2022 Most Disruptive MBA Startups: Tenshii, Cambridge Judge Business School


Cambridge Judge Business School

Industry: Enterprise SaaS

Founding Student Name: Kornel Grunwald

Brief Description of Solution: Tenshii helps individuals within large organizations to obtain buy-in and approval. We work on creating an AI insights system to simulate diversity of thought. Tenshii will provide transparency on decisions and bring clarity on how these were reached and reasoned with.

Funding Dollars: Ongoing pre-seed fundraising.

What led you to launch this venture? Issues with buy-in and engagement in organizations. There are two main reasons why this was a compelling problem for me to address. First, there is personal experience, and second I saw how many people have found this problem to be important to them.

I have seen first-hand both sub-optimal decisions, as well as the helplessness of those who are trapped in the inertia caused by a lack of decisions. Both led to long-lasting issues or even attrition at the companies. After seeing it myself, I started to validate the scale of the problem. For weeks, I chatted with professionals, only to see a massive storm of complaints about how decisions are shared, reached, mapped, and learned from in organizations. The problem resonated with people across the spectrum – from founders and executives, up to first-line managers and individual contributors. Lack of transparency on decisions made in organizations and lack of context, especially if decisions are passed by the management are in dire need of change.

Time is the most precious thing both in our lives and also in the efficiency of organizations and individuals within them. Tenshii’s MVP focuses on helping with obtaining buy-in and approvals on key decisions in a faster and more transparent way. And people’s reactions made me convinced it is a problem worth solving.

What has been your biggest accomplishment so far with the venture? By far, it was identifying this niche and creating a team around it. I have spent a lot of time during the Cambridge MBA validating various hypotheses related to ventures, only to land at what Tenshii starts to tackle today. Building digital MVPs and looking for technical talent, in an ever more precarious macroeconomic environment, was a hard, but very rewarding experience. It is true to say that founders are always recruiting – I have experienced that over the last few months. Arriving at the stage we are now is a reward, but also a great foundation for what is coming in the next months.

How has your MBA program helped you further this startup venture? The Cambridge MBA experience has been fundamental to making this venture come true. Some of the MBA classes like Entrepreneurship, Customer Centricity, Disruptive Technology, New Venture Finance, and Management Praxis I & II, delivered great insights. These were not only useful in running a company but fundamental in shaping value for the customers.

The enormous hidden value of the MBA cohort at Cambridge Judge Business School has been to have access to knowledge related to different markets, sectors, and geographical locations. I have had an amazing sounding board with my colleagues, sharing their thoughts and bouncing back assumptions.

If looking for a good example, what the Cambridge MBA cohort gives people in my position was exemplified by having a conversation with a colleague of one of the engineering MBA candidates. The candidate was quite unknown to me and had a small market. I could not judge his experience given my lack of context. However, it happened to be the same market, that my cohort buddy had come from, and he was able to explain to me everything I needed to know. Since having great hires in the early stage of business is essential, having such a rich network and source of help was a recipe for a fun conversation and enormous help!

What founder or entrepreneur inspired you to start your own entrepreneurial journey? How did he or she prove motivational to you? In terms of my own MBA cohort, I need to mention my colleague Ajay Jojo. He began his career as a Teach for India Fellow and sports coach in India and is now the CEO of Fanzee Labs, a Web3 startup. His resilience, dedication and ambition growing throughout the MBA year, which earned him the position that he has right now, was a sight to behold. It was also a great learning experience to observe his journey and how he adapts to being a leader in the new environment. We had many conversations that led me to fully embrace my choice of becoming a founder myself.

I was also inspired by stories of founders going against conventional routes. On a smaller scale, I was inspired by a biography of Marek Zmysłowski, who tried to digitalize the funeral industry in Poland and ended up in Nigeria building Jumia Travel. This out-of-the-box thinking was his bread and butter during this process. Seeing the resilience and determination of Elon Musk in his early days was also inspirational.

Which MBA class has been most valuable in building your startup and what was the biggest lesson you gained from it? Management Praxis II during the Cambridge MBA brought the idea of how negotiations within organizations should occur, which is a bedrock of our approach to the decision-making process we offer at Tenshii. Cambridge Judge Professor Mark de Rond’s approach to research was amazing to observe and New Venture Finance was also instrumental in preparations towards an entrepreneur’s journey and the role of the CEO. I thoroughly enjoyed the teaching style of Professor Bob Wardrop. His points on raising funds, running a proper financial structure for a venture and how bad financial management can kill even the most promising startup, were amazing.

What professor made a significant contribution to your plans and why? Many Cambridge University and Cambridge Judge Business School academics, including Bob Wardrop, Chris Coleridge, Matthew Grimes, Stella Pachidi, Mark de Rond and Simon Stockley, influenced my actions across my MBA year and validated the hypotheses I had along the way, as I was developing the idea of Tenshii.

How has your local startup ecosystem contributed to your venture’s development and success? The startup ecosystem at Cambridge is extremely diverse and offers support in many different ways. I was able to communicate with fellow founders, both those who originated at CJBS and others. I was able to reach out to and connect with Cambridge-based Angel investors. I got recommendations on first hires. I participated in Venture Creation weekends run by the Cambridge Judge Entrepreneurship Centre. I truly think that without the support of the enormous Cambridge Judge and wider Cambridge network, building Tenshii would have been so much harder. Societies and clubs across the University of Cambridge, like CUTEC or Cambridge Blockchain Society, are also very active and supportive of projects founded and run out the city.

What is your long-term goal with your startup? While building a company that values efficiency, robustness, self-awareness, and slick design, we look to enable individuals within organizations to work in the same way. Tenshii can help bring clarity and valuable insights, and I would love to hope that will make global organizations more sustainable, effective, and efficient.


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