Arushi Jain MBA’22 seeks to eliminate traffic congestion through entrepreneurship.
Slow-moving traffic is an “interconnected problem” that increases carbon emissions and lowers worker productivity because “people are stuck on roads for hours and are witnessing significant deterioration in health,” said Jain, an international student from India.
“We want to solve this issue right now,” Jain said, emphasizing immediate action rather than pursuing a futuristic solution that takes years to develop. Her team’s idea is to collect and analyze real time data through Internet of Things (IoT) sensors to efficiently direct traffic flow. The system would create a network of communication between traffic signals, thus allocating more time to the busiest lanes and adjusting the signal cycle.
“We expect the system to eventually predict traffic data on its own,” Jain said.
Creating smart, sustainable traffic signals for congested cities such as Boston is not just an idea for Jain, it is a venture that she will present at Rocket Pitch this week.
“I’m pretty nervous about doing it in person,” said Jain, who has prior experience of pitching at last year’s all-virtual Rocket Pitch, “but I’m also very excited, and I feel like I would value this experience a lot more now, because I’ve seen the pandemic.”
Signature Babson Event
Sponsored by The Arthur M. Blank Center for Entrepreneurship, the 22nd annual Rocket Pitch takes place Thursday, November 11, and provides students and alumni with the opportunity to pitch their entrepreneurial endeavors to a large audience of students, alumni, faculty, parents, entrepreneurs, and investors.
Held during Babson’s Global Entrepreneurial Leadership Week, Rocket Pitch is a signature event in which presenters must pitch their idea in just three minutes using only three PowerPoint slides.
“The reason I came to Babson is because I want to be an entrepreneur, and I had to participate in the Rocket Pitch to really get that experience.”
Arushi Jain MBA’22
“The reason I came to Babson is because I want to be an entrepreneur, and I had to participate in the Rocket Pitch to really get that experience,” Jain said. “Even generally, learning how to pitch is important, whether it’s yourself or a business that you’re working on.”
During the fall 2020 semester amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Jain participated in her first Rocket Pitch, where she presented the endeavors of her Learning Wheels LLP startup.
Learning Wheels is an ecosystem providing programs on holistic development of young adults through experiential, project-based learning. Jain said pitching that venture at Rocket Pitch last year “was a little more complicated” than her upcoming pitch for smart traffic signals, “because I was concept selling,” she said. “It’s like selling a program, something people haven’t heard of, and explaining the outcomes of it is usually the challenge.”
Now, she plans to pitch a “standard idea” about a solution to “help improve lives and help improve the environment,” she said.
Green Light Signals
Seeking to eliminate traffic congestion, Jain is developing the Green Light Signals solution in the Babson College Agile Experimentation graduate course with her teammates Simrann Babani MBA’22, Michael Gilleran MBA’22, and Rohan Aggarwal MSBA’22.
The AgileEx course teaches students how to participate in the development of innovative technological solutions that integrate hardware and software components. The course involves designing and building wearable devices with sensors and actuators, and students also present their work in a final pitch.
Standing before a large audience and briefly pitching, Jain said, forces entrepreneurs to “think more in detail” about their venture. “We often don’t reflect unless we are given a deadline,” she said.
The process of preparing for Rocket Pitch and pitching a venture in three short minutes “gives me depth, structure, and new perspectives,” Jain said. “It gives a lot of clarity.”
Jain views Rocket Pitch as a grand opportunity to present a venture, make connections, and get live feedback, saying her pitching experience from 2020 helped her expand Learning Wheels’ marketing and sales capabilities.
The annual event is not a competition but rather “a process for a holistic dialogue,” Jain said of Rocket Pitch.
Entrepreneurship and Sustainability
Making traffic signals “more adaptable” based upon real-time traffic conditions can solve congestion, which itself would promote a healthier environment, Jain said.
The Green Light Signals solution, according to Jain, covers three of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals as outlined by the United Nations for addressing global challenges: good health and well-being, sustainable cities and communities, and life on land.
As an international traveler who has visited more than a dozen countries, Jain has seen the impact of traffic congestion around the world.
Already founding a company that promotes experiential education, “Now what I want to do is find an intersection between education and sustainability from a service point of view,” Jain said. “I really want to create a sustainable mindset so people start thinking about their consumption patterns.”
Daily lifestyle activities such as “how much water you are using by taking a shower” is one area that people should reflect upon, Jain said.
Through The Lewis Institute for Social Innovation’s Inventureship program last year, Jain produced a podcast series called “Scaling Impact,” where she interviewed several leaders of social innovation about their large-hearted causes.
“She’s an unbelievable change maker,” Emily Weiner, associate director of The Lewis Institute, said of Jain. “What’s been interesting to watch from where she started is how she is really using her MBA mindset.”
Jain is one of the many Babson students to receive entrepreneurial guidance from Weiner, an entrepreneur who helped co-found The Lewis Institute in 2010.
“People who gravitate toward The Lewis Institute either have some sort of broader social impact experience behind them or a desire to integrate that more into their entrepreneurial activities,” Weiner said. “Entrepreneurs are addressing an unmet need. That’s what they do. Entrepreneurs at the end of the day just approach and solve problems differently.”
As Jain prepares to present at Rocket Pitch for the second time in as many years, other members of the Babson community will similarly showcase socially minded entrepreneurial endeavors at this year’s signature event.
“All your decisions,” Jain said with emphasis, “all your decisions where you’re spending your money, time, and your energy are all connected to people around you and the planet.”