JumpSmart: Past Summer Venture Program Participants: Where Are They Now? (2017 Series: Part 3)
JumpSmart, ran by Bryanne Leeming MBA ’16, creates toys for 6 to 12-year-old children to teach them how to code. The company’s products encourage kids to use the entire floor of the room to develop their skills. Bryanne participated in the Summer Venture Program in 2015 and was excited to share her experience.
What made you want to apply to the Summer Venture Program?
I came to Babson because I wanted to start a business. In school, I was working on a STEM education project and found that it was gaining traction. Throughout the year, I realized it would be interesting to explore the idea more over summer. It was in the early prototype stage then, and I figured that after the summer I could use my Babson coursework to continue improving the business.
Where are you now compared to when you participated in SVP?
At that point, I had only built one prototype. To get close to the manufacturing stage, you must make a lot of prototypes, so today, I have created nine. My most recent prototype is functioning, so I am currently in talks with manufacturers. I am also working to build a team and advisory board in addition to fundraising and preparing to sell the product.
What is the biggest thing you got out of the experience?
My biggest takeaway was being able to build a network within this industry. My background was not in the toy making or STEM education space, so I had to take time to become an expert in both. It was great to build my network through SVP speakers and advisors because doing so allowed me to make big moves after the program ended. SVP also helped me refine my pitch!
What is your favorite memory from SVP?
Getting to know people from different Babson programs. I lived on campus and we often had BBQs together. Even when I would be up late working, I knew I had an entire community there to lean on.
Any tips for potential applicants?
When you apply, make sure that you have tested your assumptions. You can do so by receiving customer feedback and making changes, making a prototype, or even beta testing. It is important to show that you have already made progress. There is a lot you can do in one or two months to advance your idea in a big way and improve your chances of acceptance.
Anything else you’d like people to know?
I had the opportunity to connect with Babson alums who had gone through the program a few years earlier- it was really interesting to hear what they did with their SVP experience. I am also still in touch with people who presented at our Lunch and Learn events because they are so interested in giving back to the Babson community.