for our target demographic of disadvantaged youth (with only a high school certificate)
b) Promoting a bigger cultural change by inculcating a continuous improvement mindset that encourages African youth to effectively and creatively identify and solve problems
c) High asset utilization and use of technology achieves cost-efficiency through maximizing the use of training centers, instructors and training cycles.
d) Industry/employer-driven approach ensures that youth are trained in skills that employers require and value at a premium
e) Using near-term earnings as a financing model and sharing the cost burden between trainees and employers, ensures financial sustainability and affordability These elements create an improved value proposition for youth (access, affordability, quality, relevance) and greater social impact, scale and sustainability of the model.
Since launching WAVE Hospitality Academy in Lagos, Nigeria in August 2013, we have trained 44 unemployed youth in our 150-hour skills training program and placed over 70% of them in technical apprenticeships and fulltime hospitality and retail jobs with an average starting salary of $210/month (2x the national minimum wage). With an estimated 8-13 million jobs being created across Africa in this sector alone, WAVE plans to train 25,000 unemployed youth annually by 2019. So what's the impact? Imagine a future where young Africans are empowered with the skills and incomes to define their own path and realize their potential just like their counterparts worldwide. So Vote to Empower Young People, Vote WAVE.
Latin America Region
Kickstart your child's development and build a foundation for future learning
Luis Garza MBA 2010
Luis is Kinedu's founder and CEO, a company which specializes in providing new parents with a personalized developmental roadmap. In 2010, Luis along with Rene Lankenau decided to re-invent early childhood education in Latin America and co-founded ADVENIO, leader in corporate childcare in Mexico and Colombia. ADVENIO now hosts over 700 children in its centers, and works with over 30 leading companies in Mexico and worldwide. As part of that mission, Luis worked on Kinedu since 2013 and launched its first app in November of that year, an app that allows parents to take charge of their babies' development by providing personalized early stimulation plans. These plans are based on babies' level of development, allowing them to build a solid foundation for future learning. Before Kinedu and ADVENIO, Luis was a consultant for BCG. Luis received his degree of Bachelor of Science from Stanford University in 2006, and an MBA from Harvard Business School in 2010. Luis has been recognized as an Endeavor High Impact Entrepreneur in 2012 and was a finalist in Mexico's Entrepreneur of the Year Ernst & Young Competition.
Kinedu leverages technology and its knowledge of human behavior to develop tools for mothers that want to boost their babies' development. Research has shown that early experiences profoundly affect the architecture of the developing brain. Harvard's Center of the Developing Child states that "Serve and Return" interactions wire the developing brain and build the foundation for future health, learning, and overall wellbeing. Kinedu hopes to encourage serve and return interactions through our videos and apps. Kinedu's founding team has experience in childcare and psychology, and has relevant experience in startups and building companies. Our content creators studied at Stanford, Boston University, and Universidad de Monterrey; our CEO's experience prior to Kinedu is childcare founded the first corporate childcare centers in Latin America, learning the essentials about early development. Kinedu's two engineers have combined experience founding 5 different companies. Our team has the right mix of qualities that can launch Kinedu into a worldwide company. Our first app focuses on personalizing developmental roadmaps for babies. Parents can access the app through their iOS and Android mobile devices, or through their browser on a tablet or desktop computer. To begin, parents create a user and answer an initial assessment on what their baby is able and not yet able to do – simple questions such as "Does your baby raise his head by himself?". After the assessment, our proprietary algorithm sorts out and selects the activities best suited for that baby's age, and more importantly, level of development. Our pedagogical program covers activities for children from 0 to 24 months, and works the basic developmental areas – cognitive, physical, linguistic, and social emotional. We plan to monetize our users through a combination of SaaS and gamification (currently, Kinedu is completely free). Our app will have a freemium version, where parents will be motivated by game elements and social incentives to share, engage, and spend money on our app. Our basic model will resemble lumosity.com's model, where parents get immediate personalization but limited access; users will be able to unlock value added features after first trying and falling in love with our concept. As an alternative, they can pay a monthly fee to unlock all features in the app. These features will launch in May, accompanied by a strong push in marketing at English speaking countries. Kinedu's launched in November 2015; four months later, over 30,000 users from over 70 different countries have signed up from our app – 80% users come from Latin America and the US. We're shattering our initial projections and now hope to end the year with 150,000 registered users and at least 300,000 paying users. Our users feedback is incredible – ranging from parents whose children have learning disabilities, to children in rural places with no access to knowledge on early development. In every case, Kinedu is helping parents better engage their babies – by giving them simple ideas that can help them take charge of their development. With your help, we can go from thousands of happy users, to millions of happy users.
Midwest and Central U.S.
Hashoff amplifies brands by celebrating social media influencers
Tom Jessiman MBA 1991
Tom Jessiman is the founder and CEO of Hashoff-- the company that amplifies brands by celebrating influencers in social media. He has founded and run digital media enterprises in consumer Internet (sports portals) and social media. Prior, he launched Wayin with Scott McNealy, founder of Sun Microsystems. Wayin is a successful sales and marketing partner of Twitter. He founded Pickspal-- the first sports application on Facebook—sold to Liberty Media. He launched venture capital arms for IBM and USWEST.
HashOff amplifies brands by celebrating social media influencers. Brands have a hard time striking up natural conversations in social media with influencers (people with big followings who make things trend). Too many times brands just promote their specials and do not really converse with customers—as a result those brands fail to grow their reach in social networks. Hashtags are the conversations in social networks. And hashtags are common in most social networks (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest). But hashtags are noisy and brands get lost in hashtags.
Hashoff (hashoff.com) ranks daily the biggest Tweets and Tweeters in hashtags by popularity (the number of Retweets). This simple leaderboard reveals the best content and creators. Hashoff then provides a proprietary platform where brands can applaud those top Tweeters. Corporate clients have the perfect icebreaker to compliment big influencers (e.g: An airline tweeting congratulations on your big Tweet in #Travel). Most times those celebrated influencers Retweet or thank the brand-- leading to massive spikes in the brand's conversational reach—usually a 15x reach improvements for brands. Hashoff provides extensive real time analytics to help brands see their reach improvements. These analytics allow clients to track the significant ROI of their conversations with influencers.
Hashoff creates sponsorable opportunities for companies to run branded contests and promotions. Many clients use the Hashoff leaderboards to also award real prizes for top influencers. Hashoff celebrates the top Tweeters in thousands of hashtags daily—reaching 15 million Twitter users daily. The company was created in the summer of 2013. Launching in December 2013, the hashoff.com service took off with major global traffic as it celebrated influential Tweeters. In January 2014, the first brand client launched. Immediately, that sponsor saw a 60x increase in conversational reach in Twitter. Subsequent clients have seen similar traction. Today, Hashoff has seven brand customers.
Hashoff will continue to sell directly and to agencies but is already benefitting from sales leads coming in organically because of its global reach. Hashoff charges brands a monthly license for the number of hashtags the brand uses to sponsor and reach out to influencers. Bundled pricing is available for packaged hashtags in themes like sports and travel. Hashoff has competitors who provide analytics of social media to identify influencers. But those companies do not have the natural icebreaker to actually help brands start conversing with influencers—and so improve their reach. Founder Tom Jessiman has applied his sports Internet and social media background to build live leaderboards of the best hashtag content and creators daily.
Based in Denver, Hashoff has employees in sales and business development in Colorado and marketing in Europe. A team in Belarus provides contracted software development. Hashoff is funded now through revenue, and is conducting its first round of outside financing. Hashoff has already benefitted tremendously from the HBS network, in financing, sales and marketing assistance. And the Company is thrilled to be representing the Central Region in the global HBS New Venture Competition.
Luxury Consumer Products:
Fragrance with a function for your outdoor chic lifestyle
Melissa Fensterstock MBA 2012
Mikey & Momo
Melissa aka Momo lives in New York City, although always needs her fix of waterside dining, outdoor activities, and beach time. She loves traveling and exploring new cultures, always integrating some piece of her adventures into her life. Momo is also intellectually curious, having completed degrees at Harvard Business School, University of Cambridge, and The Johns Hopkins University. She constantly pushes herself to question the status quo.
Mikey & Momo is a luxury lifestyle platform founded by husband wife duo Michael and Melissa Fensterstock built on the cornerstone and commitment to health, long life, and living naturally. Their first product is Aromaflage, a prestige botanical fragrance & insect repellent. The couple discovered a local blend of essential oils in a remote village on their travels in Asia. They were inspired to pursue an entrepreneurial venture following Michael's open heart surgery the year prior.
Mikey & Momo is building a brand around fragrance with a function for the outdoor chic lifestyle. To date they are in over ~130 luxury retail outlets, were profitable within 2 months, recovered their initial investment back within 48 hours of strong press, featured on the Today Show, and sold/shipped over 3,000 units. Building a brand has been one of the most challenging and fun experiences that the couple has done together. Their friends and family have been their greatest ambassadors.
Inspired by the ancient Southeast Asian practice of using aromatic essential oils to repel bugs, Aromaflage is a botanical fragrance with a function featuring sensual notes of silken vanilla, exotic orange, warm cedarwood, and nourishing vitamin E. Aromaflage is essential oil based, free of DEET, chemicals, and parabens and is hand-mixed by Burmese refugee women who are housed, educated, and provided healthcare. They currently have two formats, 8ml and 50ml, in a functional baggie that has been branded for large customers and special events such as weddings. Mikey & Momo is developing the best outdoor candle – everyone hates citronella – as well as a second scent. Plans also include developing lines for men, babies, and sport.
Mikey & Momo chose to launch in Nantucket and follow on quickly with markets like Martha's Vineyard, Hamptons, Palm Beach, Jupiter Island, and St. Barths. Distribution focus has been on cache retailers including high end boutiques, Hotels (Relais & Chateaux, Four Seasons, Intercontinental, Rosewood), and Beach Club destinations (Nikki Beach St. Barths). 50% of sales have been through retail channels and 50% has been through e-commerce sales.
Consumers want health conscious functional products that allow them to live their outdoor, chic lifestyles while not coating themselves or their family members in harsh chemicals. There are numerous beauty brands in the premium space but none like Mikey & Momo that are able to co-exist at the intersection of lifestyle, functionality, and fine fragrance.
The Mikey & Momo brand is based upon an authentic couple (Michael and Melissa) who live an active, healthy lifestyle that can be described as daring, adventurous, sophisticated, and aspirational. They believe the strength of the brand and current product offerings far exceeds the current size of the company. This is evidenced by the explosive growth rate the company has achieved in its first 8 months of business. The opportunity to extend the brand to both existing and new customers presents tremendous upside for Mikey & Momo.
Coupon search engine
Brian Nickerson MBA 2007
Brian Nickerson, our cofounder and CEO, is our big idea guy: He brings vision, energy, excitement, and leadership to Chippmunk. He's also a ball player. More on that in a minute. Nickerson has made a career out of helping people have great online shopping experiences. He started as a manufacturing supervisor at a stop sign factory and eventually moved to Operations Finance at Yahoo!. From there, he joined the Shopping Division at Internet Brands. He built the Shopping Division from the ground up, making 17 acquisitions and growing the operating team from one to more than 100 people — all in three years. The Shopping Division has a monthly reach of more than 10 million unique visitors and influences hundreds of millions of dollars of online sales annually. He's been an online shopping expert on National Public Radio, is certified as a Six Sigma Black Belt, and played minor league baseball for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Nickerson holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and a BA in Engineering and Economics from Dartmouth College, where he was awarded the Kenneth Archibald Prize for high standing in scholarship and all-around athletic achievement. He served as the only 3-year captain since baseball began at Dartmouth in 1866, and was inducted into the College's Athletic Hall of Fame. While Nickerson has lived in 10 states, he's come back to his roots as a fifth generation Californian who enjoys all that Santa Monica has to offer. Outside of Chippmunk, he tries to spend as much time as possible outdoors, including surfing, hiking, and bike riding along the California coast.
Chippmunk is a savings search engine - a smarter, quicker way to find the best deals from stores you love. Our founding team is totally nutty about coupons and deals and has 14 years of direct domain expertise. We worked together prior to founding Chippmunk while building the $150M Shopping Division at Internet Brands. We know and love this business!
Current coupon websites are frustrating for both consumers and retailers. For consumers, it's time consuming and difficult to find coupons that work at all, let alone the one that saves you the most money. For retailers, the current paradigm encourages coupon search primarily at the point of sale. For our B2B business, YouTube content creators need tools to be compensated for driving e-commerce transactions. Solution: Chippmunk makes the experience of using coupons awesome for consumers. We maximize savings by quickly finding and comparing active offers from similar retailers, delivering information in 5 seconds that would take 15 minutes or more to organize from competitor sites. By influencing decisions before the point of sale, Chippmunk delivers significant value to retailers.
Chippmunk aims to grow the online coupon market and capture share from existing players. US e-commerce sales were $225B in 2012. Coupons for online retailers were used in only $30B of transactions, which is 1/3rd the potential market size. Coupon sites made $1B in affiliate revenue in 2012. We see long term opportunity to apply our technology to additional channels including grocery, mobile, and social, each of which are multi-billion dollar annual market.
Chippmunk's consumer-focused business is applicable to any e-commerce transaction. We target women 25-45 in communities with viral characteristics where we can deliver a comprehensive shopping experience. This includes avid online shoppers, moms, and pet owners in retail verticals covering clothing, jewelry, beauty, home decor and more.
In 12 months since launch (mostly bootstrapping), Chippmunk has received more than 1 million views, saved consumers an average of more than $25 per transaction in Q4, and generated more than $5M in sales for our retail partners. Our user engagement and audience acquisition metrics are 2-4X better than the competition. We have affiliate relationships with more than 700 leading brands.
Several online coupon businesses have been built in the last 7+ years, including RetailMeNot (SALE, $2B public company), Coupons.com (COUP, $2B public company), Savings.com, CouponCabin, and thousands of niche players. New companies like ZenDeals, Honey, and DugDug have received press recently. Chippmunk differentiates through user experience and our publishing platform which provides a significant cost and quality advantage.
Chippmunk utilizes an affiliate revenue model where retailers pay a commission based on sales which increases as we influence more transactions. Long term, retailer revenue channels expand to cover data licensing and pay per click on search queries.
Funding to date:
Chippmunk has raised $970K from angel investors in Los Angeles and Silicon Valley, including Richard Chino from GoTo.com and CouponMountain, Derek Draper of Wildfire by Google, Dan Murray of Machinima, and Nikhil Srivastava from KKR.
Empower doctors, empower patients
Jennifer Xu MBA 2011
Shanghai Kangkanghui Technology Co. Ltd.
Jennifer Xu (Jia) Founder & CEO of Shanghai Kangkanghui Technology 8+ years of experience in healthcare including drug research, sales, marketing and deal making in fortune 500 pharmaceutical and medical device companies Experienced in TMT sector, General Manager at Gaopeng at east region and advisor for 2 healthcare tech start-ups in Boston.
Education: MBA at Harvard business school Shanghai Jiao Tong University – Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy and Public administration
We are building the No. 1 platform for doctors and patients in China, with the mission to empower doctors and empower patients and bring efficiency and democracy to the healthcare system. Currently, more than 90% doctors in China work for government owned hospitals and they are relying on extremely low pay, e.g. monthly salary for first year medical graduate is approximately USD500. Most patients go to government owned hospitals due to limitation on insurance. On average, patients need to wait two to three hours to get two minutes with a doctor. We are offering a mobile application for both doctors and patients to connect with each other. Patients can find their own doctors, send free text messages to doctors or schedule phone calls with doctors at a mutually convenient time. Doctors can manage their own patients on our application and have access to all the patients whenever he or she wants. By using our app, doctors can build reputation and word of mouth in the patient community. With increasing happy patients, the doctor is empowered to be truly independent. Doctors will also be able to gain proper income from the platform by offering service to their patients on our application. We believe it is the right timing to build this platform now. There are three mega trends that are fostering a tipping point for a significant transformation in the healthcare industry in China, i.e., opening up of multi location practice for doctors, significant private equity investment in private hospital sector, as well as the GSK scandal of bribery. There is significant opportunity in this space. Total healthcare spending is $357billion in 2012 in China, with huge growth potential. According to iMedia research, health service itself will reach RMB12.5billion in 2017. According to Rock Health, venture capitalists in US invested a total of $800million+ VC funding in digital health in the first half of 2013 alone. There are two big competitors of doctor patient platform in the China market now. One is call Haodaifu, they open personal website for doctors. Patients can ask questions and call doctors by logging into the website. We strongly believe mobile is the future. The second competitor is called Chunyu, the company offers a mobile app for doctors and patients. Due to the business operation, they only have very low quality doctors on their platform. We believe we could offer a much better product to our customers and deliver more value. Our positioning is different, we are targeting at doctor's own patients while the other two platforms are both targeting at general public. We will have significant potential to monetize. Patients are used to pay out of pocket payment for service in China such as phone consultation and second opinion. We could also provide patient education and patient compliance programs for pharma / device marketing companies to improve clinical outcome of their product. Lastly, we could also work with private hospitals to refer good doctors to them.
Driving Sri Lanka's transformation
Hiran Embuldeniya MBA 2005
Nayana Mawilmada MBA 2005
Jayamin Pelpola MBA 2010
York Street Partners
Hiran has over 10 years of experience working with Goldman Sachs and McKinsey in UK and the Middle East.
Nayana Mawilmada, MBA'05 - Over 15 years of experience mainly with the Asian Development Bank, planning and executing large scale real estate development and infrastructure projects across 15 countries
Jayamin Pelpola, MBA'10 - Over 10 years of experience working with Goldman Sachs, Amba Research and MAS Holdings in the UK, USA and Sri Lanka
York Street Partners: a boutique investment bank on a mission…. Sri Lanka is at a critical juncture in its history. Despite a lengthy civil conflict, its economy has always been remarkably resilient, average 4.8% GDP growth from 1983-2009. The civil conflict that held Sri Lanka back for decades ended in 2009, ushering in an era of political stability in the country not seen in 30 years. This stability, combined with the most aggressive development drive the country has ever witnessed is rapidly positioning Sri Lanka as one of the most competitive economies in Asia. A rapid and unmistakable transformation is underway. Capturing Sri Lanka's development opportunities, fulfilling the aspirations of its people, and sustaining growth, will require strategic interventions by both the public and private sector and the mobilization of substantial resources. This will necessitate a deepening of capital markets supported by high quality investment banking services, which today is a nascent industry in Sri Lanka. York Street Partners, a boutique investment bank based in Colombo was launched in 2011 with the aspiration of being a driver of capital market transformation in Sri Lanka. The YSP leadership team, comprising entirely of US-trained Sri Lankans (3 of whom are HBS MBA graduates), is united by a passion to support the country's post conflict resurgence. Collectively, they bring over 80 years of experience with global top-tier firms, spanning across 20 countries, to bear on Sri Lanka. Whilst the investment banking market opportunity estimated to be ~$75-100M per annum is attractive, the underlying driver for YSP's corporate culture is 'Impact'. YSP is pioneering interventions in Sri Lanka that will help transform the nation. Our credentials include arranging the largest private equity investment in a non-banking financial institution and enabling one of the country's most prominent family-owned-businesses to make its debut on the public capital markets. During a short span of 2 years, YSP has already become a trusted advisor to the some of the country's leading businesses and government agencies, developing the corporate strategy for the country's Urban Development Authority; enabling a $400M investment in transforming the education sector of the country; and formulating development strategies for areas within former conflict-zones. In 2014, YSP will be launching its asset management platform, and with it private equity, real estate, and fixed income funds—none of which currently exist in the Sri Lankan market. The PE fund will stimulate SME growth, while the real estate fund will transform real estate investment in the country by enabling access to a far wider population and mobilizing both local savings, as well as foreign investment. Future plans are also being put in place for exploring a venture capital fund and a crowd funding platform for local startups. At YSP, we believe, that we can be the trend-setter for the investment banking sector of Sri Lanka, and a catalyst for driving positive change in the economy. We believe that we can be leaders to make a difference in the world (or at least our corner of it)!
Radically improving deliveries and returns through automation of handover
Greg Mackin MBA 2007
Greg Mackin is a British and French national, who has worked at Bain Capital, BCG and has worked in 2 startups in the fields of data security and online education. He has a passion for technology, logistics and deal making. He is also an avid online shopper and a global traveler. His background is in Science and Engineering, Political Science and is an HBS class of '07. He lives in London with his wife and three children.
Parcelhome's solution radically improves package deliveries and returns. By removing the need for in person transactions we will enable over time drone and robot deliveries.
- In Europe and in certain US ZIP codes (e.g. Cambridge, Brooklyn, D.C.) packages cannot be left on the porch due to theft. This leads to redeliveries, higher costs and congestion.
- Returns are highly aggravating, requiring trips to the post office. For retailers this is a limiting factor to online sales (particularly clothing).
- As online sales grow, this impacts more and more people.
15% of delivery attempts at home fail (absent recipient). IMRG estimates this costs over $1.4B (£851M) in the UK, translating to $8B globally. Parcelhome will significantly reduce this cost.
Since 1998, companies have developed home package reception/return boxes, but have stumbled on electrical consumption, installation costs, connectivity with postal companies' systems and production costs. Package stations work (e.g. Amazon lockers, Fedex postboxes) but are uneconomical outside high footfall areas, leaving 2/3 of the population (suburbs, rural areas) underserved.
Parcelhome has developed a unique technology (patents pending) for connected package lockers, leveraging the PDAs of deliverymen and smartphones of consumers.
We will equip heavy online buyers with our boxes at home.
- Boxes are sized to capture 95% of deliveries from Ebay, Amazon (clothes, medium packages – not furniture)
- Boxes are safely attached to the front wall and are maintained by outdoor furniture specialists. Installation costs are minimal thanks to our wireless technology.
- Boxes open with smartphones (consumers) and PDAs (deliverymen). Full access is controlled remotely, with an intelligent opening and tracking system. Boxes automatically sign for deliveries when opened by consumers.
With our solution, deliverymen and consumers no longer need to meet to finalise online transactions.
- Online retailers offer a better customer experience, drive more sales, reduce shipping and return costs (returns costs lowered by ~$3)
- Consumers get goods faster and save on trips to retrieve or return packages, which typically cost $4 in direct and indirect costs.
- Carriers save 7% of their costs by reducing redeliveries / theft.
Consumers rate our solution higher than alternatives (collection points, package stations) outside of cities.
Target Market: initially the 10M households in Northern Europe that receive 6+ packages per month and living in individual houses (suburbs, rural areas). Similar market in North America. Our solution will enable an increase in local commerce deliveries (e.g. dry cleaning, fresh food). Over time, Parcelhome will be the first enabler of delivery by robots via its network of boxes offering machine-to-machine communication.
- Rental payment by customers (~$8/month) - similar to Amazon prime, subsidized by retailers subsidize as a customer retention tool.
- Team of 14 with experience in logistics, outdoor furniture, electronics and drones.
- Pilot in discussion with a national post in Europe
- Very positive feedback from online retailers
- Qualitative interviews showing strong consumer appetite within target market
- Raised $250k, raising $2.1M to improve technology and design, start production and finance pilots.
In-App branded merchandise for mobile game and app companies
Daven Johnson MBA'11
CEO of Ntensify. Strong business development skills (NFL Mobile/Digital Media, Deloitte). Harvard MBA, Wharton, Penn Engineering. HBS Case Co-Author.
Ntensify provides a branded merchandise store in-app as an additional revenue stream and engagement tool for mobile game/app developers, integrated via a software development kit ("SDK"). Ntensify creates apparel, plush, and other unique merchandise (phone cases, mugs) based on app designs. Ntensify provides a full service production chain, handling all payment processing, design, manufacturing, and shipping to the end user. We have 4 top tier brands currently licensed (such as Deer Hunter 2014 from Glu Mobile (NASDAQ: GLUU), a #1 App Store game), representing over 40M users and are adding additional exclusive partnerships.
Currently mobile apps are monetized using two primary revenue streams - advertising and in-app payments. Branded merchandise unlocks a third underutilized revenue stream and enables app brands to engage with fans, encourage retention, and increase awareness of their app in an increasingly competitive mobile app environment. Angry Birds retail sales are $2B annually, but they are an anomaly in the market, we enable the same opportunity for all other developers.
REVENUE MODEL AND MARKET: We generate revenue by direct sales to consumers via the mobile phone and online. Our brand partners have the ability to purchase products from us for loyalty rewards (engagement/subscription) for their avid players as well. We generally have the opportunity to "land and expand" and serve as the primary merchandiser for many products since most brands don't have the capacity to manage full license programs and merchandise partners. The online print sector is a large market - $80BN TAM - consisting of large verticals such as the $16BN Promotional Products industry and the ~$7BN US Screen Print market. The global mobile game market was estimated to be $7.3 billion in 2013. There are now over 2M apps in the Apple App/Google Play game stores. The number of independent app developers that have over 1 million monthly active users has reached almost 900 companies. There are 1B mobile game players worldwide, growing at 27% annually (100M+ in the US). The direct market for mobile gaming merchandise is estimated to be $7.5B.
MARKETING: One important differentiation of our model is that our customers are driven by our licensing partners, resulting in $0 cost per acquisition. This is the reason that we are focused on tighter integration within the apps of our partners to maximize the traffic of interested buyers.
COMPETITORS: Competitors will primarily be startups, not existing players.
BUSINESS MODEL: High Entry Barrier – Exclusive licensing agreements with top app store brands with large recurring user bases Marketing – Brand affiliation strategy whereby partner brands drive traffic through integration on their platform (millions of users monthly) Mobile Commerce Sales – Highly scalable and reliable platform, technology that can be integrated directly into the app for one click payments using mobile wallets and with a heavy focus on mobile UI/UX as well as conversions in the mobile channel Quick Production - Small batch, quick inventory turns, low working capital, low capex; Produce-on-demand service minimizes the risk of predicting popular products; Fulfillment outsourced to multiple vendors for scalability Product Innovation - Regular catalog updates of products and introduction of new product types, brand specific product design
FINANCING: $80K Seed Maryland's Technology Accelerator - 1 of 6 companies accepted into 2014 class
Low cost, point-of-care diagnostics to personalize treatment and reduce costs
Paul Hayre MBA 1999
Jeff Farmer MBA 1999
Serial entrepreneur: founded Vmeals Boston, grew 200% YOY in sales, sold to largest competitor; serial intrapreneur: founded and ran cleantech divisions in multi-billion dollar US FORTUNE 500 and multi-million Euro Finish manufacturing multinationals; 15 years IT consulting, strategy consulting, private equity experience; Cornell electrical engineer, Harvard MBA
Sano offers a disposable, low cost, Point-of-Care (POC) biomarker detection platform with first focus on a chronic wound diagnostic that quantitatively measures wound biochemistry (enzymes called MMPs) to personalize treatment, promote faster healing, and reduce treatment costs. In parallel, Sano will trial and commercialize an early equine arthritis diagnostic for earlier revenue in Q4 2014.
The new standard in photovoltaic (PV) design
Paul Gibbs MBA 2011
Paul Grana MBA 2009
Paul Gibbs had the idea for building HelioScope while working in distributed electronics for photovoltaic (PV) arrays. Witnessing the painful process it takes to design, develop and finance a new solar project was eye-opening, and he saw the need for a better system. New and emergent technologies only appeared to confound these problems. His unique background spanning physics, optimization and energy has enabled him to begin building the technology platform behind HelioScope. Gibbs received an MBA from Harvard Business School and has degrees in physics and economics from the University of Chicago. Prior to attending business school, he was a founder at Nodal Exchange, where he led new product development and designed a market that allows utilities to hedge electricity transmission costs in a structure that parallels the actual physical power flows.
Folsom Labs develops HelioScope, cloud-based software that dramatically simplifies the process of building solar photovoltaic systems. Paul and Paul founded Folsom Labs after working in the industry and seeing many problems with the software ecosystem: most of the tools used by engineers were universally loathed. They were buggy, outdated and often not even designed for solar. This created significant barriers for designing and building new PV arrays; especially for any engineers attempting to use new or innovative technologies. This sad state of affairs screamed opportunity, and we formed a Field Study while at HBS to see how we could fix it.
HelioScope was our answer, dramatically simplifying the process of sourcing, engineering and financing new PV arrays. By combining Google Maps based design tools with a powerful math engine, engineers can quickly evaluate project locations, design arrays, and ultimately get them financed (which is critical because solar arrays are a 25 year asset).
We launched HelioScope in early 2014, have a number of marquee paying customers worldwide, and have experienced 20+% month-over-month growths for almost a year. Last August we received a DOE SunShot award in recognition of HelioScope's ability to reduce the cost of solar. We've been able to grow organically to date, but between customer demand and new business development opportunities, it's become clear we need to raise a small round in order to grow ahead of revenue. This will enable us to expand our engineering team and accelerate our sales strategy, letting us capitalize on several market opportunities.
Wearable Technology by Women for Women
Leslie Pierson MBA 2004
Leslie received a BA in economics from Stanford and an MBA from HBS
The first product is a fashionable, iPhone-compatible smart bracelet that notifies the user when she receives important phone calls, texts and calendar alerts. A woman controls which contacts and events vibrate her bracelet via a phone application.
PROBLEM: Wearable technology products are largely marketed as masculine/unisex with little attention given to women in terms of functionality and fashion. Women cannot afford to be out of touch from colleagues, babysitters, and significant others — thus, women are looking to solve three problems – 1) be available to the people who matter most 2) look chic, not geek and 3) "unplug" just enough so they can be more present and in the moment.
OPPORTUNITY: Current smart watches and fitness bracelets retail for $150-$300 and represent a $2.5B market that is expected to triple in the next three years. Within this market, MEMI is initially targeting the 5MM+ iPhone-owning women in households that earn $100k+ annually (out of the ~40MM iPhone owners in the U.S.). A $200 fashion-tech accessory is well within reach for these women. At a $200 price, the addressable market is $1.12BN.
TEAM: CEO, Leslie Pierson. Consultant, Bain & Company, Board Member, 4moms, Bachelors: Stanford, MBA, HBS
CMO, Margaux Guerard , Director of Global Marketing, Diane von Furstenberg, Marketing, Bobbi Brown, Bachelors: NYU, MBA: Wharton
COO, Cameron Glass, Consultant, Kurt Salmon, Merchandising, Saks Fifth Avenue, Bachelors: Wake Forest, MBA: Goizueta
PRODUCT LINE: The first bracelet has the following attributes:
- Attractive – electronics disguised as jewelry, the metal design being a key differentiator
- Discreet – no screen, noise, or technology evident
- Customizable – consumer-friendly app
- Durable – water-resistant, tapered clamshell design that fits varying wrist sizes
COMPETITION: Bulky, function-overloaded smart watches are the primary competition for MEMI, which include Pebble and Samsung Galaxy Watch. Additionally, fitness trackers, such as Jawbone Up, Nike Fuelband and Fitbit, also compete for wrist real estate.
With wearable technology growing exponentially, deal activity has increased recently. Of note in January, Jawbone closed on a $250MM round at a $3B valuation. Non-tech companies are taking notice and looking for opportunities as well – fashion designer Tory Burch announced a partnership with Fitbit, and Under Armour purchased MapMyFitness to enter the wearable technology space.
SALES STRATEGY: Our target customer shops at fashion retailers, not at electronics stores. We will distribute through fashion retailers with growing iPhone-accessory offerings, such as Nordstrom, Bloomingdale's, and Barney's. We will launch online and in independent retailers. Last fall we completed a 30-day Kickstarter campaign to prove market demand and raise $100K. We have sold 500+ pre-orders through Kickstarter and HelloMemi.com. MEMI received exceptional reviews:
- The New York Times Motherlode blog, "The MEMI Smart Bracelet: Wearable Tech that lets you Disconnect"
- Forbes, "Geek Chic: Wearables for Fashionistas"
- Fast Company, "A Stylish Smart Wristband That Women Might Actually Want to Wear"
WHERE WE ARE: We are field-testing Beta prototypes, finalizing manufacturing agreements, continuing pre-orders, and planning to deliver units in August 2014. We have funded development through friends and family, and we are seeking seed capital to finance growth."