2022 Most Disruptive MBA Startups: Helous, Boston University (Questrom)


Boston University, Questrom School of Business

Industry: Healthcare, Food Services, Technology

Founding Student Name(s): Benjamin Murray

Brief Description of Solution: Helous is a digital platform that academic medical centers, hospitals, health centers, and other facilities can utilize to ensure a streamlined, user-friendly method of processing patient meal requests. Our Innovative ordering system allows patients to order meals quickly and conveniently from a facility-owned or personal device with transparent nutritional information based on diet needs and order tracking.

Helous facilitates a seamless ordering process that provides patients and their loved ones with the freedom to place orders anytime from any smart device. Helous benefits HCPs via a digital tool to monitor patients’ food selections and order frequency to track patients’ valuable nutritional information and ensure better care.

Funding Dollars: Self-Funded

What led you to launch this venture? Helous was an idea forged by a collection of healthcare professionals at the 2019 J&J SONSIEL Nurse-Hack-A-Thon, in which our innovation placed 3rd in the competition. In the months following the competition, I witnessed countless examples of patients going hours without access to meals due to the increased workload on healthcare workers. While in a hospital setting, patients lose much of their independence, and access to food services is no exception to this. This became increasingly apparent during the COVID-19 Pandemic, when patients who were unable to care for or advocate for themselves were more isolated than ever before. Having seen this, I want to give patients an option to regain some independence and control over an important aspect of their lives.

What has been your biggest accomplishment so far with venture? We have had some remarkable success over the last 2 years, including being part of the Boston University Build Lab Innovation Pathway, placing 3rd in the 2019 J&J SONSIEL Nurse-Hack-A-Thon and making it to the semi-final round of Emerging Enterprise Center “Swim with the Sharks” pitch competition.

How has your MBA program helped you further this startup venture? Earning my MBA from Boston University Questrom School of Business helped improve my startup and entrepreneurship skills in multiple ways. The most prominent impact was gained from my peers, whose valuable insights strengthened the strategy I have implemented for Helous. In addition to my peers, I gained invaluable perspective from Questrom professors, including mentorship, encouragement, and access to a vast network of entrepreneurs with similar passion for helping others at the intersection of healthcare and technology. As someone coming from STEM, the ability to use my background while developing and strengthening my business acumen has been essential to Helous’ business plan and long-term strategy. Lastly, Boston University’s Build Lab provided resources and mentorship that helped to further help me visualize Helous’s potential.

What founder or entrepreneur inspired you to start your own entrepreneurial journey? How did he or she prove motivational to you? Will Ahmed is the Founder and CEO of WHOOP, a wearable device Company. Ahmen recognized a problem, and via his creativity and innovation he created a solution to that problem that filled the gap in the market. Ahmed’s persistence against the odds inspires me to be an entrepreneur no matter the challenge.

Which MBA class has been most valuable in building your startup and what was the biggest lesson you gained from it? Fatima Fazendeiro is a professor of business law at Boston University and taught Introduction to Business Law. A prominent section of the course covers topics essential to starting a new venture including the importance of LLCs, taxes, and intellectual property. This course provided me with the knowledge and tools necessary to oversee Helous, while ensuring that I followed all regulatory requirements. It is so important for young entrepreneurs to not only develop their product, but know how to manage and protect that innovation. Although this was only one course, it gave me the foundation and direction I needed to thrive.

What professor made a significant contribution to your plans and why? There are two professors whom I owe an enormous amount of gratitude for both my personal growth as a student and an entrepreneur and for Helous’ growth. Firstly, Ian Mashiter was the first professor to introduce me to the possibilities that entrepreneurship could bring for one’s personal growth and helped guide and advise me through my journey as a business school entrepreneur. Secondly, I owe thanks to Laurina Zhang. Professor Zhang is a faculty member in the strategy and innovation department. Her constant belief in me early in my business school career and encouragement to learn in uncomfortable situations has helped keep me going in the entrepreneurial journey.

How has your local startup ecosystem contributed to your venture’s development and success? Boston has been an exceptional environment to grow and foster development in Helous. Boston is the perfect intersection of healthcare and startup ecosystems and has given me access to some of the best minds in the industry. Being in Boston, I have been able to access resources that have accelerated my creative thinking and strategizing processes within the scope of the healthcare industry. Sharing ideas with other healthcare innovators and entrepreneurs has opened an incredible number of opportunities

What is your long-term goal with your startup? Long-term, I would like Helous to be implemented in hospitals, assisted living, and other care facilities to help patients and staff. Our mission statement is “We strive to solve the problems that create an unnecessary burden on healthcare workers while improving the health of every patient through nutrition.” We would like this statement to begin to take shape and have a lasting impact on how we provide these services.


Questions about this article? Email us or leave a comment below.