Newswise — Each summer, the top Babson College student startup teams spend ten weeks advancing their businesses in the Blank Center for Entrepreneurship’s Summer Venture Program (SVP). This year’s cohort has started its journey.
Now in its 11th year, SVP is an immersive and intensive experience, during which teams build their businesses and their entrepreneurial skills along the way. Summer Venture Program Director Bob Stringer, who is a leadership and startup expert and angel investor, looks forward to seeing what the teams will accomplish and how the startups will develop: “It will be fascinating this summer to watch the Babson entrepreneurs challenge and learn from each other and from the expert resources who will be available to the teams in SVP.”
The 2019 cohort represents a wide range of industries, from software to sports tech to social enterprises. Unique to this year’s cohort is one commonality: a B2B sales model. Stringer is taking note of this as he and the Blank Center team line up resources and programming: “Three quarters of this year’s SVP startups are B2B businesses, and one of their biggest challenges will be to better understand their customers and how buying decisions are made. We will try and provide the teams with the tools and techniques to be successful in a B2B sales situation.”
Teams receive free housing, 24/7 workspace – this year at the newest WeWork location in downtown Boston – and dedicated advisors. During the ten weeks, the entrepreneurs will benefit from workshops, guest speakers, office hours with experts, and one of SVP’s most well-known sessions, the Hot Seat pitching critique.
Ryan Laverty ’20, COO and co-founder of Arist team, values the opportunity to bring his team together and to collaborate: “We’ve done a lot of our initial discovery, and what we really hope to get out of the program is being able to all work and collaborate together under the guidance of the mentors that SVP that brings in. And it’s really useful to, as a mode of comparison, see what other startups have done well, see what we’ve done well, compare and contrast, and trade best practices.”
New this year is the SVP Fellows Program, sponsored by ACE & Company; the program is a need and milestone-based grant of $3,000 to pay for living expenses for the summer. The intent is to help student entrepreneurs with demonstrated financial need to participate in SVP unencumbered by the stress that would develop from not holding a job in the summer, and to focus solely on gaining traction with their business. The SVP Fellows are Oscar Flores MS’19 (Dottie), Joshua Hong ’21 (Zapp!), Richard O’Brien MBA’20 (Hoamsy), and Caleb Wursten ’19 (Daybreak).
Who Are This Year’s SVP teams?
Arist (Ryan Laverty ’20, Michael Ioffe ’21, Joseph Passanante, Maxine Anderson ’22), the world’s first SMS university, was recently honored as a finalist in Fast Company’s 2019 World-Changing Ideas competition.
CollegeSpot (Alisson Amaral ’21) is the first software for students to find near-peer mentors for college applications.
Complement Media (Alex Kennedy MBA’20, Chris St. Jean ’20) is a digital media services and software platform that crowdsources user-generated content to enable brand authenticity.
Daybreak (Caleb Wursten ’19, Ultan O’Callaghan) is a browser app that integrates proven and personalized break content into your schedule.
Dottie (Meagan Priest MS’19, Oscar Flores MS’19), one of the graduate finalists in this year’s B.E.T.A. Challenge, helps people with memory challenges maintain independence and provides insights to doctors.
Growth Cave (Lucas Lee-Tyson ’20) helps businesses grow online by providing online training focused on paid advertising.
Hoamsy (Richard O’Brien MBA’20) helps students efficiently find compatible roommates and homes within their student community.
Integrate (Wendi Kan ’22, Runze Ouyang ’22) catalyzes growth for Chinese students in American universities by helping them better interact in both social and professional settings in American culture.
Nectar CBD Superdrink
Nectar CBD Superdrink (Trevor Grode ’19, Ryan MacDonell ’20, Jack Rokous ’20, Roberto Salinas ’19) is the first CBD juice beverage that puts a friendly face on an intimidating product.
Porte Bags (Elia Innamorati ’20) designs luxury travels carriers that ensure optimal organization and protection.
TopForm (Mike Carlson MS’19, Peter-Paul Grootens MS’19, Isaac Lewis MS’19) helps basketball players improve their shooting by leveraging technology and analytics.
Yad (Deborah Cohen ’19) is a social enterprise that aims to empower people with disabilities through art. Yad was the undergraduate winner of this year’s B.E.T.A. Challenge and was recently accepted into the 2019 MassChallenge cohort.
Zapp! (Joshua Hong ’21) is a mobile platform that allows users to convert loose change electronically in an instant.
About the Arthur M. Blank Center for Entrepreneurship
The Arthur M. Blank Center for Entrepreneurship accelerates the practice of entrepreneurship by providing Babson's emerging entrepreneurs with access to events, workshops, mentoring and competitions that enable them to test and refine their founder skills. The Butler Launch Pad is the hub of this entrepreneurial ecosystem, connecting our students and alumni with the broader business and entrepreneurial community through a series of programs and learning experiences that support our entrepreneurs along their journey. Included in these programs are two of Babson's Signature Events: Rocket Pitch and B.E.T.A. Challenge, as well as the highly regarded Summer Venture Program that accelerates the top 15 student ventures at Babson each year.
About Babson College
Babson College is the educator, convener, and thought leader of Entrepreneurship of All Kinds®. The top-ranked college for entrepreneurship education, Babson is a dynamic living and learning laboratory where students, faculty, and staff work together to address the real-world problems of business and society. We prepare the entrepreneurial leaders our world needs most: those with strong functional knowledge and the skills and vision to navigate change, accommodate ambiguity, surmount complexity, and motivate teams in a common purpose to make a difference in the world, and have an impact on organizations of all sizes and types. As we have for nearly a half-century, Babson continues to advance Entrepreneurial Thought & Action® as the most positive force on the planet for generating sustainable economic and social value.