I’ve come to Cambridge Judge Business School with a mission: Start a company in the next 12 months, or stop talking about it. I’m what many would deride as a ‘wantrapreneur. ’ I’ve been brainstorming ideas, creating wireframes, and buying domain names for years, but I’ve never actually created a finished product that someone could buy. Prior to coming to CJBS for my MBA, I was fortunate enough to work at an awesome tech company called HomeAway for seven years where I found my creative desires sated with challenging work and top-notch colleagues. Yet, I’ve always had an itch to build something from scratch that was all my own. That’s partly why I decided to leave HomeAway and get my MBA at Cambridge. The town of Cambridge is known for being a technology hub, the University teems with intellect and ingenuity, and the business school itself has a reputation for fostering entrepreneurship and launching companies.
Since I landed in the UK in August, I’ve attended at least a dozen events focused on entrepreneurship and technology. Cambridge abounds with talented scientists, engineers, and business minds with a similar entrepreneurial spirit. If I hadn’t already come with a desire to do something entrepreneurial, I no doubt would have acquired it.
Over the weekend, I participated in an event called Cambridge Start-up Weekend. It was part of a larger event with over 20 thousand participants worldwide.
The weekend began on Friday night with dinner and drinks where individuals mixed and mingled and casually shared their ideas. Then, it got serious. We all moved into the LT1 conference room at CJBS where everyone was encouraged to line up and ‘pitch’ their business idea in 60 seconds or less.
I pitched an idea I’d been mulling for a few days leading up to the event, a marketplace for PowerPoint slides much like iStockPhoto. My idea got enough votes to move forward and I was able to cobble together a team of three. We worked feverishly through the weekend to create our MVP (minimum viable product) and validate our hypotheses through market research. This all lead to the culmination on Sunday, a five minute pitch to a team of judges followed by three minutes of Q&A. While our venture, called BrightSlide, didn’t win the overall prize, we were voted ‘Best MVP’ and invited to join the Cambridge Accelerate programme. Overall, the event was a blast and I met 50+ likeminded individuals from the Cambridge community and beyond.
While I’m not sure if my Start-up Weekend team or this venture will move forward, I do feel I’m one step closer to actually taking the leap into entrepreneurship. I’m a wantrapreneur on the verge of becoming an entrepreneur. Wish me luck.