This fall, Craig Chatwin, a Saltire Fellow, came to Babson from Scotland to attend an Executive Education program. During his stay at Babson, he was hoping to connect and collaborate with like-minded students so that they could develop and flush out business ideas together. It took a little searching, but he was eventually informed about the perfect opportunity, StartUp Scramble, a tri-college (Babson, Olin, Wellesley) event where students plan, build, and launch businesses and social ventures in just three days.
Craig was ecstatic to learn about the opportunity. He was even able to convince his colleague, Leanne Sherry, to join him for the event despite the last minute notice; the three days of startup madness were commencing only a few hours after they learned about the event.
The first night of the StartUp Scramble kicked-off with students pitching their ideas to everyone in attendance so that other students could identify and choose the projects they wanted to work on for the rest of the weekend. By midnight, Craig had selected a student’s concept that he wanted to help pursue. For the next seventy-two hours, Craig and a few other students furiously worked to finesse the idea, refine the target market, draft a business plan, and even launch a website. The business, Vicarious, would offer users the opportunity to “visit” locations virtually by scheduling e-tours with locals.
The action-packed weekend culminated with a final presentation by each team. Students then voted to identify the winners. To Craig’s astonishment, team Vicarious won. Although they were thrilled, the team didn’t waste any time to bask in their victory.
Four of the nine team members quickly made a decision to pursue the business after the weekend concluded. After the event ended, the team met on a weekly basis, while also pursuing MBA and Executive Education programs. After developing the business concept further, they decided that Vicarious should also provide e-tours of Babson College. Many of the team members were full time MBA students and would be able to work on the Babson business while attending school.
Craig reached out to President Len Schlesinger to see if Vicarious could pitch their concept to him and the President agreed. The pitch went so well that the President secured the team a meeting with the VP of Admissions for following day.
According to Craig, “the team has put into practice a number of things that they learned at Babson while attending their respected Executive Education and MBA programs.” This was evident as the team was able to successfully convince Babson’s VP of Admissions to agree to Babson being Vicarious’ first customer/partner to help develop the concept.
Vicarious’ website is expected to launch by the end of January 2013. The team anticipates that the product will be live by June of 2013. Craig has also met with a venture capital firm and entered a business competition in Scotland with hopes of raising seed funding.
The four team members are from different corners of the world; two are from India, one is from Sri Lanka, and Craig is from Scotland. If it wasn’t for Babson, the team would have never met and the business might still be only an idea. Craig felt that Babson was an ideal place to take their idea from concept to fruition, “Babson is more than an entrepreneurial college, they are facilitators of success. From the President down, the College walks the talk and their actions speak louder than words.”
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