Welcome to MBA 11s at Work, a periodic series on the career launches of the Berkeley MBA class of 2011. This post focuses on Brooks Kincaid, whose Imprint Energy venture emerged from a Cleantech to Market project and won both the People’s Choice Award and first place in the Energy and Cleantech track of Bplan, the 2011 UC Berkeley Startup Competition.
Working as: Co-founder, president, and head of business for Imprint Energy, which is commercializing a breakthrough low cost, flexible, rechargeable battery technology. The venture has financial backing from a leading US-based chemicals company and has received several research grants.
Thrilled to be an entrepreneur because: “I wanted to play an instrumental role in building something. I’m a curious guy, and I like being exposed to various aspects of business and technology—that’s life as a Silicon Valley startup founder.”
Work inside a seed-stage startup: Kincaid’s “to-do” list is long. He’s most excited right now to be working on product-market fit and market entry strategy.
Networked: Kincaid has tapped the Haas Alumni Network for advice and guidance, as well as connections. “It’s been great to be able to call or email an alum and get quick, friendly, and helpful answers to questions.” He also attends regular meetings with the Haas Founders Group. “I’m less than a year out of the MBA program and am already doing business with a fellow alum at a larger company–you can never underestimate the value of strategic connections!”
Living the entrepreneurial life: “You have to be comfortable learning and doing things on the fly. You have to be ready to fight above your weight constantly. If you choose to become an entrepreneur, warn your friends, family, spouse, etc. that you’re going to be a lot harder to get a hold of.”
Prep school: “I got out of the building to meet as many people in the startup ecosystem as I could— Haas’s own Steve Blank included.” Kincaid also “got out of the Haas bubble” to meet engineers from Berkeley’s top graduate engineering programs, who were developing “the cool new technologies I wanted to work on.”
From the classroom to reality: “I took the Negotiations course and remember learning, ‘You never get what you don’t ask for.’ I am constantly surprised by what people are willing to do if you just ask.”