MIT, Sloan School of Management
Industry: Community; Professional Services; Learning & Development
Founding Student Name(s): Megan Krishnamurthy (Sloan MBA ’22); Hannah Rose Potter (Sloan MBA ’22)
Brief Description of Solution: Something Brazen helps Millennial women find their professional community when they need it most. Women make up 60% of college graduates and 50% of the workforce in the United States. Yet, 60% of millennial women experience professional isolation and loneliness. Something Brazen exists to meet their needs. Our initial offering features in-person professional support groups of 5-7 women guided by trained facilitators. These curated communities work through challenges, milestones, and transitions as women progress in their lives and careers.
Funding Dollars: $20K from MIT delta v (non-dilutive), $7K from MIT Sandbox (non-dilutive), $1K from MIT Fintech Innovation Prize (non-dilutive)
What led you to launch this venture? As life-long community curators and gender equity nerds, we care deeply about helping women live their best lives. At various moments in our twenties, we have both personally gone through periods of professional soul searching after experiencing feelings of isolation and confusion in our career paths. We are designing a solution that we want for ourselves. We believe in the power of community and group coaching to help millennial women navigate some of the loneliest moments in their careers. As ambitious, professional, millennial women ourselves, we are well equipped to be building a venture that serves this exact demographic.
What has been your biggest accomplishment so far with venture? Within one week of launching our website to the public this past summer, we had 250+ women sign up for our paid pilot, which was held this fall in New York City. It was amazing to see how much interest there was in our first product. We instantly knew that we were onto something.
How has your MBA program helped you further this startup venture? The MIT Sloan MBA program gave us the best thing we ever could have asked for—each other! Meeting one another, deciding to become co-founders, and evolving our business relationship into a close friendship has without a doubt been the best part of our MIT Sloan experience.
What founder or entrepreneur inspired you to start your own entrepreneurial journey? How did he or she prove motivational to you?
Megan Krishnamurthy: One founder who has endlessly inspired me is Payal Kadakia who founded ClassPass. I have been following her journey well before I was interested in entrepreneurship myself. Seeing a fellow Indian-American woman turn her passion into her career set a great precedent for all young Indian-American women in the United States. Growing up, I always thought I had to pursue a traditional career path, and this is exactly what I did right out of college. Payal’s journey gave me a glimpse into what something less traditional and more fulfilling could look like.
Hannah Rose Potter: Ty Haney, Founder of Outdoor Voices, was an early inspiration for me. I used to listen to her episode on NPR’s How I Built This on repeat during my commute to work! I admire how she built a company on a feeling, community and movement. Most importantly, I learned from Ty that starting a business is a deeply personal endeavor. With that in mind, Megan and I have spent the last 2+ years discovering our collective entrepreneurial style. For us, that means leading with heart. We are constantly asking ourselves, do our business choices sit well with our intuition? Are we proud of this as a personal reflection of who we are and what we believe in? The startup ecosystem often tells you to drive towards growth at all costs, but for us it’s been about growing while prioritizing our keeping the heart of the company intact. It’s an ongoing, very deliberate effort.
Which MBA class has been most valuable in building your startup and what was the biggest lesson you gained from it? We enrolled in some great classes during our MBA program including Branding with Senior Lecturer Renée Richardson Gosline to Scaling Entrepreneurial Ventures with Brian Halligan, Senior Lecturer and CEO and co-founder of HubSpot. The most valuable class for building our startup was definitely GSD, which stands for “Get Shit Done.” It gave us 12 credit hours during the semester to focus exclusively on our startup along with tons of mentorship and help with our most pressing challenges. We also found one of our startup advisors, Sandy Kreis Lacey, through this class!
What professor made a significant contribution to your plans and why? Jenny Larios Berlin, lecturer and an entrepreneur-in-residence at the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship, has been a powerhouse to work with since day one. She both taught us and co-led MIT delta v (the MIT summer incubator) this past year. Jenny is an example of someone who tells you like it is, but with care and compassion. And we need people like this as we build our company! When we recently went through a big pivot, she was the first person to give us the reassurance we needed that this was not only the right choice, but the brave choice.
How has your local startup ecosystem contributed to your venture’s development and success? We have been spoiled by the local startup ecosystem in Boston. It has enabled us to connect with so many fantastic founders, and we have been able to find a tribe of women founders which has been crucial to our success thus far. We know that women face unique challenges in starting companies and fundraising for them, so it has been an incredible experience to have a community of fellow female founders to build alongside.
What is your long-term goal with your startup? Our long-term goal is to build the largest community of professionally ambitious, millennial women and to provide them with different resources to find meaningful connection and happiness in their careers.
DON’T MISS: MEET ALL OUR MBA DISRUPTORS OF 2022 or WANTED: STUDENT START-UP IDEAS TO COMPETE FOR A $50K CASH PRIZE IN OLIN BUSINESS SCHOOL’S BIG IDEABOUNCE® ELEVATOR PITCH CONTEST
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