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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

In 2012 I won a grant from NASA to develop a 3D food printer to personalize nutrition for astronauts during deep space missions such as Mars.

While working on that project, I thought about commercializing this technology, and in 2015 I decided to quit my job and start BeeHex.

What does the future hold for BeeHex?

We see tremendous opportunities with 3D food printing. We're currently automating confectionery decoration for many large in-store bakeries in the US, but we're also working with the US Army to develop a machine that can personalize recovery bars for soldiers based on their genetics, metabolic rate, blood markers and level of physical activities.

We want to commercialize this technology for the consumers—we're excited to receive initial traction in this multi-billion-dollar market.


Delhicioso!

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Who: Rishabh Lohia

Where: ESADE Business School, Class of 2016

Delhicioso! is a platform connecting home chefs who love to cook to people who can’t cook at all. They offer two main services: a meal service, where professionals around the city can enjoy multicultural meals at their offices, and catering services which focus on organizers with tight budgets.

Tell us about your career journey.

Before coming to Barcelona for my MBA at ESADE, I spent around 5 years in the consulting industry. While working in the field of consulting, I met a lot of industry experts and learned a lot in different fields.

However, I saw myself working far more passionately for any project in the hospitality industry. Eventually, I realized that food and hospitality is the area that actually brings joy to me and that is something which I can do without counting any hours.

How did the idea for your startup come about?

The idea came around back in India, where I wanted to create a community of housewives cooking food for professionals.

I found a similar need at ESADE. There, I decided to ask a few students and their partners to help me, and after a few iterations, the idea seemed to work where people loved to eat something that their friends or their partners cooked.

Delhicioso! now gives them the opportunity to not just share the food with their friends, but share that love with everyone in Barcelona.

How did the MBA help you start your business?

The immense support, knowledge and mentorship that makes ESADE has been the key to starting Delhicioso! I am extremely thankful to the management, mentors and friends (who are working with different international companies) for their continuous support and tips on how to keep getting better.


Dermveda

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Who: Venita Sivamani, co-founder and CEO

Where: University of California (UC) Davis Graduate School of Management, Class of 2015

Dermveda is a personalized skincare website specializing in dermatology education. Their website is tailored to each reader’s skin type and features over 1000 pieces of content written and peer-reviewed by dermatologists. Dermveda recently launched an ingredient-driven product platform that matches carefully-vetted products to skin types and product preferences.

How did the idea for your startup come about?

Dermveda started over my dining room table! My co-founders, now dermatologists, were experiencing a couple of constraints in training: [firstly,] lack of time with patients, [and secondly,] increasing demand for complementary medicine which was not studied in school.

The public wanted to know what dietary and lifestyle modifications they could make to improve or prevent skin concerns. After assessing the market, we realized that an integrative dermatology resource that blended Western and Eastern practices did not yet exist, so we decided to build it.

How did the MBA help you start your business?

The MBA I received at UC Davis has been extremely valuable in establishing the functions necessary for a successful business.

Everything from managerial accounting, to the ‘four Ps’ of marketing, to strategic planning, to pitching a 10-slide deck have come into play at some point in our startup's development.

I also benefited from expert mentors and established a strong support network. So much so that my first hire was actually a classmate!

What does the future hold for Dermveda?

Dermveda recently expanded into continuing medical education for providers. We will be hosting the first annual Integrative Dermatology Symposium, which will be attended by experts from around the world and continue to expand the field of integrative dermatology.


Read more: Social Impact Venture Funds On The Rise On MBA Campuses

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First Edventures

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Who: Victoria Tollossa

Where: American University, Kogod School of Business, Class of 2020

First Edventures is a startup dedicated to giving parents the practical tools and resources to give their babies and toddlers a strong start in life. With an educational program designed to optimize children’s formative years of development, the company is currently preparing for their next round of fundraising.

Tell us about your career journey.

After graduating from Columbia University in New York City, I wholeheartedly jumped into the music industry, started my own production company, and wrote over 100 songs for numerous artists, earning a Grammy nomination for Best R&B Album in 2013.

With this experience, I co-founded an entertainment marketing company, IDL Entertainment Group, managing a talent roster of over 150 people and working with brands like Target, Ford and Seventh Generation.

How did the idea for the startup come about?

When my son was born [in 2015], I was extremely fascinated by his ability to learn and discover the world around him. I wanted to do everything in my power to support him through this time of development. However, I soon realized just how challenging the process can be.

First of all, there is an overwhelming amount of advice and information available online, and secondly, most of it is not a long-term fit for the life of a busy parent.

I did not come across a manageable solution anywhere, so I decided to create one.

How is the MBA helping you with your business?

I have always followed an entrepreneurial career path so I wouldn't say that an MBA has helped me start my company but more so grow it.

An MBA has been instrumental in providing me with a more definitive framework for understanding and navigating some of the business challenges that I have come across when building the company.

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