Evening & Weekend MBA Startup Makes SXSW Finals

A Berkeley MBA venture aimed at making travel decisions easier and even more appealing has just been named one of eight finalists in the South By Southwest (SXSW) Interactive tournament Student Startup Madness. Traverie, co-founded by Gaurav Agarwal, MBA 13, has also been selected as one of the top travel innovations of 2012 by PhoCus Wright, a travel market research company, and made strong showings in previous competition.

Described by Agarwal as “an interactive magazine that helps you explore travel through friends,” Traverie emerged from an original field of 64 startup teams competing for a finalist slot at SXSW.

Agarwal and co-founders Jimming Cheng, and Tiffany Yang will make their final pitch in Austin, TX on March 11, presenting before a judging panel of investors and entrepreneurs for top honors and technology tools provided by Google.

“SXSW has become a premier destination for digital media innovation and we thought it would be a great platform to represent Berkeley, compete with other top schools, and create awareness for Traverie,” says Agarwal. “We believe our team and focus on helping consumers discover relevant, trusted content amongst the plethora of data available on Facebook were what made us competitive in this nationwide tournament.”

Agarwal has said that classes such as Problem Finding Problem Solving and New Venture Finance, along with the Startup Board of Mentors Program at the Lester Center for Entrepreneurship and the UC Berkeley Startup Competition all greatly contributed to the team’s success. “At Haas I’ve learned how to create a business out of an idea and how to build a strong team, which is the most important asset in a knowledge company.”

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