The IE Business School MBA Who Brought Big Data Analytics To The Bars And Clubs Of London

Anshul Joshi’s drink-ordering app gave bar-owners access to valuable customer data

Anshul Joshi came up with the idea for his business while sitting in a Madrid nightclub at three in the morning.

Tired of nights spent queuing at the bar, he co-founded Snap, an innovative digital platform whereby customers could order drinks, earn points and view other bars in the area, via mobile app.

Digitization and big data analytics is changing the way companies and consumers interact. And Anshul’s creation was just as beneficial behind the bar, providing bar-owners with a CRM solution which collected customer data for use in targeted marketing campaigns.

Then an MBA student at Spain’s IE Business School, Anshul developed his business venture in the school’s start-up incubator before launching the company in London.

Now, he works as a management consultant for Accenture in the UK. Like many brave young entrepreneurs, his business didn’t get the investment it required.

Yet with lessons learnt, and having profited from his MBA experience in Spain, he aims to one day return to entrepreneurship and start the successful company he so craves.

How did the idea to start up Snap come about?

When I was studying at IE, I lived with a fellow student - Anubhav Kumar - who was also an amateur DJ. The two of us were both into clubbing and partying and all that stuff.

One random night we were in a club waiting for drinks and we thought how cool it would be if you had an app whereby you could order drinks without standing in a queue at the bar, earn some rewards and see what else is available on the menu.

We took our idea to some of our professors at IE who asked us to work on it and develop a business plan.

What benefits did Snap bring to bar owners?

Generally, the customer data that a bar has is very limited. They don’t know their customer’s age groups, drinking habits or about their most popular drinks.

If customers ordered via the app, bar owners could get a whole lot of customer data and do targeted marketing, selecting offers to target specific customers.

What challenges did you face, and why did you decide to move on?

VC investment was a big challenge. And while we had success in terms of interest, investors were demanding majority ownership. It felt like giving away your company and trying to work as an employee.

Plus, neither of us had any experience in entrepreneurship. So we had to learn and implement things at the same time. It was tough, we learnt through our mistakes, we tried to get mentors on board and build a network to help us out, but it came a little too late.

What advice do you have for MBA students looking to start their own business?

At least one member of your team should have some kind of start-up experience. They can help you with all the minor challenges that you’ll face.

The second part is the network. If you have the right contacts, you can approach the right people and get introductions through the right channels. It becomes a much easier sell.

What advice do you have for MBA students looking to work for Accenture?

The first thing they look for is a strong resume with a good level of experience in consulting, or in the industry that you are applying to work in.

In the interview, they’ll ask you questions about your previous experience, strengths and weaknesses, and they’ll give you case studies to assess your analytical and reasoning abilities.

What are your plans for the future?

I’m focused on my work at Accenture but, at some point, I would like to go back and start my own company.

Right now, there’s no idea. But the last idea struck when I was sitting in a club at three in the morning! Ideas can strike at any time. And when one strikes again, I’ll definitely give it some thought.

Why did you decide to pursue an MBA at IE Business School?

I knew the value of an MBA when it comes to good salary and good career progression.

I was looking for a one year program and IE was the most attractive in terms of its ranking and the courses and professors it offered. IE also has a really good focus on entrepreneurship, which was something that I wanted to explore.

How have you profited from your MBA experience?

Studying with people from 80 different countries has broadened my perspective, made me much more culturally aware, and helped me to understand different cultures and working styles.

Plus, now, wherever I travel and whatever country I’m in, I always have someone from IE living there so I can meet them and experience the place like a native!

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