The Venture Club’s Consulting Group consists of students who provide consulting services directly for start-up companies. Working directly for a startup, students are provided the opportunity to apply what they have learned in their classes to real world businesses and along the way develop valuable consulting skills as well. Our entrepreneurial clients receive high quality consulting services aimed at helping their venture (or idea) grow and seize new opportunities. Projects typically span one academic term and commence with students and entrepreneurs collaborating to develop a letter of engagement defining the project’s scale and scope. During this process tudents and clients also agree on a timeline identifying key milestones and deliverables. This term, the consulting branch is working with LinkMD, SourceFuse, Clean Textile Technology, Pairiscope, and Field Trip 360. Our current projects focus on a variety of different business challenges. Typically our clients are seeking assistance with market, industry, and competitor research and analysis, and writing marketing plans and business plans. Upon completion of the project, each group gives a formal presentation to their client to review their findings and recommendations as a culmination of their work during the term.
LinkMD is a cloud-based software for medical networks that links physicians, patients, and administrators. Examples of connections made through LinkMD include but are not limited to physician reputation management, referral tracking, HIPAA compliant appointment requests, and prescription refills. Venture Club conducted various types of marketing research, including analyzing trends and growth in the medical industry (particularly focusing on cardiology and orthopedics) and defining buyer personas such as cardiologists and orthopedic surgeons, marketing directors of hospitals, and health system executives. The team researched employee backgrounds, as well as their various needs and pain points in their work and went a step further to identify the most effective distribution channels for reaching these individuals, such as through social media, search engine keywords, online social networks, and magazines. The team also researched the content that would drive each target market to these channels.
Pairiscope (Winter 2014)
Pairiscope aims to provide a website focused on “pairing” qualified candidates to companies who want to view more than just the traditional resume. The service will allow job seekers to upload work samples (i.e., research reports, presentations, etc.) that afford employers with an opportunity to more comprehensively assess a candidates knowledge, skills, and abilities. Venture Club provided an in depth competitive analysis focused on identifying what those companies did well and what Pairiscope should avoid. Venture Club also developed and administered pilot student and client surveys to offer insights into market needs.
Clean Textile Technologies (Winter 2014)
Clean Textiles Technology, a firm with access to water-free dying processes along with other unique textile products, engaged Venture Club to generate ideas for uniquely millennial marketing campaigns. CTT was particularly interested in social media and multimedia. To fulfill CTT’s needs, Venture Club focused on creating Twitter and Facebook marketing campaigns in addition to outlining the process for generating effective online video content.
SourceFuse (Fall 2013, Winter 2014)
SourceFuse is an all-encompassing digital service company that offers website and mobile app design through a wide variety of platforms. SourceFuse operates globally with offices in the United States, United Kingdom, and India. Through a collaborative process Venture Club explored promising industries in order to find a profitable market that would respond well to SourceFuse’s strengths: personability and commitment to a quality, individualized service. Due to a growing opportunity for digital product development, the team decided to focus on Healthcare. The team segmented the industry into four categories and analyzed the market potential for each one. This allowed the team to identify the two most attractive segments on which to focus. Focusing on these segments, the team further identified individual companies and an corresponding contact information for each that might have more involved, long-term technology needs. The team presented its research and recommendations to SourceFuse, including a compilation of promising clients and the ways in which the team believed the companies’ needs and SourceFuse’s strengths could align.
North Sails (Fall 2013)
Venture Club conducted research and made recommendations to North Sails on how to increase and sustain participation in the sport of sailing. North Sails is a leading sailmaker and, like other competitors and suppliers of complementary products in the industry, was concerned regarding recent research indicating that the level of participation in the sport of sailing was stagnant or declining. The student team researched similar industries such as golf, tennis, and skiing that were also experiencing similar stagnation or decline to assess best practices for turning the trend around. The team presented their findings to North Sails President of One Design, Tim Healy.
Big Sky Brewing Company (Fall 2013)
Big Sky Brewing company experienced significant growth over the past 15 years and its products were very successful west of the Mississippi River. The company engaged Venture Club in a research project to determine which markets east of the Mississippi provided the best opportunities for expansion using existing brands. The team also began to assess which mode of production and distribution would be most effective.
Icebox Coffee (Spring 2013)
The Venture Club developed a sales and marketing strategy for Icebox Coffee, an iced coffee concentrate startup, founded by Bebe Goodrich ’07, in Birmingham, Alabama. The VC evaluated strategic alternatives and developed a plan facilitating cost effective new customer acquisition, while remaining a lean organization. The VC also advised the client on branding and conducted market research among the products target demographic.
“As a start-up business in a rapidly changing industry, partnering with the Venture Club provided an opportunity to work on the business rather than in it. Through their work and advisement, we were able to provide a path forward that is competitive yet obtainable.” Bebe Goodrich ’07, Founder of Icebox
For more on Icebox Coffee click here.
Team: Mark Sowinski, H. Nicholas Luther, Trip Cole, Devon Daly, Joey Manzinger
Hero Me (Fall 2012)
Josh Bryan came to us with his idea for action figures that kids could create themselves. The Venture Club provide him assistance with his company, Hero Me, focused on more robust marketing research and exploring manufacturing opportunities. The Venture Club developed marketing strategy for Hero Me, a customizable action figure startup. Focused on researching market dynamics, customer preferences, and strategically differentiating the product in the marketplace.
Team: Alex Fernandez, Dylan Chou, John Torrell, Annie Buttarazi
Edmond Mattioli Project (Fall 2012)
Edmond Mattioli is a local stonemason who began to build unique metal artwork after an injury. One of his early pieces was a 9 ½ by 22 foot Tyrannosaurus Rex. Ed approached the Venture Club for help with his marketing plan. The Venture Club was able to custom design a website for Mattioli from scratch along with providing him with a new marketing approach. The marketing suggestions the Venture Club was able to provide were numerous. Suggestions included everything from advising that Mattioli make smaller pieces to using his name as the domain name for the website.
KYCK.com (Fall 2012)
This fall we started a project with KYCK.com, which is a digital media platform that serves as a place for users to share and discover personalized soccer content. Users can access the website or use the mobile app to build a custom profile and personalize the content that appears in the home page KYCK feed. Our consulting group, which consists of Dylan Florig, Mariel Pearl, Morgan Thompson and I, has gathered statistical data that will help the KYCK team identify the target market and its specific tendencies. We have also gathered in-depth feedback from soccer enthusiasts and other internet users to fine tune some of the features on the website and create a more user friendly interface. Our feedback and analysis of KYCK.com has proven to be very constructive as much of our suggested changes are already featured on the website. The project has been rewarding so far and we look forward to continuing our work with Trent Hawthorne and the rest of the KYCK team.
Udu (Fall 2012)
Our group worked on the venture Udu, which is a clothing line developed by James Williams. During a visit to Kenya while traveling abroad, James came across a unique fabric that he thought would make for great use in apparel. To help get this idea to market, we were able to successfully partner with Feed the Children, a multimillion dollar charity who agreed to help us with manufacturing and distribution, and provide advise along the way. With the help of Feed the Children, and the guidance of many local retailers, we were able to develop a rough business plan regarding cost of production and target sale price. Furthermore, we also built a functional website to sell Udu apparel. As we continue to work on this project, our goal is to receive a sample of roughly 100 Livlyhoods to distribute on campus during the spring.