On Saturday, November 22, a team of Master of Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology (MBET) students took the stage at Communitech to pitch in the Manulife Smart Tech Challenge, a competition in which Ontario post-secondary students were challenged to use technology to improve the financial services industry. The MBET team's entry, 'Moola', won second place overall.
Combining gaming and finance
Moola is a game platform that engages users through financial literacy by combining financial principles (e.g. budgeting and wealth management) with financial products (e.g. mutual funds and GICs). The platform allows users to measure and visualize the consequences of their financial decisions.
The team's goal is not only to help users build financial skills, but also to provide a useful tool for people to receive information they can't find on banking and insurance company websites. What set Moola apart from other gaming platforms in the competition was its capacity to accomodate multiplayer games and the ability to compare actual financial products.
Moola is made up of three team members: Mobina Basiri, Pablo Carbajal, and Vignesh Saravana. Each member brings a unique set of skills to Moola; this helped the team excel in the competition.
Vignesh has many years of experience coding software and developing games, I brought in my marketing and business development expertise, and Pablo was able to leverage his connections in the financial industry to get advice on our approach and strategy. - Mobina Basiri
Moola was chosen as a top five finalist after two qualification stages. In the first stage, the public voted on the 40 video entries – narrowing the contestants down to 15 groups. In the second stage, teams submitted a lean canvas model of their business idea, competition judges reviewed the business models and selected the top five finalists.
After almost two months of preparation with the help and guidance of Conrad faculty and staff, and pitch coaching from Dev Thakkar, founder of FunRaisers, the team felt prepared when they took the stage to pitch Moola's market validation and prototype. The Moola team finished in second place and gained valuable experience and contacts from the competition.
In addition to making new connections, like meeting the CEO and President of Manulife Canada, we also enjoyed collaborating with each other outside of the MBET program. We learned a lot by having to set our own rules and goals, and to do so in an unstructured environment. Pitching in front of such a large audience was really valuable as well; we feel that our pitching skills have been enhanced and that we’re better prepared for future competitions that we plan on entering! - Mobina Basiri
The team plans to revisit their options for pursuing Moola at the end of the school term.