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Entrepreneur Profiles–Matthew Sueoka

What is the name of your company
Clear Remit (this is a working name.we will likely rebrand in the near future)

What industry/ sector would you classify it in?
We are working in the remittance payments sector.

How long has it been running? How many people are involved?
We are still in the early planning stages. We have not officially incorporated although we hope to do so by the end of the summer. We are hoping to complete our business plan during the semester and enter the business plan competition. Our goal for the summer is to start developing an alpha version of the product. For the winter semester, we have expanded our team from the original 2 to 5 members, each with different areas of expertise. Our team members include: Jonathan Bannet breitling superocean replica, Annie Christian, Jennifer Davies, Nishant Nayyar and Matt Sueoka.

What is the business idea? How will this have an impact on the world?
Since we are in a very early stage, we are not yet sharing our idea publicly. Broadly speaking, we are developing a product to improve transparency in remittance fees and exchange rates. The World Bank has identified increased transparency in remittances has a top priority. By introducing our service, we hope to educate and empower consumers to have greater product choice and an improved understanding of remittance product features and transaction costs.

How did you arrive at this idea/ insight?
The original idea came from a series of brainstorming sessions as well as our personal and professional experiences related to the payments industry and developing countries. Our goal was to identify a pain point within a space, so we started asking questions about where customers were not being served.

What challenges did you face balancing your HBS course load and starting/running your business? How did you manage this?
The majority of our time is spent working on the business plan tag heuer replica for sale . This can be challenging, especially with a heavy course load. We would recommend that anyone hoping to develop a business plan be cognizant of this issue when planning a second year course load. It is also important to choose wisely when selecting other extracurricular activities as they are often the first to go under time constraints.

How did you leverage the resources available to you in HBS for your business?
HBS has been absolutely critical to our ability to develop this business plan. The idea was born out of an HBS class. We then refined the idea during the Silicon Valley Trek over winter break. During the trek we met a series of entrepreneurs and venture capitalists, each of whom had a different and interesting perspective on starting a business as well as feedback on our business idea.

The Baker Library has been a great resource for secondary data. The wealth of information about potential customers, partners, and competitors is astounding.

We are building a strong set of business advisors directly and indirectly tied to the HBS community. Many professors, classmates and their contacts are providing invaluable guidance and feedback.

Finally, the HBS network has proven invaluable in our quest for customer interviews. We have identified potential customers via friends from section, formal clubs and organizations, professors, and the HBS alumni database.

What HBS class/ case/ protagonist/ professor was most helpful in starting/ running your business? How?
Three classes have been particularly useful in the startup process www.replicabestsale.co.uk. The first was Mike Roberts’s class, “Evaluating the Entrepreneurial Opportunity.” His class gave us the forum to brainstorm and come up with the basic business idea.

The second class was “Entrepreneurial Finance” taught by Joe Lassiter and Bill Sahlman. This class introduced us to a lot of basic concepts relating to raising capital, understanding the motivations of others, and modeling a variety of outcomes.

The third class is “Law and the Life Cycle of a Business” taught by Lena Goldberg. This class has made us aware of the legal risks associated with starting a company.

What’s the best part of being an entrepreneur? Worst part?
The best part of being an entrepreneur is the excitement around what could happen. The worst part about being an entrepreneur is managing the practical details like non-disclosure agreements, legal considerations, etc. There are a thousand small things that have to be done and no roadmap on how or when to do them. Plus, as the founder, it is ultimately your responsibility to make sure everything gets done.

What is the most important piece of advice you’ve been given regarding starting a business?
Don’t stay in the ivory tower running models and creating elaborate strategies. Get out there and talk to customers. At the end of the day, it’s all about serving customers.

March 2, 2009
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