The Hult Founders Lab (HFL) is Hult’s own in-house startup incubator. At the HFL we help students with an idea – big or small – to realize its full potential. Members of the HFL get access to a wide variety of resources such as mentors, subject matter experts, external speaker events, and tailored advise from industry executives and the board. We also provide two weekly workshops that teach members how to evolve their ideas into a viable product or service for the market. All of this also contributes to them fully actualizing themselves within the program. Students can join the Hult Founders Lab when they have 15 credits, and can even do the Hult Founders Lab as their capstone when they have 90 credits.
With all of the aforementioned, naturally, when a member of the Hult Founders Lab succeeds, we celebrate their success, as a team. Recently, one of the founders in the Hult Founders Lab, Cara Regier, competed at the Vertex Summit, in November. Cara placed in the top three!
We have interviewed her:
Lars: So, Cara, you’re part of the Hult Founders Lab incubator program this fall  with your startup Kazye. How did you come up with your idea?
Cara: It started with realizing how many of our day-to-day items are actually made out of plastic and a conversation with a friend. He told me “yes, recycling is a step closer to phasing out but Seychelles (my home country) doesn’t actually have a recycling facility”. It made me think about how I can help an island state dependent on the ocean to rid their increase in plastic pollution. Why not help them and other countries to enter the circular economy to sustain their phasing out of single-use plastics and encourage projects to create awareness about the impact of plastic pollution and microplastic?
L: What challenges have you faced so far, and how have you adapted to them?
C: Initially I wanted to 3D print recycled items but it turned out to be a logistical nightmare and in return wouldn’t have the positive impact on the local economy I would want to have. Talking to mentors, friends, family and investors has helped narrow down what can have the biggest impact while keeping profits.
L: What was your greatest benefit from the HFL program so far?
C: Feedback and support. Critical feedback to be specific. So-called “roasting” sessions as they like to call it really highlight where the problems in your idea lay that you haven’t considered yet. But it is also an ecosystem of support and shared knowledge which has helped me gain confidence in my idea and learn about new ways to improve it.
L: You have also been part of the Vertex competition, and pitched very successfully at the Vertex Summit. How was the Vertex program, and what was the best thing about it?
C: The Vertex was a great professional networking opportunity, especially for investors and startups. I have made amazing connections that I am still in contact with that help me develop my idea. The Pitch Competition with judges for the startups was great. It was my first pitch but I was confident enough to go through with it as you were still within your “safe” ecosystem of fellow startups you’ve worked alongside with. It helps to take that first step out of your comfort zone to present the idea you’re so passionate about in front of an audience which is there to criticize you.
L: What did you think of the Vertex Summit?”
C: Overall it was a great experience. It was sad that not many students/attendees showed up which caused some talks to become delayed and overlap to get the biggest audience possible. It slightly took away the excitement of the event. However, the pitches were still well visited and I think personally every speaker who came in was an excellent choice and brought amazing advice to the event that should not be missed.
L: How did it feel to place 3rd for best competition pitch and be granted a place in a renowned accelerator, and how do you think it will help your idea?
C: People came to me after the award ceremony trying to comfort me I made “only” third place. I told them I could not be more happy and proud of myself as I did not expect anything at all. I am very grateful and happy I took this scary step. Finding out I would get into the accelerator was just the icing on top. I am confident this is the beginning of an amazing journey where I can find team members, partnerships and mentorship.
All of us here at the Hult Founders Lab congratulate Cara and her business with this milestone. Good job!