Author: CELect at T-REx

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About CELect at T-REx

Taught at the T-REX technology co-working space and incubator, students in CELect consult for various St. Louis startups from around the entrepreneurial ecosystem. The course includes students from the MBA and JD programs, as well as Undergraduate Business, Engineering, and Arts & Sciences.


Guest post on behalf of CELect by Tyler King, MBA ’19; Tim Parrington, JD ’19; Samantha Sansone, BSBA ’21; and Wolf Smith, JD ’19. The students in the CELect Entrepreneurship Course, held at the T-REX startup accelerator, are sharing their team projects.

St. Louis-based TopOPPS uses artificial intelligence software to enable clients to increase accuracy and efficiency in sales forecasting and sales pipeline management. Sales teams using TopOPPS-integrated technology can more precisely target their efforts, resulting in more sales wins and faster sales cycles.

Since its founding, TopOPPS has been working with sales organizations to demystify the notoriously unpredictable arena of sales forecasting and help sales teams execute sales periods with more confidence and accuracy. TopOpps engaged WashU’s CELect program to better quantify its success and move forward in the young market space.

As a part of the 2018 fall CELect class, our team is analyzing TopOPPS’ client data to provide specific quantifiable evidence highlighting the increased efficiencies of using the artificial intelligence in sales forecasting and pipeline management.

Our team’s approach analyzes client data from companies in different industries and incorporates a larger market analysis of artificial intelligence sales forecasting software. TopOPPS can then use the analysis to create evidence-based marketing materials of the product’s success and the value proposition for clients.

This CELect project has been a challenging but rewarding experience for each member of the team. Through this unique hands-on project, we have gained valuable insight into the challenges and opportunities inherent in launching a novel startup company into a young marketplace.

We appreciate the opportunity to work with and learn from the experienced executives at TopOPPS. Furthermore, we are grateful to the CELect program and WashU for giving us the opportunity to engage with the fascinating world of startups in the area, and for allowing us to give back to the St. Louis community.

Pictured above, from left: Tim Parrington, Samantha Sansone, Wolf Smith, and Tyler King.




Guest blog post written on behalf of the CELect program by Victoria Gravett, MBA ’19; Paul Tychsen, PMBA ’19; Thomas Rogers, JD ’19; Jack Terschluse, JD ’19; and Jack West, JD ‘19.

St. Louis-based Finlocker is a secure, reusable, financial locker that smoothes the application process for a consumer loan. With the click of a button, the consumer can share their information when they want, with who they want, and for long as they choose.

Instead of the arduous process of a paper application, the consumer can upload and securely submit their documents online, saving time and money for both the bank and the consumer during loan origination.

In addition to helping consumers navigate the loan application process with transparency, security, and speed, Finlocker provides personal financial management tools to help consumers build their financial profile, manage their finances, and plan for the future.

As part of the fall 2018 CELect class, our team of JD and MBA students are collaborating to develop innovative features to improve “stickiness”—increasing consumer usage and further creating clients for life.

After surveying the competitive landscape, the team brainstormed new features to develop and potentially implement. The goal is to provide Finlocker with features that will allow them to take the next step in becoming a financial tool that consumers use daily.

Pictured above: Paul Tychsen, Victoria Gravett, and Jack West working on their project. Thomas Rogers and Jack Terschluse, also in our group, are not pictured.




Students in the CELect Entrepreneurship Course, held at the T-REx startup accelerator, are sharing their team projects with the Olin Blog. Student team Anna Cossio, Mark Gum, Nick Rafferty, and Shannon Turner describe the experience of consulting for their client, alum-founded GiftAMeal. 


The CEL entrepreneurial consulting team course (CELect) provides WashU students the opportunity to work with and solve business challenges for St. Louis-area startups. Our team is working with GiftAMeal CEO Andrew Glantz, BSBA’17, to develop a marketing strategy for the company’s St. Louis region. Through this marketing strategy, we hope to increase downloads and engagement on GiftAMeal’s mobile app.

GiftAMeal is the perfect example of the amazing work for-profits can accomplish when they tackle social causes. Since 2015, Andrew and his team have worked with various mentors, accelerators, and investors to develop an app meant to address food insecurity by providing meals to food banks.

[RELATED: Gift A Meal doubles donations]

Here’s how it works: Download the app and check out one of your favorite participating St. Louis restaurants. When your meal arrives at the table, take a picture of your food, and share with your friends via the social media outlet built into the GiftAMeal app. Once your photo has been shared, GiftAMeal will donate a meal to Operation Food Search in St. Louis at absolutely no cost to you. It’s as simple as that!

[RELATED: Glantz named to AKPsi 40 Under 40 list]

Our team has loved working with Andrew and his team on this project. His drive to address food insecurity in the community has proven to be contagious. Beyond that, it is inspiring for us to know that our recommendations will translate into a larger impact for GiftAMeal. Not only are we learning how to formulate and communicate our recommendations in a professional setting, we are also contributing to the success of an application that will provide support to many families in need.

Working on this project has given us the experience of working from the ground up to understand the current needs of clients and users of the app. We have interviewed restaurant owners who are registered under the GiftAMeal application, analyzed feedback from current app users, and experienced using the app first-hand by donating meals as we dine at restaurants. Each of these steps have allowed us to begin formulating ideas for the recommendations we will provide Andrew and his team in the following weeks. Stepping into the business world has given us the opportunity to attain real-world knowledge, an experience not often available to students stuck in the classroom.

Guest Bloggers: Anna Cossio, BSCS/BSSSE ’20, Mark Gum, Law ’18, Nick Rafferty, BSBA ’20, Shannon Turner, MBA ’18 




Students in the CELect Entrepreneurship Course, held at the T-REx startup accelerator, are sharing their team projects with the Olin Blog. Student team Brittainy Cavender, Jinsoo Chang, Masa Ide, and Jenny Kronick describe the experience of consulting for their client, FocalCast. 


St. Louis-based FocalCast is a live collaboration software that allows audiences to connect and interact with presentations. By providing features like live annotations, digital whiteboards, and polling, FocalCast turns standard presentations into engaging dialogues.

Since its founding, FocalCast has provided an easier way for people to communicate, collaborate, and conduct business on the go. Now it is looking to expand into new markets.

As part of the Fall 2017 CELect class, our team is developing a comprehensive marketing strategy to propel FocalCast’s product into new market verticals. Our approach focuses on researching potential clients and developing leveraged distribution and direct sales strategies to target a variety of players within those key verticals.

Our research emphasizes bottom-up approaches—specifically, interviews with current and prospective customers. The interviews help us determine customers’ current needs and pain points, which will guide us in developing a strategy that addresses these consumer interests. The strategy utilizes both traditional and digital marketing, including organic and paid marketing, to create an optimized plan for lead generation and awareness. The goal is to provide FocalCast with a strategy that will allow them to take the next steps in growing their business and create a strong foothold in the targeted verticals.

Guest Bloggers: Brittainy Cavender, Law ’18, Jinsoo Chang, MBA ’18; Masa Ide,  MBA ’18; Jenny Kronick, PMBA ’18 




Students in the CELect Entrepreneurship Course, held at the T-REx startup accelerator, are sharing their team projects with the Olin Blog. Student team Logan Bolinger, Alex Clouser, Myiah Johnson, and Chad Littrell describe the experience of consulting for their client, TechArtista. 


The co-working space trend has been continuously growing over the past few years. Over the years, consumer interests and expectations of those spaces have evolved and co-working spaces have evolved with them. TechArtista in St. Louis has been at the forefront of developing a unique cultural experience for its customers to address these demands.

TechArtista is not just a co-working space. It is a community of art, culture, and innovation. As TechArtista sets its sights on expanding to a second location, they turned to the CELect program to help execute this task.

During this project, our team has gained great insight on how TechArtista’s differentiated culture creates value for members. When a plan and process are developed around that culture and replicated, it becomes even more valuable. Through our research, we have found that the most successful spaces are the ones that have been able to grow while still remaining true to their brand. TechArtista’s culture is well-positioned for growth. We plan to add value by proposing a plan that helps them leverage and replicate that culture by instilling new processes.

This CELect experience has been valuable because it has demonstrated how effective an actionable plan can be in the execution of a company’s vision. We have also been taught the importance of staying true to the established values and mission of one’s company. The reasons people have for joining an organization and the organization’s own values can be more significant and more catalyzing than what the company actually does.

Guest Bloggers: Logan Bolinger, Law ’18; Alex Clouser, MBA/Architecture ’18; Myiah Johnson, PMBA, ’17; Chad Littrell, PMBA ’18