Entrepreneurship Blog

Launch Pad: Nat Turner W’08, Founder of Flatiron Health

Flatiron logo

What’s a guy supposed to do when he sells his first startup to Google for over $80 million, just 2 years after graduation?

Found another company, Flatiron Health (which has so far raised $228 million from, among others, Google Ventures) that is working to cure cancer using big data.

This is the life story, so far, of Nat Turner W’08. Listen to hear him talk with Karl Ulrich about choosing your funding strategically (“taking investment is much more than just capital”), the benefits of being an industry outsider (“I think, honestly, it’s an advantage that we did not come from the industry”), rising healthcare costs (“maybe this crisis, maybe this opportunity will actually give rise to some innovative thinking and some better solutions. We can all be hopeful for that.”), and more.

Read more Launch Pad: Nat Turner W’08, Founder of Flatiron Health

5 Lessons From Founders’ Retreat

By Renata Arauz-DeStefano WG’17, Founder of Mwayi

Founders' Retreat - Penn Wharton Entrepreneurship
Founders’ Retreat participants.

A couple of weekends ago, I, along with 26 other founders or founders-to-be, drove off into the woods of Maryland for a 3-day retreat organized by Penn’s student-run Founders’ Club.

The retreat was an aspiring entrepreneur’s petri dish—from long, meditative walks along the shores of the Chesapeake Bay to board games designed to spark innovation, we were surrounded by the great ideas of others or the opportunity to discover our own.

Read more 5 Lessons From Founders’ Retreat

Launch Pad: Blake Scholl, Founder of Boom

 

XB-1: a one-third scale realization of the Boom passenger airliner. It will demonstrate in flight the key technologies for practical supersonic travel. XB-1 is the first independently developed supersonic jet and history's fastest civil aircraft. It is under construction now and will fly in late 2017. Photo courtesy of Boom.
XB-1: a one-third scale realization of the Boom passenger airliner. It will demonstrate in flight the key technologies for practical supersonic travel. XB-1 is the first independently developed supersonic jet and history’s fastest civil aircraft. It is under construction now and will fly in late 2017. Photo courtesy of Boom.

Karl Ulrich’s enthusiasm for Boom comes out in every syllable of this interview, and for good reason. Boom is, as founder Blake Scholl describes, “picking up where Concord left off. We are building a new generation of supersonic airplane that is significantly more efficient and significantly more affordable than Concord. So New York to London could be three hours and 15 minutes instead of seven—but for the same price you pay now for a business class ticket. So this is dramatically more affordable high-speed travel.” Read more Launch Pad: Blake Scholl, Founder of Boom

Launch Pad: Neel Premkumar WG’08, Founder of Stur and Forto

Forto and Stur

With a background at Nestle, starting a company in packaged foods was a natural fit for Neel Premkumar—but it wasn’t until his pregnant wife needed something more fun to drink than water to keep her hydrated that he got the idea for Stur.

She wanted something truly natural and organic, but also tasty, so Neel developed Stur, a liquid concentrate that uses real fruit extracts and some stevia leaf extract for sweetness; 2 ml flavors an 8 oz glass of water.

However, the way Neel built his company didn’t match the Nestle model. He explains: “how I built the business was more like a software company, less like a packaged goods company.”

Read more Launch Pad: Neel Premkumar WG’08, Founder of Stur and Forto

2017 Y-Prize Winner VisiPlate Offers Innovative Glaucoma Solution

Y Prize Winners VisiPlate
Team VisiPlate: Brandon Kao EAS’18, Rui Jing Jiang W’18, and Adarsh Battu W’18

In front of a standing-room-only crowd in the Singh Center’s Glandt Forum this week, four teams made their pitches for how to turn technology developed by Penn Engineers into the next big thing.

Each year, Engineering, Wharton’s Mack Institute for Innovation Management, Wharton Entrepreneurship and the Penn Center for Innovation come together for an invention competition known as the Y-Prize. Unlike the XPRIZE, where competitors come up with novel technologies to solve a particular problem, the Y-Prize starts with the technologies and challenges entrants to find commercial applications that they are particularly suited for.

At stake: $10,000 to help get the winning idea out of the lab and into the market.

Read more 2017 Y-Prize Winner VisiPlate Offers Innovative Glaucoma Solution

Launch Pad: Nadine McCarthy Kahane WG’12, Founder of Stone & Strand

 

Stone and Strand earrings

Valentine’s Day is coming! Whether you’re shopping for your sweetie or indulging in a gorgeous piece for yourself, Stone and Strand has the jewelry you want.

Elevator pitch: “Stone and Strand is the leading online jewelry retailer for stylish millennial women. We are founded for women by women and our mission is to empower the female self purchaser and really modernize what has traditionally been a very stuffy overpriced shopping experience and turn it into a fresher value driven fashionable and importantly include our sassy take on it as well.”

Read more Launch Pad: Nadine McCarthy Kahane WG’12, Founder of Stone & Strand

Warby Parker Returns To Philly

Warby Parker glasses at the new Philly store

Last night, we were delighted to attend the opening party celebrating Warby Parker‘s Philadelphia retail store (1523 Walnut Street; opening to the public on Saturday, January 28). Warby Parker got its start right here at Wharton, when four MBA students got together over a beer and started to wonder why glasses were so expensive. We’re proud to say that Penn Wharton Entrepreneurship helped them every step of the way.

We’re thrilled that Philly has its very own retail store–although we reminded cofounders Neil Blumenthal WG’10 and Dave Gilboa WG’10 that this is in fact their second retail location in Philadelphia. The first was Neil’s apartment at 20th and Walnut.

Read more Warby Parker Returns To Philly

Deliveroo Tops Poets & Quants’ List Of MBA-Founded Startups

Deliveroo logo, founded by William Shu WG'12, Penn Wharton Entrepreneurship

Every year we wait to see which startups—and which schools—will find their way onto Poets & Quants’ list of Top MBA Startups, ranked by venture capital-backed funding. Only ventures launched within the past five years (2012-2016), by founders who graduated within those five years, qualify. This year’s big winner is Deliveroo, founded by Will Shu WG’12, with $474.59 million. Read more Deliveroo Tops Poets & Quants’ List Of MBA-Founded Startups

Bootstrapping? Invest In Your Employees

By Nigel Lobo W’08/WG’13, CEO and Founder of Quikchex

Quikchecks founder Nigel Lobo W'08/WG'13, Penn Wharton Entrepreneurship

As the CEO of Quikchex, a 50 employee, 3 year old bootstrapped Payroll and HR Software startup, I sometimes find it difficult to relate to my fellow founders who have opted in for the VC funded path. Right from the beginning of my entrepreneurial journey, I made a conscious decision to avoid external funding as long as I could. Bootstrapping offers a number of obvious benefits, including greater control on the strategic trajectory of the company. Yet, bootstrapping also has significant drawbacks, the primary one of which is the ability to hire the best (aka most expensive) talent in the market. Read more Bootstrapping? Invest In Your Employees