InstaHub, the winner of the Hult Prize Ivy League competition, creates simple solutions to automate energy savings. The team of Wharton and Engineering students developed an occupancy sensor that snaps directly onto existing light switches, providing instant light automation without the logistical and financial bottlenecks involved in replacing and rewiring conventional light switches.
Instahub, a startup led by Wharton and Engineering students, won the first-ever Hult Prize Ivy competition. Finalists on six teams pitched projects to meet the 2018 Hult Prize challenge:  “build a scalable, sustainable social enterprise that [would harness] the power of energy to transform the lives of 10 million people by 2025.” Read more about the contest.

InstaHub founder Michael Wong, W’19 gives his elevator pitch… in an elevator

What made you want to start InstaHub?

Everyday we waste energy in obvious ways, but our innate desire for convenience often stops us from taking simple steps (e.g. flipping a switch) to conserve energy. We identified a gap in the industry and truly believe that making automation more accessible will not only address the human errors in energy/cost savings, but also gradually promote more resource-conscious behaviors. The potential for positive environmental impact through relatively simple means is part of the core appeal of InstaHub.

Why is InstaHub important?

Energy savings projects or “green” initiatives, such as Penn’s Green Fund, can pose significant operational hurdles and financial barriers at multiple scales of operation. InstaHub’s goal is to provide energy saving tools that are easy to implement.

What entrepreneurship classes have you taken, and how were they useful to you?

Dayo: Engineering Entrepreneurship I (EAS 545) & II (EAS 546). A comprehensive crash course in transitioning a novel idea into a sustainable venture. EAS 545/546 provide hands-on experience for engineers looking to focus on the business side of technology.

Michael: Operations Strategy Practicum (OIDD 680), Product Design (IPD 515), Entrepreneurial Venture Initiation (MGMT 231), Venture Capital & Finance Innovation (FNCE 250). From the courses above, I have built a pattern recognition for common startup missteps and a deeper understanding for strategic business decisions related to scaling operations, identifying unique financing strategies, and understanding how investors evaluate startups. My Penn Global Seminar course offered me the opportunity to visit companies in Tel Aviv, Israel close up, which contributed to an enriching global experience influencing how InstaHub thinks about future growth strategies.

Posted: March 26, 2018

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