25 Mar 2021

Get to Know Muse, an Alumni Track New Venture Competition Team


With the New Venture Competition (NVC) finale right around the corner (be sure to RSVP and tune in March 30 at 6:00 pm), learn more about team Muse, a company offering flexible funding and cash management tools for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs).

Alumni team member: Ann Marie Juliano (MBA 2013)

What inspired you to start your company?

After 17 years in banking I started my own company in 2014. While the company was successful, I realized that I spent many nights and weekends managing cashflow. I thought it was outrageous, especially given my finance background. Upon further research, I found out that one of the major causes of small business failure is the payment gap between services provided and invoices paid. This gap, nearing $16 trillion globally, inspired me to create Muse Finance—we help SMEs take control of their cashflow management.

How has HBS helped with your entrepreneurial journey? Are there any HBS resources you have been using?

The HBS team has been extremely supportive since the application process. Bain Consulting gave us advice on our pitch and we had a mentoring session with an adviser from the Rock Center.

How have you been preparing for the competition?

We have been practicing our pitch with mentors and advisors. We have used all of the resources available to us via the NVC program as well as our own support network.

We also took the feedback we received from the judges during the European finals and have made improvements to how we tell our story.

What part of the NVC journey has been the most helpful for your team?

Participating in the competition expanded our network tremendously. The preparation and participation spiked interest about Muse and opened several doors for us.

How did you go about creating your competition pitch? Do you have any advice for someone looking to create a pitch?

The pitch has to show your passion and knowledge about the subject, and more importantly a problem in the market that is begging to be solved.

There is a limited amount of time for each company’s presentation. It’s important to be very time efficient. Unfold your story and be creative about it, but also make sure you provide the information that is required for your audience to gain adequate knowledge about your company. Adjust your pitch for your audience. Identify up front what you are trying to achieve with your pitch. This will save time later.

What advice do you have for inspiring entrepreneurs?

Follow your dream and instinct, and make sure you do a lot of research up front. Never underestimate the power of the network. In many cases, early mentors and advisers are what makes the company succeed or fail.

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