This summer, 24 members of the Class of 2019 got a head start to their Booth experience through the pre-MBA program called Startup Summer. Across the globe, soon-to-be Booth students were paired with Booth-founded startups to explore their entrepreneurial function and industry goals. Cofounded by Booth alumna Andrea Sreshta, ’16, LuminAID is a women-founded Chicago-based startup that makes solar-powered inflatable lanterns for disaster relief and outdoor recreation. Find out what incoming Booth students Erich Bao, Jessica Goldberg, and Michael Hull had to say about their experience at LuminAID, and how it will impact their time at Booth going forward.
This is the first time we are running a live stream of the NVC Finals as well as a Twitter takeover on The Booth Experience site. Hopefully it will show you what it feels like from the perspectives of both the audiences and NVC teams.
Last year, when we found out that WillowFlare was lucky enough to be one of the 10 teams moving on to the finals of the NVC, we were both super excited and nervous. Only after going through the presentations with other teams, did we realize how competitive the NVC is and how great the ideas are. Don’t forget, we could only see one section – half of the 30 teams in the competition – and the only thing we know about the other half is they are as good if not better. We were excited because it was such a journey for us to go from an idea to nearly a real business within three months. The momentum that NVC can provide to the team and the resources from the Polsky Center are just unparalleled. In the meantime, we were also nervous because we wanted to put on the best show, representing ourselves and our classmates. At the end of the day, after being grilled by the same sets of investors again and again, we made many good friends from the same trench. We felt that we were carrying more weight and we wanted to make sure we were not wasting a precious spot. Now, 11 teams may share the same feeling as the finalists for this year.
Make sure to stay tuned on the big day, which will take place on Thursday, June 1 at the Harper Center beginning at 8:30 a.m. CT. We will provide a live link and a Twitter takeover!
I hope after reading the list below, you are as excited as I am…
What do you do when you have a chance to present to people who can be connections for you and help you with your goals?
That is what the New Venture Challenge class experience teaches participants in the ten weeks they spend as part of the course As the New Venture Challenge (NVC) enters its final round this week, the businesses that have gone through it have evolved and so have the entrepreneurs and their teams. Those selected for NVC have to take the class, which includes two rounds of pitching to potential investors. I sat in one of the pitching sessions and it was a wonderful learning experience even though I wasn’t trying to get any idea sold.
Here at Booth, an interesting and special story is never a scarcity, especially after summer internships. But when I talked to Jesse Taylor, the founder of Verdant Financial Services and a good friend from the trenches of Commercializing Innovation, I was still very shocked by how special his summer internship was in an industry I had only heard about from news and movies—cannabis. This story is also a little bit special as it is about an entrepreneur who hustled into NVC when his proposal was originally denied—the only one of its kind. I have no doubt that his persistence and perseverance will be helpful moving the business forward in this new industry. Here’s Jesse’s story…