March 10 – March 19
We had 5 days and 5 people to build 5 companies. Boy! Was it a sprint and an incredibly fun one at that!
Over the week we built:
- Sherpa – curated itineraries to share with friends (landing page, instagram, survey)
- Physiatrix – physical therapy reimagined
- Phosify – a marketplace for brain fitness (website, twitter)
- Densr – the tech-enabled solution for men who want to keep their hair (website, twitter)
- Omega – the quantified self-wellness app (website)
I led our Physiatrix day. After multiple surgeries and many physical therapy sessions, I was especially invested in finding a solution for the pain that is PT. From the patient’s side, the logistics of travel to and from PT is difficult (you’re on meds / injured so driving may not be an option AND you’ve already taken time off work for the surgery yet most PT is only available M-F 9-5). From the PT’s side, the economics aren’t great (you’ve spent tens of thousands of dollars to get your DPT degree over 3 years, yet make $30-$35 an hour on sessions that insurers pay $200-$300 for!)
I was eager to spend the day testing viability. Before we can build a business, let’s find out if there is even an opportunity. Unfortunately, we discovered too many hurdles that would prevent the business(es) we were excited about from being profitable given the current state of healthcare in the US. Too bad, but still a great learning experience.
Overall the week was (not surprisingly) particularly educational! My key learnings:
- You can build a lot in a day: business plans, models, websites, brands, buzz, even customers (okay so you don’t ‘build’ customers … or can you O_O)
- Branding is just as key as thinking through your business’s backend (something I always used to lean more heavily towards)
- Starting a company is exhausting, yet exhilarating
- Developing a company with a team is a lot easier (even when there is dissent) than going at it alone
Also, building companies with cool, smart people is really fun. I highly recommend Startup Lockdown for any students at Harvard (HBS or not!). I feel very lucky to have been asked to participate (thank you for the millionth time Andrea!)
Oh … and we got some press 😉
What a whirlwind! AND — it’s not over. Tomorrow I move to SF (thank you again Arif!!) to start DevBootcamp on Monday. Very excited to dive in (just need to sleep a little more first).