FANAFI: Why Entrepreneurs Should Find a Need and Fill It!

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on the Wharton Magazine blog.

By Bob Natiello WG’56, Author, Retired Advertising Executive

More than 50 years have passed since Corning Inc. launched CorningWare in 1958, its most important consumer product since the 1915 introduction of Pyrex brand bakeware. With pre-World War I homemakers marveling at the concept of baking their cakes in clear glass, Corning believed that 1960s housewives were sure to spark to its newest ceramic advance. Imagine being able to fry in a beautiful opaque dish placed directly on an open flame. Made of space-age Pyroceram, CorningWare astonished saucer-eyed housewives with its ability to move directly from freezer to flame without cracking because of extreme temperature changes. At the end of this shocking journey, CorningWare could be conveniently brought, in all its appealing whiteness, directly to any formal table setting.

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Get To Know A Wharton Prof: Ian MacMillan

By Nadine Kavanaugh, Associate Director, Wharton Entrepreneurship

In this series, Get To Know A Wharton Prof, we do brief interviews with our professors in order to give you a behind-the-scenes glimpse of these amazing scholars, teachers, and entrepreneurs. Today’s interviewee, Ian “Mac” MacMillan, is the Dhirubhai Ambani Professor of Innovation and Entrepreneurship and the Director of the Sol C. Snider Entrepreneurial Research Center.  Learn more about him here.

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There Are No Billion Dollar Ideas

By Ashrit Kamireddi WG’14, co-founder and CEO of VeryApt

One hard lesson I had to learn pretty early on as an entrepreneur is that ideas by themselves don’t matter. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard someone tell me they had the idea for Facebook or Seamless years before it was created.  And that’s just it.  There is nothing special about realizing that food delivery could be easier and more efficient.  Figuring out the operational logistics, developing the business relationships, and figuring out the revenue model is where all the complexity is.

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Your Mileage May Vary

By Brian W. Smith ENG’98/GR’01/WG’08, CEO of Simulation Systems, Inc.

The man on the cover of the business magazine is trim, wearing a navy bespoke suit and tortoise shell glasses. His appearance conveys prodigious wisdom despite his obvious youth. He leans casually against the door jamb of his office, arms folded, his company’s logo frosted prominently onto sleek glass paneled walls. His pose is casually confident. He could be a consultant or a banker, yet a loosened necktie and brightly colored socks suggest something more hip and less conformist. Above the glossy photograph, a headline beams “$30 Million Before 30: Young Entrepreneurs and How They Did It.”

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Should An Entrepreneur Get An MBA?

Should An Entrepreneur Get An MBA?

By Eurie Kim WG’09, investor at Forerunner Ventures

When people ask me whether they should get an MBA if they want to start a company, I respond with: It depends. Do you already have an idea and a team? If not, what type of company do you want to start? Have you started a company before? What do you think you will get out of an MBA that you can leverage in the company building process? The answer to the question depends on where you’re starting from and where you’re trying to go.

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Get To Know A Wharton Prof: Raffi Amit

By Nadine Kavanaugh, Associate Director, Wharton Entrepreneurship

In this series, Get To Know A Wharton Prof, we do brief interviews with our professors in order to give you a behind-the-scenes glimpse of these amazing scholars, teachers, and entrepreneurs. Today’s interviewee, Raphael (“Raffi”) Amit, is the Academic Director of Wharton Entrepreneurship. He is also the Robert B. Goergen Professor of Entrepreneurship and a Professor of Management at the Wharton School. Dr. Amit founded and leads the Wharton Global Family Alliance (WGFA), a unique academic-family business partnership established to enhance the marketplace advantage and the social wealth creation contributions of global families through thought leadership, knowledge transfer and the sharing of ideas and best practices among influential global families. Learn more about him here.

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You’ve Got Questions; Founders’ Retreat Has Answers

By David Kimball WG’15

Last year, I remember the days leading up to the Founder’s Retreat.  I felt nervous and anxious, wondering if others would see me as a legitimate entrepreneur.  I was excited to be around other like-minded people and meet some new VCs / angel investors.  Most of all, I wondered if I would have a moment of clarity and receive some long-awaited answers to questions that had been ringing around my mind for months.  Were the two years and $120,000 I was about to spend worth it or should I spend that time and money launching a company?  Should I launch a biz during school or would I be happier getting a job and launching one later down the road? Are the faculty at Wharton engaged in entrepreneurship or simply happy to teach their classes and conduct their research?

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I’m Not Looking For An Exit…

By Paula Janssen WG’04, owner of Janssen’s Market

I knew that I was going into my family’s business when I started at Wharton.  My goal was to learn as much as possible so that I could bring new ideas and methods to my family’s 50 year old gourmet grocery business.  I was able to immerse myself in school and extracurriculars since I didn’t have to deal with those pesky interviews.  I loved volunteering with the tax assistance program and the business plan competition and Rebuilding Together.  I took all types of classes – finance, entrepreneurship, human capital, operations, marketing, even real estate.  Going to business school opened my eyes to all of the possible career paths ahead of me that I was “giving up” to go into the family business.  When I graduated, I thought I would professionalize the business, make it saleable, and move on.

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The Summer Startup Experience at 2401 Walnut

By Anjali Bhatia WG’15, Founder of Pragma and PlayPickup

This summer, Wharton’s 2401 Walnut Street building opened up to student and alumni entrepreneurs as summer office space for the second year.  A number of current and alumni MBA students converted the individual study rooms into their startup homes by writing long lists of to-dos on the glass doors and windows, decorating (including a pinned-up proof of “first sale” in one office), and hauling in prototypes and inventory.  My company, Pragma, which aims to revolutionize travel apparel with stylish, wrinkle-resistant, and portable clothes, was one of them.

The current 2401 entrepreneurs visiting the newly launched Matt & Marie’s, a food startup that worked out of 2401 last year.

The current 2401 entrepreneurs visiting the newly launched Matt & Marie’s, a food startup that worked out of 2401 last year.

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Why We’re Staying In Philly

By Justin Matt Sapolsky W’08/WG’12, co-founder of Matt & Marie’s Modern Italian Sandwiches

It was an easy decision for Matt & Marie’s to open in Philadelphia. “Philadelphia” was even part of our logo long before we found our first location at 100 North 18th Street. And judging by the many familiar faces who have stopped by in our first few weeks, it seems that more and more student entrepreneurs are choosing to stay in Philadelphia after graduation.

The Italian Stallion, from Matt & Marie's

The Italian Stallion, from Matt & Marie’s

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