Kellogg School of Management | Groups


Meet local Chicago startups with your Kellogg schoolmates and learn about what they do, feel the culture and listen to them tell their story


Learn about our First Chicago Trek

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Who we visited:

  • mHub
  • Public Good
  • Uptake
  • ThinkCERCA
  • MATH Venture Partners

What we did:

  • Met various small to midsize companies who are focusing  on local and midwest industries such as industrials, and manufacturing.
  • Also met an Education Technology company who believes that their emphasis on critical thinking across all subjects will teach students in K-12 more effectively than traditional textbook teaching methods.

What we learned:

  • Favorite lesson was from Mark Achler who stressed the importance of having the right team and sales presence to make a startup succeed.
  • Having the right team is more important than the right idea. "I'd rather have an A+ Team and a B product than the other way around"
  • Backed by GE Ventures, Catalyst, and Chicago World Business
  • In the future they plan to partner with manufacturing-focused VCs
  • Ability to micro-manufacture circuit boards up to 1,000 units
  • Small scale to full production 3D printing facility
  • Take action on causes in news articles
  • Over 2 million non-profits, work only with 501 (c)3’s
  • Most non—profits are good at sales, but bad at marketing in digital era
  • A.I. reads story to make specific recommendations
  • Have taken a platform approach to make nation-wide
  • One challenge has been the compliance around giving
  • 80% of giving is local as people feel more emotion, connection, and engagement
  • Transforming into a liquid marketplace with increasing active users; may follow Etsy model for selling services with curated content and cause marketing
  • Similar model to e-commerce except also have social mission
  • Content is stronger driver of engagement than the publisher
  • Started in rail w/ CAT and eventually CAT took minority stake
  • Expanded from rail into mining and construction
  • New verticals include agriculture, aviation, and renewable energy
  • Main service is predicting failures on machines to improve efficiency and safety
  • Target districts with over 15,000 students
  • Help build teacher effectiveness by giving them the lessons they to focus on personalized learning
  • Principals and super intendents are decision markers
  • Always asks entrepreneurs what their main KPI’s are as they have to know how to measure performance
  • Look for unfair competitive advantage at customer acquisition
  • Focus on team and market size
  • Trust is a premium
‚ÄčInterested in the next one? Email Kalvyn to inquire