2018 SVP Startup Profile: Wish Route
Jess Lynch ’13, MS’13, MBA ‘18
Tell me a little bit about your company Wish Route?
The purpose of Wish Route is to get people motivated and moving in the direction they wish they were going. We are starting with health and wellness topics like I wish I exercised more or I wish I ate healthier. By combining people and technology to create a human-powered tech service, Wish Route creates a plan and that connects users to the inspiration and support they need to move forward with their wellness intentions.
What is the story behind Wish Route?
It goes back to when I was working on my MBA at Babson last year. I finally had the time to invest in myself and make the changes I’ve always wanted to. For instance, I stared meditating daily and stuck to a consistent exercise routine. While in the MBA program, I started to notice a lot of people around me kept saying “I really wish I exercised more” or “I really need to try that meditation thing” or “I should eat more vegetables.” This is when I noticed an epidemic. Everyone wakes up with these really good intentions, but then we all get busy and life gets in the way. All of a sudden it’s the end of the day and we didn’t follow through on our plan. I reflected on this problem and thought about what has enabled me to make changes in my life. I have the support, inspiration, and most importantly, the time to vet good content and find things that are fun and interesting for me to try out. I took all of this and then developed Wish Route. We provide personal recommendations to help you fulfill your wish, follow up for accountability, and gamify the experience with incentives (because we all like getting gifts in the mail).
What is the most valuable thing you’ve gained from the Summer Venture Program thus far?
The biggest lesson I’ve learned during the Summer Venture Program (SVP) is that building a business is a marathon. We have so many incredible opportunities at our finger tips that I am so grateful for. Learning to leave room to take advantage of these opportunities has been a crucial lesson for me. Not everything can happen in one day, sometimes you just have to leave some emails and work for the next day. The Summer Venture Program has provided me with the structure to tackle my work in an efficient and productive manner.
What’s been a milestone/accomplishment you’ve made since the Summer Venture Program started?
There have been a lot of wins in SVP thus far. One of the things I am excited about is how much my team has grown. I am surrounded by incredible contributors who are equally as excited about the vision I’ve laid out. This has left me more time to network and invest in the business in different ways.
Furthermore, I am really proud of how well we are testing Wish Route with little to no resources. Not coming from a technology background, I’ve had to find a way to combine a bunch of different free or low-cost online services in order to simulate Wish Route. I didn’t need to invest in an expensive technology platform to prove my business. We currently have 12 test users and are about to add a bunch more this weekend. Being able to simulate Wish Route and figure out what need to invest in will save us a ton of time and money, while also helping us create a better product.
What’s been an obstacle/surprise you’ve faced?
Managing my time as well as the opportunities that come my way has been a bit challenging. In my prior career, I had a very demanding job where there was more structure and priorities set for me. I was busy, but not even close to as busy as I am with Wish Route. I have never worked as hard, but nothing has ever been so worth it or rewarding.
What is your favorite memory or moment from the Summer Venture Program?
I love coming into Workbar, seeing familiar faces, and knowing big wins that people just had. My favorite moments have been when I lent a helping hand to a fellow entrepreneur. It feels like we are all in this together and it’s comforting to have a lot of people alongside me.
If you could run any company in the world, existing or not, what would it be and why?
Besides Wish Route, of course, I’d love to run Stitch Fix. It is a similar business to Wish Route in that they are working with technology to provide a personal experience at an affordable price to their customers. Stitch Fix brings surprise and delight to people’s doors by sending them clothes to try on in the comfort of their own home. I admire not only how they are giving confidence back to their customers, but also how they navigate hiring part-time working mothers to promote their business. That type of social impact is important to me. Also, I just really want to be Katrina Lake. She brought Stitch Fix public, all while having two kids, and honestly is one of my biggest role models. I’d love to be in her shoes and I’m working my way there with Wish Route.
What is your go-to restaurant around Workbar?
I am a big Sweetgreen fan. I have to set a healthy example for my Wish Route users!
Any tips for aspiring entrepreneurs that you want to share?
Letting go of the fear is the first thing you must do. Have faith that no matter what, you are going to get something great out of the experience. Just be willing to put yourself out there and risk it. I ask myself this a lot: if you aren’t risking something are you really living a fulfilling life? Maybe not.