Living Entrepreneurship Blog / Babson Entrepreneurs

Past B.E.T.A. Challenge Finalists: Where Are They Now? (2017 Series: Part 5)

Green Piñata Toys Winning the 2016 Alumni B.E.T.A. Challenge

Shiva Kashalkar, MBA ’11, won the 2016 B.E.T.A. Challenge with her venture, Green Piñata Toys. Green Piñata offers a subscription service targeted at millennial parents of kids under the age of five. For a monthly fee, parents receive a box of high quality wooden toys at their door, keep the toys for a month, then choose to buy any of the toys or return them all. The process begins again each month! Not having to buy individual toys reduces clutter and ensures that children never get tired of their options.

While the potential to win $20,000 influenced Shiva to apply to the B.E.T.A. Challenge, Cindy Klein Marmer, Associate Director of the Butler Venture Accelerator Program, also served as a driving force. Shiva credits the Blank Center for preparing her for every step of the entrepreneurial process- from pricing and launching to creating and testing a website. Cindy was Shiva’s advisor on the Butler Venture Accelerator and recommended that Shiva enter Green Piñata into the B.E.T.A. Challenge.

Shiva used the money she won to launch a website and curate a team of six people. Green Piñata now has a concrete scaling strategy and knows which marketing channels are the most effective. The company launched an ambassador program in six cities and is now ready to launch nationwide. Green Piñata has achieved a 90% customer retention rate and has grown 15% month-over-month since December! Shiva credits the B.E.T.A. Challenge and the Butler Venture Accelerator for preparing her for this success.

Working with Babson’s Speech Center to refine your pitch is one way that Shiva recommends applicants prepare for the challenge. She emphasized taking advantage of all possible resources to make your pitch stand out.

Even if your business already has external funding, Shiva encourages you to apply because $20,000 can help even the most funded-companies.  Winning the B.E.T.A. Challenge helped Shiva achieve her dream. Consider applying today so you can achieve yours!

Meet the 2017 B.E.T.A. Challenge semifinalists and finalists this April!