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

New Year’s Resolution: Found Your Company

By Daniel Meurer WG’17, Founder of Laguna Beach Towel Company

Laguna Beach Towels
Laguna Beach Towels

In 2015, a few weeks before starting my MBA at Wharton, I launched a direct-to-consumer e-commerce business, Laguna Beach Towel Company, an outdoor textile brand. The seed was planted a few months earlier, when a good friend from college told me about some people he knew who were selling a variety of products online and generating millions in revenue. What was incredible about these companies is that they only had one employee: the founder. Read more New Year’s Resolution: Found Your Company

Launch Pad: Apu Gupta WG’05, Founder of Curalate

What does Curalate do? It makes pictures shop-able.

Why is this awesome? Because unfortunately, as Curalate founder Apu Gupta WG’05 says, “The pictures are not aware of the products that are inside of them.”

This means that when you see a picture of a great microphone or a cute sweater online, you may have to do some serious sleuthing to find out exactly which microphone or sweater it is—let alone how to buy it. Curalate solves this problem. With Curalate, you can hover over the coveted item, and suddenly a “shop” button appears. Click; buy.

Or as Gupta puts it: “What we really want to do is shorten that distance, from that moment of discovery to that moment of purchase. We want to make that as frictionless as possible.”

Like so many entrepreneurial tales, Curalate’s origin story includes abject failure and a dramatic pivot. In 2011, Gupta and his co-founder launched an “AirBNB for storage”, and raised a seed round with relative ease. Unfortunately, it never got more than 3,000 visitors to the website.

They offered the investors their money back.

Happily instead of accepting the return, those investors told Gupta and his co-founder to go figure something else out. They came up with an idea for analytics for Pinterest, which in late 2011 was exploding. Then came the insight that what was going on wasn’t just about Pinterest: it was about pictures. What they were seeing was a fundamental shift in consumer behavior online. More and more, people were (and are) consuming visual content instead of traditional text content (emojis, anyone?).

Curalate came out of this realization.

This is big, disruptive, fascinating stuff. Listen to the interview to hear Karl Ulrich and Apu Gupta discuss. Read more Launch Pad: Apu Gupta WG’05, Founder of Curalate