Today we are featuring an interview with Julian Becker, one of our full-time MBA candidates (Class of 2020) and president of the IESE Startup & Entrepreneurship club. Coming from a consulting background, Julian leveraged the IESE MBA to gain entrepreneurial skills and recently founded Be.Green, an innovative indoor plant e-commerce business.
Julian, could you please tell us a bit about the concept of Be.Green?
Of course! Be.Green was born around the idea of sharing my passion for houseplants with other people and making plants not only more accessible to everyone… but also fun. It is an online shop that makes it easy to find the right plant for you and bring it to your door through convenient home delivery. At the same time, we want our customer to think of us as a “green lifestyle partner” and offer a wide range of matching designer pots and accessories to create the right plant style in your home.
We want our customers to find a long-term “companion” in their new plant. For this reason, we only source plants from trusted premium nurseries and provide each delivery with easy-to-follow care instructions to keep the plant healthy.
And how did it all start?
As I came to IESE to gain entrepreneurial experience, I quickly got involved in a variety of startup-related projects and met the people who represent “entrepreneurship” at IESE. Looking for an entrepreneurial opportunity in horticulture, IESE’s dense network helped me to connect with a local flower e-commerce business to discuss business opportunities and develop a partnership.
Excited about the mix of a large European plant market and the clear trend towards shopping online — even for “living things” — we aligned on the idea and vision of Be.Green and set up the shop in only a few months.
Joining the MBA program was key for this opportunity to evolve. To begin with, it was IESE’s easy-to-access network that helped me meet the people to join passion and business for myself. Without having such close contact with the people in the school’s Entrepreneurship and Innovation Center, it certainly would have been more difficult.
Also, the academic experience of my 1st MBA year now helps me on a daily business to make better decisions. As CEO of a small business, I am somehow involved in everything starting from online marketing to product management to people decisions. Here, the generalist approach of the MBA program and the more than 200 cases of the 1st year helped to get experience and perspective. And if a challenge has not been covered yet, close ties to the professors have allowed me to schedule 10+ advice and mentorship meetings already now.
What is the plan for the coming months?
As Be.Green has launched recently and already secured early customers and indications of potential, the focus of the following months will be on increasing our traction and learning as much from our customers as possible to help us continuously improve our offering. Further, I am excited for the 2nd year of the MBA program to start this September and to take courses that are tailored exactly to my business needs such as Digital Commerce and Retail Marketing. With the program’s support, I am excited to take Be.Green and myself to the next level.