Tag: tunespeak

Wednesday night at 9pm sharp, the same three faces pop up on my computer screen.  Within seconds, these faces, those of my teammates, Vibha Vemana, Abbey Hable, and Tod Raeber, come to life in our weekly Google Hangout team meeting, and the discussion turns to our progress on our summer consulting project for St. Louis startup, Tunespeak.

To say we’re passionate about the work we’re doing for this company is an understatement. Tunespeak is an online platform designed to connect bands to their most influential fans and reward them for listening to music, watching videos, and spreading the word about the band to friends and contacts via social media. This project has allowed us to take a rare glimpse at the “guts” of the organization, and work to shape its future. And so every week, no matter where we are in the country, we jump at the opportunity to share with each other the progress we have made.

The specifics of our consulting project are somewhat confidential, except to say we’re focused on how better to help bands connect with their most influential fans and give them what they want.

The project itself has allowed us to put the theoretical frameworks we learned in our first year MBA program into action.

  • We’ve evaluated and created a market-sizing prediction, using what Professor Bart Hamilton taught us in our economics classes.
  • We’ve applied our analyses of the competitive landscape, using frameworks from Professor Dan Elfenbein’s strategy class.
  • We tested our market research knowledge that we picked up in Professor Seethu Seetharaman’s intro to marketing class.
  • And we applied the analytical skills we learned in Professor Cliff Holekamp’s intro to entrepreneurship class.

It’s been incredible to see these classroom lectures come to life in our real-world consulting project.

The diversity of our team has been an incredible asset during this project.  Vibha Vemana has nine years of marketing experience, and taught us how large CPG companies go about market research. Her perspective has allowed us to apply some of these tools to Tunespeak.

Abbey Hable spent years working in politics and in the trenches in political campaigns. She has a unique perspective on how candidates connect with voters.  We’ve incorporated those theories into our recommendations.

Tod Raeber served in the navy, operating and maintaining nuclear powered ships. He is an operations genius.  His brain works like no one else on the team, and his perspective has been invaluable. He constantly challenges us to look at the problems from new directions and drives the project to new levels.

My background is in media, with a bit of experience in venture capital.  I’ve peppered this perspective into the mix, as well. The result?  We’ve created a thorough analysis of Tunespeak’s problem and a comprehensive solution they can implement tomorrow.

Our project will wrap up in the next few weeks, as we deliver our final recommendation to the Tunespeak team.

I admit, I’ll be sad not to see those friendly faces on my computer screen every Wednesday night, but I’m excited to see where they go next.  I have no doubt they will go on to have lasting impacts on the companies they choose to work for after graduation. And I have no doubt we’ll see Tunespeak continue its meteoric rise in the music and startup scenes.  It’s been an honor to help them along their journey!

~ Post by Kasey Joyce, MBA ’14 candidate

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About CELect at T-REx
The CELect course is a collaboration between Olin and T-REx, a downtown St. Louis startup co-working space and incubator. Students in CELect consult for various St. Louis startups, and are utilizing the T-REx space and resources for the projects. The course contains students from the MBA and JD programs, as well as Undergraduate Business, Engineering, and Arts & Sciences.

You can’t walk through the halls of St. Louis’ startup community, T-REx, without running into an Olin student or graduate. You’ll find them in leadership and key roles at the city’s hottest startups.

Cliff Holekamp, center, talks with Ryan Rakestraw, left, MBA’13, who joined Cultivation Capital after graduation as a principal.

At Cultivation Capital, we have several Olin students and grads on staff; they’re a big part of the deals we have been able to make this summer.

In the past week, Cultivation Capital has announced $1,000,000 worth of investments in two exciting St. Louis startups: Tunespeak and Trakbill. Olin students have been a major part of each of these investments.

Tunespeak is a St. Louis-based musician-to-fan loyalty platform. It connects bands to their most loyal and influential fans, rewarding fans for listening, sharing and promoting bands on their existing social media networks.

Tunespeak does something no other music site on the market is doing: it connects bands to their best fans in a way that benefits, and is meaningful, to both. And there are several Olin students in on the ground floor helping make it happen.

Brothers Tom and Rick Pernikoff are founders of Tunespeak. They also tour and record music with their alternative rock band, “The Pernikoff Brothers”.

Through Olin’s CELect course, we had two teams of Olin students work on consulting projects for Tunespeak. Last semester, Olin undergrad Sahil Lalwani led a market research project.

This summer, Kasey Joyce, Vibha Vemana, Tod Raeber, and Abbey Hable, are working on a new product development project for the startup.

Cultivation Capital also just announced a $500,000 investment in Trakbill. Trakbill came to St. Louis from the University of Illinois as an awardee of the Arch Grants business plan competition.

I have joined the TrakBill Board of Directors, and two Olin students, David Fatoki and Jenny Wu, are working for TrakBill this summer as interns. Founder and President Steven Marciniak created the company in 2012 with the goal of making it easier to navigate the legislative process.

TrakBill provides real-time legislation tracking via its online advocacy search engine. Lobbyists, advocacy groups, or individual citizens can sign up to be updated and alerted to state and federal legislative developments in their areas of interest.

TrakBill co-founders Steven Marciniak and Sam Sullivan.

Both the Tunespeak and TrakBill investments could not have happened without our team of analysts and associates from Olin who conducted significant research and due diligence for these opportunities.

Olin MBAs Kyle Tabor and Mark Gillis, along with undergraduates Harry Bolson and Sahil Lalwani, put together a comprehensive evaluation of both investments.

There has been incredible buzz and energy in the St. Louis startup community this summer. This video does a great job of capturing it.

As you can see, it’s been a busy summer for Olin’s entrepreneurship faculty and students. Stay tuned for more to come!

Photo credit: grace_kat’s photostream