The David Eccles School of Business and Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute welcomed the inaugural class of founders in the new Master of Business Creation (MBC) program starting this fall semester at the University of Utah.
The group consists of 26 founders who have launched 20 companies ranging from fashion and education management to marketing automation and medical devices. Individual founders and founding teams were admitted. All have already made progress in starting their companies and are looking to refine them to grow sales and attract investors, among other goals.
MBC founders join a first-of-a-kind program designed to help them learn how to launch and scale a new company. They will complete the program in just nine months, and they are all receiving full scholarships that cover the costs for the program.
“We couldn’t ask for a more capable group of founders with diverse businesses aspirations to begin our unique Master of Business Creation program,” said Taylor Randall, dean of the David Eccles School of Business. “We think the program will be a model for other schools that want to provide entrepreneurs with a graduate experience that focuses on their startup as the case study. Everything they do will be tailored to help them reach their business objectives.”
The Eccles School and Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute created the MBC program to blend the best attributes of a business curriculum with a startup accelerator. The founders develop their startups during the entire program while taking classes from leading experts and receiving extensive resources and mentorship to help them address their immediate business needs.
People who join the program are called “founders.” They are entrepreneurs focused on creating a new business through applied curriculum, practicum labs and learning by doing.
The MBC program is the latest addition to the Eccles School entrepreneur program that is ranked among the top 10 in the country by Bloomberg, U.S. News and Princeton Review. The program is led by the Department of Entrepreneurship & Strategy and the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute and its Lassonde Studios facility.
“We are creating a new type of learning experience for entrepreneurs,” said Todd Zenger, presidential professor and chair of the Department of Entrepreneurship & Strategy. “The founders in the program have already made tremendous progress with their new venture ideas, and we look forward to seeing what more they can do by working with our leading faculty, mentors and startup resources.”
Taylor Buckley is one of the first MBC founders. She is growing My School Dance, a dance and event management platform for schools. Her goals are to triple revenues and finalize a seed funding round.
“This program is extremely unique in that we are all founders of companies, focused on using academic information and experience to grow and scale our companies,” Buckley said. “It’s unlike typical business master’s programs where you are given theories and case studies. We are the case studies. Every single thing we learn here is 100 percent applicable to our experiences in our own startups.”
Dylan Turner is in the MBC program with Schuyler Welch. They are growing their company Doxy.me, a simple, free and secure telemedicine solution.
“The uniqueness and novelty of the program is very compelling to me,” Turner said. “I like be involved with new and exciting initiatives, and this is right up my alley.”
Kyle Poulin and Chris Bright are in the program to develop True Adherence, which is empowering people to own their fitness by giving them real-time computer feedback.
“I love that it is an accelerator inside a university,” Poulin said. “This gives us access to all of the resources of other students (software, maker space, student funding) while providing resources such as office space, mentorship and access to investors. Our goal is to start generating revenue.”
Juliana Feinberg joined the program to launch a design business selling high-end vintage clothing and custom-made accessories.
“The accelerator model within an academic community offers the best of both worlds,” Feinberg said. “As students we have access to vast resources and top business researchers within a collaborative community.”
Aaron Dobron joined the MBC program to grow Artciel, which offers a state-of-the-art technology to provide vertical wall printing.
“Not only are you taught by some of the most brilliant and innovative professors at the U, but you are also surrounded by highly motivated and talented students who all want to be successful,” Dobron said. “The combination of having those two things in one room is very compelling.”
Find a complete listing of founders and company descriptions below.
Learn more about the Master of Business Creation program at eccles.utah.edu/mbc.
2019-20 MBC Startups & Founders
Here are the inaugural 2019-20 MBC startups and the founders enrolled in the programs (in alphabetical order by company):
- Accuretta Health (Kevin Stratton) – Enables healthcare providers to better connect and communicate internally and with their patients. By using intelligent surveying applications, remote monitoring devices and leveraging connected telehealth tools, it aims to support better outcomes and efficiencies for patients.
- Artciel (Aaron Dobron) – Offers a state-of-the-art technology to provide vertical wall printing that allows graphics to be applied directly to a variety of vertical wall surfaces (such as drywall, brick, cement, glass and tile).
- Banwa Technologies (Isai Fraire) – Online marketplace dedicated to local bike shops. Its purpose is to help you find the perfect bike and connect you with your local bike shop. Its goal is to make the thousands of bike shops in the USA more easily accessible.
- Bedvee (Stella Markova) – Developing an automatically adjustable bed wedge. It provides customers with an affordable way to adjust in bed, filling the gap between an adjustable bed and a wedge pillow.
- Cinch (Steve Curtis, Jeremy Howlett, Justin Rae) – A tool that allows businesses to automate and personalize marketing to new customers and win back the old ones while still giving the highest level of service and support to your existing loyal customers.
- Curvtique.com (Julia Perry) – Curvtique.com is an online multi-vendor deal marketplace that focuses exclusively on the curve fashion community. It will recruit multiple vendors to post daily deals initially across four core categories: tops, bottoms, dresses and outerwear.
- Doxy.me (Dylan Turner, Schuyler Welch) – A simple, free and secure telemedicine solution. Almost anyone can sign up and figure out how to use it the same day. Anyone can sign up and use it without cost being a barrier. It uses an encrypted connection and provides a business associates agreement.
- Drift (David Rupp) – An outdoor product company specializing in high-end, performance-based products that solve problems for outdoor adventures. Its flagship product, Drift Boards, allows snowboarders to travel uphill through deep snow and allows them to return down riding traditional snowboards.
- Feinberg Designs (Juliana Feinberg) – A combination of high-end and sought-after vintage clothing and a collection of custom-made, well-curated wearable designs. Each are handmade and encompass a youthful and colorful feel with luxury.
- Healixir Health (David Aiderzada) – A holistic lifestyle device that allows you to discover and create natural tonics for home, health, hygiene and wellness.
- Heimdall Health (Tarek Marrouche) – Medical device company that specializes in middle-ear-infection detection devices. Its “The Mapping Otoscope” is an innovative device that allows for quantitative measurement of tympanic membrane compliance during the examination, resulting in a more accurate diagnosis.
- KidConnect (Anneke Cannon) – A business-to-business education management company. It provides experts who manage the logistics of opening world-class on-site childcare centers for all companies big and small.
- My School Dance (Taylor Buckley) – An end-to-end dance and event-management platform for schools that eliminates the hours teachers and administrators waste managing large-scale events. The web-based application is free to schools and facilitates digital ticket sales, online permission form collection and a QR code check-in system with text alerts to parents.
- NexText (Julie Edwards) – A dispatch system for 911 operators to use when dispatching tow trucks. It alerts tow companies when they are up next for a tow and sends them the location of the police officer that needs assistance via google maps. Other applications are possible.
- Pebble (Jeff Barson) – A platform to bring buyers and sellers together and unlock the value in unfilled local business inventory.
- Rise Up School of Dance (Alyssa Bertelsen) – Supporting SLC children as they grow into the people they are meant to be by transforming ballet training. The company invests in children through free outreach programs, where the goal is for every child to feel seen, known and loved.
- Sawtooth Tonneau (Dennis Potter) – Produces a novel, patented load-expanding cargo cover for pickup trucks and cartop carriers. Its pickup-truck-bed covers are the only tonneaus in the market that will expand, and secure, loads taller than the pickup truck bed walls.
- SM Media (Samery Moras) – SM Media creates digital content in the martial arts industry that includes videos, online courses and merchandise. It has a large and growing presence in social media, most prevalent on platforms such as YouTube, Facebook and Instagram.
- True Adherence (Chris Bright, Kyle Poulin) – Empowering people to own their fitness by giving them the knowledge and feedback needed to engage in exercise effectively. It provides this through real-time computer vision biomechanics feedback.
- True North Behavioral Health (Sofia Di Gregorio, Andrew Sidoli, Isabelle Stavras) – Offering MindShield, a trademarked, researched, resiliency training developed by the College of Social Work at the University of Utah to help first responders with traumatic issues.
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 seven 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 Eccles.Utah.edu 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 Lassonde.Utah.edu.