Blog: MBA Launching the Venture Projects

At the beginning of Mod 1, MBA students in Professor Michael Burcham’s Launching the Venture course were tasked with building out a full scale business plan. Over the course of eight weeks groups sought out market opportunities and addressed these needs through the development of a product concept and marketing, financial and operation plans. As the Mod came to a close, MBA’s finalized their concepts and presented their ideas to a panel of judges.   

This past week, six groups presented their concepts in a virtual environment. After pitching their ideas, the group of investors rated the different products, ranking the product “HSTN,” as the top pitch.

Consisting of MBAs Travis Welwood, Rowdy Galigher Vass, Paige Parker, Matthew Mortension and Severin Walstad, this group focused on an open source smart home system geared towards a population they defined as “home futurists.” Their target consisted of individuals driven to maximize their smart home functionality while protecting their data. With a bit of fragmentation in the smart home industry and devices that aren’t compatible with third party systems, their product HSTN gives consumers a platform for devices to operate better together. Whether it be Apple, Google or Amazon products, HSTN provides the functionality and ability to control all systems.

Upon reflection of the project, team members shared many insights. From learning how to steer ideas as an entrepreneur to gaining expertise in different business functions, this project provided an abundance of knowledge in developing and working on real world problems. Although no members plan to move forward with their concept, the project sparked interest for other groups. 

Originally brainstormed in AB InBev’s Dream Bigger Summit, Erin Campbell led her team to further develop a business plan for her product concept Post. Recognizing the liability of bars to control customers’ alcohol consumption and the issue of drinkers incorrectly gauging the alcohol content in certain cocktails, Post is a beverage company in the non-alcoholic space, seeking to carve out a new market.

Consisting of a low calorie drink made of soda water and the same bitters found in cocktails, Post aims to be a “buffer drink” for consumers in order for them to pace their drinking throughout the night, control their level of intoxication and maintain their social presence. As the CEO of her group, Erin Campbell used the project as a basis to develop insights into entrepreneurial learnings and practice managing a team with the interest of further developing the brand post graduation.