One of IE Business School’s key values is entrepreneurship. The school was founded in 1973 by a group entrepreneurs and we are proud that 10% of our alumni start their own ventures after gradauation. Jeremy Melul, International MBA Class of 2009 graduate, decided to start his own company Jogabo after finishing the program. We interviewed Jeremy where he shares his experiences with the MBA but also his current situation with his new venture:
Hi Jeremy, could you please introduce yourself?
My name is Jeremy Melul, I am both French and English and I graduated from the 2009 International MBA program. I currently live in London UK but I am a citizen of the world after having lived in London, Paris, Brussels, New York, Boston, Palo Alto, Sydney, Cape Town, Madrid and Pune. I work for my own startup, “jogabo”.
Why did you come to Madrid and IE?
I came to IE because I was looking for a more innovative program and something more geared towards entrepreneurship. I also wanted to diversify my US centric network a bit. After having done my Bachelor at Tufts, and my Master at Stanford, Europe was really my only option and I have to admit that the advantages of being in Madrid and getting to re-learn Spanish in such a wonderful environment really influenced me. Oh and did I mention the weather in Madrid?
Describe your International MBA experience
It was an amazing experience but it sure went by fast. Obviously I got a lot of the knowledge I was seeking coming in as an Engineer looking to get the bigger picture on things. But that is obviously not the only reason I decided to get an MBA.
Tell me about “Jogabo” the company you founded
Jogabo is the social and easy way to play soccer. Our aim is to make amateur soccer “bonito” by connecting soccer enthusiasts, facilitating the organization of games and adding a social layer of fun and competitiveness to the beautiful game. If you look at how people get their games organised or how they go about looking for playing opportunities it is quite astounding and archaic. It is a painful and inefficient process that requires using multiple disconnected tools and usually leads to many people actually not playing, which to me is the biggest concern. At any given time and location, there are many games being organized and many players potentially looking for other players. Unfortunately, they are just not aware of each other’s interest, and are not connected in any way. When you think about all the tools that are out there, be it smartphones, facebook, twitter, location aware devices (you name it), this shouldn’t happen! What we are doing is building a location aware web application for the soccer community that allows users to organize games, share their plans and discover opportunities to play in their area. Organizers can create games, invite players and get simple tools to manage their event. Players can follow games their friends are planning, as well as games that match their location and interests thereby helping them discover playing opportunities they would ordinarily be unaware of.
How did the program help you found your company?
We are a lean startup and are bootstrapping the company for now. This is obviously not what Business School prepares you for. However, the program has helped me prepare for steps we will take in the near future once we start looking for funding and we start hiring people. It is good to know that I am well equipped to tackle the future because it gives me the confidence I need to be able to just concentrate on “now”. And in startups, it is all about what is the most important thing that we need work on RIGHT NOW!
What is the next step for “Jogabo”?
The next step for us is to launch the site in closed beta, which is what we are working on non stop to make our deadline. I am actually in the US right now so that I can work closer to my technical co-founder. You know how the story starts right? “Two guys, in a garage…” so I guess we are trying to improve our odds a little bit that way.
What do you recommend to people starting the IMBA?
I have two main recommendations for new intakes. First of all, get involved in extra curricular activities through the Clubs and take a leadership role if you can. It really enhances yourwhole experience. For me it was the Football Club (obviously) and my MBA experience would not have been the same without it. It was a lot of work in addition to the existingcourse workload: organising the internal league, the 11-a-side team, the teams tournament travels to Paris, Barcelona and Los Angeles and starting the IE GreenLaces Cup. Looking back through, it was a hell of an experience with many opportunities to bond with some of my peers outside of my section. Secondly, take advantage of every minute of your MBA because it goes by fast and it is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Work hard but don’t forget to play hard.
Students at IE Business School that are interested in Entrepreneurship can also join the Entrepreneurship Club or participate in Venture Lab where students have the possibility to develop a business idea and make it real.