25 Mar 2021

Get to Know TagHive Inc., 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 TagHive Inc., an at home learning app that helps students improve and empowers teachers to teach better.

Alumni team member: Pankaj Agarwal (MBA 2012)

What inspired you to start your company?

The Internet of Things gained traction as my education and career progressed and it gave birth to many domains that were rife with growth potential. For me, education is the domain to be in since there are so many complex challenges and so few solutions.

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

The seed to my entrepreneurial journey was laid when I started the MBA program, over the course of which I learned the importance of asking the right questions. This in turn helped me refine my critical thinking skills. Harvard Business School also presented me with the opportunity to learn about different management moguls, their processes, and their global impact. I gained procedural knowledge and critical thinking skills from HBS that I have incorporated into my entrepreneurial journey.

HBS also gave me the most valuable resource—the alumni network. Having a network of like-minded individuals to connect with, to share ideas with, and to learn from is invaluable. Aside from that, I hold my notes and summaries from HBS dearly as they supply me information whenever I am faced with challenges at work.

How have you been preparing for the competition?

The preparation has been more mental than procedural. I had been thinking of participating in the New Venture Competition for the last three years, and every year I found myself hitting the same roadblocks during the application process. This year, my company and my work reflected the balance of success, growth, and challenges to make me feel ready for this competition. With my company growing steadily and some years of management experience, I found myself in a better position to answer the more challenging questions in the application.

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

Our entry into the semi-finals of this competition has created a great atmosphere of winning energy for the team. The process has been invigorating not just for me, but for every contributing member of the organization. Each round of the competition had judges asking very tough questions, participating companies sharing insights, and moments where one’s critical thinking skills were pushed to the limit. I reflected on these aspects and took them back to my team only to learn more from their own process. It has been an exercise in supercharging my team’s already existing enthusiasm and creativity.

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

To me, our story had to be told neatly without any deviations and in the most straightforward manner. Keeping our pitch simple meant that we were narrating a bold story in not many words. That is the power of storytelling.

My advice is to eliminate a lot of content during the creation process. Every individual is enthusiastic about sharing all of their work victories, which is fine, but causes white noise to seep into the pitch. Stringing all of this together will not only make the pitch unnecessarily long but also difficult for the audience to connect with. While you may be tempted to talk about all your achievements, remember to keep it clean.

What advice do you have for inspiring entrepreneurs?

Entrepreneurs are blessed with an additional nerve in their system that makes them challenge the status quo. This is the very nerve that sets them apart from their counterparts, and is what I believe keeps them inspired. The inspiration is within. Beyond that, the entrepreneurial process is a creative process rife with challenge and chaos. Accepting the dynamics of the working environment is sure to strengthen confidence in your abilities, which I believe is enough to sail you through the tougher waters.

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