2021 Most Disruptive MBA Startups: Lightmass Dynamics, HEC Paris

Lightmass Dynamics Ltd

HEC Paris

Industry: Software, AI

Founding Student Name(s): Miha Lenardic

Brief Description of Solution: Building a more efficient foundation for real-time data simulation.

Funding Dollars: $120,000 USD by Techstars.

What led you to launch this venture? I co-launched this venture with a team that I’ve known for a long time. I’m a lawyer and that’s how I contribute to the project. I wanted to be part of this venture, first-and-foremost, because I am very confident in the team and I believe something great can come of it.

What has been your biggest accomplishment so far with venture? We are funded by one of the largest seed accelerators and we are seeing increasing interest in our product by the leading companies in our industry. Currently, we are in discussions with senior management of two Nasdaq listed firms about a licensing deal or even a buy-out.

How has your MBA program helped you further this startup venture? I wanted to do my MBA to improve my general understanding of how to run and scale a business and to tap into the network of students and alumni that faced similar challenges. HEC has a vibrant startup community that is very responsive and it has been precious to exchange ideas with entrepreneurs. It’s not just among MBAs, but also across different programs offered by the school. The academic program itself was very instructive. At the end of the day, you have to learn by doing; an MBA just smooths out the process. And the access to the alumni network doesn’t come with expiration date.

What founder or entrepreneur inspired you to start your own entrepreneurial journey? How did he or she prove motivational to you? The first inspiration would be my mom. She’s also a lawyer that ended up co-founding a business and has run it very successfully for decades. Growing up in this environment has certainly left a mark on me and encouraged me to pursue my own projects. Apart from this, there are, of course, a number of people from the startup/VC world that always have something interesting to say (e.g. Josh Wolfe, Bill Tai, or Balaji Srinivasan). Or, if you want a reference from literature, William Gibson, a speculative fiction writer, has a nice line that captures well what startups are about: “The future is already here, it’s just not evenly distributed.”

Which MBA class has been most valuable in building your startup and what was the biggest lesson you gained from it?

If I had to single out classes, it would be Organizational Behavior and Statistics & Business Analytics. In the first case, the class made me think about the importance of soft skills in business, along with different biases that are innate to humans but stand in way of good decision making. Statistics & Business Analytics was a very useful introduction to data analytics for me. I don’t have an engineering background and I often find myself out of my depth when it comes to technical things. However, this class gave me some orientation and I noticed that it was easier for me to follow our coders’ discussions since I’ve taken it.

What professor made a significant contribution to your plans and why? We had a number of outstanding professors but I’ll go with the two professors from the previous paragraph: Daniel Newark (Organizational Behavior) and Xavier Boute (Statistics & Business Analytics). Even though we never discussed the startup directly, their teachings had the most immediate impact in this context, for the reasons stated above. But going forward, I’m sure I’ll be able to incorporate lessons from other classes as well.

What is your long-term goal with your startup? To build a new foundation and set new standards for real-time data simulation that will increase performance across a number of domains, such as video games, CGI, Aerospace, and scientific simulations.