Gordon Taylor went into a full-time MBA at Chicago Booth to become a private equity investor. He came out an entrepreneur.
Now, he’s founder and CEO of Croozen, a gig economy road trip platform which brings riders and drivers together for long-distance travel.
Sure, Uber is the go-to app for anyone wanting a short-distance ride across the city. But Gordon sees an opportunity with consumers looking for more long-haul travel options.
With Croozen, Gordon wants to disrupt long-distance travel industries, connecting people travelling interstate or heading to out-of-town events. Drivers using Croozen price each seat in their car and share their rides. Gordon released his Apple iOS app earlier this year, and is gaining traction in various markets.
Gordon worked in consulting for Deloitte in New York and spent a year as operations and finance director for a startup in Zambia before business school.
Chicago Booth is ranked among the top 20 MBA programs in the world for entrepreneurship by the Financial Times. Chicago Booth’s New Venture Challenge (NVC) startup accelerator has helped to fund over 140 successful businesses including multi-billion-dollar food-delivery platform GrubHub.
Gordon worked for private equity firms in Chicago and Johannesburg, South Africa, during his MBA. Inspired by the entrepreneurial environment at Booth, he took the career leap and launched his own business.
How did the idea to start Croozen come about?
For the last five years, I have not owned a car. I took a random road trip from Chicago to Houston and it sucked. 18 hours in your car by yourself is not fun at all! But, I thought, what if I could have shared the costs or road-tripped with someone?
Then, the lightbulb came on. And Croozen was born.
What do you hope to achieve?
Our mission at Croozen is to provide an all-inclusive, safe and enjoyable travel experience for all users. Currently, we are gaining traction and raising money to continue to grow. Life could not be any better.
Why did you decide to pursue an MBA at Chicago Booth?
Chicago Booth is an environment filled with an experimental approach to learning and this allows for students to learn through actions and not just books or cases. Chicago Booth was a no-brainer for me because Booth cultivates an arena for its student to innovate themselves and their future careers.
I walked in the doors of Booth’s Harper Center with the dream of being a private equity investor and left an entrepreneur. Only Booth could have cultivated that.
Would you be where you are today without the Chicago Booth MBA?
I believe Chicago Booth provided me with the tools needed to jump out in the world of entrepreneurship and a fearless nature because I have a huge support group with tons of alumni I can lean on if needed.
Chicago Booth has a great entrepreneurship program through the Polsky Center and their faculty and staff really help students get their businesses to the next level through mentorship, investors and other resources.
What advice do you have for MBAs looking to start their own business?
Just dive in; you have what it takes. A VC friend told me: ‘MBAs take calculated risks built in spreadsheets. Don’t be that guy! Get out there and show the world who you are. You won’t know close to anything when you start but you will figure it out.’ That’s my advice!
Read more stories about students,
alumni and programmes at The University of Chicago Booth School of Business.