HFL Podcast #2

In this episode, Lars Stoerseth, Taylor Zdruli and Keita Eriawan get together and talk about business, life, and the spirit of entrepreneurship.

If you want to be a guest on the show, or know someone, get in touch.

Until next time!

Members Insight: Cara Regier @ Vertex Summit

When a member of the Hult Founders Lab, we celebrate their success, as a team.

Recently, one of the founders in the Hult Founders Lab, Cara Regier, competed at the Vertex Summit, in November. Cara placed in the top three!

Interview with Cara:

Lars-  “So, Cara, you’re part of the Hult Founders Lab incubator program this fall [2018] with your startup Kazye.”

Lars- “How did you come up with your idea?”

Cara-It started with realizing how many of our day-to-day items are actually made out of plastic and a conversation with a friend. He told me “yes, recycling is a step closer to phasing out but Seychelles (my home country) doesn’t actually have a recycling facility”. It made me think about how I can help an island state dependent on the ocean to rid their increase in plastic pollution. Why not help them and other countries enter the circular economy to sustain their phasing out of single-use plastics and encourage projects to create awareness about the impact of plastic pollution and microplastic.”

 

Lars- “What challenges have you faced so far, and how have you adapted to them?”

Cara- “Initially I wanted to 3D print recycled items but it turned out to be a logistical nightmare and in return wouldn’t have the positive impact on the local economy I would want to have. Talking to mentors, friends & family and investors has helped narrow down what can have the biggest impact while keeping profits.”

 

Lars- “What was your greatest benefit from the HFL program so far?”

Cara- “Feedback and Support. Critical feedback to be specific. So-called “roasting” sessions as they like to call it really highlight where the problems in your idea lay that you haven’t considered yet. But it is also an ecosystem of support and shared knowledge which has helped gain confidence in my idea and learn about new ways to improve my idea.”

Lars- “You have also been part of the Vertex competition, and pitched very successfully at the Vertex Summit.”

Lars- “How was the Vertex program, and what was the best thing about it?”

Cara-The Vertex was a great professional networking opportunity, especially for investors and startups. I have made amazing connections that I am still in contact with that help me develop my idea. The Pitch Competition with judges for the startups was great. It was my first pitch but I was confident enough to go through with it as you were still within your “safe” ecosystem of fellow startups you’ve worked alongside with. It helps to take that first step out of your comfort zone to present your idea you’re so passionate about in front of an audience which is there to criticize you.”

Lars- “What did you think of the Vertex Summit?”

Cara-Overall it was a great experience. It was sad that not many students/attendees showed up which cause some talks to become delayed and overlap to get the biggest audience possible. It slightly took away the excitement of the event, however, the pitches were still well visited and I think personally every speaker who came in was an excellent choice and brought amazing advice to the event that should not be missed.”

Lars- “How did it feel to place 3rd for best competition pitch, and be granted a place in a renowned accelerator, and how do you think it will help your idea?”

Cara-People came to me after the award ceremony trying to comfort me I made “only” third place. I told them I could not be more happy and proud of myself as I did not expect anything at all. I am very grateful and happy I took this scary step. Finding out I would get into the accelerator was just the icing on top. I am confident this is the beginning of an amazing journey where I can find team members, partnerships and mentorship.”

All of us here at the Hult Founders Lab congratulate Cara and her business with this milestone. Good job!

360 Event, Fall 2018 – Recap

Friday, October 19th, the Hult Founders Lab officially launched its fall 2018 program by kicking off with a cohort 360 and roast. We invited all founders for a pitching session in which each start-up presented their idea to the rest of the cohort and receive feedback from each other. The pitching time was kept shorter than the Q&A intentionally to spark debate between founders and see if there were any synergies between them.

The debates and comments ranged widely and there was a true openness to the feedback, so much so that the discussions kept going longer than expected. It is always remarkable, and a pleasure, to see what happens when people with similar interests and ambitions are left in a room to brainstorm freely.

The event carried on with presentations of start-ups from the manufacturing industry, AgriTech, social media production, FinTech, and insurance, all the way to social enterprises tackling energy poverty. Some are just at the initial phases trying to find their place in the market, while others are more established and have clients with annual revenues of 250M dollars.

We were so impressed by some of the start-ups and are truly looking forward to see what these founders can achieve in the Hult Founders Lab. Congratulations again to the new cohort and let this be the spark to ignite your next great idea.

Event Recap: Panel Discussion on the Future of Entrepreneurship

To celebrate entrepreneurship week, the Hult Founders Lab (HFL) was honored to have a panel on the Future of Entrepreneurship with three wonderful guests; Dhiraj Mukherjee, the co-founder of Shazam, Andy Jefferies, the co-founder of Dock & Bay which featured on an episode of Dragons’ Den, and Dr. David James, one of our wonderful professors who has taken an active role in promoting entrepreneurship on our campus. Those in attendance were blessed with great information that we didn’t think should be confined to just this talk, so we decided to summarize some of the key points for you here in hopes that if you were unable to make it, you can still learn from their wisdom.

Key Takeaways:

  1. Develop your Product Globally

With today’s advancements in technology and shipping, the world is smaller than ever! If your company sells a product in one country, then chances are high that you could be selling to so many different markets at the same time. Andy Jefferies said that Dock & Bay is looking to be in the Australian Amazon market as soon as possible so that they can get an advantage over their competitors, even though they are based out of the UK. If you haven’t asked yourself why your company isn’t selling worldwide, then you could be losing valuable sales every day for no reason.

  1. Don’t Wait for the Future to Come to You

When asked about Brexit, all three panelists agreed on two things; first, that they didn’t know what Brexit would look like exactly, and secondly, that the most important thing was to keep working. Entrepreneurs act instead of sitting around and talking with no end. There are endless arguments that could be made about Brexit and the effect that it will have on businesses in the UK and around the world, but talking about it isn’t going to change anything. Unless you have the power to change something, the entrepreneur’s role is to make sure that he/she continues to move forward with their idea through the uncertainty that they have no control over. David James says, “Starting a business is hard enough without the distractions of things outside of your control. For example, major political and economic events like ‘Brexit’ are tempting issues for you to get involved with the form of debating, sharing thoughts on social media and worrying. For an entrepreneur, I think these are saps of your energy and easy diversionary events to give you an excuse for not actually executing on your ideas. Stop the intellectual foreplay and get on with starting-up!” Strong words of encouragement to let go and get going!

  1. Embrace the Unknown

One of the biggest reasons why potential entrepreneurs fail to move forward with their idea is because they fear the unknown. Whether it be the unknown of success or failure, or not having the know-how of certain technical skills, the unknown is a scary idea for a lot of people. You will never know everything there is to know about how your idea will pan out and so the first step is to move forward with what you do know. While all three panelists agreed that dealing with the unknown is a necessary skill for entrepreneurs to develop, they offered very different ways of coping with it. Dhiraj gave the story of the founders of Shazam, three MBA students, having a great idea, but no idea how to develop the software it took to make it a possibility. Instead of giving up, they decided to find the best audio technician around and hire him into the company to help them make the software that was just bought by Apple for an estimated $400 million. Andy, on the other hand, talked about the practice of learning along the way. He has learned so much in the past year that he would have never learned if he hadn’t started acting first. Andy could have spent the beginning stages of his company on learning all the potential skills he might need and wasted valuable time, or he could have started with what he knew and built from there, learning along the way. The great thing about this advice is that neither of these tactics for tackling the unknown is one size fits all and both Dhiraj and Andy have used both.

  1. Learn how to handle failure

When asked about failure Dhiraj, Andy and David all agreed that good entrepreneurs know how to fail well. Every time you start something new and try to innovate a specific industry, you will make mistakes and there will be ideas that end up failing. The question then becomes, not how to avoid failure at all costs, but what your attitude will be when you do fail. Entrepreneurs of the future need to accept failure as a process of refining their ideas and visions and look to it as a teacher. Once the entrepreneur learns to keep getting up after getting knocked down, the possibilities for success are limitless.

 

We hope that this summary was useful to you and your journey to creating something incredible! Let us know your thoughts in the comments and we can’t wait to see you at the next Hult Founders Lab event!

On Becoming An Entrepreneur: 4 tips from 2ClickSolutions

Many thanks for all of you who were able to make it out for the 2Click Solutions presentation last week! It was great to hear from former Hult students about the path that they have taken since leaving Hult and the lessons that they have learned along the way while starting their global company!

Bernarda Matic and Guiseppe Lamele met at Hult, and when their studies started to wear down they decided that they were going to build a company together in Vietnam. They decided from the start that they were going to “build a company not develop a business” because “we don’t want to solve problems, but we want to build on strengths!” Fast forward to three years later and they have created a global company with representatives around the world that makes bespoke software for companies. Amongst the many accomplishments, they talk about a machine learning platform that they created to reduce bias in managerial assessment which is leading to more inclusive and happy working environments! While being able to talk about their successes with pride they don’t act like they haven’t had failures or mistakes in their past, but rather say that they have learned just as much from their missteps and it has made them who they are today. Here are the four key points that they say have been the most instrumental learning points that they have accumulated along the way:

  1. Accept Chaos

“Don’t plan too much. You will never win against randomness, respect it and lean on it for part of your day!” Instead of trying to plan out 100% of your day or week, like you can account for every second of the day, try to only plan out 70% so that you can be open to unexpected events and outcomes! If you try to have a tight grip on what happens during your day you’ll always end up disappointed, but if you leave your day open for the unknown you’ll be much better prepared to handle it when it comes your way.

  1. Explore more

“Don’t rush to choose. Imagine yourself in different opportunities.” One of the biggest mistakes that we can make after graduating is rushing into the first opportunity that comes our way. If we allow ourselves the space to find something truly worth doing, then we will be more likely to enjoy what we are doing for years to come

  1. Avoid Giants

“This is the era of impact, not the era of weight. Always chose the option the majority avoids.” Guiseppe believes that life isn’t about the title that you have or the company brand that you work for, but about how much impact you are making. Look for opportunities to make an impact and it will be much more satisfying than achieving “weight” as he calls it.

  1. Build Soft Skills

“Make your free time the most important part of your day and defend it.” Instead of defining ourselves by what we must do, we should start defining ourselves by what we want to do. Focus on the activities that make you feel alive and keep them sacred in your day-to-day because that is the only way to truly live.

Thank you all for coming out and learning with us! We look forward to seeing you at the next speaker series!