2022 Most Disruptive MBA Startups: Gander, Stanford Graduate School of Business


Stanford Graduate School of Business

Website Link: gogander.io

Industry: Tech (Ecommerce Infrastructure)

Founding Student Name(s): Kimiloluwa Fafowora

Brief Description of Solution:  At Gander, we’re making online stores more human. Our first product helps ecommerce brands collect and embed video content so that they can more easily engage with and convert shoppers online. However, our long-term vision is to leverage all the data and analytics that we’re running to more efficiently connect consumers to brands that align with their needs and cares.

Funding Dollars: $4.5 Million

What led you to launch this venture? Selling online is notoriously difficult. Given the number of distractions and alternatives, it’s more critical than ever to connect with consumers. Prior to Stanford GSB, I spent my time scaling 26 consumer brands that were selling both online and in retail stores. By sitting in meetings with major retailers like Target, Walmart, and Sephora, it became very clear that we weren’t doing enough to help shoppers understand products in a virtual environment. I knew this wasn’t something that only our brands were facing so I took two years to explore how to fix this problem while at the GSB.

 What has been your biggest accomplishment so far with venture? Raising our $4.2M seed. We went out to fundraise around when the market was cooling significantly but were able to partner with some incredible investors because of our traction and thoughtful vision for the company.

How has your MBA program helped you further this startup venture? The GSB provided access to industry leaders who really helped evolve the concept. I entered business school with a wildly different product from what we have now. I spent most of my first-year using the Stanford network to get feedback from veterans in the brand/retail space, which ultimately sped up our journey to product market fit.

What founder or entrepreneur inspired you to start your own entrepreneurial journey? How did he or she prove motivational to you? Katrina Lake of Stitch Fix. About 90% of startups fail, but there are critical measures you can put in place to exponentially increase the likelihood of success. Katrina has been radically intentional in her journey to build Stitch Fix. From delicately prioritizing culture since day one of her company to wisely prioritizing her time at HBS where she first started building her business, I admire her capacity to strategically move one step at a time towards a very grand vision.

Which MBA class has been most valuable in building your startup and what was the biggest lesson you gained from it? Dilemmas & Decisions taught by Mark Leslie (Leslie Ventures) and Peter Levine (a16z). As a founder, I’m required to make hundreds of decisions in a given week – all of which will have a meaningful impact on the trajectory of the company. That class strengthened my ability to make important decisions quickly and confidently.

What professor made a significant contribution to your plans and why? David Dodson, who teaches Managing Growing Enterprises. I came into the GSB knowing that I wanted to leave with a viable venture, but Dodson reframed how I’d do that. Building anything can’t be done without an incredible team and working with Dodson taught me how to lead strategically. When it comes to hiring, firing, and managing employees, his class prepared me to handle the countless frictions any great leader is bound to encounter.

How has your local startup ecosystem contributed to your venture’s development and success? Relationships, relationships, relationships. Stanford GSB introduced me to a series of networks that have consistently fast-tracked our company. For example, through the GSB, I became a partner at Dorm Room Fund – the first student-run venture fund. After working with that team for about a year, their CEO, Molly Fowler introduced me to a VC who ended up co-leading our seed round. Our other co-lead was introduced to me by a fellow classmate, Sydney Sykes (partner at Lightspeed VC & co-founder of BlackVC). Had it not been for Molly, Sydney, DRF, and the GSB, it’s unclear whether we’d have the same success we have today.

What is your long-term goal with your startup? To help ecommerce brands build sustainably successful companies and diversify the faces that are typically used to market consumer products.


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