2023 Most Disruptive MBA Startups: Chaser, U.C.-Berkeley (Haas)


University of California Berkeley, Haas School of Business

Industry: Project Management Software; B2B SaaS

Founding Student Name(s): 

Josh Martow, Co-Founder/CEO, MBA 23

Elias Adum, Co-founder/CTO (not an MBA)

Brief Description of Solution: The only project management platform that keeps itself up-to date.

Chaser communicates with coworkers through Slack to send tasks, collect progress updates, and follow up until everything is complete. It works like magic because the people receiving tasks never have to open Chaser – they don’t even need to know what Chaser is.

Funding Dollars: We raised $100K from a VC and $20k from two classmates!

What led you to launch this venture? At my job before Haas, I was frustrated by how much time I had to spend on Slack just following up with coworkers about things they were working on. We had a project management solution (Trello), but most people didn’t really care enough to keep it up to date; it’s such a pain to switch between tools and it just didn’t feel important. As a result, everyone was just sending each other action items on Slack and hoping they’d hear back.

I spent at least 30 minutes a day following up on things to make sure they got done. On top of the wasted time, it was demoralizing in a way to feel like you’re constantly nagging people.

I really wanted to build something that solved this problem but wouldn’t burden the whole team with a new tool. That’s why we designed Chaser to work even if your coworkers never open it (they don’t need to sign up or even need to know what Chaser). Chaser messages them on Slack to share action items, collects progress updates, and reminds them of the things they need to do, and you can track all the progress on a live dashboard while Chaser does the annoying follow-up work.

What has been your biggest accomplishment so far with venture? Nothing has felt better than hearing from our users that we’ve solved this problem for them and that it immediately improved their work life. We’re really proud to have users who have stuck with us since we launched our MVP (Minimum Viable Product) at the start of the fall semester and have continued using our product through all the improvements we’ve made since.

What has been the most significant challenge you’ve faced in creating your company and how did you solve it? The hardest problem was definitely balancing building a startup with MBA academics, all of the social events and traveling, and spending time with my partner (who I met at Haas!). I solved it by not sleeping, which was a really bad solution that I would not recommend.

How has your MBA program helped you further this startup venture? Well first, it’s amazing to be surrounded by really smart classmates who are always ready to bounce ideas around and will call you out when you need it.

But what was surprisingly valuable was the endless stream of competitions and activities that force you to air your idea. I entered every pitch competition I could and each one forced me to improve and even pivot. One competition resulted in a $100k investment, after one of the judges introduced me to the partners at her VC firm.

What founder or entrepreneur inspired you to start your own entrepreneurial journey? How did he or she prove motivational to you? Before going to Haas, I was the first employee at a startup that went on to hire 150 people and raise a Series B. Watching the founders take that business from nothing to such an impressive operation was really inspiring and gave me a serious “itch” to do it again.

Which MBA class has been most valuable in building your startup and what was the biggest lesson you gained from it? There’s an incredible mini-course at Haas called Designing Financial Models That Work. Pretty much you just learn best practices to design Excel models that are really well-organized and easy for anyone to understand at a glance. For the final assignment I built Chaser’s financial model and I’m still using it today and it’s actually amazing.

What professor made a significant contribution to your plans and why? One professor actually offered to be an angel investor! I’ll need to report back if that ends up materializing.

How has your local startup ecosystem contributed to your venture’s development and success? The accelerators StEP & UC Launch were great ways to connect with mentors and hone our pitch, but nothing has been more valuable than the community of Haasies building startups. We’ve got an active group chat (we call ourselves “Cohort X”) and everyone is excited to lend a hand when you need one.

What is your long-term goal with your startup? We want Chaser to be your personal project manager. In our long-term product vision, users will be able to lean on Chaser to keep track of all the little things they have going on and talk directly with coworkers to get updates, nudge things along, and report progress back to you. We started by building just for Slack, but we’re laying the groundwork for Chaser to reach your coworkers through email, Teams, Discord, etc.

No matter who you work with or what communication channels you use, Chaser will keep track of everything that’s going on, keep you in the loop, and chase things down as needed. We’re not going sleep until the last manual follow-up message has been sent.


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