Prita Kumar grew up with the desire to start a business. From her childhood, she ran experimented with a number of ideas, from lemonade stands to e-commerce.
She moved to New York to pursue an undergraduate education in business. After graduating with an actuarial science major, Prita worked two-year turns in investment banking and private equity, “hoping that I would love that career path because it was filled with extremely intelligent people and highly analytical work.” While she did “work with C-suite executives and saw various initiatives and growth plans,” Prita felt too far removed from operations. “The more I saw people transform businesses, the more I wanted to do that, rather than do analyses.”
The right fit for entrepreneurship
Prita came to HBS with a business idea she wanted to develop: Booya Fitness, “a Hulu for fitness” that offers subscribers professionally crafted workout fitness videos. Why HBS? “It’s the best in the world,” Prita says. “I wanted to gain the confidence and ability to launch my startup. And with 900 students in each class, the network is enormous. Here, I’ve found myself in a supportive environment with great people.”
In addition to taking advantage of entrepreneurial events and meet-ups “from day one,” Prita entered and won a 100-second elevator pitch competition that awarded her $500 in cash, free legal advice, and expert mentorship. “I have an incredibly supportive section – more than fifty of them came out to see me pitch.” She subsequently applied for and achieved a Rock Accelerator Award that introduced her to her mentor, Steve Sydness, a Rock Center Entrepreneur in Residence and the executive chairman of the Endurance Group. “I’m a first-time entrepreneur,” says Prita. “Steve helps me think through problems; he sheds light on the costs and benefits of various alternatives.”
Prita also secured a residency in the Harvard i-lab and has participated in the New Venture Competition, in which she made it to the top ten semi-finals. While Prita, and her HBS colleagues Savannah Sachs and Khaled Jafar, didn’t advance to the next round, Booya Fitness became one of four teams featured in HBS’s YouTube channel series about the competition. Being featured in the videos, Prita says, “has been really helpful in terms of recruiting teammates.”
This summer, Prita is going to the “hottest fitness market in the USA,” New York City, to work full time on Booya. “This is my chance to build something great,” she says. “I’ll work on it until it succeeds or fails.”