At Haas, we often discuss taking advantage of the Berkeley community and collaborating with other graduate programs. This spring, Haas Technology Club (HTC) and the Foundry @ CITRIS, a Berkeley start-up incubator, decided to work together and kick-off the Berkeley Solver Series. The idea was to create a monthly event consisting of Haas MBAs and Foundry team members to increase collaboration between the two groups. A Foundry team would present a current challenge facing their start-up, and we would divide into teams comprised of members of both programs to brainstorm potential solutions. At the end of the event, the teams would present their solutions to the whole group.
We kicked off our first session on April 15th at the Foundry’s Invention Studio on Berkeley’s campus, with 12 MBAs and 10 Foundry team members. The presenting team was Clairity, a start-up developing a personal air quality sensing device that wirelessly communicates with users’ smart devices. The app will use crowdsourced data from the portable sensors to generate real-time pollution maps of cities, allowing users to search for public venues or navigation routes with low exposure. Clairity asked the group to help them develop a business plan and monetization strategy for their product.
Clairity team members Hannah Hagen and David Lu present their business challenge (Photo credit: Matt Wong)
After Clairity presented their challenge, we broke out into five teams and brainstormed solutions for 45 minutes. Each team then had 5 minutes to present their high-level solutions, followed by Q&A.
A team consisting of Foundry members and Haas MBAs presenting their solution (Photo credit: Matt Wong)
The event was a success, providing the start-up with a number of ideas to bring their product to market. All participating members also received access to Foundry speakers at an upcoming VC panel. We look forward to building upon the first event and continuing the series in the fall!
Contributed by Matt Wong on May 11, 2014