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MBA Startups To Look Out For—2018

We highlight some of this year's best MBA entrepreneurs set to take over the business world

Business schools have launched countless game-changing startups—massive companies like Instagram and StubHub among them.

But what do next year’s breakout businesses look like, and which business schools will they be emerging from?

For BusinessBecause's MBA Startups To Look Out For, we reached out to schools around the world to discover the most promising ventures among their current and recent MBA classes.

It’s time to meet the startup leaders of tomorrow…


Adelie Health

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Who: Meredith Caldwell, cofounder and advisor

Where: University of Oxford, Saïd Business School, Class of 2017

Founded by Meredith Caldwell and Liam McMorrow, Adelie Health has created the PenPal, a medication management tool that aims to alleviate anxieties for those suffering with type one diabetes. A small device that fits onto insulin pens, the PenPal allows users to track how many injections they have completed and gives them a reminder when their next one is due.

How did you get the idea for your startup?

Liam, our cofounder, comes at it from a personal perspective. He grew up with diabetes, and was looking for a better way of managing it.

By talking to people, he realized that people were [having to inject insulin] so often, and changing one small thing would make a big difference.

How did your MBA help you to start your business?

We got lots of presentation practice at Oxford, which I was not good at coming into the MBA. We presented to 500 people at the Oxford Saïd Entrepreneurship Forum in March—that experience allowed me to develop personally and professionally.

What are your plans for the future?

We’ve just won the EJP Health Award of £50,000. That’s fantastic for us to take Adelie Health to the next stage, using the funding to further develop a functional prototype, and bring that to investors in the seed round.


Alpha Interview

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Who: Larry Wang, co-founder and CFO

Where: London Business School (LBS), Class of 2019

Alpha Interview aims to eliminate bias in recruiting through Artificial Intelligence (AI). By getting candidates to undergo a video interview and then picking those suitable for progression using AI analysis of speech topics, changes in voice, and facial tracking, Larry and his co-founder Alain Illi hope to bring ease and accuracy to the recruitment process.

Tell us about your career journey.

I did my undergrad back in China, where I’m originally from. Then I went to the US for my Master’s in Statistics. After graduation I worked in the US as a consultant with Deloitte for about four and a half years—that’s when I started the MBA here in London.

How is your MBA helping you with the startup?

There’s really three parts to this.

[Firstly,] I really appreciate the flexibility of the classes and the variety—I just pick what I want to do, and then I can use the knowledge [for] my company, which is super helpful.

The second thing is the community at London Business School. When I started this company, I had to interview a lot of people in the industry, so I used a lot of connections with professors or classmates just to get those interviews.

Thirdly, the alumni network. It’s really active—for example, we have a forum that all the alumni have access to. Sometimes I post a question and I’m surprised when I get an answer—I was using this as a last resort, but it was actually a really useful resource.

It’s so much better than if I was outside LBS and trying to start something on my own.


AmaElla

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Who: Lara Miller, cofounder and director

Where: Judge Business School, University of Cambridge, Class of 2015

AmaElla is an ethical clothing brand founded by Lara Miller and Julie Kervadec. Having grown up in a family business, Lara had always had a strong interest in commerce, and spent several years working for large corporations such as Colgate. But after seeing the environmental damage caused by big industries on a conservation trip to Madagascar, she decided to pursue a sustainable career.

How did you get the idea for your startup?

Our business formed from a sort of personal crisis.

My partner [Julie] had to visit manufacturers in China, Bangladesh, and India [for her job in the textile industry]. It’s stressful working in fast fashion—there’s a never-ending cycle of faster and cheaper.

[Julie] asked her boss how they would produce such a massive volume of sweaters in two or three weeks, and her boss said, ‘Don’t ask—look.’ No one was working under proper conditions.

It clicked something in her mind; she started questioning and couldn’t carry on. By that time, I’d finished my MBA in Cambridge, and we had a conversation and set up a business ourselves.

[The idea for AmaElla] came up from personal frustration: it’s easy to find sporty, urban cotton underwear, or granny underwear, but we wanted something in the middle—cotton, but nice.

[We decided] it had to be organic after my experience in Madagascar and [Julie’s] in fast fashion, and to stress ethical practices in the supply chain.


BeeHex

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Who: Anjan Contractor, co-founder and CEO

Where: Warwick Business School, Class of 2015

BeeHex is a manufacturing company that produces hardware and software based on 3D printing and Computer Numerical Control (CNC) technology—all to personalize foods. They have automated dessert decoration, food toppings, and are even looking into personalizing nutrition plans.

Tell us about your career journey.

After graduating from the College of Engineering at the Ohio State University in 2005, I worked on applied research projects for NASA and the US Air Force, with Additive Manufacturing as my focal point of research.

I joined Warwick Business School as a distance learning MBA student in 2011 and graduated in 2015, the same year I founded BeeHex.

How did the idea for BeeHex come about?

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