Student Startup Roundup: Events App, Health Care Tech, Nonprofit Music Venture
January 18, 2014
This is part of an occasional series spotlighting students who are juggling their studies with starting a new business or nonprofit venture. In this installment we feature a recent MBA alumnus whose events-related startup is about to be offered to Salesforce.com customers, a health-care tech startup founded by an evening MBA student, and a nonprofit music venture launched by a Haas undergraduate.
Your Health Concierge
Ryan McQuaid, MBA 15
Evening MBA student Ryan McQuaid, MBA 15, headed to the doctor’s office a year ago seeking advice about a sore back.
It would have been easier and just as effective, he says, to call the doctor to discuss his problem.
The hassle of McQuaid’s interactions with the health system over the years has led him to his most recent health-care startup, PlushCare. With PlushCare’s planned services, patients will pay a low monthly fee of about $10 to replace in-person office visits with same-day consultations with doctors via email, video, or phone. PlushCare will cover about 70 percent of physician office visits and for the other 30 percent refer patients to a specialist or advise seeing a physician in person.
McQuaid and his two co-founders, two doctors who trained at Stanford, plan to launch an Indiegogo campaign Jan. 28 to onboard a limited number of beta users in California to begin using the service.
“What we decided was to create a more user-centered experience,” says McQuaid, who resigned recently as head of strategy and business development for AT&T’s mHealth platform.
PlushCare's mission is to promote health globally. A child dies every 20 seconds from a disease that could be prevented by vaccines because he or she does not have access to life-saving immunizations. Thus, PlushCare will give a lifetime of immunity to a child for every patient sign-up, McQuaid says.
Pumping up the Volume for Charity
Mike Teez, BS 14
Even before coming to Haas as a transfer student, electronic music producer and DJ Mike Teez, BS 14, had identified with the Defining Principle Beyond Yourself.
For the last four years, Teez has been organizing musical charity events in the electronic dance music industry, giving back all proceeds to such causes as an underprivileged school in Costa Rica, shoes for the homeless in Berkeley, and purchasing rainforest land in Brazil to avoid deforestation.
Now he's launched a nonprofit called 2the5th Entertainment to continue building out his philanthropic event model and create his own record label to give artists an opportunity to showcase their talents while giving back to society.
In a recent Indiegogo campaign that raised $2,010 from 40 funders, Teez explains the name: "The name is based on the musical significance of every multiple of 2: 2x2x2x2x2 number of beats is essentially the foundation of most electronic music, and 2the5th can be the foundation for the future!"
Teez has been been building up a roster of artists from around the world, including Norway, South Korea, and the United States, and is looking to begin releasing their material in the late winter or early spring. His Indiegogo campaign focused on raising funds to cover such costs as marketing and videos for his first three releases as well as seed money for more events.
Learn even more about Teez and 2th5th on the Haas Undergraduate Students Blog: haas.org/1eiVUs5.
Mark Elbradramany, MBA 13
Mark Elbradramany, MBA 13, wasn’t looking for a job when Oracle executives approached him at the UC Berkeley Startup Competition last year. “They found me and said, “We really love what you’re doing, we need companies like yours,'" says Elbradramany, whose startup, Intellievents, was a competition semifinalist.
Elbradramany had developed a mobile application to improve the experience people have when attending large events such as football games and concerts. His startup idea emerged at an Oakland A’s baseball game during Haas orientation week, when he was trying to find pizza and friends he was meeting.
Frustrated by the ballpark experience, he began work on a new mobile app fans could use to deliver pizza to their seats, help them connect with each other at the stadium, and earn loyalty points. He built out his idea at Skydeck, UC Berkeley's accelerator that helps launch campus startups.
Intrigued by developing Intellievents post-graduation, Elbradramany accepted a job as an Oracle consultant last June, which allowed him to simultaneously work on his company. He's shifted Intellievents' focus from a mobile application to an enterprise platform that collects data about fans—everything from where they like to sit at a game to what they usually pay for tickets to who accompanies them to events. Organizations like the NBA or NFL could use that data to help draw more people to an event, encourage fans to spend money while there, and make sure they have the best possible time.
He has signed a contract to provide his platform to Salesforce.com customers as an option, which he expects to be available in about a month.
Elbradramany credits his success to entrepreneurship classes with David Charron and Kurt Beyer, who walked him through every step of building a company, including ideation, team formation, customer discovery, development, and launch.
“At many other business schools, students only get the chance to read great case studies. At Berkeley-Haas, we get to meet the CEOs, entrepreneurs, and venture capitalists these cases are written about," he adds. "When they discuss their challenges and solutions, successes and failures in classroom discussions and seminars we get to learn the case from a unique viewpoint.”