- 05/09/16:Jon Stewart calls Trump a “Man Baby” during his interview at Rockefeller Chapel!
- 05/16/16-05/17/16: Booth celebrated Spirit Week with furore - activities included bike ride, kite flying and Booth Stories. Come pick up Booth Swag during lunch at the Harper Center!
- 05/14/16: The 31st DuSable Conference organized by the Chicago Booth African American MBA Association was a success on 5/14!
- 05/21/16: Booth Gives Back, the largest philanthropic event at Booth, will be happening on Saturday!
- 05/26/16: The Cohort Cup Olympics for Spring will be happening on 5/26 at North Beach. Bring those beach soccer skills on!
Francisco Cantor, Booth ’16, was bitten by the entrepreneurship bug during his undergrad days when he built a company for importing and distributing mobile phone accessories in Venezuela. The company was a huge success and was acquired.
Coming into Booth, he knew he wanted to do something in the restaurant space. After brainstorming on several potential ideas, he finally found his niche with Nip. The idea came after a not so pleasant experience ordering off of one of the popular food delivery apps- the quality as well as service experience left much to be desired. He realized that while the food delivery space is crowded, no one offers a premium solution as a whole- simple fast and quality food coupled with a premium experience.
Nip works with restaurants to identify menu items that will travel well and easily integrate into kitchen logistics. Customers simply swipe to the menu item they want to purchase, tap to order, and are charged one flat fee for the meal, delivery, and tip. Launched a couple of weeks ago, Nip offers a carefully-curated menu of top dishes from acclaimed Chicago restaurants Beatrix and Oak + Char. The app takes the headache out of food delivery by making dish selection as easy as a few swipes, and by delivering each order in under 30 minutes door-to-door.
With the recent launch and encouraging customer feedback, Nip has come a long way from it’s early days. Francisco kept working on establishing relationships with restaurants, identified their pain points and successfully built a first prototype of the app during his first year. In fall 2015 he focused on establishing relationships with restaurant groups. These groups typically had a portfolio of several high end restaurants, and they all wanted to invest in improving the customer experience. The idea also was to be as little intrusive to their operations as possible.
All this was easier said than done. Francisco faced several rejections from potential customers and partners. Resources and guidance at Booth came in handy during those times. He especially credits courses such as Entrepreneurial selling in this respect. The course taught him tangible lessons that could be applied to this process. He focused on establishing relationships as opposed to selling his company. The Booth brand name also helped in creating these connections. He put his energy into understanding his customers and their pain points, asking for feedback- and this automatically helped create strong relationships as well. In addition to the course, Cantor leveraged several other resources offered at Booth. In addition to courses, he credits the Polsky Center for his success. ‘They have been super helpful.’
He credits Nip’s early success to his team (Alex Weigend, Angela Lin, Nishant Kumar, Rikki Singh, Youngeun Kim). They went through the Polsky Summer Accelerator last year and are currently participating in the New Venture Challenge. They are planning to raise a seed round when the competition is over.
Advice for entrepreneurs: ‘Launch as quickly as possible. Don’t have stage fright. Once you have a good enough MVP (minimum viable product,) just launch it. The worst possible outcome is that you would get feedback- which would only help improve your product’.
Shikha Kapoor is a first year student trying to make the most of her BoothExperience while it lasts
It took all my nerves (and a few frosty beverages) to sign up for my first improvisation (or improv) class at The Second City, Chicago’s most famous troupe. On day one, the instructor said that “the first rule of improv is “Yes, and”… that is, a complete acceptance of the given situation (don’t deny what has already happened in the scene) and add something meaningful to move it forward.” “Damn,” I thought to myself, “that philosophy sure would have helped me navigate through campus recruiting”.
Fast forward 8 weeks; I had completed my Level A class at Second City. My newly acquired superpower was that I didn’t care about making a fool of myself anymore. If my contribution in a case was an idea that a fellow classmate had already voiced, I could now shrug it off (“so… valuable recap, right Professor?”), when I might have been mortified and dwelled on the moment for weeks before. I found the improvisation experience to be so valuable that I solicited my Second City instructor to teach the Level A class at Booth where it’s now offered as a 6-8 week workshop through the Public Speaking Group.
Around the same time, I was taking a class with Professor Austan Goolsbee, who in addition to being voted the 2009 Funniest Celebrity in Washington, have always had the uncanny ability to lead case discussions that often left the class in splits. My classmates and I appreciated his unique style that made the concepts interesting and entertaining and left you with lessons that you actually remembered.
I recently reached out to Professor Goolsbee to chat. I discovered that, during his college years, he not only was a member of an improv group called ‘Just Add Water’ and toured the country doing shows, but also had the opportunity to play with Chris Farley and Tim Meadows at Second City.
I asked Goolsbee how that experience affected him personally. “One of the basic premises of improvisation is to go with whatever someone gives you, to not reject it, and that's proved pretty helpful throughout life. My dad always said that fault finder is a minimum wage job.” What about teaching – has improv helped you be a better instructor? Probably so, Goolsbee admits, “I find that I often make lots of off-the-cuff comments in the case discussions that feel a lot like the old improv days, for example. And certainly the knowledge that we can have insights together that weren't in the lesson plan at the outset is an important thing in my book”.
On whether he had any last words to encourage Boothies to try improv: “As long as you've got your homework done, sure, why not? Can't be afraid to make a fool of yourself is the main thing. It's an important lesson to remember.”
Mukund is a second-year who doesn’t ‘have his homework done’, yet doesn’t want to leave, and is currently nervously approaching his first stage performance at Second City as part of the Level C class.