After roommates Richard Yau ’10 and Joe Laurendi ’10, MEng ’11 earned their undergraduate degrees, they headed separate ways. Yau helped NutraClick, a vitamin and beauty products firm, grow to $65M in revenue during his time as director of business development. Joe Laurendi stayed for a master’s degree and prototyped a web-based securities trading platform at Broadway Technology and, after MIT, joined a early-stage social networking startup.
Then last year, they came back together and co-founded a firm that grew out of their MIT experience.
“We knew we wanted to start a business together, as we have very complementary skill sets,” says Yau, the company CEO with MIT degrees in both management and music and arts. “We entered 6.470 [Independent Activities Period Programming Competition] together and the100K business plan competition. Our friendship was solidified when I forced him to come to my acapella events — which he enjoyed thoroughly.” Laurendi, company CTO, earned his degrees in mathematics and computer science and engineering.
Their startup, Bright Cellars, is an online wine club that uses a questionnaire and customer feedback to recommend wines, which can be shipped monthly to customers. In May, Bright Cellars graduated from the gener8tor program and relocated to Milwaukee, after the company received early backing from venture fund CSA Partners. Read More