Come see brEDcrumb and all the Great Eight Finalists in the Wharton Business Plan Competition pitch live, for over $125,000 in prizes, at the Venture Finals, Thursday, April 28. Register here. Team Leader: Scott Elfenbein WG’17
Team Members: Michelle Xie WG’17; Sam DeLuccia GEN’17; Vijay Kalvakuntla WG’17; Chelsea Atkins C’16, Lily Kim WG’17, Sarah Bantz WG’16
brEDcrumb is the only college admission consulting platform that provides free, one-on-one, college mentoring online. The startup connects underserved high schoolers with undergraduates or recent graduates who have shared backgrounds.
What’s new and exciting about your business?
We’re able to level the playing field in college admissions by providing free, online, quality resources to the 1.5M underserved students each year who are college ready. We can change 250,000+ lives each year by creating a convenient opportunity for undergraduates, young professionals, and graduate students to pay it forward.
How did you come up with this idea?
My team and I lived this problem. When you’re underserved you don’t have steps to college… you have obstacles. Fee waivers, financial aid info, best fit colleges, what to do when you get to college. All of us struggled more than we needed to on campus because we were underrepresented—ethnically, geographically, socioeconomically—and it’s a relatively easy problem to fix. A mentor—or two!—can remove much of the friction that goes into applying, attending, and graduating from college. We’re building a platform that provides the guidance we needed when we applied and engaging volunteers to show that college is possible and there are successful people who were in that high schooler’s shoes.
What does it mean to you to be one of the eight Finalists in the Wharton Business Plan Competition?
For us, this is unbelievably humbling. We’ve built a business around helping create economic and social mobility and for Wharton to stand behind that means the world to not just us, but our future admits. Putting us in the finals is a huge acknowledgement that Wharton—and the college landscape in general—desperately needs to address diversity and under-representation problems as fast as possible. We’ve already garnered financial support from Yale, MIT, and the University of Chicago, and adding Penn to our list of advocates is something we as a Penn-founded organization are proud of.
What’s one fun fact about each member of your team?
Scott’s work with undocumented students was made into in a documentary.
Vijay built a mentorship organization in Texas while working in investment banking and private equity.
Sam served as an admissions officer focused on diversity recruiting while completing his undergraduate degree.
Chelsea hasn’t graduated yet, but she’s already worked for two startups, one backed by the Clinton Foundation.
Michelle is a social impact investor in her spare time (when she’s not running tech initiatives in education).
If you win the Perlman Grand Prize ($30,000 cash prize, $10,000 in legal services, $5,000 in accounting/strategy services, GLG Share Fellowship), what will you do with the money?
Our business is not “expensive” to build. We’re a tech company that facilitates volunteering. The Perlman Prize would fund 25% of our operations for the year and allow us to change 2,000 lives—a cost of less than $100/student! We’ve already raised enough for us to pilot. But we have far bigger goals: a tech platform that enables us to changed 250,000 lives/year.