Yes! That’s a genius idea!
Toothbrushes that are actually the packaging of the toothpaste that the buyer can fold to make into a toothbrush.
That was our ‘million-dollar idea’…
If you asked me 10 years ago if I believed that I would be creating a venture with an Israeli, an American and an Australian, I would have stared at you with not only confusion but so too with a sense of hysterics. I would have said: “What is a venture?”.
I – Noah Marks, Or Avnon, Jonathan Dar and Rebecca Shteinman formed perhaps the most unlikely of groups and in turn the most confusing yet innovative of ventures. As 2nd year students in the double major programs in entrepreneurship at the Adelson School of Entrepreneurship – we are given the chance to delve deeper into an entrepreneurial ecosystem of our choice. Our options included that of Greentech & Cleantech entrepreneurship, Real Estate Entrepreneurship and Social Impact Entrepreneurship. We as four individuals were all assigned to the Greentech & Cleantech entrepreneurship vertical in which we were to create a venture in the field of Greentech & Cleantech.
We four individuals had 12 weeks to form a team and a venture under the help and guidance of our amazing and highly knowledgeable lecturer Ms. Anat Tsour Segal.
Before discussion of our journey and our venture creation process – many thanks need to go to Anat. Anat being our course lecturer as well as the CEO of the Greentech Venture Capital firm – Capital Nature – truly was the most exciting and fortunate experience for which we all could have asked. Anat’s love, support and guidance shown to each and every one of her students glistens so bright and is so evidently seen in the constant growth of each and every one of her students throughout the entire courses venture creation process.
Let’s go back to our toothbrushes!
In our first course session we were told to ideate as many different venture concepts as possible and as young aspiring entrepreneurs it is fair to say that we did not just let our creative juices flow – we overflowed! We discussed the strangest, most bizarre and perhaps even laughable ideas. The most extremely outlandish idea was that of toothpaste boxes built out of recyclable materials that contain groove lines for an individual to build their own toothbrushes. As you may have guessed, our first statement was definitely a lie! Foldable toothbrushes were definitely not our million-dollar idea.
However, in a lecture by Anat on the trends in the ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) sectors – our chief of operations, Rebecca, spotted a steep growth in carbon emissions on our earth as result of the impact of heavy-duty transportations. With three weeks till our first presentation in which we addressed our concept – all we had was this information. Tirelessly, we as a team worked to find other market correlations to which we owe this increased spike in heavy-duty transportation. With much effort and data collection – we found high numbers of heavy-duty transportation being related to the e-commerce sector and furthermore to the process of returns for e-commerce stores. Once again, more research directed us to our direct target market which is the 36% of e-commerce stores focusing on fashion.
With 1.26 billion clothing items being returned, 5 million pounds of waste produced, and 15 million metric tons of CO2 emissions being seen annually in the US alone – we found our niche.
For weeks we grappled on different solutions to such a large issue but finally derived what we are so proud to call – Buyela.
Buyela is a Xhosa word (South African national language) which directly translates to ‘Return’. Our venture (Buyela) is a SaaS solution that aims to amend the returns practices of retailers while allowing the typical online shopper to pay their respects to and return to the environment. Returning is the key driving point to Buyela and her success and therefore Buyela promotes ‘Greener Buying’ habits.
With our idea consolidated and our daunting growth process eerily awaiting us – we laughed, fought, cried and even sweated to develop a concept that we as a group (within a schooling and course framework as well as future entrepreneurs) are proud.
Never in our wildest imaginations did we expect Buyela to see the growth and traction it did. Upon constant discussion with our beloved lecturer Anat and discussion with many SaaS and retail industry experts, Buyela became more appealing by the day. Its vision, mission, goals and objectives became clearer by the day and thus the urge for the four founders to ensure its success began to boom!
Being students at the prestigious Adelson School of Entrepreneurship – the opportunities given to us are endless! Among all of our fellow peers – Buyela and five other ventures were entered into the Adelson School of Entrepreneurship cross-vertical pitch competition in which we, just as in Shark Tank, fought each other for funding and support from the school.
At the competition on the 17th January 20202, Buyela reigned victorious – highly impressing both the other teams, judges and the esteemed judgement panel.
Buyela has since then received a hefty support package from the Adelson School of Entrepreneurship in the worth of being in the tens of thousands of US dollars. Buyela is so excited to meet our designated school mentor and is eager to further its groundwork.
We as a team of four cannot wait to get started on the next stage of Buyela’s journey!
In summary – if 10 years from now you ask us: “To whom do you and your team owe your entrepreneurial success?” Our responses would be simple. We’d thank our internal and external support structures. We would praise our first successful entrepreneurship team consisting of myself, Or Avnon, Jonathan Dar and Rebecca Shteinman, we’d acknowledge our devoted lecturer Anat, we would then give thanks to the Adelson School of Entrepreneurship and finally we would tell you to read our success story on the Buyela webpage!