Series W


Givdo  is a gaming app that allows people to play games to win donation money for the charities of their choice through sponsored trivia games. The founder & CEO, Lydia Montagnese  was a technical science editor in cancer research. After moving to the Bay Area over 3 years ago, she got the entrepreneur bug and decided to learn to code so that she could build a product that would help funnel money to nonprofits.   How did you develop the idea for the company? How did you make the decision to take the plunge and start your own company? The idea […]

Givdo: Giving through Games!


Agora is an online community platform to have conversations that matter with people who matter. The mission is to use technology to offer a seamless way for people to engage their communities. As an idea sharing platform, Agora empowers communities and teams to crowdsource ideas bottom-up. Using analytics and AI, it helps decision makers separate signals from noise, creating a place for people to have conversations that matter, with people who matter. We got into a conversation with Elsa Sze, the founder and CEO of Agora.   1) How did you develop the idea for Agora? I’ve had a passion […]

Agora: Conversations That Matter


  Entrypoint, a New York based virtual reality company, provides a solution to the distribution bottleneck facing virtual reality videos. Currently, there are only two ways to distribute VR videos, apps or passive web players. Apps are expensive to produce, cumbersome to download and use, and only work on specific hardware. Current web players, meanwhile, do not allow for the interactivity which is part of what makes VR such an exciting new medium. Entrypoint’s platform allows creative agencies, publishers, and brands to add interactive elements to their 360 videos, animations, and live-streams and then publish them via a URL, accessible […]

Entrypoint: Bringing Virtual dreams to a Reality



Series W talks to Ambika Singh, Ali Driesman, Aileen Hagerman and Kevin Turner, co-founders of Armoire. Armoire is pioneering ‘wardrobe-as-a-service.’ We offer our customer an endless stream of high-end clothes to rent, which we personalize to her style and fit preferences using machine learning algorithms. With door-to-door pickup and delivery on her schedule, we conveniently provide the quality and variety of clothing that her busy life demands for less than the price of her gym membership. How did you develop the idea for Armoire? The idea for Armoire came out of our own frustrations with shopping and hunting for clothes. We were […]

Up-Close with Armoire- “Wardrobe-as-a-Service”


At UtilityAPI, we’re building the universal API for energy data. Our customers are top solar and energy storage companies. We get data out of utilities and into the hands of companies that can use it, such as solar (like SolarCity), energy storage (like Tesla), and energy management companies (Fitbit for energy use). We have paying customer and excellent growth. Access to utility data means a larger sales funnel, a frictionless customer journey, and easy data verification for financing for new energy technologies. We are making money and conveniently saving the planet at the same time (addressing climate change). 1) How […]

Series W talks to Elena Lucas from UtilityAPI


This week, Series W talks to HBS alumna Minal Mehta (HBS MBA 2011) and Shahil Patel, the co-founders of BollyX®, the world’s leading and fastest-growing Bollywood fitness company focused on building a vibrant community of certified fitness instructors and class participants to celebrate active living and combat the global obesity epidemic. BollyX is the winner of the 2015 New Venture Competition award for “Most Innovative” company. How did you develop the idea for BollyX? My co-founder and I grew up being active in team sports, and we also had extensive experience competing in Bollywood dance competitions. We realized that right before our dance […]

SERIES W TALKS TO BOLLYX



  This week, Series W talks to Eleanor Foote and Emily Schofield, the co-founders of theSaladBar, who won first place in the Founding Well pitch competition this week!  theSaladBar is a low-sugar, high-fiber, vegetable-based nutrition bar. We now have two flavors, Kale-Quinoa and Carrot Spice; both are packed with fiber and all-natural ingredients to help you eat well on the go. As we like to say, it’s the nutrition bar that is actually nutritious! How did you develop the idea for theSaladBar? How did you make the decision to take the plunge and continue working on it after FIELD 3? […]

SERIES W TALKS TO THESALADBAR


This week, we have an exciting roundup of advice for female founders to highlight some of the key points from our Series W interviews. We ask them: What resources have been most helpful to you in starting up? Victoria Song of SoSheDid:   During my second year at HBS, I continued to work on launching SoSheDid as part of an independent project advised by Professor Robin Ely, Senior Associate Dean for Culture and Community, who was tremendously helpful. In fact, her daughter Francesca was so excited about our work that she became our first intern that summer. I also took Professor […]

SERIES W HELPFUL RESOURCES FOR ENTREPRENEURS ROUNDUP


  This week Series W spoke to the founders of Buff You Intimates, a modern lingerie line that provides nude tones for women of all colors. Tell us about Buff You Intimates. At Buff You Intimates, we strive to provide the best selection of nude bras and underwear to match your own beautiful shade. Our business was founded in response to a very real need amongst our circle of educated, diverse, and ambitious friends. With careers in areas from finance to fine arts, we know that our appearance matters, and we want our personalities to show through—not our underwear. To be […]

SERIES W TALKS TO BUFF YOU INTIMATES



This week Series W spoke to the founders of Binti, a for-profit tech company making adoptions easier and more affordable for adoptive parents. Tell us about Binti. Binti is a for-profit mission driven tech company with the mission of helping more children join loving families by making adoptions easier and more affordable for adoptive parents. 90% of adoptive parents drop out in the process even though there are millions of children waiting to be adopted because adoption is currently extremely expensive and difficult ($30-50K, 1-3 years, 200+ documents). How did you develop the idea for Binti? My sister adopted years ago, and […]

SERIES W TALKS TO BINTI


In honor of finals week, we have some encouraging perspectives for female founders from our recent Series W interviews. We ask them: What was your WFIO (we’re f***** it’s over) moment? Caitlin Palmer, Tamara Zagorovskaya, and Alexandra Holtzman of Virtuosa: We’d be lying if we said we didn’t have major let down at least once a month, and frankly, you have setbacks almost every week. Overall, the process of building a company is a series of amazing highs and scary lows. Just to give one example, we had our hearts set on a particular distribution channel that seemed perfect for our product. We […]

SERIES W “WFIO” ROUNDUP


  This week Series W spoke to the founders of BeachSpoke, a company started in FIELD 3 that sells fun, oversized blankets perfect for the beach, picnics, or the mountains. Tell us about BeachSpoke. BeachSpoke sells fun, oversized beach (or picnic) blankets. They include four spokes (with cute tassels!) in each corner that keep the blanket from blowing away and getting sandy. We’ve seen our customers use them everywhere, from the beach to the park to the mountains. We sell at www.getbeachspoke.com, and they make an awesome gift for friends and family this holiday season! How did you come up with the idea? […]

SERIES W TALKS TO BEACHSPOKE



Series W talks to Virtuosa
This week Series W spoke to the founders of Virtuosa, a company that creates products that help users hack their beauty routine and spend more time on the things that matter. Give us a brief description of Virtuosa. A “Virtuosa” is a woman who is the best at whatever she does. Virtuosa Beauty takes ordinary products and reinvents them to be the smartest version possible. Our mission is to enable you to become your own virtuosa – the best version of yourself! How did you develop the idea for Virtuosa? During FIELD 3, we were brainstorming the pain points of our […]

SERIES W TALKS TO VIRTUOSA


This week, we have an exciting roundup of advice for female founders to highlight some of the key points from our Series W interviews. We ask them: What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs? Diana Murakhovskaya and Irene Ryabaya of Monarq: We have three pieces of advice: share your idea, commit to it and ask for help. We love this quote from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe “At the moment of commitment the entire universe conspires to assist you.”  Building a company is a REALLY HARD and you have to be quite driven, passionate and ready to work like mad. You absolutely cannot do it […]

SERIES W ADVICE FOR ENTREPRENEURS ROUNDUP


This week Series W spoke to Hanh Nguyen, the founder of Stuff N Style, a closet catalog app that generates outfit ideas, and Monokera, a consultancy that builds MVP apps and websites for startups. Give us a brief description of Stuff N Style & Monokera. Stuff N Style is an app that helps women catalog their closets & get outfit ideas. Monokera is a startup that creates apps & websites for startups. How did you develop the idea for Stuff N Style & Monokera? I created Stuff N Style to solve my own problem of not knowing what to wear. […]

SERIES W TALKS TO STUFF N STYLE & MONOKERA



This week Series W spoke to Uyen Tang, the founder of STYLECABLE, a curated online boutique that gives independent fashion designers a platform to share their story and connect with fans and customers. How did you develop the idea for STYLECABLE? My inspiration for STYLECABLE came from
 my travels as a Foreign Service Officer with the U.S. State Department. Whether it was a dress that I brought back from Singapore or a hand-crafted piece of jewelry from Tajikistan, friends would always ask, “Where did you find that?” I loved sharing the story of the piece and its designer with my […]

SERIES W TALKS TO STYLECABLE


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This week Series W spoke to Victoria Song, HBS alum and founder and CEO of SoSheDid, a social enterprise focused on giving young women the tools they need to invest in themselves from the inside out. Song shared her views on starting SoSheDid, her role as a venture capitalist investing in technology companies, and how the HBS community was instrumental in crystallizing her ideas about life, career, and impact.  How did you develop the idea for SoSheDid? How did you make the decision to take the plunge and start your own organization? December 17, 2013, was one of the most memorable days […]

SERIES W TALKS TO SOSHEDID


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This week Series W spoke to Anne Fulton and Jo Mills, CEO and President (respectively) of Fuel 50, a world leading SaaS Career Pathing technology delivered by the Career Engagement Group. Fuel50 has gained traction in a new niche market segment in the enterprise HR market, addressing staff retention and engagement for large organizations. See below the interview for more information on Fuel50’s market and business model. How did you develop the idea for Fuel50? Anne: Fuel50 career pathing software has been a significant life’s work for Jo and I.  We both knew from our conversations with HR practitioners around […]

SERIES W TALKS TO FUEL50



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    This week EC and WSA VP of Entrepreneurship, Britt Danneman, shares her take on the other side of the entrepreneurship coin – early stage investing:   You’ve heard a lot from us in the WSA and in the media on female founders lately. We’re excited about the initiatives here on campus and we’re encouraged by the positive momentum in women-led companies both on and off campus. But we need to give equal attention to the other side of the entrepreneurship coin – early stage investing. Marie Claire recently wrote an article about the network of awesome women founders […]

CREATING THE VIRTUOUS CYCLE: CAPITAL FOR FEMALE-LED BUSINESSES


  This week Series W talked to Giorgia Rossi, co-founder of LookBooker, about working with close friends, getting that first round of investment, and what the LookBooker team looks for in early joiners and MBAs: About LookBooker LookBooker is an online platform that is revolutionizing the way consumers book hair, beauty and wellness appointments. Search by service or curated neighborhood and then compare and instantly book an appointment 24-hours a day from any web or mobile device. By simplifying the process for female and male consumers and also offering streamlined B2C solutions for salons, LookBooker is quickly becoming the leading aggregator […]

SERIES W TALKS TO LOOKBOOKER


In June, The Daily Pnut launched; it’s a daily news brief that will make you laugh and help you sound marginally more intelligent each day. This week the Series W team asked The Daily Pnut founding team – HBS grads, Tewfik & Fred, and HKS grad student Alex – about how they got started, and what they gave up to take the start-up plunge: How did you develop the idea for The Daily Pnut? We saw that there were a few daily news emails but we saw a gap in making it funny. We realised that people were getting more and […]

SERIES W TALKS TO THE DAILY PNUT