Today’s guest entry is written by Manu Gupta, who is part of the BeeHelpful startup team. Other members of his team are: Sophie Auchapt, Mads Ring Damgaard, Giovanni Gazzale, Xiaomei Gu and Schuyler Weiss.
Imagine a common breakfast – an English muffin with jam, fruits on the side, almonds as a snack, and a coffee to get a quick jolt for the day. Now imagine that not only could you not have this breakfast, but also, that it no longer existed. The production of these food items, and many others, all rely on the hardworking, but threatened, population of bees. For thousands of years bees have played a critical role in the world’s ecosystem, pollinating the world’s crops and flowers. These efforts have provided a base for the world’s species to have a sustainable food source and for the ecosystem to remain in balance. Albert Einstein put it simply, “If the Bee Disappeared Off the Face of the Earth, Man Would Only Have Four Years Left To Live.”
You may be asking yourself, why is this blog post about bees and not about IMD MBA? Shouldn’t this blog cover topics like finance, industrial analysis, accounting, marketing, entrepreneurship, operations, and/or leadership? Yes, and No.
As part of IMD’s entrepreneurship stream we are split up into groups of six and paired with a real life startup here in Switzerland. Our group was lucky enough to be paired with “BeeHelpful”, a startup that is developing a hive designed to save the declining bee population. Some may question how the skills we are learning at IMD may apply to a startup like ours. How does a discounted cash flow analysis, break even analysis, or segment analysis factor in to making beehives and savings bees? The answer – a lot. BeeHelpful faces many problems common among startups and the tools and learnings provided by IMD have be instrumental in addressing each problem in a structured way. The combination of the IMD learnings and the BeeHelpful employees’ engineering capabilities have laid the groundwork for a strong product introduction.
Over the past ten years the BeeHelpful co-founders have researched, developed, and refined their flagship product. The result – an innovative beehive that drastically decreases the mortality rate of bees. And though the bee crisis has been treated as a niche concern, increasing food prices and supply concerns are starting to take shape. Our work on this project will help BeeHelpful effectively position itself in the market so that mankind can pre-empt these shocks.
We call ourselves “The BeEffective Team” and we are helping a socially conscious startup transform itself into a sustainable, revolutionary business. Although there is an awareness of the problem, little is being done about it. We are doing something about it and we believe our work has the ability to change the world. We want to thank IMD for making this opportunity possible and the BeeHelpful team for dedicating themselves to such an important cause.
The Bee Team