From The Most Innovative University In America To The Must Have Lunchboxes for You Kids

Rebecca Jarvis reveals what you need to know to plan for your family's back-to-school time on Real Biz 8.26.2014
15:55 | 08/26/14

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Transcript for From The Most Innovative University In America To The Must Have Lunchboxes for You Kids
Hello and welcome to -- -- I'm Rebecca Jarvis here in New York City and here's what's on our radar from bankrupt a business woman how a single mom turned her kids complaining in to a thirteen million dollar company. She's just one of ink magazines 500 fastest growing small businesses in America and -- editor in chief is here to reveal the list and tell us what they all -- -- -- But first a start up whose business model might give Harvard. A run for its new student talent want to get right to it there is no mistaking it America is in the midst of a major education crisis. College costs are skyrocketing. A year -- instate tuition averages 23000. Dollars. Meantime graduates are drowning in debt plus many students aren't even getting the education. That they are now over paying for. It is an industry that is ripe for disruption and certain the same guy -- transform the way that we share photos. The former CEO snap fish is at it again and this time he is taking on America's -- And -- is his business plan different than anything else that is out there we want to welcome Ben Nelson he is founder chairman and CEO. Of -- for project it's so nice to have you with us thank you so much from -- -- Your company I have to say fascinates me. And that -- I want to understand what you're really trying to do here because -- so much out there in terms of learning already on the Internet you could take a class on the Internet I can take a class. There's millions of that. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- Do is create the university has should be universities -- the -- over a long period of time. In that evolution. Some vestiges of the past remain something's changed. But they have been built optimal leaf for today's world. So what. What are we getting right in the university structure -- at the end of what are we getting -- so we think that the residential component is important bring students together giving them. The experience to live in the real world. We think that it's actually even better to get them -- of -- campus environment in into the most vibrant cities in the world. So our students for example -- in seven different countries over the four years together in our residence halls it's like a nomadic education. Yeah because you want to learn from the world around you not just what's happening in the classroom but that when you look at the classroom. We're we're doing a lot of things that don't make sense to educate students were disseminating information and big lectures and they're not effective. And so all of our classes or seminars are capped at nineteen students and we don't do. Lectures at all and if you wanna just learned basic information while you can take a free course online or you can read the text book -- -- work or primary source material. But when it comes to the real intellectual development of the students you want to get them together in a small group with a professor that'll guide them through it. So how much what component of this event is occurring on the Internet verses or online vs. What is occurring in an actual physical location that is -- classroom. So we look at the educational system in two methods one is the curriculum that area that where we have to develop intellectual development of the student. Piece by piece and that we do in these online seminars nineteen students maxim with the professor -- it's all lives. And the reason we do an on line is because -- want to connect one class to the other so for students struggling with the concept and one subject. A professor can take -- same concept applied to a different subject. And hope to enlighten her right later on we -- that data. Which is why we do the classes online at the same time the co curriculars. Integrate students into the world around and that's completely offline. That actually gets students out and about. Meeting with the most important. Change makers in the particular society where they live looking at the great cultural values really getting to know how the world operate. You are still relatively new. But you are getting some very strong positive reviews. From -- business world from the media world people who are understanding your course work. Where are the majority of your students coming from well. That's actually I think the beauty of of the manner of a model we. We don't discriminate on any basis even the works ordinarily selectively only had a two point 8% acceptance rate which. Lower at Harvard -- -- -- our guys. But we don't wait in favor of one kind of student -- and others say you will not find a lot of -- students at minera for the book overwhelmingly middle class. You're saying there's no quotas there's now until we need -- At -- from Vermont and we need one from New Jersey who plays lacrosse you're not looking at -- that's exactly right with so -- at a very international student body that. Yet 80% international. So when you don't believe it to any particular kind of student wind up getting -- most diverse student body in higher education at. And in terms of cost we were just talking about this -- you're allowing people to come -- as sort of a trial period I'm assuming here the first year is free. Yes and then that bit second third and fourth years -- asking people to pay 101000 dollar. 101000 dollars plus of course the -- room -- board if live and -- Which we can't do much much about but that that -- half of what and we just described what the instate tuition 23000. Dollars -- for most. Average students in America they're going about state school. You're -- charging half of that yeah. And a quarter of what the ideally charges -- the incoming class it'll come next year they just pay that 101000 dollar tuition -- plus room and board. Across all four years so compared to a traditional private. Ivy League university -- -- something like a 140000. Dollars over four years. Because we don't have the four wheels of the campus weaves the city is the campus and -- and because of that we can deliver higher touch education. Which is more connected from class to class at a much lower cost. Big picture and I know this is not had a question you cancer at thirty seconds they're gonna have to different -- big picture what is the single most important objective of -- -- single most import. The objective is to show universities that they can change they way they do education and we succeed. If we actually are followed and copied by other great universities around the world. Which will hopefully mean the cost of education becomes more affordable for more students. And more education will help people get better jobs and and -- more fulfilling lifestyle and the quality will increase at the same time. And Alison and her thank you so much for joining us really is -- they have me. -- parents out there this might sound crazy to you but when your children are -- it is not always a bad thing. For one single mom she heard opportunity when her kids complain about luncheon she transformed her life. Going from bankruptcy to building a multimillion dollar company ballistic healing is the founder and CEO package she's just one of many incredible American -- -- -- They're featured in ink magazines 500 fastest growing small businesses in America and we're gonna get to her million dollar idea in a moment but first. -- -- bring -- an old friend of real -- -- -- urge you as president and -- chief of ink magazine it's nice to have you with thanks for having me back to back and we're thrilled you're here to share of the west with us I want to understand how you even went about choosing these businesses because there's so many of. Well they plot but -- -- and it's all done strictly by the numbers it's all about revenue growth over the past three years if you have really high revenue growth. -- -- -- You're in the list but it's really competitive to be the number 500 company like the bottom of the top 10% of our 5000 that we cover. You had to grow revenues and full. Tenfold tenfold -- the past three that is substantial but in addition to that very fast revenue growth what did you see as commonalities across the board. Well you know I would say that was really amazing was the diversity -- not just in the top five companies we have. Retail companies tech companies real estate companies. The different -- that companies take to get on to the ink 500 -- 5000 is. This company makes you feel good about American entrepreneurship. There are lots of ways to succeed in America and that's really great thing for one of the things that -- -- that real bits of that is some of the companies we've actually had here on our show. Major test for example -- it was one of those who was number one on -- history and -- probably -- best I've been real prescient Sonja part Rebecca at the amazing thing is it's. One of only two companies in the past 33 years all the time we've been doing this list that repeated in the number one -- Its growth was modest 1159000%. Over the past three years thing about -- -- their main product is. Tablet computers and -- And they have kids software on and everything but what their real genius is the way they line expect. So you buy different computers depending on your kids age you buy backpacks when you buy little alphabet so they can personalize. And that kind of really clever thing about the alphabet is that there are 26 characters -- -- that it costs you 29 dollars if you daughter's name is Isabella. That's a ninety dollar purchase to get all -- three -- A really good point and you also made the point this is so important for businesses that wanna -- They create their initial product and then they brand chop off of that product it's the entry to -- the product line. It gets the consumer hooked and then you can sell them on accessories and multiple other things at once they become comfortable with that brand. You can really branch that is wanting the two who -- in spades that's a real business focused company for people who are watching and thinking I wanna be -- that next. Small business that makes your list. Where there any categories where you saw a limited number of entrants are areas that you saw in the lists that are right for new comers. Let -- answer a question a different way. We surveyed the top 500 CEOs. We compared them against the general population. On what is already known among sort of. Executive personality tests as. Those strengths find -- -- of a familiar tasks for evaluating. Executives. When we compared the successful in trial hundred entrepreneurs against ordinary outfitters and against -- general population we -- -- really stood out. In a couple of different categories the first was not surprisingly. Determination. Second willingness to take risk and finally business focus to -- absolutely driven by the numbers. And driven to make things better from quarter to quarter year -- year. Speaking of driven we have someone here with us -- major -- the founder of packet tell us what kite you're right about -- -- -- is an amazing story. Think -- easy -- is how realistic feeling she's right here. What we loved about Melissa -- is that it is it captures kind of entrepreneurship at its best. A mom who was kind of became and entrepreneur out of necessity. Really no business experience to speak -- certainly not as a CEO -- she comes up with a product based out of a real life need in her own family. And has the guts and the smarts to turn it into it to open twelve million dollar business and here she is Melissa I would insulate the company is called -- it you've brought some examples along. So -- we -- this story as your kids are screaming they're not happy about their lunch you say there has to be a better way. -- -- you know after. Over a decade of packing lunches for my kids my three case. And struggling with having tent pole processed foods from the pantry because that's the only thing that would keep -- in a fraction. Average lunch bag. I thought there had to be a better way just started doing research looking online and there really wasn't anything else out there -- mean. We've known -- is to be called coolers for years. And they've never actually -- and -- thing so our concept is. A complete the structure to that category how people think about keeping food cold. It's an integrated solution that gels actually built right into the walls of our bag and youthful but not and you leave them stored in your freezer. Indefinitely they need a good overnight to freeze hard solid -- -- just thrown annually mainly pulling out the walls of the -- are actually completely frozen. And they keep food and drinks cold for up to ten hours and -- attract. If you you consider this right when you were building them. Per share how did you go about because this is not the kind of thing you can wake up and say well okay I think -- just gonna build one of these packet reasonable. Bags for people to keep their lunch and you have to actually go out find scientists you have to Latin find suppliers and how did you go about doing that park. You know I hit the. Internet for a lot of my research started researching and researching different -- of course had to be nontoxic and completely. -- -- -- It was as simple as cutting down my shower curtain in the bathroom laying out across the dining room table. Kind of making making a little map I pinned it altogether -- -- -- to the dry cleaner. And asked her to sat together she said we don't do Nags -- -- and I begged and -- and she didn't stick together the first -- -- -- And then I had -- Chester -- and started you know that's at a great barrier to entry because not only do you get in front of your consumers. But buyers are walking by and you get the chance to happen actually see and feel -- touching experience your product. Which was amazing for us because when you feeling you get that off on them -- you understand how it's so unique and different from any other product on the. Did I see something that determination exactly determination and and I think for so many people a lot of people would say well. I don't know I mean they wouldn't necessarily thinking -- there. They're back they're something they -- -- their bathroom to build the prototype. Is what's your advice to somebody who is looking -- a problem maybe it's something -- children brought up with -- and their thinking there's got to be a better way. What's the number one thing they should be thinking about. I think it's just taking that first stat -- -- It's connecting with great people. And networking and learning how to take that first step if you look at your to do list. -- -- every day when you wake up in the morning. It's bound to paralyze you with -- -- but if you can just slowly start checking things off -- And just keep cutting your next forward. How did you find people in the beginning that you could trust with the manufacturing of this. You know when we first got started their agencies out -- sourcing agencies that do just that they're there they have feet on the ground and in countries that you may want to explore production. And we used to sourcing agency and that's now we've brought -- all in house and we -- that with the team internally. But that's a great way for people who are starting. Stick it to get to get a product -- -- and try to get that first Ryan completed. -- really inspiring story Melissa pack. It is the company you can find it. On -- major retailers target -- bath and beyond the Container Store whole foods some back to school options for everyone out there in -- Herbert as always we appreciate it check out ink. The list is out on shelves now that's right it's great to see -- in you and best wishes -- -- a lot of inspiring stories and that issue. Thank you and thank you for joining us for real -- -- and we want to hear from you what do you think of human -- -- college would you like to see more universities follow suit. Maybe can bring a packet with you to -- if you go to -- Sweet is that real bids with RJ until next time this is Rebecca Jarvis from New York have a great.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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