2023 Most Disruptive MBA Startups: In Good Company, Georgia Tech (Scheller)

In Good Company

Georgia Institute of Technology’s Scheller College of Business

Industry: Professional development and training with a focus on the service industry.

Founding Student Name(s): Sarah Naumann and Amanda Shojaee

Brief Description of Solution: Integrated employment is our solution to a lack of reliable employees in the service industry. This happens when employers put into place the right accommodations to support employees with disabilities to succeed on the job. This, in turn, allows for a more complete and diverse team that sticks around for the long run. These added supports are typically inexpensive, like providing picture charts instead of written task lists or spacing out breaks to help with varying levels of stamina.

By supporting and accommodating employees with disabilities, businesses not only enhance job satisfaction and retention but also save money by decreasing recruitment and training expenses. This means the idea goes beyond “good intentions.” It’s good business!

At In Good Company, we collaborate with service industry VPs and executives to weave integrated employment into their company’s core. Additionally, we guide their general managers on concrete steps to actualize this vision.

Funding Dollars: $25Kfrom Fusen (Full investment offer: $500K)

What led you to launch this venture? I grew up with dear friends who had disabilities, which led me to become a 2nd grade teacher at a specialized school in Texas for students with learning differences. All the while, I couldn’t stop thinking about the challenges my students would face when they grew up. Would they have trouble finding jobs? Would their communities embrace them and receive the tremendous value she knew they had to offer?

When the pandemic hit, I realized I had a dream, and could either sit on it or do something with it. So, I chose to pack up my classroom and head to business school at the Georgia Tech Scheller College of Business in Atlanta so I could develop the skills I lacked and find the gifted people she needed to build a solution.

I met my co-founder, Amanda, in the MBA program. Amanda has a passion for researching and solving social problems by means of business solutions. Together, we’ve made a great team over the last two years, getting to the heart of the problems the adult disabled population faces, as well as the problems business owners in service industries face. Our findings have led us to see that these two groups’ challenges can be solved with one beautiful solution.

What has been your biggest accomplishment so far with venture? It was securing an investment as well as our first client in the hospitality industry within six months of incorporation and getting to help solve their challenges and achieve their goals.

What has been the most significant challenge you’ve faced in creating your company and how did you solve it? I think the biggest challenge has been the reality that we are limited in our time and resources and have to make decisions about our priorities. We are focusing on the right things at the right time. It’s a challenge that we felt during the MBA program as well – with classes, social events, and extracurriculars, how do you balance it all?

For the company, we’re solving it by focusing on establishing OKRs (objectives and key results) and holding ourselves accountable to reaching them. It’s a constant challenge, but focusing on the OKRs for each quarter has improved how we manage our time and resources significantly.

How has your MBA program helped you further this startup venture? The most helpful part of the MBA program has been the people we’ve connected with along the way, especially the faculty and affiliated mentors through the different Georgia Tech programs we participated in, like Georgia Tech CREATE-X, Sustainable-X, and the Institute for Leadership and Social Impact. Their experience and advice have been so valuable and continues even after graduation.

What founder or entrepreneur inspired you to start your own entrepreneurial journey? How did he or she prove motivational to you?

Sarah’s reflection: When I was in 1st grade, my dad left his stable CPA job to open a restaurant. For two decades, I watched him take risks, invest in his employees and guests, and come home exhausted but still smiling. Although nearly all our family and friends advised against it, my grandfather, a small business owner himself, supported him.

With just that single vote of confidence, my dad took a leap of faith. Seeing the success of his business today, it’s easy to overlook the initial risks he took. Now, as a business owner myself, I’ve gained a deeper appreciation for his journey, inspiring me to be a risk-taker who has greater hope for the future than fear of losing what was familiar and safe.

Amanda’s reflection: To be honest, I entered the MBA program never thinking I would be doing what I am doing today. I did a traditional MBA internship during the program and had my eye on corporate recruiting once I reached the second year of the program. Sarah’s passions were the real inspiration for me considering an alternative career. Getting to be a witness and contributor to her rapid growth and development as a leader are my motivation to do the best I can as a co-founder and continue pushing forward.

Which MBA class has been most valuable in building your startup and what was the biggest lesson you gained from it? Our product development class. This is where we had our first opportunity working on a project together and where I first learned about Sarah’s passions and eventually joined her as she pursued those passions full time. We realized Sarah’s strength in ideation and vision coupled with drive for discovery and iteration made for a strong team.

What professor made a significant contribution to your plans and why? Karthik Ramachandran was our product development professor and became our advisor when we pursued an independent research study to focus on customer discovery and test our hypotheses. Not only did he advise us through our first pro-bono client, he also brought us in with two other students working on their own ventures so we could share our experiences and learn from each other. It was the highlight of our last semester in the MBA program.

How has your local startup ecosystem contributed to your venture’s development and success?
Our experience with the Sustainable-X pitch competition, which led us to participate in CREATE-X Start-Up Launch program at Georgia Tech, has been so helpful in giving us a community of founders, monetary resources, advising, and mentors who we still are in touch with today. Additionally, we connected with the Atlanta Tech Village, and used their monthly opportunities for female founders to practice pitching in a friendly environment.

What is your long-term goal with your startup? Our long-term goal is to grow our platform in its features and engagement and also grow our team!

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