Bionic Panda Games
Cofounded in 2010 by social gaming veteran Charles Hudson, MBA '05, Bionic Panda Games introduced its first mobile game, Aqua Pets, last year. The game has been downloaded more than 3 million times and was one of the top-100 grossing apps on Android Market. Bionic Panda received seed funding from several venture firms, including SoftTech VC, where Hudson, Bionic Panda's CEO, is a venture partner.
The luxury-car service Cabify, founded by Juan de Antonio, MBA '10, in 2011, was introduced in Madrid at the beginning of 2012 and racked up more than 3,000 paid rides in its first 6 weeks. Using their smartphones, customers hire nearby cars piloted by professional drivers, arrange pickups, communicate with their drivers, and pay by credit card. Cabify's services can be summoned in Spanish, English, and Catalan. The company announced its expansion to the Catalan capital, Barcelona, earlier this year.
While in business school, Arnulfo Ventura and Jose Domene, both MBA '08, founded a company that makes a natural, agave-sweetened version of the traditional Latin fruit-flavored drinks called aguas frescas. Now located in downtown Los Angeles and re-branded as Cobá, the company is flourishing. Cobá beverages are sold in groceries, natural food stores, and restaurants in seven Western states and Florida and are also available at Whole Foods. By early 2012, Cobá had 30 full- and part-time employees and was approaching sales of $2 million. Ventura is CEO.
Duck Duck Moose
When Caroline Hu Flexer, MBA '01, caught her toddler playing with her iPhone, she did what comes naturally to a budding entrepreneur. She enlisted her husband, Michael, a software engineer, and their friend, designer Nicci Gabriel, to develop a series of apps for kids. Their company, Duck Duck Moose, was founded in 2008. By early 2012, it had produced 10 educational children's apps for the iPhone, iPad, and Android platforms, plus a musical album available on iTunes. The company is the winner of eight Parents' Choice Awards and nineChildren's Technology Review awards.
The company that bills itself "India's first e-health store" was cofounded in 2011 by Prashant Tandon, MBA '07. Healthkart features everything you'd expect to find in a humongous pharmacy — except pharmaceuticals. The company arranges its products by category, such as diabetes, elder care, and sports and fitness, and sells everything from contact lenses and wheelchairs to body scrubs and gluten-free food. Located in Gurgaon, India, Healthkart ships throughout the country.
Cofounders Beatrice Pang, MBA '10, and Henri Deshays, MBA '11, launched the luxury shopping site ModeWalk in 2011. The site offers haute couture and Paris ready-to-wear, jewelry, shoes, and everything else that makes a shopper's heart go pitty-pat. ModeWalk announced $1.8 million in funding in January — enough to more than fill a shopping cart. Pang is CEO, Deshays is COO, and second-year MBA student Indré Rockefeller is fashion director.
Next time you pay a bill using your smartphone, you may imagine you hear a high-pitched "zoosh" as your money changes hands. Naratte, a Silicon Valley — based company founded in 2009, developed the mobile technology Zoosh, which uses ultrasound to enable near-field communication (NFC) for devices, without using a special NFC chip. Naratte says upgrading to Zoosh requires no more than a device with a built-in microphone and speaker, plus an app that costs about $30. Cofounder Brett Paulson, MBA '09, is CEO.
Say you live in ZIP code 60642 in Chicago and you need a root canal on a molar. There are 75 dental providers within a 5-mile radius of your home. They charge from $320 to $1,250 for the procedure. Which would you choose? Toure McCluskey, MBA '05, thinks you should have the information you need to make that choice. McCluskey's Chicago-only database, OkCopay, lists healthgivers' credentials as well as their prices. The site is free to patients. McCluskey plans to sell advertising to doctors and clinics that want to draw attention to their services.
The Groupon-like daily-deal site is one of the fastest-growing tech companies in Brazil, and it intends to stay that way. Peixe Urbano began the year fighting off an incursion by the Chicago-based Groupon by recruiting engineers and MBAs in the U.S. and raising capital. Cofounded in 2010 by Julio Vasconcellos, MBA '07, Peixe Urbano had 1,000 employees, served more than 80 cities in South America, and had sold 12 million coupons by early 2012. Vasconcellos is CEO.
In Italy, a piazza is a town square where people meet. In hundreds of colleges around the world, Piazza is an online site where students and instructors gather to collaborate and solve problems. Pooja Sankar, MBA '10, conceived of Piazza and began testing it when she was a first-year GSB student. Since its public launch in 2011, the site has been used by more than 100,000 people and the company has received more than $7 million in funding.
Smitten Ice Cream
Before Smitten opened its shop in April 2011, owner Robyn Sue Goldman, MBA '07, taste-tested her made-to-order ice cream on willing Stanford GSB classmates. One secret to Smitten is "Kelvin," Goldman's liquid hydrogen — powered ice cream maker that produces a scoop in 60 seconds flat. Another is its all-natural ingredients mixed in tongue-tingling combinations like salted caramel and sweet corn with blackberries. Smitten, which operates out of a rehabbed shipping container in San Francisco's foodie haven Hayes Valley, was recently recommended in Vogue magazine.