The 2019 New Venture Competition Student & Alumni Journeys


[MUSIC PLAYING] Living a full and
passionate life is how I intended
to live my life, and entrepreneurship fits
so completely with that. There’s a lot of problems
in this world that are worth solving. That’s what excites me most
about being an entrepreneur. Seasoned is a platform
to connect retirees with part-time work. My dad had this problem
when he retired. He ended up wanting to find
some purpose post-retirement. My family is part Syrian, and
I spent some time in the region to actually meet
with some refugees. So Hikma Health is an
electronic health record, primarily targeted towards
refugee populations. I’m a chronic loser of items. I’ve actually lost
my wedding band. I realized that there was no
mechanism for me to tell others that I’d lost something. So Found is a QR code solution
for returning lost items. So we want to make people
happier and healthier, and we’re building the first
fully automated machine for fresh and
customized smoothies. The day of an entrepreneur
is filled with decision after decision. You have to make a million
decisions every single day. Things don’t get done unless
you drive it to get completed. Learning operations,
managing a sales team, managing innovation. Hiring someone. You’re working on finances. It’s about jumping. You need a chance to make
mistakes, but correct them faster. Picking up skills very quickly
in a short amount of time has been incredibly challenging. And we’ve not learned anything. But that’s a learning
in and of itself. Setting these deadlines
and getting them done and doing whatever it
takes to make them happen. Yeah, there we go. Being able to be on the
front line of everything, it’s been such an amazing
complement to my time at HBS. And the pitch is like your
first opportunity really to sell something that
you are so excited about, but is new to other people. So if we say 10
slides, 10 minutes, we should have
run out of slides. Yeah, are we missing anything? We pitch everybody. We pitch ourselves. We pitch employees
that we try to recruit. Investors to give us money,
and we pitch customers. When I’m pitching,
I am terrified. I more get excited
about the mission. And that’s kind of
what takes me through. I feel like my heart
is going to explode. I shiver sometimes. Please, please, please let me
finish the sentence properly and not faint. I feel my stomach. My eyes start to cry. Once, I was presenting and a
guy was like why are you crying? Well, last year,
people didn’t quite understand after my pitch
what the product even was. So I was really thrilled this
year not to get that feedback. It’s all about
learning, and at the end of the day that’s, I think,
what we’re all here to do. So first of all, I love this. This is great. There’s a lot of
really good insight that we got out
of this feedback. The pitch is over, but we’re
going right back to the I-Lab to continue working. For who? Ooh, what is next? Well, I mean, we’re
operating a business. Ain’t that right? So it’s, yeah. People are loving the product,
which I’m very excited about. And really good days where
you are feeling that people are excited about your solution. And then you have a terrible
email that comes through, and like, OK, well, that stinks. Every single day now
without fail, I’m failing. I just had a meeting with
an advisor who told me to change my entire pitch deck. I must have made over 600
different variants of soup. And there were times when we had
a really bad tasting soup where I thought we would
never get there. It’s a very special
trait to be able to take that much rejection and
still be willing to stand. Sometimes it’s all so lonely. You’re like kind
of on an island. Sometimes I’m low
and she’s high. Sometimes she’s low, I’m high. We balance. Sometimes both are low,
so we get a tequila. [LAUGHS] I sleep on it. I wake up. It’s a new day. And then, you know, there’s a
light at the end of the tunnel. You just push through. And you ultimately end up
with something fantastic. Good job, guys. Let’s see what happens. Entrepreneurship is a career. You have a lot of
fun, and you will learn in days what
you learned in years. These are the people that just
don’t take no for an answer. We’re all about leaving
no stone unturned. So trying to take advantage
of every possible opportunity we can get. I’ve never really looked back. This food is huge. The market’s massive. Like we’re actually really
creating something pretty cool for the world. Let’s do it. Now’s the time.

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