What it’s like to start a business
This is part of an ongoing series highlighting MMM summer internship experiences.
Name: Bobby Powers
Function: Co-founder & CEO
Location: Evanston, Ill. / India
Starting a business is like playing a game where no one told you the rules. It can be a scary, intimidating and frustrating experience, but there’s no better time to do it than while at Kellogg.
My team (including three other MMM students) and I came up with the idea for sharEd as a part of the Hult Prize Competition. We were selected as a Hult Online Finalist and raised $13k to get the venture off the ground, so I spent the summer trying to do just that.
I led a team of four in an accelerator program at The Garage at Northwestern to build an minimum viable product that we could use to test out our idea. We started the summer using the design thinking approach, immersing ourselves in daily life of preschool teachers to understand how they were using current curriculum solutions. We even traveled to India to better understand our specific market and observe our customers in action.
Through in-depth interviews and observation we were able to find pain points and ultimately finish designing Version 1.0 of our product. We also worked on building a brand, building credibility and building partnerships that we could use to help deliver our service.
Through the process I was able to learn so much about the process of building a business: recruiting talent, incorporating the business and legal issues, pitching a business, marketing myself and the company, generating sales and delivering on operations.
No other internship could have given me the chance to go from brainstorming on the white board walls of a local incubator to riding through the slums of informal settlements in India.