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The WBPC annually draws teams comprised of students from nearly every school at Penn who compete for over $115K in cash and prizes.
Each year students develop new ventures through the WBPC that go on to become flourishing businesses, and many teams build lifelong entrepreneurial partnerships.
Jeff & John grew the online bill pay service, at the time a revolutionary idea, from a two-person team to a company of over 200 employees. Both men have become serial entrepreneurs. Jeff is now the Chairman, CEO, and President of buySafe, a WBPC finalist in 2001; his newest venture is LiveSafe. John has founded three SaaS companies and is currently the COO at Sport Ngin.
After completing the Executive MBA program at Wharton|San Francisco in 2008, Maria went on to found a second life sciences company, Somnarus, which is developing an innovative sleep apnea diagnostic device and service.
Both Alex and Arjun graduated from the Jerome Fisher Program in Management & Technology in 2007 and founded Innova Dynamics, an exciting nanotechnology company that’s disrupting the touchscreen industry. To date Innova Dynamics has raised over $20 million, and has 30+ employees across 3 countries.
Alex has also gone on to innovate in the crowd funding space as co-founder of FundersClub.
Neil Blumenthal, David Gilboa, Jeff Raider, and Andy Hunt disrupted the eyewear industry with Warby Parker, building social mission into their business model from the beginning. In the years since, Neil and David have stayed on as co-CEOs, while Jeff is now the co-founder and co-CEO of Harry’s, which is bringing the Warby Parker approach to shaving: "a great shave at a fair price." Andy has remained a Director at WP, and is flourishing in the VC world.
Penn students: Information sessions for this year’s Wharton Business Plan Competition begin in November and the first competitive phase closes January 24; click here for more information on how to enter.
Everyone: Mark your calendars for the Venture Finals on May 1, 2014, to see for yourself which of this year’s finalists will be tomorrow’s success stories.
For more about the companies and partnerships that have come out of the BPC, read our blog post.
A 30-minute meeting as a freshman transformed Nat's career, leading first to a summer internship with First Round Capital.
His Wharton Entrepreneurial Intern Fellowship, earned his sophomore year, provided financial support over the summer.
A Wharton Venture Award funded Nat so he could develop his business idea over the summer of his junior year. Josh Kopelman continued as an advisor and mentor and became the first investor in Nat and InviteMedia.
In 2008 he graduated with a Specialization in Entrepreneurship and Innovation. His final year
at Wharton saw Nat spending much time in NYC while maintaining an InviteMedia office in Philadelphia,
where he hired many Penn engineers as developers.
Today, Nat is an ardent supporter of Wharton Entrepreneurship's programs, providing guidance, advice, & support to young entrepreneurial-minded students. Nat has served as an Entrepreneur in Residence, served on the Wharton Venture Award judging committee and spoke at the Wharton Entrepreneurial Alumni Dinner.
What's next for Nat?Follow @natsturner
In his first year, he served as Co-Chair of the Wharton Business Plan Competition, launched the Penn Founders Club (a community of student entrepreneurs) and consulted for the Wharton Small Business Development Center.
Davis applied to and was accepted into the Venture Initiation Program and received a Wharton Venture Award. These Wharton Entrepreneurship programs allowed Davis to explore a variety of venture concepts.
Inspired by Diapers.com (founded by Penn alums Marc Lore, Scott Hilton WG'07, & Vinit Bharara C'93), he began exploring how to tropicalize the model for Brazil. He took full advantage of his classes, completing his MA in International studies and MBA majoring in Entrepreneurial Management through Penn's Lauder Institute.
His new investors include Aydin Senkut (pictured, WG'96/G'96), Founder of Felicis Ventures and Wharton Entrepreneurship Advisory Board member. An $18.2MM Series B round followed in March 2012, led by Accel Partners.
Davis is an advocate for Penn entrepreneurs - he was a featured speaker at MBA Pre-term and has provided incubation space for nearly a dozen Brazilian start-ups, several founded by Penn alums.
Baby.com.br sold roughly 10M diapers in its first year and also launched a flash-deal site, Dinda.com.br.
Follow Baby.com.br's progress on Facebook
The team came together debating "Why does a pair of glasses cost as much as $700?" and discovered an industry they could disrupt. That year they were semi-finalists in the Wharton Business Plan Competition.
Wharton Entrepreneurship granted the award to Jeff Raider, who also visited factories in China in conjunction with the Wharton Global Immersion Program and integrated the venture into his Wharton experience.
The business launched in February 2010 with coverage in GQ, Vogue, & Daily Candy, and leveraged classes and Wharton faculty as resources to build the business and their brand.
They exceeded their first year sales goals in a few weeks and quickly shifted their focus to operations and customer service needs.
Giving glasses to those without access to eyewear was in their original business plan. Co-founder Neil Blumenthal worked for VisionSpring before Wharton. By January 2013, Warby Parker had donated over 250,000 pairs of glasses, increasing individual productivity by 20%.
The founding team encourages Wharton entrepreneurs. They keynoted the 2012 Philadelphia Wharton Entrepreneurial Alumni Dinner, served as Entrepreneurs in Residence, and continue to hire summer interns.
Follow @WarbyParker on Twitter
At Penn, Kunal was heavily involved in entrepreneurship, attending every Entrepreneur in Residence session - he referred to the program as "God's gift to entrepreneurs."
Building the venture, a pioneer in individually-packeted laundry detergent, gave him exposure to the couponing market, which began sowing the seeds that would blossom a few years later.
He received a BA in Economics with a specialization in Entrepreneurship and a BAS in Engineering. After working at Microsoft, he returned to India and launched SnapDeal, an online marketplace, in February 2010.
The company has raised over $50M in VC, has over 18M users, features 50,000+ merchants, has over 1500 employees, and is aiming to hit $1 billion in gross merchandise value by 2015.
Follow @1kunalbahl on Twitter
Working with clients with high growth potential in the Philadelphia region gave him a keen understanding of the challenges startups face.
His venture, Sparkling Fresh Artists and Auctions, aimed to be a marketplace for emerging artists in NYC.
He secured an Associate position at a boutique investment firm, allowing him to bring together his Wharton Small Business Development Center experience and entrepreneurial ambitions.
In addition to supporting hundreds of early-stage entrepreneurs, GA has raised $14.3M and has global operations in multiple cities from Boston to London to LA to Sydney.
Jake is a great supporter of entrepreneurship at Penn. GA has hosted Wharton MBA Admissions events, Penn undergrad trips and a Wharton Entrepreneurship Club Founders' Retreat.
Follow @jakeschwartz on Twitter
By Izzy Park WG’15 Editor’s note: This article was originally published in the Wharton Journal. This article is a part of a special series on the Wharton Business Plan Competition (WPBC). Today, we talk to Matt Tanzer (W’02, WG’12), Chief Commercial Officer … Continue reading →
By Emelyn Northway WG’13 and Dorie Golkin WG’13, co-founders of Of Mercer We are women entrepreneurs. As such, we’re part of a small (but growing!) group. We’re members of the Wharton MBA class of 2013, a class with not only … Continue reading →
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