Past B.E.T.A. Challenge Finalists: Where Are They Now? (Series: Part II)
Post from SoYoon Jun ’14, founder of How To Marry:
Joshua Bennett’14, a co-founder of College Outside, visited the Butler Venture Accelerator to share his experience with B.E.T.A. Challenge. He was one of the two finalists of the Undergraduate B.E.T.A. Challenge in 2013. College Outside is a highly integrated marketing company that connects the millennium generation, current college students, with existing outdoor industry players like North Face and Patagonia by working directly and cultivating outing clubs and events within college campuses. Bennett described that any company that is geared towards products for hiking, biking, running are considered potential clients for his company.
When Bennett was asked what motivated him to apply for B.E.T.A. Challenge, he mentioned that he always wanted to compete in B.E.T.A. Challenge since his freshman year when he first joined the Butler Venture Accelerator Program. Bennett said that he did not have any specific business ideas for first two years at Babson but when he finally did, he was not hesitant to apply for B.E.T.A. Challenge as he wanted to get himself exposed to Babson’s signature business competition.
Reflecting back on his experience with B.E.T.A. Challenge, Bennett shared that it was a great turning point for him and his business. He mentioned that B.E.T.A. Challenge has really kick-started his business and created the present state of College Outside. “Before B.E.T.A. Challenge, College Outside was very much a business on paper,” said Bennett. When Bennett and his co-founder, Sarah Lockwood, first met in April 2012 with the idea of starting a business involving outdoor industry, they did not have a clear revenue model for the business. When they launched a website on October 2012, College Outside acted more like a media company than a marketing company as it focused on producing online outdoor magazines geared towards college students.
Throughout the B.E.T.A. Challenge, Bennett received feedback from judges who pointed out many important things that they need to address in order to build a stronger business model. After the B.E.T.A. Challenge, Bennett and his co-founder talked to many outdoor companies to better validate their business model and create a revenue model. After starting the conversation with some of the outdoor companies, College Outside was invited to Outdoor Retailers show during the summer, where the team had two days’ worth of meetings with marketing directors of all the major outdoor companies. Bennett mentioned that the B.E.T.A. Challenge has truly given him an opportunity to learn how to become profitable while working his passion of connecting the outdoor industry and college students.
After graduation, Bennett is planning on working full-time on his venture. He is always open to feedbacks and opportunity to connect with more people. If you are interested to learn more about College Outside, please visit College Outside at www.collegeoutside.com
Hear from this year’s B.E.T.A. Challenge finalists at the B.E.T.A. Challenge finals on Thursday, April 10 and check back for more posts from our “Past B.E.T.A. Challenge Finalists: Where Are They Now?” series.