Past B.E.T.A. Challenge Finalists: Where Are They Now? (2016 Series: Part 3)
The following post is from Ziyan Liu ’19, a Butler Venture Accelerator team member.
Hanson Grant ’16 is currently a senior at Babson College. He founded Think Board in May 2014 when he was still a sophomore at Babson. In 2015, he applied to Babson’s B.E.T.A. Challenge and became the winner in the undergraduate division. Think Board is a company that sells a clear adhesive which turns any smooth area, such as wall, desk, and door, into a dry-erase surface. Think Board can be easily installed, and customers can cut it to different sizes according to their desire.
During the interview, Hanson said that the reason he applied to B.E.T.A. Challenge is that he really wanted his idea to be viewed by judges and the outside community. He thought the competition was an opportunity to get feedback and suggestions for his product. The $20,000 cash prize was also an incentive. At that time, Hanson needed the funding of $20,000 in order to manufacture more inventory for some large purchase orders, grow his team, build the official website, and prepare and continuously grow his company.
For Hanson, winning the B.E.T.A. Challenge was a significant milestone for his company. The company saw huge growth after the competition. Hanson and his team had their biggest sales month the following January. Think Board is available on Amazon, and local stores such as Bed Bath & Beyond. Think Board also sold to 15 to 20 schools around New England area, and a school in Haiti. Hanson is now looking forward to expanding the company’s product line: producing Think Board in different sizes and colors. Hanson’s team continues to build awareness around education.
At the end of the interview, Hanson provided several tips for applicants of the B.E.T.A. Challenge. As a resident assistant, Hanson is always helping people to improve their management, interpersonal, communicational, and leadership skills. Giving advice to B.E.T.A. Challenge applicants is in his nature. Hanson suggested that it is very helpful to reach out to not only himself, but other past winners of B.E.T.A. Challenge, because they have gone through the competition themselves and would be able to give suggestions. Hanson mentioned the importance of being passionate about what you are doing during the competition, “The excitement and constant eagerness really make a difference.”
Meet the B.E.T.A. Challenge semifinalists on April 6 and finalists on April 13. Follow #babsonbeta and visit the B.E.T.A. Challenge to learn more!