2021 Most Disruptive MBA Startups: Joylet, Georgetown University (McDonough)


Georgetown University, McDonough School of Business

Industry: E-commerce

Founding Student Name(s): Allison Cavasino (MSB FX22) & Natalie Poston (MSB FT21)

Brief Description of Solution: Joylet is a baby gear rental company that gives parents access to the best baby gear at a fraction of the price with flexible rental terms and without the hassle of long-term storage or disposal. Plus, it’s better for the planet because Joylet gear is loved by multiple families.

Funding Dollars: $12K in non-dilutive funding from winning the Grand Prize and the Audience Choice awards at the Georgetown Entrepreneurship Challenge (GEC).

Editor’s Note: This month, Joylet won the $30,000 grand prize in Georgetown’s Bark Tank pitch competition.

What led you to launch this venture? We met in 2019, at a time in our lives when everyone around us was having babies. As we started to explore parenthood ourselves, it was obvious that the traditional model of baby gear ownership was outdated. Buying new gear for every baby can be wasteful – there’s already too much baby gear in circulation and oftentimes it can’t be donated, which means gear ends up in a landfill. We knew renting could not only be a more sustainable solution, it could reduce the stress parents felt about cost, reliability, storage, and choosing gear their child will like.

We founded Joylet to give parents more joy and less stress when preparing for a new baby. Joylet takes the guesswork out of selecting gear by only offering top of the line products and offering flexible rental terms that allow you to try and return gear in weeks or months.

What has been your biggest accomplishment so far with venture? Our biggest accomplishment has been launching our website and service to families on the East Coast. For minimal marketing spend, we’ve secured our first customers and have received positive feedback on initial product market fit.

How has your MBA program helped you further this startup venture? The MBA program was essential in helping us get this idea off of the ground; we met in the MBA program, have leveraged the McDonough community throughout our journey, and received our first source of funding through GEC.

What founder or entrepreneur inspired you to start your own entrepreneurial journey? How did he or she prove motivational to you? We both love the story of Canva co-founder Melanie Perkins. She believed that there should be a more collaborative, more inclusive way to design, because legacy programs like Adobe take months to learn and are inaccessible to the masses. Like so many great entrepreneurs, she identified an inefficient way of doing things that had become the status quo and challenged it. Now Canva is a multi-billion dollar company with millions of monthly users. We’re inspired by her and hope to challenge the incumbent way of owning baby gear because we believe it is inefficient and can be wasteful. We’re further inspired by her commitment to social good; she recently announced she would be donating her fortune to fight poverty.

Which MBA class has been most valuable in building your startup and what was the biggest lesson you gained from it? We incubated this idea in Jay Gamble’s class – Lean Startup. The class taught us how to create a startup pitch deck and allowed us to present in front of VC investors. This process helped us think through all aspects of the business model, target customers, and our GTM strategy.

What professor made a significant contribution to your plans and why? Vishal Agrawal has been a huge help to us along the way. He leads the Certificate in Sustainable Business at McDonough and we’ve taken many of his classes. From the start, we knew that we wanted to incorporate impact and sustainability into our disruptive business; we worked under Professor Agrawal in the Sustainability Practicum class to research different delivery and packaging methods for Joylet. He continues to be a resource for us.

Of course, other professors have also helped us along the way – Jeff Reid oversaw Alli’s independent study on building an MVP and testing traction, Andrew Ting has helped us with financing considerations, given his experience in startup law, and many others have served as a resource to us.

What is your long-term goal with your startup? Our long term goal is to roll out services nationwide and disrupt the traditional model of baby gear ownership. We envision a more sustainable future where every piece of baby gear is loved by multiple families.


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