01 Jun 2011
New Venture Winner Mines E-WasteTopics:
In the throwaway graveyard where once trendy TVs, smartphones, and laptops go to become junk, Privahini Bradoo (MBA ’08) sees a beautiful, and prize-winning, opportunity. Representing the HBS Association of Northern California, BioMine, cofounder and CEO Bradoo’s company, received the 2011 Alumni New Venture Contest’s $25,000 first prize for its plan to mine the 40 million tons of “e-waste” generated globally every year. It’s a market that is potentially worth $70 billion annually.
“A single ton of circuit boards contains the same amount of metal — copper, gold, and other elements — as ninety tons of commercial-grade ore,” explained Bradoo. “Using existing scaled-up mining industry technologies, our goal is to partner with recyclers, waste collectors, industry, and consumers to access core components. Take circuit boards, for example. The process would begin with grinding up the circuit boards and would end with a yield of refined commodity-grade metals.”
Modeled after the School’s student Business Plan Contest, the Alumni New Venture Contest was designed to support promising new ventures founded by HBS graduates. Ninety-one teams from HBS clubs around the world submitted plans to regional judges in March. On April 25, U.S. and international finalists from twelve regions presented business plans for their start-ups to judges at the School for the final round of this second annual competition. Besides BioMine, the other semifinalists were PhytoTEK (New York/Washington, D.C.), a staph infection–fighting system, and Card- Swap (Toronto), which cashes in unwanted gift cards.
The finals of the contest were judged by a panel of HBS faculty members and alumni from fields such as venture capital, consulting, law, accounting, life sciences, and technology. “I was impressed by the great turnout of teams, the care and diligence that the HBS clubs brought to planning the regional contests, and the passion and quality of ideas that all the participants brought to the competition,” said HBS professor Lynda Applegate, head of the Entrepreneurial Management Unit. “We are pleased that the contest not only is helping to identify promising new business ventures among our alumni but also is acting as a formal mechanism to connect alumni entrepreneurs with faculty expertise and the global HBS network of entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and angel investors.”
Class of MBA 2008, Section C