Master of Business Creation 2020-21

Master of Business Creation Startup Founders for 2020-21

The Department of Entrepreneurship & Strategy at the University of Utah’s David Eccles School of Business welcomed the second class of founders in the new Master of Business Creation (MBC) program this fall semester for the 2020-21 academic year. The program is offered in partnership with the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute.

The group consists of 18 founders who have launched 15 companies ranging from luxury skincare and building sanitation to a portable baby bed serving refugee families and outdoor enthusiasts. All have already made progress in starting their companies and are looking to grow sales and attract investors, among other goals.

“We have an incredibly diverse and capable group of founders in the program this year,” said Jack Brittain, the director of the MBC program and a professor in the Department of Entrepreneurship & Strategy. “We look forward to working with each of these companies one-on-one to achieve initial sales in the first semester and to grow to self-supporting, operating enterprises by the end of the spring semester.”

MBC founders join a unique program designed to help them launch and scale a new company. They complete the program in just nine months and are all receiving full scholarships that cover the costs for the program.

The Eccles School created the MBC program to blend the best attributes of a business curriculum with a startup accelerator. The founders develop their startups during the program while taking classes from leading experts and receiving extensive resources and mentorship to help them address their immediate business needs.

The founders in the program are all entrepreneurs focused on creating a new business through applied curriculum, practicum labs and learning by doing.

The MBC program is one of the latest additions to the Eccles School entrepreneur program that is ranked among the top 10 in the country by Bloomberg and U.S. News. The MBC program was also recognized by Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International) in the 2020 Innovations That Inspire member challenge.

“The Master of Business Creation is a great example of the outstanding opportunities we have for student entrepreneurs at the Eccles School,” said Matthew Higgins, chair of the Department of Entrepreneurship & Strategy. “We have opportunities for students of all ages to learn about entrepreneurship and launch companies at the same time.”

Master of Business Creation

MBC founders attend one of their first classes of the year.

Yasmin Charania Khan is one of the founders in the MBC program this year. Her company is Khalm, a luxury skincare brand that is currently launching three products. She was inspired by her personal experience with skincare and oud, a fragrant resin from agarwood that reminded her of India and Pakistan.

Another founder in the program, Adam Stewart is growing his company, Backyard Estates. It helps homeowners and investors make money through backyard rentals. “I saw an opportunity to help prop up the middle class by leveraging underutilized backyard space to turn it into prime real estate, creating addition cashflow and equity potential for homeowners and investors alike,” he said. Stewart’s company is focused on expanding housing to serve the California market.

Malia Robinson joined the MBC program to follow her dream of starting something new. She is the founder of Defy Industries Group, which provides next-level cleaning services by sanitizing workplaces and high-end rental units. “I have always wanted to create my own destiny and reality versus doing it for someone else,” Robinson said. “I thought about many people feeling unsafe and scared right now during this pandemic.”

See below for a complete list and descriptions of all the 2020-21 founders and their startup companies.

Learn more about the Master of Business Creation program at The application to join the program for 2021-22 is now open.

2020-21 MBC Startups & Founders

Here are the 2020-21 MBC startups and the founders enrolled in the programs (in alphabetical order by company):

  • Backyard Estates (Adam Stewart) – Helps homeowners and investors increase cashflow on existing single-family properties through construction of accessory dwelling units (or detached rentable units in the backyard) in California at scale. As a one-stop shop, the company handles all design, engineering, financing, permitting, and construction both on- and off-site. Its streamlined process provides clients with the low-cost option, completed in half the time when compared to existing traditional build contractors.
  • BidMyCrib (Alessandra Camargo, Nicolas Camargo) – An online marketplace for all things sublease, lease takeover and negotiable contracts. BidMyCrib offers an easy way to get out of your housing contract.
  • Defy Industries Group (Malia Robinson) – A remedy for the overwhelming concern of the spread of bacteria by providing the sanitization process and elimination of germs in buildings. The company’s goal is to make people anytime, anywhere and any place feel protected, safe and have a bacteria and germ-free environment. It is taking cleaning services to the next level by removing germs and bacteria.
  • Haven Rest (Haley Zimmerman) – Focuses on portable, lightweight sleeping solutions for refugees and families that travel. The main product is a portable, packable, lightweight bed for babies ages 0-6 months.
  • Field Rocket (Kody Kendall) – A customer-relationship management tool for home-service companies to track their customer information, schedule and track appointments and job information, and provide invoices and estimates to their clients. Integrates with Gmail, Google Maps and Quickbooks.
  • Khalm (Yasmin Charania Khan) – A skincare brand that strives to create elevated and innovative oud skincare formulations never before seen in the luxury skincare and beauty industry. Its first launch consists of three foundational products anyone can add to their skincare regime today. Khalm designs gender neutral skincare for multiple skin typologies and is culture driven to redefine what skincare is supposed to be for a global citizenry.
  • Kingdomwork (Chris Pawlukiewicz) – Maker of the gathr church app, which brings all your church’s groups, events and people together into one fully customizable and engaging experience to delight your members and create community. No matter the size of your church, it can be difficult to compete with all the social noise of our digital age. Enter gathr – the solution for churches looking to create meaningful engagement by giving your church staff and volunteers to spread your church’s mission.
  • Local Harvest Food Company (Tyson Williams) – Local Harvest is a co-op for local, backyard farmers, providing a platform for trading their produce and consolidating their efforts to provide freshly picked produce to restaurants and specialty groceries.
  • Machitia (Joél-Léhi Organista) – Machitia is a web application that helps educators create, collaborate and share lesson plans and best practices that are rooted in transformative frameworks like disability critical race theory, biliteracy, culturally sustaining pedagogy, trauma informed practices and critical pedagogy. Educators can finally have one place to simplify their workflow of creating, collaborating and sharing lesson plans while also improving their pedagogy through community feedback.
  • SlideKick (Matt Norton, Sam Norton) – SlideKick is a simple and effective way to measure and improve an audience’s experience – especially when remote. The company converts any PowerPoint into an interactive slide deck and then feeds audience interaction data back to the presenter in real-time and post-presentation analytics. With SlideKick, you can read the room – even when remote.
  • SNN Analytics (Dhaval Chokshi, Viral Shah) – With HelloGM, this company empowers hoteliers to improve net operating income by 3-5% using data science. HelloGM is a single platform that automatically collects data from various business functions, from different hotels and provides a single point for the analysis.
  • Speechcloud (Cameron Stoker) – Speechcloud is a business-to-business, software platform that turns events and classrooms into online, interactive and accessible learning environments. The company sells to businesses and educational institutions.
  • TwoFerry (Tiff Polmateer) – TwoFerry is a rideshare platform where users request a ride and a driver team of two pick the user up and take them home in their own vehicle.
  • VIBE Wellness (Megan Hanrahan) – A physical therapy private wellness consultant, combining therapeutic exercise and yoga. The company is also developing and commercializing the Total Knee Rehabilitation System with a pending patent.
  • Zomë (Danielle Bullock) – Equipment and instruction for children and families to provide options for physical activities within the home.

About the David Eccles School of Business

The Eccles School is synonymous with “doing.” The Eccles experience provides a world-class business education with a unique, entrepreneurial focus on real-world scenarios where students put what they learn into practice long before graduation. Founded in 1917 and educating more than 6,000 students annually, the University of Utah David Eccles School of Business offers nine undergraduate majors, four MBAs, eight other graduate programs, a Ph.D. in six areas and executive education curricula. The School is also home to 12 institutes, centers and initiatives that deliver academic research and support an ecosystem of entrepreneurship and innovation. For more information, visit or call 801-581-7676.

About the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute

The Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute is a nationally ranked hub for student entrepreneurship and innovation at the University of Utah and an interdisciplinary division of the David Eccles School of Business. The first programs were offered in 2001, through the vision and support of Pierre Lassonde, an alumnus of the Eccles School and successful mining entrepreneur. The institute now provides opportunities for thousands of students to learn about entrepreneurship and innovation. Programs include workshops, networking events, business-plan competitions, startup support, innovation programs, graduate seminars, scholarships, community outreach and more. All programs are open to students from any academic major or background. The Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute also manages Lassonde Studios, a five-story innovation space and housing facility for all students. Learn more at

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