Gabe is an experienced digital leader with expertise leading digital strategy for companies that range from early stage start-ups to large scale organizations. Beginning his professional career in healthcare, Vehovsky transitioned into media and took on a leadership position with HowStuffWorks.com. After several years of directing strategy and research for the company, Vehovsky and fellow co-founders successfully sold HowStuffWorks to Discovery Communications in 2007. After joining Discovery, Vehovsky managed revenue and marketing responsibilities for the Digital organization through the leadership of Sales Development, Pricing and Inventory, Account Management, Social Media, Business Development, Marketing and Audience Development teams. Working closely with operational teams, his responsibility was developing customized brand integration opportunities that allowed advertisers to meaningful engage Discovery’s audiences across all platforms. From there, Vehovsky went on to lead a Corporate Venture team that operated as part think tank, part product development and part partnership development. In this role, Vehovsky worked closely with Venture Capital firms to align Discovery with innovative teams and technologies exploring everything from investments to strategic partnerships to M&A opportunities. In the course of evaluating potential investments, Vehovsky identified a market opportunity in the educational technology space and created a new business called www.curiosity.com, which he is currently working on further developing. Also active in the Chicago start-up community, Vehovsky has been a mentor with Excelerate Labs/Tech Starts for the past several years and also sits on the Advisory Board for Chicago TechWeek. With experiences leading start-ups, driving revenues, marketing, making investments and developing new business opportunities; Vehovsky has a unique entrepreneurial perspective and passion for exploring new ideas.
New Venture Discovery is designed to help students navigate the earliest stages of starting a new venture beginning with the identification of a problem in the market that is worth solving. The class teaches students tools and techniques to translate these problems into viable business concepts, with an emphasis on enabling an aspiring entrepreneur to get as far as possible, with as little as possible, as FAST as possible.
Student teams begin the quarter with nothing more than a series of hypotheses about a new venture, then design and execute a series of in-market experiments that either validate these assumptions, or force them to iterate aspects of their business model in real time. The objective of the course to guide students toward the achievement of "product-market fit" as a crucial first step in in the creation of a startup. From here, students can evolve their businesses by enrolling in the "Develop" and "Launch" courses that serve as the continuation of the new ventures curriculum.
New Venture Discovery course material ranges from customer discovery and design thinking, to rapid prototyping (of both offers and business models), bootstrapping methods and communicating/selling the vision for a new venture. The course format is a blend of lecture, fieldwork, cross-team collaboration and ideation sessions, outside speakers and expert mentoring.
**This course may not be dropped after the second week of the quarter**