FedWell: Past Summer Venture Program Participants: Where Are They Now? (2017 Series: Part 1)
Pet food entrepreneur Emily Lagasse, MBA’15, participated in the 2013 Summer Venture Program with her company, Fedwell. Fedwell’s products are based on home cooked recipes Emily used to heal her dog after he fell sick. Her wholesome pet food and treats allow people to treat their dogs like family more than ever before.
What made you want to apply to the Summer Venture Program?
I came to Babson with the concept of my business but had yet to launch it. I started taking evening MBA classes in 2013 and after my first semester, I learned about SVP. It seemed like the perfect place to explore my idea further and actually launch a product.
Where is your business now compared to when you participated in SVP?
Before SVP, I didn’t have a product on the market, but now I have multiple! I have also expanded my vision for the company. Right now, I am raising money to expand product lines and create a parent company selling different products. My overall business concept has grown significantly.
What is your main takeaway from the experience?
Confidence, especially related to pitching and expressing my business idea. The other entrepreneurs and mentors in the program encouraged me to be vulnerable, which led to some really valuable feedback. It reassured me about what I was doing and helped me fix what I needed to. Going through Hot Seat was intimidating but is an experience that I still draw upon today!
What is your favorite memory from SVP?
Mary Gale, lecturer of entrepreneurship, was my assigned mentor. We met one day and were discussing packaging. Mary said, “You have to surround yourself with your competition. Buy competitors’ products, keep them at your desk, and study them.” Directly after, we took a trip to Whole Foods and bought $400 worth of dog food. They sat at my desk the rest of the summer!
What are your tips for potential applicants?
What really sets an early-stage venture apart is how much work you have actually put into the idea. Even if you are still researching or developing initial connections, it shows. To stand out and get accepted into the program, put in as much work as you can beforehand. Have a good sense of how you will execute the first steps and start to build connections early on.
Anything else you’d like people to know?
Although everyone in SVP is there primarily to develop their business, I strongly encourage you to spend time building relationships with other people in the room. Even today, four years after I was in the program, people from my cohort are my closest friends and who I turn to when I need help. These relationships are part of what makes SVP so great.
Interested in applying to the Summer Venture Program? Deadline is Friday, March 31 at 12pm EST (noon!)