Hooked on Entrepreneurship

When Robert Moehle (Class of 2015) decided to apply to the TMMBA Program, he knew he wanted to attend the nationally ranked Foster School of Business and gain access to a strong alumni network to help him accelerate his career. What Robert didn’t know at that time was that the TMMBA Program would introduce him to a new passion – entrepreneurship – and open up an unexpected and entirely new career path for him.

Robert started the TMMBA Program in January 2014 and decided from the get-go to fully immerse himself in his coursework and opportunities that the Program provided. With a technical role in the aerospace industry, he soon saw an increased confidence in his ability to “speak the language” of the business world as he applied his classroom learnings at work.

“TMMBA provided me with the context for how companies operate and why certain business decisions are made.”

He also found himself drawn to the courses and opportunities that extended beyond his current aerospace role – in particular, those in the realm of entrepreneurship.

Midway through the TMMBA Program, Robert made the decision to leave his corporate job to pursue his new-found passion for entrepreneurship. He directed his efforts to the annual UW Business Plan Competition (BPC) where he became a student representative for the TMMBA Program and an active participant in the planning committee. Through the process, he made invaluable connections with various start-ups and ultimately partnered with Hook – a smart home hub that makes inexpensive remote controlled outlets and bulb sockets “smart” to enable home automation on a budget.

BPC

Team Hook celebrates their 3rd place victory at the 2015 BPC

Hook saw great success at the UW BPC, placing 3rd overall in the 2015 competition (out of 139 teams) and claiming the “Best Consumer Product Idea” prize. They also  won 2nd place at the UW Alaska Airlines Environmental Innovation Challenge earlier in the year. The BPC acted as a powerful catalyst for the company’s early success.

“The BPC gained us exposure to well-respected members of the entrepreneurship community to tap for advice and to grow our customer base when we launched.”

After the BPC, Hook’s momentum continued as they were accepted  as part of the 2015 cohort to the exclusive Foster+Jones Accelerator Program. The Program provides six-months of mentoring from Seattle entrepreneurs and investors, a framework for defining measurable milestones, guidance in achieving those milestones, and the opportunity to earn up to $25,000 in follow-on funding.

Robert has proved to be an integral team member of Hook – both during the BPC and well beyond the competition. He’s leveraged his business skills and knowledge gained in the TMMBA Program to complement the technical skills of his other teammates.

“I negotiated the seed round of investment for our company using the frameworks of Entrepreneurial Finance, managed the company’s accounts using principles from Accounting, and have proper context for our team’s Marketing discussions as a result of my academic knowledge. “

What’s next for Robert? In addition to his continued work with Hook, he recently accepted a business development role at MVP.Aero –  an aerospace company aimed at designing and building the world’s most versatile aircraft.

“I found it remarkable that with my bachelors/masters in aerospace engineering, commercial pilot certification, seaplane rating, and Boeing engineering background, it was the Foster TMMBA that impressed the (MVP.Aero) president the most.”

Undoubtedly, a bright future lies ahead of Robert with new business challenges, entrepreneurial endeavors and opportunities to put his skills and knowledge acquired in the TMMBA Program to the test.