Report Index

Business Design

Once an opportunity has been identified and validated, students need to determine: who their customers are and why those customers will buy what they are selling; who their business will collaborate with and why these other organizations will cooperate with them; and how theywill make money.

Developing the Skill   Multidisciplinary Graduate-Level Courses
Distinguished Speakers Innovators Seminar
Dare to Dream $500 Venture Shaping Grants

Breaking into Online Retail

Allen Kim, BSE ’12 ,Co-founder,

As an industrial-operations engineering student at the U-M College of Engineering, Allen Kim, BSE ’12, knew nothing about babies or baby clothes. However, with assistance from the Zell Lurie Institute and other on-campus entrepreneurial resources, he parlayed his interest in fashion and clothing into (formerly Bebaroo), a start-up company offering online rentals of special-occasion children’s clothes. “I couldn’t resist my entrepreneurial calling,” says Kim, who conducted customer surveys by buttonholing Ann Arbor-area mothers at Starbucks and Briarwood Mall. Over the 2010 spring break, he took entrepreneurship trips sponsored by the College of Engineering’s Center for Entrepreneurship to the San Francisco Bay area and New York City, where he met world-famous entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and industry leaders. “The feedback I received, especially from Michigan alumni, was very helpful,” Kim says. He also benefited from intensive coaching at the two-day Ann Arbor SPARK Entrepreneur Boot Camp and exposure to entrepreneurial luminaries at the College of Engineering’s Distinguished Speakers and Innovators Seminar. Kim financed his start-up by winning business competitions, including Dare to Dream, the Michigan Business Challenge and the 2010 College Entrepreneur of the Year Award from Entrepreneur Magazine. Barbarang gained traction at the TechArb business accelerator and launched its Web-based rental service in August 2010. “Recently, we have pivoted the business to a different angle,” Kim says. “Currently, we are working out of a business incubator in New York City and plan to re-launch our service in the near future.”

Related Business Design Stories:
   Allen Kim,
BSE ’12
   Vimal Bhalodia,
MBA ’11
   2001 Report Home