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Entrepreneurship Essentials (E2): Building Your Beta 101

Join the Polsky Center and EIR Mia Duchnowski and CJ Pryzbyl, co-founder of Snapsheet, for a workshop that provides an introduction on building out your beta. This workshop will be relevant to entrepreneurs across a variety of industries, as Mia will bring her expertise in building a beta in products, while CJ will bring his experience building a beta in the SaaS space.

In this workshop, you can expect to better understand the critical elements of a beta product or service and how to approach building one out.

About the Facilitators

CJ Pryzbyl

CJ is an entrepreneur and business leader with experience in all company stages, from founding/early startups to late-stage growth companies and steady-state corporations. He co-founded Snapsheet after leading the pivot of BodyShopBids from a consumer brand into a B2B innovator at the forefront of the Insurtech revolution, raising over $100M and scaling the business to over 400 employees with over 100 insurance customers. He conceived the Snapsheet app, the first photo-based mobile app for claims, an innovation that has become industry standard.

CJ then led the stealth development and launch of Snapsheet Cloud, a SaaS platform which enables fully automated claims from FNOL to digital payment, in partnership with multiple corporates, including Zurich Insurance, Key Bank, and JPMorgan Chase. CJ architected and led Snapsheet’s expansion beyond the US, into Canada and multiple countries in Europe.

CJ is an avid angel investor and advisor, focusing on unique GTM methodologies, corporate strategic partnerships, business development and fundraising advice. He is passionate about using technology to enable more automation for humans. In addition to his day-to-day activities at Snapsheet, CJ is an adjunct professor of entrepreneurship at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, an advisor at the Creative Destruction Lab in Wisconsin and Duality (the nations first quantum startup accelerator), an advisor to the OCA Ventures EDGE fund, and he currently serves on the board of directors of the department of physics and optical engineering at Rose-Hulman.

CJ holds a bachelor’s degree in optical engineering from the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology and holds an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

Mia Duchnowski

Mia Saini Duchnowski is a journalist, engineer, investor, and a successful entrepreneur who sold her first VC-backed company, Oars + Alps, to SC Johnson. Currently, she serves as the cofounder and Board Member of Oars + Alps, a digitally native skin care brand for people who lead an active, on-the-go lifestyle. The products are made with naturally-derived, premium ingredients and are sold on Target and Amazon to name a few. The company launched in 2015 after Mia quit her high-profile job as a TV reporter/anchor with Bloomberg TV, one of the largest financial TV networks in the world.

Mia spent over three years with Bloomberg TV in Hong Kong and in New York City where she was responsible for global economic, political and business coverage. She was the first person at the network to interview the chairman of Microsoft, John Thompson, after he became chairman. She’s interviewed hundreds of CEOs and heads of states including the former CEO of Burberry, Angela Ahrendts, and Virgin founder, Sir Richard Branson. She’s routinely covered breaking news stories, such as the disappearance of MH 370, Nelson Mandela’s death, and Steve Job’s passing.

Prior to joining Bloomberg in June 2011, Mia served as an anchor and reporter for Forbes TV. She reported from the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland as well as interviewed prominent business leaders including Warren Buffett, former FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair, Blackstone co-founder Pete Peterson, former Bear Stearns CEO Ace Greenberg, SAP CEO Bill McDermott and more. Earlier in her career, Mia was a financial analyst at Goldman Sachs, working in hedge fund sales and marketing. There, she helped establish strategic relationships with hedge funds representing over $1.2 billion in portfolio value.

Mia earned an MBA from the Harvard Business School. She earned a double major from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in neuroscience and media studies, and a double minor in civil engineering and management science. While at MIT, she interned at NASA Ames Research Center doing artificial intelligence research. She was featured in Glamour Magazine as one of their Top Ten College Women in 2004.

Mia was named as one of Crain’s Magazine 40 Under 40 in 2020 and was the emcee for the 2020 TedX Wrigleyville event. Currently, she sits on the Board of the Chicago Lincoln Park Zoo. Mia actively interviews high school seniors looking to study STEM subjects at MIT. She is also active in the Chicago startup ecosystem and enjoys mentoring students. She loves cycling and watching film noir movies and lives in Chicago with her husband and their five kids: Tabytha, Thiesson, Kempson, Aubrienna and Sienna.

For more information contact Kate Turvy at kate.turvy@chicagobooth.edu.

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