Babson Alumni Spotlight: Mike Angelov ’05
We recently caught up with Babson Alumnus Mike Angelov ’05 to discuss his new entrepreneurial venture, Grill-Easy™.
Grill Easy™ was brought to life from a simple shared idea that the charcoal grilling industry was stuck in the last century and it was time to infuse it with innovation and develop products based on the modern griller. Over the past 10 years, my partners Alex, Daniel and I have been going on annual camping trips and the same topic came up while grilling; there’s got to be an easier, more eco-friendly, and more natural way to prepare charcoal for grilling. With both academic and real world entrepreneurial experience, we decided to explore various products that the modern griller was waiting for. The “Eureka” moment finally hit us in the spring of 2012, and 6 months later after numerous iterations of testing and product development, the final prototype was born. Although all of the energy thus far has gone into developing the Grill Easy™ Natural Lump Charcoal, there are many other products in the pipeline that share the same philosophy. Our goal is to be a recognized brand that brings overdue innovation to the tradition of cooking outdoors on an open flame. Our website www.Grill-Easy.com has lots of info on who we are and how we are different from the rest of the industry.
Our team is comprised of 3 co-founders; Alex Burakovsky, Daniel Ruvinsky and I (Mike Angelov). Alex and I are both Babson undergraduate alumni graduating in 2001 and 2005 respectively. Daniel is a Northeastern Alum, but we don’t hold that against him. We all met through mutual friends and shared a passion for innovation and disrupting the status quo. We all have been part of start-up teams throughout our careers in different industries including IT and Finance. Having been exposed to amazing professors, programs and resources while studying at Babson, we had enough under the tool belt to start our company and plunge into the world of entrepreneurship.
Grill Easy™ Natural Lump Charcoal can be found in 7 retail locations around the greater Boston area. We also recently launched online sales and consumers can now buy our product directly on our website. We are currently making Grill Easy™ Natural Lump Charcoal locally here in Massachusetts and in the process of negotiating manufacturing logistics to be able to produce at a much higher volume. We are also in talks with larger retail chains to secure orders for next summer’s grilling season.
The biggest thing that Babson taught us is not to be afraid to take calculated risks. As one of our mentors from Babson once said, “there is no way to jump into the water without getting wet.” In addition, Babson’s multidisciplinary curriculum has helped us tackle many issues that come up every day for entrepreneurs including areas of Marketing, Finance and Accounting, Operations, and many other topics covered at Babson starting from day one. The strong entrepreneurial foundation that Babson has built for us comes into play daily as we continue to build our company and brand.
Since graduation, Alex, Daniel and I took part in many networking events held by Babson College. Once you graduate you leave with not only an amazing education, but also a very supportive community of alumni who are willing to help, share ideas, and display leadership in every industry and geographic location around the globe. In addition to the Rocket Pitch, we have also taken part in Babson’s BASE (Babson Alumni Supporting Entrepreneurs) program that helped us greatly in the very early stages of our start-up and continues to mentor us as we face new challenges.
The Grill-Easy team recently participated in Babson’s annual Rocket Pitch event: