Michigan Ross MBA Alum’s Startup Named as One of 2021’s Most Disruptive MBA Startups by Poets&Quants
Now in its third year, the list honors MBA-founded companies with the potential to beat the 90% failure startup rate. To compile this year’s list, Poets&Quants reached out to 44 top full-time MBA programs for entries, with 31 schools represented.
About Lo’s Just Enough Wines
Lo told P&Q the inspiration to start Just Enough Wines came after she, and co-founder Jessica Hershfield, witnessed the transition of spirits like seltzer to cans. Lo decided the same concept could also apply to premium wines.
“We grew up in California, where wine has always been a big part of our lives. Over the past several years, we’ve seen a lot of alcohol companies transition to cans (seltzers, cocktails, etc.) for many reasons such as being more portable, convenient, and sustainable,” she explained to P&Q. “ However, we failed to find a canned wine that held up to the quality of wine we wanted to drink, so we set out to create a premium canned wine that actually tastes good.”
Just Enough Wines works with experienced winemakers and vineyard operators in California to craft its lineup of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Brut Bubbles, and Rosé. The company sells its premium canned wine in more than 100 retail locations in California and offers direct-to-consumer shipping in a number of states, including Florida, Texas, Michigan, Arizona, and Oregon.
“Within one year of our initial launch, we sold out of our first vintages of the Chardonnay and Pinot Noir and are now on our second vintage of each,” Lo told P&Q.
The environmentally friendly company focuses on sustainable measures for sourcing its wines as well as its labeling and final products packaging. In addition, Just Enough Wines partners with 1% For the Planet and donates 1% of its revenue to environmentally friendly nonprofit organizations.
Using Ross’ entrepreneurial resources to maximize her MBA
During her time at Michigan Ross, Lo used many of the entrepreneurship resources available to MBA students. She was awarded the Dean’s Fellow full-tuition scholarship and named to the Zell Entrepreneurs 2020 cohort through the Zell Lurie Institute. Through its extensive entrepreneurial programming, ZLI leads in development of the next generation of serial entrepreneurs and venture investors, a practice that helped Lo continue to build and shape her company.
“From hands-on courses such as the Financing Research Commercialization class to the sessions offered through Dare to Dream, there were plenty of resources available to help me with different facets of the business,” said Lo. “The Zell Lurie Institute also provided access to the law clinic, a design team, and a network of other entrepreneurs.”
In 2021, the Zell Founders Fund, a $10 million seed fund created to support extraordinary entrepreneurs who are either graduating or have recently graduated from U-M, contributed $100,000 to Just Enough Wines to help expand its production, gain greater awareness through enhanced marketing efforts, and retain a talented team.