Ian Folau

Ian Folau

Cornell Tech MBA '16

Age: 33
Hometown: Germany; Puyallup, Washington; Seoul, Korea
Education: Bachelor of Science in Systems Engineering, United States Military Academy (West Point)
Master of Arts in German Studies, Middlebury College
Prior Employment: United States Army

Why I chose Johnson

I chose Johnson because I want to be challenged as an entrepreneur. Johnson has an expansive network which can support me in my transition into a new venture. The Johnson Cornell Tech program was attractive to me because it is groundbreaking. Bringing together MBA and STEM students is an awesome concept and I’m sure it will lead to amazing ventures.


February 15 2016

Startup Consulting Boot Camp in Israel


Three months ago, my team was assigned two Israeli companies to serve as consultants as part of the Global Trek course taught by Professor Roni Michaely. The first, a relatively new Startup called Voiceitt, built an app to help individuals with speech disabilities. For individuals whose speech isn’t discernable to most, the app translates their sounds into more intelligible speech using a synthesized voice.

Our two weeks in Israel is now a blur. In addition to presenting final recommendations to startup companies we consulted with last semester, my fellow Cornell Tech MBAs and I immersed ourselves in the Israeli tech industry, culture, and of course, food. We toured Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and the Dead Sea, participated in a hackathon with a design school, and met with venture capitalists and CEOs.

Our second startup, Comigo, sells set-top boxes (that thing you point your remote at) to television providers allowing their customers to do more than simply select channels. It gives viewers a richer experience through social media integration, shopping, and details about sporting events such as starting lineups and play-by-play reports.

In the two months preceding our trip, the team met with each company on a weekly basis via video chat. We determined which strategic decisions the companies were considering, started research, and scheduled interviews with customers and other industry companies.

Once in Israel, venture capitalists, banks, and startup incubators graciously donated space for our final presentations. In addition to the startup leadership teams, each group of MBAs presented in front of a panel of five to six investors and experts as well as our MBA and Computer Science classmates.

While working for Voiceitt, we analyzed multiple business models for implementation. Voiceitt wanted to reach as many potential consumers as fast as possible, which was taken into account in our recommendation.

Our strategy focused on dissecting the pros and cons of two main business models: selling the product as an app in the Apple AppStore versus selling it as a medical device reimbursable by insurance. The process of qualifying for medical device reimbursement is arduous and limiting, so we recommended selling to the public via Voiceitt in the AppStore. We also explored building a proprietary hardware device to accompany the app for better quality. A breakdown of costs and technology were provided.

When making recommendations for Comigo, we summarized the current status of dynamically inserting television commercials in Europe, as this functionality is something Comigo intends to provide. Although dynamic ad insertion is not available on live television in Europe yet, we wanted to find television operators to target in the future. To do this, we found channels that are streaming online and utilizing “dynamic ad insertion” and researched operators that stream these channels. Our recommendation included three progressive operators for Comigo to target in three European countries.

Even though the daily workload of presenting approximately 30 sessions in 10 days was intense, it was offset by amazing food, drinks, cultural sightseeing, entertainment, and good old MBA fun. Click here for a video recap courtesy of Google Photos or click here for photos.


Ian Folau @ianfolau 8 Aug
Already benefiting a bunch by joining with @MorganStanley as part of their mcil2017 class, accelerating @GitLinks.… https://t.co/6USpPJt4UX
Bill Marino @billymarino 12 Jul
Little @cornell_tech '16 reunion here at the @roughdraftvc founder dinner🤘🏻 @GitLinks @uruvideo @badboyboycehttps://t.co/NNwQIM1uVQ
Taylor Justice @TayJustice 22 Jun
Visit @BunkerLabsNY tonight 6-8pm for BunkerBrews w/ @ChadArroyo @ianfolau & I, talking Veteran Entreprenuership https://t.co/8yLPY5Eoix
CybersecurityFactory @cybersecfactory 13 Jun
Announcing our 2017 summer cohort! https://t.co/EVQQ4E33xX @GitLinks @HuntressLabs @NeuroMeshIoT @CWCrypto CC: @HighlandCapital infosec
Ian Folau @ianfolau 8 Jun
I've been asked to be a part of a panel of veteran entrepreneurs in NYC. Come out if you're free. https://t.co/xCAbAjSDfU
Ian Folau @ianfolau 6 Jun
Was quoted in this @CrainsNewYork article about @gitlinks dedication to supporting companies in NYC. https://t.co/9ZT9xrQTo6
Ian Folau @ianfolau 19 May
It was an awesome cruise with the @humbleventures team and 100 interested mentors and investors. Cruising the Potom… https://t.co/x8FwDRikil
Karen McCord @kcmccord 18 May
.@GitLinks loved your pitch today! growhumble https://t.co/0Oer1YG7pu
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