Graduate Blog / Graduate Admissions

Babson Alumna Secures Funding On Shark Tank

My colleagues Johanna Beers and Mary Beth Crook worked closely with a recent graduate, Abby Speicher, while she was an MBA student and wanted to share her venture’s recent accomplishments in the blog post below.

On Friday, February 24th, many Babson community members were glued to their televisions to watch Abby Speicher, a 2015 Two-Year MBA graduate, as she pitched her business on Shark Tank. Her flawless presentation and nail-biting drone piloting lesson with Robert Herjavec led to a quick negotiation that culminated in securing a deal with Mark Cuban for exactly the amount for which she asked: $300,000 for a 10% stake in her business – DARTdrones.

For me, this was an opportunity to celebrate the success of not only a Babson alumna but also a former colleague and friend. Abby worked as a Graduate Assistant in the Graduate Admissions office during her time at Babson, so many of us had the chance to witness the development of her business from the very beginning. Beyond her single-minded determination, one of the things that stood out the most was the incredibly smart way that she navigated and utilized every resource and opportunity available to her at Babson. While many aspiring entrepreneurs looking to join a graduate program at Babson are well aware of the resources available through the Arthur M. Blank Center for Entrepreneurship like the Summer Venture Program and the Butler Venture Accelerator or the WIN Lab and other resources in the Center for Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership, Abby also utilized Babson resources like:

  • Hatcheries – The hatcheries function like incubators where student entrepreneurs have access to professional and semiprivate workspace to grow their businesses.
  • Speech Center – The center is a tremendous resource for students to improve and fine-tune their communication (and presentation) skills, even if English is their first language.
  • Rocket Pitch – Students and alumni pitch their business ideas at this annual event to a large audience of students, faculty, entrepreneurs, investors, and service providers.
  • Entrepreneurship Intensity Track – This signature program within the Entrepreneurship Division is designed to provide mentors, resources, and leadership as students prepare to launch a business upon graduation.

Abby’s perceptiveness in comprehensively employing all that Babson offers helped her found DARTdrones in 2014, become the first business in the country with FAA approval to provide drone pilot certification by the time she graduated in 2015, and led to numerous awards, including winning the BETA Challenge in 2015. Now with a Shark’s support, she has significantly increased the scope of her business in only a few months.

Abby’s tremendous work ethic and dedication combined with these and other resources at Babson has already resulted in a nation-wide business in a growing industry with huge potential. We all look forward to seeing where she goes from here.