Last month was the kick-off of the BASE Accelerator event at the University of Minnesota. Seven student entrepreneurs pitched ideas to a group of mentors and advisors. Over the next four weeks they will refine their concepts in advance of a final Go / No Go session at Walter Library in August.
We're taking a look at each of the entrepreneur teams in turn. This week: Avni Tripathi and Kelli McCarthy of Theodora Pillow LLC.
Avni Tripathi is a senior at Carlson School of Management. She is an international student pursuing Entrepreneurial Management, and working full time in Theodora and participating in the BASE accelerator.
Kelli McCarthy is a recent graduate from Carlson School of Management. She is from Minnesota, and will be working part time with Thedora as she navigates through her new job post graduation. Their mentor is Joe Serrano.
Q: Hi, Avni! What is the elevator speech for your concept?
A: Most women after mastectomy experience pain side sleeping, so we have created a pillow to enable women to sleep on their sides comfortably. We hope to promote recovery by improving sleep.
Q: What inspired you to develop the Theodora pillow?
A: One of the mothers of our founders was diagnosed with breast cancer earlier in 2021, and her journey post surgery, followed by sleepless nights, sparked the idea for Theodora. And after performing surveys with other women, we found out that various women undergo the same problem: being unable to sleep well post-surgery.
Q: How has the BASE accelerator program helped you to refine the concept?
A: The BASE accelerator has connected me to great resources, and mentors. Joe Serrano and Mark Sanders have been helping me shape Theodora, and have been very resourceful in planning its next steps. The program also provides the opportunity to meet other entrepreneurs who are doing very powerful and inspiring work.
"Decision Day" for the BASE Accelerator concepts will be held Thursday, August 4 at Walter Library of the University's Twin Cities campus.