Fueling the Next Entrepreneurial Success Stories
- by Matthew Brodsky
Six Wharton first-year MBAs have earned the 2012 Wharton Venture Award. The $10,000 that comes with it will allow them to concentrate on their entrepreneurial dreams this summer, rather than pursuing traditional internships. For the award recipients, it’s less about a dream than about their startup approaching liftoff.
The winners and their business ideas are:
Samir Malik, whose 1DocWay will allow patients to visit with their doctors online.
Rajiv Mahale, who is the first-ever award winner with two different ventures. His proposed accessMD.com will offer patients and physicians across the globe a certified second opinion from one of the nation’s top 20 specialty hospitals, and Catalogue.com will be an online marketplace for professionally curated interior design.
Steve Lau and Jon Dussel are working on Cloudable.me, an online application that will enable simple social organization and sharing.
Deepa Gandhi seeks to provide monogrammed, luxury handbags and accessories at mid-market price points with Gold & Twine. (Editor’s update: Team member, Melissa Shin, WG’12, updated us that the brand has been renamed to Dagne Dover.)
Su Que “Kristy” Leong seeks to “reload” a medical tradition with Grand Round Table, a platform to allow medical practitioners to connect seamlessly with the expertise, experiences and shared resources of the medical community.
Wharton Entrepreneurial Programs (WEP) has given out Wharton Venture Awards to undergrad juniors and first-year MBA students since 2007—totaling more than $300,000 across 28 individual awards. Some past winners soon became headline-grabbing success stories, like Nat Turner, W’08, and Invite Media and Jack Abraham, W’08, and Milo.com. (Read more about Turner and Abraham in “One School. Three Entrepreneurs. $700 Million” from the spring 2010 issue of Wharton Magazine.)
Eyewear revolutionary Warby Parker, launched by Neil Blumenthal, WG’10; David Gilboa, WG’10, GEN’10; Andrew Hunt, WG’10; and Jeffrey Raider, WG’10, also benefitted from a Wharton Venture Award. (See “Making Waves on Their Own Ship” from the latest issue of Wharton Magazine for more on them.)
This year’s winners are accepted into the Wharton Venture Initiation Program, which supports serious student entrepreneurs across the University of Pennsylvania by providing office space, access to a community of student and alumni entrepreneurs, educational programming, business advising and networking opportunities.
“We are very excited about this year’s recipients of the Wharton Venture Award. The Wharton School is deeply committed to supporting student entrepreneurs as they develop their venture ideas. We’re particularly proud of this award’s record. In the last five years, we’ve seen two awardees make highly lucrative exits, one to Google and one to eBay, and 70 percent of past recipients are still pursuing their venture,” said Raffi Amit, the Robert B. Goergen Professor of Entrepreneurship and WEP academic director.