Disruptive MBA Startups You've Never Heard Of
Inc.|October - November 2020
Some of the hottest ventures currently coming out of the world’s best business schools
By Jeff Schmitt

HOW DO YOU REJUVENATE AN INDUSTRY?

GIVE AN ENTREPRENEURIAL MINDED MBA A CRACK AT IT.

THE TRAVEL INDUSTRY. Over the past decade, bookings have risen as do-it-yourself digital platforms made travel more accessible. Standing out in an already crowded marketplace is the stuff of Entrepreneurship 101: You target an underserved niche like extreme sports enthusiasts. That’s the sweet spot for Mapo Tapo.

The firm’s founders include a trio of 2020 INSEAD MBA graduates: Alessia Fontanari, Daniele Packard, and Anuj Karkare. Mapo Tapo started out like most ventures: a group of climbers fused their passion for extreme sports with something larger, sparking economic growth in underdeveloped communities in an environmentally-responsible way. In response, they created a sports tourism platform, where consumers book novel experiences with local guides and hosts.

“Extreme sports enthusiasts want to travel off-the-beaten-track but often settle for crowded places because they are the only ones with information that is accurate, reliable, and easy-to-find,” explains Fontanari. “We enter the travel industry with a Blue Ocean approach, reaching users through the sports community, which already exists and is very active, instead of fighting within the competitive travel industry.”

NEW MBA-FOUNDED DISRUPTORS

These days, MBAs are embracing entrepreneurship as a means to control their destiny, make an impact, and connect disparate communities. For a second year, Poets&Quants and Inc. magazine is honoring the most disruptive startups founded by MBA students, the emerging firms overturning old models and reaching new markets. The best of them hail from business schools ranging from Wharton and Stanford to Arizona State and HEC Paris. Some are bootstrapping as they build client bases. Others have already accumulated millions in capital. They’re all hard at work at disruption in a multitude of industries: healthcare, technology, retail, entertainment, and even agriculture.

Harvard Business School’s Stride Funding, for example, is revolutionizing student financial aid through Income Share Agreements (ISAs). Boasting $3.75 million dollars in VC support, Tess Michaels’ firm focuses on STEM and healthcare students. Connected Mobile also fills a lucrative and overlooked gap in the telecom market. Founded by Andie Kaplan at the Wharton School, Connected Mobile re-sells T-Mobile services customized to the needs of international students, such as free data abroad and pausing a line when they are out of the country.

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