Two Babson Graduate Businesses Named Finalists in SXSW MBA Pitch Competition
Babson graduate students Adam Martel M’17 and Rich Palmer M’16 of Gravyty, and Kazunori Kawanobe M’16, Abhinav Sureka M’16, and Mayuresh Soni M’16 of Load&Road LLC. – the maker of Teplo, participated in the 2016 SXSW MBA Pitch Competition at SXSW Interactive—landing top spots as 2nd and 4th place finalists.
The cohorts competed against fifteen other MBA entrepreneur teams from UT Austin, Michigan, Harvard, MIT, Duke, UNC, Chicago, SMU, and the University of Arizona.
The competition consisted of pitch presentations and interactive feedback sessions, showcasing some of the best MBA startups nationwide as they competed for up to $10,000 in prizes. Judges included venture capitalists, angel investors, successful entrepreneurs, Austin incubators, and professors.
Gravyty came in 2nd place, winning $2,000 in funding.
“We are incredibly thankful for the support we received from the Babson community in pursuing this opportunity at SXSW, including the Blank Center, the Student Leadership Initiative Fund, and the Board of Trustees,” said the Adam and Rich. “The experience was wonderful and the competition was stiff! We hope to use this momentum to get the word out about Gravyty and welcome conversations with interested customers and investors.”
Teplo, produced by Load & Road Inc., was also a finalist, earning 4th place in the competition.
“We received amazing feedback from all of the judges, and everyone in attendance seemed impressed with the traction we had gained in just a few short days on Kickstarter,” added Kazunori, Abhinav, and Mayuresh. “We learned a lot from the SXSW experience, and are also excited to share that our campaign has now been fully funded. Thank you to everyone who has supported us thus far!”
Adam Martel M’17 and Rich Palmer M’16
Gravyty is the first predictive portfolio-management technology specifically created for frontline fundraisers. Its cloud-based software leverages data analytics, predictive modeling, and data visualizations, and has the unique power to predict donations to nonprofit organizations. By combining private data with big public data and behavioral insights, the team has built the first smart dashboard specifically designed to empower professional fundraisers, executive directors, and volunteer fundraisers to be more efficient in their fundraising efforts.
Gravyty’s software enables fundraisers to work with more major donors, solicit donations at the right times, automatically track their annual progress towards revenue, meetings and donor coverage goals, and ultimately raise more money for their organizations. Gravyty is not a replacement for a nonprofit’s CRM, but rather a tool that augments the data in the organization’s CRM, and finally makes that data actionable to help fundraisers solicit donations from the right donors at the right times.
In addition to Gravyty’s initial donation-predicting software, which was built entirely in-house by the founders at Babson, the team has recently built a prototype of an algorithm that leverages big data and can source new donors for nonprofit organizations. These new donors, statistically, have a much higher probability of making major donations to specifically aligned organizations. By empowering nonprofits to compete for donors outside of their current donor pool, the team believes they have the opportunity to fundamentally change the way that all nonprofit organizations and political campaigns raise money.
Load&Road LLC. – the Maker of Teplo
Kazunori Kawanobe M’16, Abhinav Sureka M’16, and Mayuresh Soni M’16
Teplo is a smart bottle that connects with users’ smartphones to brew the best tea consistently, each and every time.
Tea brewing is an extremely complicated process which requires constant monitoring and measuring of the temperature and brewing time. The Teplo team has simplified this process, and with the use of its mobile app, users can easily brew any type of tea without the hassle.
The product itself boasts a sleek and simple design with a bamboo bottom and top, and a glass bottle. It also houses a thermo-sensor, heater, Bluetooth communication module, and two batteries. An internal battery is used to communicate with smart devices, and has an all-day battery life. An external battery is used to maintain the drinking temperature for up to four hours.
In addition to utilizing the mobile app to personalize and maintain a desired drinking temperature, users can also use it to get personalized suggestions for tea purchases, and have them delivered, from all over the world, straight to their doorstep.
Teplo maintains a goal of raising at least $60,000 through its new Kickstarter Campaign to aid in the first mass production of products, and to begin shipments in August.