Place: Entrepreneurial Ventures, Johns Hopkins Carey Business School, Baltimore, MD
Project: As part of an entrepreneurship class at business school, I worked with a team of five business students to design and assess the market feasibility of a new company that addressed a specific problem. I pitched the concept for that company to the entire class in order to build my team. The idea: offer packs of goods individuals need (cell phones, maps, clothes) when they travel to new places. That concept evolved through our team’s design research. GoPack eventually became a sharing economy service that allows consumers to rent expensive recreational goods from other consumers who already own them. Think kayaks, snorkel gear, tents, and camera equipment. Our service provided the connection to that gear (through a website), ultimately promoting the concept: More Fun, Less Stuff.
Process: The class was encouraged to draw problems from our own experiences. I had recently traveled to Scotland. I felt unprepared on my trip because I didn’t have the proper rain gear or a plan for an international phone. As I explored the Scottish Highlands, I also realized a bike would be nice, or maybe a canoe. But where would I rent one? The answer would evolve into GoPack. I convened a team around our concept and we set to work doing design research to confirm that we were addressing the right problem. We visited airport arrivals and headed to REI to observe how people prepare for a trip. We also conducted primary interviews with a range of traveling adults and sent out surveys to our larger networks. We quickly recognized that the millennial generation was most excited about the concept. We then compared that excitement with facts about the millennial market and confirmed that they are traveling more than ever in search of new experiences. We also learned that our target audience would prefer a sharing economy model of accessing gear, and that they don’t just need it when they are traveling abroad. Our team met several times over the course of the semester to share insights and pull out the key features of what would become our company. We looked at existing competitors and analogous industries (Uber) to identify our constraints.
Product: The final product for the class was a feasibility study and a final pitch event. Our feasibility study included a second round of feedback from our original interviewees about the final concept as well as financial projections, a SWOT analysis, and an analysis of our team. We presented the business as feasible, and won the support of several of our classmates in the mock-investment competition. We created a temporary website to showcase our service solution and used the website to present our findings.