Learning by Shipping

products, development, management…

Creating startups @HarvardHBS MBA program

with 28 comments

memo minderToday was “Launch Day” for the startups in Harvard’s first year MBA program.  Many of the products and services created are available on the web to try out or to order (though several are specific to the Boston area).   The process of creating the company from scratch, with a limited budget, on a tight deadline, in a collaborative team environment is super cool.

This post introduces you to over a dozen new companies.  Check them out!

Background

The Harvard MBA program enrolls over 1800 students, which means there are about 900 students in each year.  The whole year is divided up into sections and you spend your academic year within your section (the startups in this post are all from Section C, which I was lucky enough to work with, led by Prof. Jan Hammond).  There are about 90 students in a section (and 6 students in each startup team).  As a first year student in Harvard’s MBA program (RC—required curriculum) you take a series of required courses generally taught using the traditional case method.  Starting last year, the RC introduced the FIELD program, Field Immersion Experiences for Leadership Development, a full year program which emphasizes learning by experience.

For the spring semester, FIELD3 focuses on creating a new company from scratch (FIELD1 is about leadership, FIELD2 is about global topics).  Imagine you are given a small cash budget, a fixed team size, and a fixed schedule including specific milestones for investment, viability and launch!  That’s what FIELD3 is all about.

The calendar is roughly:

  • Two weeks to develop a product concept
  • Funding simulation (“stock market”) which gives some teams the opportunity to raise more capital and others will need to make do with less, and thus pivot their ideas
  • About 8 weeks to fully develop the idea, go to market strategy, prototype or actual product, and basically to show that the product can be made
  • Launch day – this is where we are today!  On this day your product or service is ready to be used by people.  The stock market is opened for trading and based on the launch readiness and pitches, the value of companies goes up or down and some companies do not make it past this stage.
  • About 3 weeks to actually sell the product or service and ready for…
  • IPO day!

Of course this an academic exercise but it is also a very serious one as it brings together much of the classroom learning into focus for a real world trial.  The products and services are real and really meant to be used by people outside the student community.  That’s why you’ll be able to try them out below.

Launch Day

Today was launch day.  Each company (there are 15 companies in a section) has 10 minutes to pitch their ideas to the section that will buy/sell shares in those 15 companies (these are done pairwise so Section C are the investors in another section).

In the pitch, the investors see:

  • Demonstration and/or Product samples
  • Business fundamentals
  • Competitive advantage
  • Demand generation approach

Below you can see a pitch by one of the companies that created a packaged product that enables children to customize a pair of plain sneakers.  Here you see the market testing summarized along with the countdown clock for the pitch.

Launch Presentation

All of the startups used tools of modern product development.  Eric Reis, author of Lean Startup, is an Entrepreneur in Residence at Harvard and so the ideas of “MVP”, measuring the right things, and even the pivot are all front and center for the founders.  Because of the markets and the feedback loop, a number of companies in Section C went through substantial pivots.

The companies also make use of all the platform tools we see today that are available to quickly create new companies: paypal, wepay, shopify, AWS, and more.  Businesses requiring components source them from local manufacturers or online such as Alibaba. Plus the companies make use of local services such as Task Rabbit or Harvard Student Agencies in order to bootstrap any labor that might be required.  Apps target widely used mobile platforms.  Facebook, twitter, and Google were used for sourcing early testers and demand generation/awareness via tools such as SEO and keyword buys in addition to branding sites.

Also critical, is that all companies adhere to local and state laws for anything that involves safety, privacy, and more.  HBS has a code of conduct and separate set of rules around how the companies can interact with the University Community.  So yes, this is like real life!!

Each pitch must also leave time for investor questions.  These can be pointed and often return back to the previous rounds of investment.  The investors are not given unlimited funds and are also keeping “score” trying to maximize their own return.  This is a full financial market simulation.

Here’s the ticker before the market opened based on the closing prices of the last round:

Ticker

The Companies

Here’s a chance to try out a few of the companies and see the work – keep in mind this is work done in the past 10 weeks or so and almost all coding was done via outsourcing!  Personally, I could not be more impressed with the progress and the ability for the companies to navigate the tricky waters of both developing a product and a business, all while learning and doing all their other class work!

View The Rental (ticker:VIEW, http://www.viewtherental.com/). View the Rental provides objective information about apartments and houses for rent in Boston or Cambridge via remote video chat for renters who are unable to view their rental in person.  This product uses Skype to establish a live walk-through of the exact apartment you might be renting.

RescueMe (ticker:RSCU, http://rescuememedical.com/, also available at local retailers).  Traveling for Spring Break? Don’t leave without RescueMe, the all-in-one travel meds (and essentials) pack!

My Friend Bert (ticker:BERT, http://www.myfriendbert.com/). MyFriendBert provides expert-planned, customized date itineraries tailored to your preferences, delivered right to your inbox within 24 hours.

LaunchPad (ticker:PREP, http://getlaunchpad.net).  Looking for a job or an internship? LaunchPad gives you the answers you need to stand out in your job search.  LaunchPad sets up a customized 1:1 conversation between a student looking for a job and someone in that field who can offer advice and feedback on the industry or approach to finding a position.

easybiodata (ticker:BIO, http://www.easybiodata.com).  Targeted at singles of Indian background, easybiodata is a solution to matrimonial search.  Creating, Sharing and Managing your Biodata has never been easier with easybiodata.com whether you are the parent or extended family member helping the matrimonial search.  EasyBiodata.com helps you spend less time sending emails so you can spend more time finding the perfect candidate.  (Note: showing the global nature of the typical HBS team, this team was made up of students from 6 different countries: USA, Japan, Haiti, Slovak Republic, Kenya, and India).

Dinner Rally (ticker: RLLY, http://www.dinnerrally.com/). The best food from Harvard Square delivered straight to your door.  Dinner Rally makes available food that is not normally delivered at a very affordable price, delivered straight to your door.

HuddleUp (ticker:HDDL, http://huddleevents.com). HuddleUp helps fans find the best place to watch their upcoming sports games at local bars.  We know it can be tough, especially for fans of out-of-town teams, to find places to watch their games AND other fans to watch with.

Sepono (ticker: SPNP, http://sepono.co/).  Sepono delivers on-demand nail and salon service booking.  Tapping into over 1400 spas in the Boston area, Sepono makes it easy to find an appointment and obtain service.

SitCrawlWalk (ticker: BABY, http://www.sitcrawlwalk.com/).  SitCrawlWalk We help parents discover the best products for their little ones at each stage of the baby’s life. Featuring reviews, curated and clutter free product offerings, and unbiased research sitcrawlwalk is a unique shopping approach tapping into the market for “social shopping” and affiliate sales.

PaintSteps (ticker:PNTS, http://www.paintsteps.com/). A creative shoe painting kit that lets your children’s creativity flourish and keep children occupied in a fun activity for hours. It includes a pair of children’s white canvas shoes, safe acrylic paint, palette and brushes, as well as an educational inspiration book. The inspiration book is designed by a professional illustrator and allows children to practice coloring on paper before painting the shoes.

stARTworks (ticker:ARTS, http://startworks.myshopify.com). Welcome to stARTworks brings the beautiful artwork of blossoming student and local artists to your doorstep! Here, you can view and purchase existing pieces, or create custom art from your own pictures and photos. Browse our artist pages or “What We Do” section to get started today! stARTworks is a socially conscious company that supports local and student artists.

Blinq (ticker:BLNQ, http://blinqpoll.com or https://www.facebook.com/pages/blinQ/534331106610301). blinQ is a mobile application that allows you to ask your friends for advice in real time before making time sensitive decisions.

PrepChef (ticker:CHEF, http://myprepchef.net). Simple, delicious recipes delivered right to your door!  Free delivery includes portioned ingredients delivered to your door and simple step-by-step instructions.  Teach yourself how to cook, host a dinner party, or just enjoy an evening of a self-cooked meal.

Party In A Box (ticker:PRTY, http://boxyourparty.com).  One click theme party solution for those who love to party, like experimenting with new party themes and want great supplies and decorations delivered to their door.  Feeling nostalgic for Backstreet Boys, slap bracelets and the Fresh Prince?  Check out our 1990s box.  Missing Ferris Bueller, track suits and bad hair?  Our 1980s box has you covered.  Your friends at Party-in-a-Box are also here for you on those special, once-in-a-year events: St. Patrick’s Day, Cinco de Mayo, Independence Day, the Kentucky Derby, etc.

Phew…those are just the companies from Section C.  There are 9 other RC sections as well.  You can see that many of these company ideas came about because of the unique problems faced by students leaving the workforce, relocating, traveling, meeting new people, living the life of students, and so on.  Mother necessity is alive and well in FIELD3.

The stock market is still open and folks are still settling on their investments.

The next step will be the IPOs.  But you can try these out now (note, some require you to be in Boston).  And who knows, some of these might be the seeds of future companies as students continue to evolve the businesses.

Congratulations!

–Steven Sinofsky

Written by Steven Sinofsky

April 24, 2013 at 6:30 am

Posted in posts

Tagged with ,

28 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Barbecue beef brisket is the national dish of the Republic of Texas. Here’s the recipe for how to cook it the way the BBQ champions abd BBQ restaurants cook it. Learn how to grill Texas brisket steak in best weather now!

    sydneyclasses

    June 14, 2016 at 11:13 pm

  2. Forte School of Music is providing Music Lessons in Howick Auckland , New Zealand. Forte School is best in Music , Singing , Guitar and Piano Classes. Contact us now 09 534 2223

    pianoteacherauckland

    February 14, 2016 at 3:47 am

  3. Are you looking for Diamond Engagement Rings, Jewellery & Loose Diamonds New Zealand? We are providing Free Shipping to all over NewZealand. Get the best Solitaires, Princess Cut, Gold & Platinum now!

    New Zealand

    December 6, 2015 at 11:19 am

  4. For the spring semester, FIELD3 focuses on creating a new company from scratch (FIELD1 is about leadership, FIELD2 is about global topics).Greens leader Christine Milne noted that Moylan’s actions were part of a “long and proud history of civil disobediencebest weight loss pills

    Karri Goins

    October 6, 2015 at 1:56 am

  5. For the spring semester, FIELD3 focuses on creating a new company from scratch (FIELD1 is about leadership, FIELD2 is about global topics).IndeedHay Day Hack Tool APK – Diamonds

    Cameron Schaaf

    September 3, 2015 at 7:06 am

  6. Are you looking for anbEarly Childhood Music Tutor Sydney For your Child? The Learning Lab has the best Music teacher who can teach you all kinds of music online

  7. The Learning Lab is providing the best Maths and English tutor in Sydney and if you are looking for maths tutor for your child contact us now!

    privatemathtutor

    June 25, 2015 at 6:54 am

  8. hi, I simply couldn’t go away your site before suggesting that I extremely loved the standard information a person supply to your visitors? Is going to be back often to check out new posts How to Half Up Half Down Hairstyles Tutorial

  9. For the spring semester, FIELD3 focuses on creating a new company from scratch (FIELD1 is about leadership, FIELD2 is about global topics).Yet I would not concede that direct action highlighting climate change then becomes illegitimate.spartagen XT

    Jerrica Sale

    June 20, 2015 at 5:34 am

  10. For the spring semester, FIELD3 focuses on creating a new company from scratch (FIELD1 is about leadership, FIELD2 is about global topics).Rosa Parks refused to sit at the back of the busforskolin for weight loss

    Nicola Claus

    May 29, 2015 at 5:22 am

  11. For the spring semester, FIELD3 focuses on creating a new company from scratch (FIELD1 is about leadership, FIELD2 is about global topics).Nevertheless eye exam portland

    Damaris Pedrosa

    March 31, 2015 at 11:55 pm

  12. Today was “Launch Day” for the startups in Harvard’s first year MBA program.In a scathing article HCG drops

    Ouida Wiers

    March 23, 2015 at 3:25 am

  13. The Harvard MBA program enrolls over 1800 students, which means there are about 900 students in each year.I would also suggest that while he might concede that some Australian laws in the past were unreasonableaccounting software singapore

    Denae Kniffen

    March 10, 2015 at 8:51 am

  14. Today i spent 300 dollars for platinium roulette system , i hope that i will make my first cash
    online

    Cleveland

    January 5, 2015 at 7:06 pm

  15. My relatives all the time say that I am killing my time here at net, however I know I aam getting know-how daily by
    reading such good articles.

    legal

    October 7, 2014 at 8:44 pm

  16. Howdy! This is my first visit to your blog! We are a
    team of volunteers and starting a new initiative in a
    community in the same niche. Your blog provided us beneficial information to work on. You have done a marvellous job!

    cheap Tv

    October 2, 2014 at 11:31 pm

  17. I simply couldn’t go away your site before suggesting that I extremely loved the standard information a
    person supply to your visitors? Is going to be back often to check
    out new posts

    Best Spin Bike

    October 2, 2014 at 7:47 pm

  18. What’s up, always i used to check weblog posts here in the early hours in the morning, because i enjoy
    to find out more and more.

    Coleman

    September 7, 2014 at 6:43 am

  19. Aw, this was an extremely good post. Taking the time
    and actual effort to generate a really good article… but what can I say… I hesitate a lot and don’t seem
    to get nearly anything done.

    drug rehab program

    August 13, 2014 at 2:51 pm

  20. We need to set a standard, not follow the ways of the world.
    bloger http://www.cellphonedocks.net/css/uoofydi.asp

  21. My partner and I absolutely love your blog and find almost
    all of your post’s to be just what I’m looking for. Would you offer guest writers to write content available for
    you? I wouldn’t mind producing a post or elaborating on a
    number of the subjects you write regarding here. Again, awesome website!

    Palma

    April 28, 2014 at 6:00 pm

  22. Hi! Quick question that’s entirely off topic. Do you know how to make your site mobile friendly?
    My site looks weird when viewing from my apple iphone.

    I’m trying to find a theme or plugin that might be able to
    correct this issue. If you have any suggestions, please
    share. Thank you!

    chaussure de luxe femme louboutin

  23. My brother recommended I may like this web site. He used to be totally right.
    This put up truly made my day. You can not believe just how so much
    time I had spent for this information! Thank you!

    Culinary schools in

    March 6, 2014 at 6:47 am

  24. These are actually enormous ideas in concerning blogging.
    You have touched some good things here. Any way keep
    up wrinting.

    search engine optimization

    December 18, 2013 at 3:30 am

  25. I really do like the concept of “doing”. When I was an undergrad at the University of Washington, they had an entrepreneurship program where you would do such a thing in a couple of quarters. 1st quarter: conceptualize the idea, research, get customer validation, then pitch to an “investor” group to get funds for the next quarter. 2nd quarter: take the funds and execute on your idea.

    I really thought it was the best experience I got from the UW Business School since it forced students to actually do stuff, and our teacher — John Castle always held us accountable with weekly checkins. It was awesome. 6 years later, I encourage UW students to go through the program.

    My experience: http://dailyuw.com/archive/2007/02/15/imported/business-real-world-opportunity

    joesunga

    May 6, 2013 at 2:47 pm

  26. Easybiodata is ultimate solution in indian fashion of matrimonial bazar

    Anonymous

    April 27, 2013 at 9:14 am

  27. I love the stARTworks idea. What a great concept. 1’ll tweet the site link so I can share it with my contacts in NYC.

    I also checked out the Party In a Box site. Intriguing concept. Not really sure what to make of the Box Crew in Action Video.

    Anonymous

    April 24, 2013 at 1:44 pm

  28. Oh still Windows 7 ;-)

    Anonymous

    April 24, 2013 at 7:35 am


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: