Starting a Business After School | Summary and Q&A

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July 27, 2009
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Stanford Graduate School of Business
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Starting a Business After School

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Summary

In this video, four entrepreneurs introduce themselves and their companies. Each entrepreneur gives a brief overview of their business, highlighting their innovations, unique offerings, and target market. They also discuss the challenges they face in their respective industries and their strategies for growth. The entrepreneurs then answer several questions about their experiences as business owners, including their preparations while in school, the resources they used to build their companies, and their financing strategies.

Questions & Answers

Q: Can you tell us more about Bottle Notes and how you specialize your wine list?

Bottle Notes is an eCommerce company that started as a niche wine club concept. They have built a personalized sommelier service that delivers wine tailored to their members' personal tastes using matching technology. The company categorizes wines into different style profiles based on its varietal composition and regional origin. Users complete a personal taste profile that includes questions about their preferences in coffee and tea, which helps the company understand their sensitivity to bitterness and make mathematical matches for personalized recommendations.

Q: Can you share more about Trulia and how it empowers people to make better decisions about real estate?

Trulia is a website that provides a search engine for homes to sell, including price trends and community data. The company makes money by selling ads to the real estate industry. Trulia partners with top real estate companies that feed their listings into the website. The website also has a community section where users can ask real estate-related questions and engage in Q&A, blogging, and articles. The community aspect is booming, and Trulia aims to provide valuable information to help people make informed decisions about real estate.

Q: What stage is Hourglass Technologies at in terms of delivering its product, and how are you developing it?

Hourglass Technologies is a medical device company developing a safer incisionless alternative to obesity surgery. The company is currently preparing for their first human trials and aiming to prove the safety and efficacy of their device. They plan to implant the device in a larger group of patients, hoping to help them lose at least 25% of their excess weight. Hourglass Technologies aims to provide a less invasive and more accessible option for patients looking to address obesity. While their revenues are distant due to the need for FDA approvals, the potential impact of their device is substantial.

Q: How did you prepare for launching your own debt relief company while you were at Stanford?

The co-founder of the debt relief company, Freedom Financial Network, shared that during their time at Stanford, they focused on finding the right business idea and partners. They went through a hundred business ideas before settling on the debt relief industry, which they found to be a fragmented space with weak competition. They used the resources at Stanford, such as professors, classmates, and networking events, to explore and evaluate ideas. They also engaged in market research, interviewed potential customers, and used GSB credit to learn more about the industry and refine their business plan.

Takeaways

The entrepreneurs in this video highlight the importance of leveraging the resources available at Stanford Business School, including professors, classmates, and alumni networks. They emphasize the power of networking and seeking advice from experienced entrepreneurs. The entrepreneurs also shared their experiences in financing their ventures, emphasizing the value of milestones and shorter-term fundraising goals. They also stress the need to have sufficient cash reserves before raising capital and the benefits of talking to potential customers for market research and validation.

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