Leveling the Playing Field

By Kumar Dhuvur WG’08, Co-founder of PowerScout

Kumar Dhuvur WG'08, Co-founder of PowerScout
Kumar Dhuvur WG’08, Co-founder of PowerScout

I am a Co-Founder of PowerScout, a big data-enabled online marketplace where consumers can research and purchase clean energy products such as rooftop solar systems. Before I became an entrepreneur, I spent 10+ years at big companies with big brands and thousands of employees.

It has been two years since we founded PowerScout and, looking back, I am amazed that despite a limited budget and a small team we have been able to accomplish goals faster and cheaper than any of the big companies I have seen operate. This is in large part due to the proliferation of software tools & platforms that make launching key business functions efficient and simple.

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Launch Pad: Anand Sanwal ENG’97/W’97, Founder of CB Insights

This week on Launch Pad, Karl Ulrich interviews Anand Sanwal, ENG’97/W’97, Founder of CB Insights.

What CB Insights does sounds daunting: a software and data company, they mine immense amounts of unstructured data, like patents, venture capital financing, news media, or government grants, to try to predict technology trends.

Frankly, it is very impressive. Basically, CB Insights helps large corporations—mainly corporate strategy, corporate innovation, product groups—that are trying to figure out what markets to enter or what companies to invest in or acquire.

There are, of course, lots of analysts out there doing exactly the same thing, using what Sanwal calls the 3 Gs: “Google searches, gut instinct, and guys with MBAs.” But, as he goes on to explain, “there are things that machines are better at doing, that are just beyond human cognitions.”

Using computers to do these analyses also allows them to mine data for hundreds of thousands of private companies, instead of manually looking at just one or two at a time.

Listen to hear more about how CB Insights mines this valuable data—as well as why the original name for the company—Chubby Brain—didn’t last.

Bonus: Hear Karl make fun of Survey Monkey’s name.

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Karl Ulrich talks with Jesse Pujji C’06/W’06, Founder of Ampush

Ever wonder where the ads in your Facebook and Twitter feeds come from?

Karl Ulrich interviews Jesse Pujji C’06/W’06 about his company, Ampush, a marketing solutions provider that powers customer acquisitions for some of the world’s most disruptive brands and companies. And yes–makes those ads that show up in your social media feeds, and tailors them just for you.

Jesse and his cofounders, Nick Shah W’06 and Chris Amos W’06, at pre-college program for students headed to Wharton, and decided to be college roommates. At the age of 25, they moved to California and told their parents, “we’re going to start a business.” Just what that business would be, they didn’t yet know.

They used their quantitative skills to bring data analysis to digital marketing–in 2010, a space truly ready for disruption–and in less than six months, went from spending around $20,000 per month on Facebook ads to close to $500,000 per month. In early 2011, Facebook asked to meet them, and soon after made Ampush one of their first partners with the ability to build their own software solutions on top of the Facebook APIs.

Listen to Jesse tell Karl this thrilling story of incredible growth, and the data-driven business model that makes it possible:

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Identified Technologies and DigiPuppets Win $7500 Each

By Nadine Kavanaugh, Associate Director, Wharton Entrepreneurship

Woods Award Collage w label

Every year, Wharton Entrepreneurship gives several awards to students who demonstrate clear entrepreneurial prowess. There’s the Wharton Venture Award, which gives several students $10,000 each to work on their ventures for the summer rather than going the more traditional internship route, and the Loveman Award, a cash prize of $1,000 , which goes to the undergraduate specializing in Entrepreneurship with the highest cumulative GPA. But only one award requires the recipients to have first won something else before they even qualify for consideration: The Emil K. Woods Award.

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Identified Technologies, Wharton Business Plan Competition Finalist

By Andy Wu PhD’16 (Team Leader) and Dick Zhang ENG’15 (on leave; Team Member) for Identified Technologies

Identified Technologies delivers a system of flying robots to collect data, for today’s data-driven industrial businesses, in settings where it is too dangerous or physically impossible to currently place sensors.

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