Posts Tagged ‘group projects’

A look inside the TMMBA Venture Capital Investment Competition

Sunday, August 5th, 2012
Sara Jones, TMMBA Assistant Director & Class of 2012

This past spring our graduating students wrapped up their TMMBA experience with a new course in the curriculum – the Venture Capital Investment Practicum.

This two-day course is taught by Foster alum and GeekWire Chief Business Officer, Rebecca Lovell. It is designed to pull together all of the TMMBA coursework viewed through the lens of venture capital investing.  Working in teams, students dove into one tech startup in detail, evaluating its potential for investment.  Classes featured guest speakers and involved practical application of the concepts.

The course ended with all-day competition. Acting as VCs, students evaluated business plans of two local startups and selected one to invest in. Leading up to the competition teams reviewed the executive summaries, put together an initial analysis, and drafted questions for the entrepreneurs.

The day of the competition was a flurry of activity. Each entrepreneur pitched their business to the class and then teams held mini “due diligence” sessions with the entrepreneurs throughout the morning. Teams had only an hour and a half during a working lunch to make their final investment decision, develop an executive summary, and put together their presentation slides.  During the afternoon teams presented and defended their decisions to a panel of judges from the startup community.

At the end of the day, there were two winning teams. Here’s what a few of their members had to say about the experience:

“The real world doesn’t lay everything out for you, and neither did the VCIC. It really challenged us to apply the concepts we learned in a so-this-is-what-it’s-really-like kind of a way.”  – Amy Klehm, Team Honeybadgers

“I really didn’t know what to expect, except to give it my all. I didn’t expect for our team to win, even after my teammate Krishnan cheered us on. The experience altogether was intense, fast-paced, and very rewarding. Now I know how to be on the other side of the table when it comes to entrepreneurship. While playing the VC role, I definitely learned how to ask the necessary questions in order to determine what is a significant and promising investment.”  – Roann Lubang, Team Sporks

“The TMMBA Venture Captital course/competition was a great way to gain a glimpse into and to experience the VC process. It was also an excellent way to network with some of the most active members in the Seattle Startup community.”  – Krishnan Ananthanarayanan, Team Sporks

Team Sporks, TMMBA Class of 2012

Team Honeybadgers, TMMBA Class of 2012

Sporks + Social Media = Help for students in India

Monday, May 21st, 2012
Guest post by Kevin Croy, TMMBA Class of 2012

I’m posting on behalf of my TMMBA team: the Sporks (class of 2012).  One of our classes this sixth (and final!) quarter presented us with an opportunity to use social media to raise awareness for a cause that is important to us.

MAI SchoolWe had many ideas about which cause to support, but the MAI School in India resonated with the team.  Our teammate, Krishnan, told us about the non-profit school his grandfather founded in India over 60 years ago.

Over the years, the school has done a lot with very little.  They provide a 1st-10th grade education to hundreds of children per year, despite their constrained resources.  The regional educational authorities pay teachers’ salaries, but not any other expenses like furniture or facility maintenance.

Krishnan’s grandfather is almost 100 years old, so Krishnan’s mother currently handles the day-to-day operations of the school.  When we asked her how we could help, she told us that the benches and desks were about fifty years old and needed to be replaced.

The estimated cost to replace the benches and desks is approximately $5,000 USD.  We knew it would be challenging, but we made it our goal to use social media to raise enough money to replace the benches and desks for the students at MAI.

So far, we’ve raised $1,172 of our $5,000 goal!  If you’d like to help us reach our goal by making a donation, you can donate through our FundRAZR account: http://fnd.us/c/9IST9

Donating money is not the only way to help.  You can help us raise awareness by following us on Twitter at @maischool and liking us on Facebook http://facebook.com/MaiSchool.

This project has been a very rewarding experience.  We’ve learned a lot about managing social media campaigns and we’ve received touching thank you notes from the students and staff of the MAI School.

TMMBA a force to reckon with at Business Plan Competition

Thursday, April 26th, 2012

Sara Jones, TMMBA Assistant Director & Class of 2012

TMMBA students at the 2012 UW Foster Business Plan Competition5 TMMBA teams of over 20 students from the Class of 2012 participated in yesterday’s Investment Round at the UW Foster School’s annual Business Plan Competition. We even had a 2010 alum in the competition!

In total there were 101 entries into the competition and 36 teams were selected for the Investment Round. The ideas were more diverse than I remember in the past – from food and technology products to healthcare solutions, products for social good, and an innovative pocketed bra. There was something for everyone!

During the Investment Round, teams had 4 hours to pitch their ideas to judges from the Seattle entrepreneurial community.  At the end of the day the judges invested $1000 CIE dollars in the teams that they found the most intriguing.  The 16 teams with the highest investments were selected to advance to the Sweet 16 Round. I’m proud to say that 3 TMMBA teams made it through – GroBox, Xylemed, and Highlight Hunters.

Teams now have one crazy month ahead to refine their pitches and improve their business plans before the Sweet 16 Round. All of the TMMBA teams in the competition worked hard and did a great job. Way to go!

The TMMBA Teams:

GroBox - @Grospaces | http://grospaces.com/
Aims to make it super easy to grow your own fruits and vegetables in a small amount of space.

Highlight Hunters@highlighthunter | http://www.highlighthunter.com/
Highlight Hunter’s software saves camera owners time by finding the highlights in their videos. It works with any digital camera and can be downloaded free on Mac and PC.

Mynu - @mynu2go | http://mynu2go.wordpress.com/
A mobile app where customers can pre-order menu items from food trucks, save their favorites, and share via their other social media outlets.

Splitpen@splitpeninc | http://splitpen.com/
A creative online outlet for everyday people of all abilities to come together and co-write stories with multiple plot lines, sub-plots and endings.

Viva Aguas Frescas – (TMMBA alum) @vivaaugasfrescas
A non-carbonated beverage company committed to producing Aguas Frescas beverages that embody the always fresh, all natural and HEALTHY Aguas Frescas.

Xylemedhttp://xylemed.com/
Xylemed Ember is a cloud-based electronic patient tracking and operations management system that leverages existing information systems to manage hospital workflows—improving communication and safety, while reducing expenses.

GroBox  SplitBen  Team Xylemed  Highlight HuntersTeam Mynu

Advocacy and engagement through social media

Monday, March 26th, 2012

Sara Jones, Class of 2012

Tonight was the second session of our Social Media for Managers course. This is a new class in the TMMBA Program and one I was looking forward to. It’s both relevant to the work I do and a personal topic of interest. Our instructor is Andy Boyer, a Principle at Social3i Consulting and Co-Founder of Relaborate. He’s also a Foster Alum!

TMMBA guest speaker, Alonso Chehade

Alonso Chehade talking to the TMMBA Class of '12

Our first class on Saturday was an initial overview of our class project, basic social media strategies, and what platforms are out there. The class project is for each study group to pick a non-profit, small business, or cause and build a social media campaign around it. The idea is to teach by doing. It was harder than I thought to come up with a topic. My group finally settled on encouraging individuals to volunteer through a focus on more trivial benefits of volunteering such as free swag, free knowledge, free concert tickets ,etc. The hope is to reach an audience that hasn’t volunteered much in the past while being a bit humorous and lighthearted.

Each class session we are focusing on a different aspect of social media management and building that out for our projects. Tonight we talked about tools and strategies for blogging, Facebook, Twitter, and a few other platforms. We also had a guest speaker, Alonso Chehade, who talked about creating engagement.

Here are a few takeaways from class so far:

  • Social media needs to be tied to organizational goals and the bottom line. Have metrics to measure success of a campaign. It’s easy to get caught up in getting likes, follows, etc, but there need to be other measurements to ensure that your time and dollars are going to the right efforts.
  • Create engagement by being passionate, including people’s names in posts, responding to others, and asking questions to create a conversation.
  • People are motivated by Selfish Altruism. If we’re trying to get people to care about our cause, we need to think about what’s in it for them. What about our story will appeal to them? We shouldn’t just ask them to help, like our page, etc.
  • We can use the basic principles of Dale Carnegie to find success in social media engagement.
  • Find your social media superheros like Bill Sleeper, a 96 year old tech enthusiast who made headlines after he attended a local social media event, or Dan Dewey who was featured during Starbuck’s #everylove campaign.
  • A neat tool that I wasn’t aware of: www.followerwonk.com. I’ll definitely be using this one at work!

Over the next two weeks our groups are supposed to build content and launch our campaigns so that we have some data to work with during our next session on analytics. Now it’s time to create some engagement of our own.

What organizations or groups do you think have done a great job of using social media to support their cause?