Our Top Ten Favorite MBA Startups In 2015

Fahim Naim

Fahim Naim

8. SneakPeek, Founder: Fahim Naim, Northwestern Kellogg

The world of online dating is a crowded but vulnerable market, Fahim Naim, a Northwestern Kellogg grad believes. So he’s set out to create SneakPeek, another dating app for MBAs and young professionals. But before laughing off the venture off, consider recent successes of other MBA-founded dating apps such as Coffee Meets Bagel and Hinge.

Where Naim belives his startup differs is instead of swiping left or right, users give info about themselves and what they’re looking for in a suitable date or partner. They are then emailed potential times to meet for a two-minute online chat via webcam. Users spend two minutes answering a random question in front of another user and then can vote “yes” or “no” on the conversation. If both parties say “yes,” contact info is exchanged.

7. RelishMBA, Founders: Sarah Rumbaugh and Zach Mayo, Virginia Darden

Darden MBAs Sarah Rumbaugh and Zach Mayo - photo by Andrew Shurtleff

Darden MBAs Sarah Rumbaugh and Zach Mayo – photo by Andrew Shurtleff

As Sarah Rumbaugh and Zach Mayo were working through their MBAs at Virginia Darden, they noticed something: they were spending as much time with their post-graduation employment as academic work. And it wasn’t like they couldn’t find a job—MBAs from top schools have very little problem finding employment. The problem was the amount of time, energy and resources spent on something that would work itself out eventually anyway.

So Rumbaugh and Mayo created RelishMBA—essentially a dating app for employers and MBAs to meet. Instead of trying to find the ideal partner, RelishMBA helps MBAs find their perfect employer and an employer find their perfect MBA. The app allows companies and MBAs to create profiles, search using filters and then set dates to meet about potential employment. It’s a streamlined and efficient twist on the job search.

Britt Danneman (left) and Julia Senior (right), current Harvard Business School students and founders of Sports Ketchup. Courtesy photo

Britt Danneman (left) and Julia Senior (right), current Harvard Business School students and founders of Sports Ketchup. Courtesy photo

6. Sports Ketchup, Founders: Julia Senior and Britt Danneman, Harvard Business School

“Peyton Manning sucks in the snow,” were the words spoken by Julia Senior to Britt Danneman on a snowy Boston day. The two roommates and fellow MBAs at Harvard Business School were itching for an entrepreneurial startup. A combination of Danneman’s inability but desire to talk sports and Senior’s obsession with sports news led the duo to create Sports Ketchup.

Users who sign up for Sports Ketchup receive a weekly e-newsletter with all of the latest sports topics and headlines. The best part is, the topics are presented in quick, one-hitters that people can drop in the office or at the bar to help with that awkward small talk. And it’s not just the basic headline, there’s thoughtful analysis like, you know, that Peyton Manning sucks in the snow.

5. WeTravel, Founders: Garib Mehdiyev, Johannes Koeppel, Zaky Prabowo, Berkeley Haas

Pictured left to right are Garib Mehdiyev, CTO, Johannes Koeppel, CEO, and Zaky Prabowo, CMO, of Wetravel.to. Photo by Thor Swift for the Financial Times

Pictured left to right are Garib Mehdiyev, CTO, Johannes Koeppel, CEO, and Zaky Prabowo, CMO, of Wetravel.to.
Photo by Thor Swift for the Financial Times

If you end up in a room with Garib Mehdiyev, Johannes Koeppel and Zaky Prabowo, it’s likely no matter where in the world you’ve been, one of them have been there. Between the three, they cam speak a combined 15 languages and have travelled to more than 100 different countries. Koeppel and Prabowo, who describe themselves as “serial travelers,” met on the first day of classes in the Berkeley-Haas full-time MBA.

They both came to the startup and venture capital rich California Bay Area hell-bent on making good on the tech culture. Soon, Koeppel came up with the idea to create a website where individuals can plan, organize and pay for global group travel. The site is called WeTravel and Koeppel worked on it throughout his time at Haas. He was even able to score some seed funding from Haas entrepreneurship professor and VC senior advisor, Rob Chandra.