Wharton Scale School Workshop Series Strikes a Chord with Bay Area Alumni

By Colleen Mullarkey


Nearly 60 Wharton and Penn alumni crowded into a classroom at Wharton San Francisco one evening in December for a workshop with Bay Area industry executives on alternatives to equity financing. They talked about how companies optimize their capital structure over the various life stages of growth—from grants and accelerator programs to term loans and lines of credit.

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Start Up Selling with Jeffrey Goodman WG’96 (Video)

Who are the most strategic customers—in terms of companies and people—for a startup to target? And once you have decided who your best sales targets are, how do you connect with and sell to them as people?

In this Entrepreneurial Workshop with Jeffrey Goodman,WG’96, VP of Sales at Genweb2, held at Wharton San Francisco, takeaways include:

  • A framework for relationship-based selling;
  • Why it is important to be able to sell to people based on their social style instead of yours… and a structured approach for doing so;
  • A powerful model for targeting the right kinds of customers—both companies and people—based on the growth stage of a technology company.

Pitching to Wharton San Francisco

By Miranda Wang C’16, founder of BioCellection

Editor’s note: Before she was the first undergraduate to win the Business Plan Competition (with a record breaking five prizes!), Miranda Wang attended Spring Pitch at Wharton San Francisco. 

At first, I didn’t even know that Wharton had a campus in San Francisco.

Then when I did learn about Wharton San Francisco, it sounded too fancy for someone like me: a mere undergrad, always running around trying to get small grants here and there to bootstrap a startup. Rumor had it that the lecture halls looked like Huntsman classrooms except “much nicer”—but I didn’t actually know anyone who had been inside.

Miranda Wang C;16 at Spring Pitch
Miranda Wang C’16 at Spring Pitch

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Calgary Entrepreneur Shares His Wharton|San Francisco Experience

By Meghan Laska

Editor’s note: This post originally appeared on the Executive MBA Stories blog.

What is it really like to be an EMBA student at Wharton San Francisco? We asked first-year student Jory Lamb, president and founder of VistaVu Solutions in Calgary, Canada. Here’s what he said:

On Impact:

The best way to explain the impact of Wharton’s EMBA program is with the post-mortem I did at the end of term one. I’ve run my own business since 1996 and came here to gain the frameworks needed to allow me to manage and lead my company at a higher level. At the end of the first term, I counted eight specific things I had brought back to improve or change at my organization. While the commitment of time, dollars, and effort is great, there is nowhere else you could get this type of experience.

Jory Lamb with his family.
Jory Lamb with his family.

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At Wharton | San Francisco, Spring Means Spring Pitch

By Munish Dayal WG’15, Co-founder of Bloom2Bloom

In addition to Wharton’s Business Plan Competition, Wharton’s Spring Pitch competition is the capstone event of a year filled with entrepreneurial activities at Wharton | San Francisco.  Every year, hundreds of teams compete for a chance to pitch their startup in front of prominent venture capitalists, angel investors, entrepreneurs, and members of the wider Wharton community who attend the event.  I was lucky enough to be selected to pitch a startup company I co-founded with my friend Laurenne Resnik called Bloom2Bloom.

Munish Dayal WG'15 and Laurenne Resnik, Co-founders of Bloom2Bloom.
Munish Dayal WG’15 and Laurenne Resnik, Co-founders of Bloom2Bloom.

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San Francisco Through Student Eyes

By Lauren Li W’16

Students in Professor Lori Rosenkopf’s new course WH 297x: Wharton Industry Exploration Program: The San Francisco Bay Area Tech Sector spent a week in early January 2015 in San Francisco. The trip featured visits to tech-sector businesses, lectures at Wharton ǀ San Francisco, extracurricular activities, and networking opportunities with alumni in the Bay Area. Wharton junior Lauren Li agreed to give us her insider’s view of this exciting new course.

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Building Transformative Relationships: Entrepreneurs Summit at WhartonǀSan Francisco

By Nadine Kavanaugh, Associate Director, Wharton Entrepreneurship

WhartonǀSan Francisco and Wharton Entrepreneurship co-hosted a very successful Entrepreneurs Summit last week, connecting entrepreneurs with investors and talent in the Bay Area. Relationships are at the heart of every entrepreneurial endeavor, and this summit gave entrepreneurs a chance to learn more about the importance of relationships—and to build some new ones.

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2013-14 Wharton Business Plan Competition Semi-finalists!

BPC 15Yr - BPC Homepage - FINALBy Manasa Tanuku WG’15, Co-Chair for the Wharton Business Plan Competition

We are thrilled to announce this year’s semi-finalists for the Wharton Business Plan Competition 2013-2014. With a record number of 181 approved submissions, we have been incredibly impressed by both the quantity and quality of business overviews received.

As Co-Chairs, Johannes Quodt (WG’15) and I, along with the rest of the WBPC committee, have worked hard to promote the competition throughout the Penn student community, beyond the Wharton full time MBA program. It’s great to see, then, that just under 40% of our 25 semi-finalists are from outside this program. Within this sub-sect alone, we have teams representing many schools at Penn including: the Law School, the Nursing School, the School of Engineering and Applied Science, that represents undergraduates, executive students and doctorates candidates and representation from the Wharton San Francisco campus. For a historically MBA- centric competition, we are excited to see increased engagement from the rest of the Penn student community. This composition can only mean great things for the competition and for our teams.

This year also saw an increase in the number of information technology plans, a shift from the heavy focus on healthcare businesses we’ve typically seen. If our business ideas at the WBPC are any indication of where you will start to see a steady growth in entrepreneurial ventures outside the Penn community, these are some telling data points.

We’re very excited to announce that nearly a quarter of our semi-finalists self-selected as Social Impact Businesses. As we inaugurate the Social Impact Prize at the competition this year, this is a great beginning for what we hope will become a core and differentiating component of the WBPC.

The semi-finalist teams will now be preparing their business plans and pitches to the judges, with the help of WBPC provided mentors, events, and Wharton Entrepreneurship resources. After a closed judging session on March 21st, eight of these 25 teams will move forward to the public venture finals, which will take place on May 1st. We look forward to seeing you all there as we select our final winners.

In the meantime, please join us in congratulating the semi-finalist teams below. Good luck to all!

Abaris – Team Leader: Matthew Carey WG’15

Abaris is an Orbitz for Annuities. We are creating the first of its kind online marketplace enabling consumers to easily compare quotes on insurers’ guaranteed lifetime income offerings.

AdmitSee – Team Leader: Stephanie Shyu L’14

AdmitSee is a social media platform for current college and grad students to share their application details and advice with prospective students. By providing low-cost access to application tips and examples, AdmitSee aims to level the higher education playing field.

AirCare* – Team Leader: Stephanie Hwang NU’14

AirCare is a communications platform that allows any clinician the ability to remotely monitor any patient, any  time, any where. Our technology integrates mobile, tablet, and web software as well as automated phone calls and text messages to send customized questionnaires to patients, improving the quality of care they receive.

AppHappy – Team Leader: Steven Mong WG’14 (WEMBA – East)

AppHappy serves to expand the provision of mental health care by developing a mobile app providing stress management through gamified cognitive behavioral therapy.

Black Box Denim* – Team Leader: Adina Luo W’16

Custom jeans at designer quality. Perfect cut, wash, and fit. Delivered to your doorstep.

bookn’tell – Team Leader: Yonatan Sela WG’14

Bookn’tell is the first referrals engine for local service providers. We enable users to find local service businesses through credible friend referrals, book appointments online and save money when referring other friends.

Cloudbook – Team Leader: Matan Agam WG’14

Cloudbook is a new education technology company that modernizes exam taking, grading, security, and big data learning analytics by using a tablet-based assessment system that is easy and affordable to administer to students for on-site exams.  Cloudbook helps instructors, students, and administrators spot trends early, recommend solutions, and experience lifelong improvements.

Dana Cita – Team Leader: Susli Lie WG’14

Dana Cita, which means “Aspiration Fund” in Indonesian, aims to empower Indonesian youths to create a better future for themselves by bridging the education financing and employment gaps. Dana Cita does so by providing loans for aspiring students to attend vocational schools and universities while also connecting them to promising future careers through a job matching platform and our network of partner institutions.

FlopSports – Team Leader: Zachary Garber WG’15

FlopSports is taking the idea of fantasy sports and flipping it on its head. Specifically, FlopSports users can win cash prizes by correctly predicting which players will underperform during their games.

GovPredict – Team Leader: Steven Johnston WG’14

GovPredict is an accurate, real-time predictive analytics tool for forecasting the probability that a congressional bill will pass and that a given congressman will vote for passage. These insights are based on algorithmic machine-learning that analyzes bill characteristics, congressional voting records, district demographics, and other meaningful variables.

IDENTIFIED Technologies Corporation* – Team Leader: Andy Wu PhD’16

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.

KLAR – Team Leader: Raffi Holzer GEN’14

KLAR manufactures a coating for dental mirrors that once applied keeps them clean throughout dental procedures.

LentesCol* – Team Leader: Diego Marino WG’14

LentesCol is disrupting the contact lenses retail business in Latin America, offering a new way of purchase that is easier, cheaper and more convenient.

Matt and Marie’s* – Team Leader: Justin Sapolsky WG’14

Matt & Marie’s is a modern Italian sandwich store, bringing great food and hospitality elements of fine dining to an efficient fast service setting.

OwnYourCity.com – Team Leader: Joseph Carroll WG’14

OwnYourCity.com is a platform that allows individuals to buy a slice of previously unattainable individual real estate assets through the new concept of real estate crowdfunding. OwnYourCity will be to real estate what Vanguard.com is to index and mutual funds – a platform that provides retail investors with an investment vehicle to gain direct exposure to a very specific asset in an easy and cost efficient manner so that they can diversify their investment portfolio.

PhaseOptics – Team Leader: Frank Brodie MD’14/WG’14

PhaseOptics offers revolutionary imaging technology that allows for the early detection and prevention of the leading causes of blindness in the United States.

Prayas Analytics* – Team Leader: Yash Kothari W’15

Prayas Analytics is a retail analytics solution that uses existing security footage to empower retailers with data to better understand customer behavior and discover store efficiencies.

ProfessorWord* – Team Leader: Betty Hsu WG’14

ProfessorWord helps students learn vocabulary in context as they read online. Check out our free tool at www.professorword.com

Roominate – Team Leader: Sally Huang WG’15 (WEMBA-West)

Roominnate seeks to transform the residential real estate marketing and home improvement industry by dramatically changing the way people visualize how they decorate their homes.

Semmantica – Team Leader: Yago Montenegro WG’15

Semmantica is the online advertisement management and sales analytics software for Spanish and Latin American e-commerce businesses.

Senvol* – Team Leader: Zach Simkin C’06/WG’14

Senvol works with manufacturers and analyzes their industrial parts.  Using its proprietary algorithm, Senvol determines which of these parts can be more cost-effectively manufactured using 3D printing versus the status quo.

Slidejoy – Team Leader: Sanghoon Kwak WG’14

Slidejoy is an intelligent Android app that pays users to view beautifully designed ads every time they unlock their phones. Over time, the app learns the preferences of a user based off of previous behaviors during different times of day and at different locations and curates a more profitable and relevant user experience.

Take Command Health* – Team Leader: Jack Hooper WG’14

Take Command Health is a do-it-yourself website that empowers individuals and businesses to be savvy healthcare consumers, starting with health insurance.  We are the “Turbotax” and “Mint.com” for high deductible health plans (HDHPs) and health savings accounts (HSA).  Our tools provide data-driven, personalized advice to help our members 1) select a plan 2) track their expenses, and 3) identify savings opportunities.

Urban Attic – Team Leader: Erik Stiller WG’15

Urban Attic provides door-to-door storage services for individuals and businesses. We pick up goods from customers’ homes and offices, store them in secure warehouses, and redeliver specific items on request, a process that can be managed end-to-end through our website and mobile app.

VeryApt – Team Leader: Ashrit Kamireddi WG’14

VeryApt is TripAdvisor meets Pandora for apartments.  VeryApt helps users find an apartment they will love, quickly and easily by combining user-generated reviews with big data analytics to deliver intelligent, personalized apartment recommendations.

* Current or former members of the Venture Initiation Program.

manasa solo blogpostBio: Manasa Tanuku is a first year MBA at the Wharton School of Business where she is one of this year’s Co-Chair for the Wharton Business Plan Competition. Prior to Wharton, Manasa spent several years as an Investment Banking M&A Analyst in New York, before moving to Kenya and India to work with the Acumen Fund, a global social impact investor focused on low income communities. Following Acumen, she returned to the US to work for two organizations – a social enterprise called Indego Africa focused on generating sustainable livelihoods and education for female Rwandan genocide survivors, and a commercial e-commerce enterprise. Manasa holds a Bachelors of Science from New York University’s Stern School of Business.

Godspeed Clare…

By Emily Cieri

If you are one of the hundreds and hundreds of students that Clare Leinweber touched during her ten year tenure at Wharton Entrepreneurship, you too will feel a bittersweet pang at learning she’s left the nest. The good news is that she’s not gone far—and in her new position, she’ll have an even bigger impact with our alumni.  Clare is now Director of Alumni Relations at Wharton External Affairs, and we are so happy for her.  But before we let her go I wanted to try to sum up the impact that Clare has had in her decade at Wharton Entrepreneurship.

Clare NY
Clare in Times Square for the NASDAQ bell ringing

Throughout her tenure at Wharton Entrepreneurship, Clare’s steadfast and laser focus on supporting student entrepreneurs has never wavered.  She always put our students first, making connections for them, providing exceptional learning opportunities, and performing countless introductions to alumni.  At this point most of the alumni she was introducing to our current students knew her when they were students.

Since 2006 Clare has incubated and grown the Venture Initiation Program. When she assumed responsibility for VIP it supported just eight ventures annually. Over the past eight years she has grown the program to now supporting almost 100 ventures, with dedicated advisors, a strong educational workshop series and networking events that introduce students to a tremendous network of powerful professionals. Probably the most meaningful addition has been the development of the VIP community itself, that is now strong with current and alumni members. Clare developed a complementary VIP at Wharton ǀ San Francisco that supports both the Executive MBA students and students from Philadelphia for the Semester in San Francisco.  Since 2006 she has worked with over 500 student ventures!

Clare also developed the Wharton Venture Award that provides $10,000 grants to students who forgo traditional internships to build their own business.  I feel this program has had a dramatic impact at Wharton by legitimizing the entrepreneurial career path.  The Wharton Venture Award both acknowledges the importance of building businesses and provides students with recognition and validation for their tremendous work.

I could go on and on about the impact Clare has had on the Wharton Entrepreneurship Alumni Dinner, or this very blog, which she was instrumental in starting, but I’ll stop here. For our alumni reading this post I’m sure you have your own stories of how Clare touched your heart and changed the course of your entrepreneurial journey.

Godspeed Clare – We look forward to our new relationship with you as you continue on your journey.