After taking first place in this spring’s E3 (Emerson Experience in Entrepreneurship) Expo, Lea LeBlanc ’17 and her venture, Wunder, a reusable incontinence garment for active women, was accepted to the MassChallenge incubator—one of just 128 start-ups selected from roughly 1,500 worldwide applications.
Emerson College Today asked LeBlanc, who just graduated from Emerson with a degree in Communication Studies, about her Wunder-ful future.
ECT: What does being accepted to MassChallenge mean to you and to Wunder?
LL: It's an incredible opportunity to grow Wunder among other high-impact start-ups in an environment designed to help us succeed. As a founder, I look forward to being a part of the MassChallenge community and continuing the learning process I started at Emerson in the E3 program.
ECT: How did the E3 program help take you to this level?
LL: During my time in E3, I developed the concept of Wunder and its business plan in a collaborative and supportive environment led by professor Lu Ann Reeb. I was connected to various professionals in both the healthcare and start-up industries and learned how to effectively pitch, which was an integral part of the MassChallenge application process.
For any student from any major with interest in starting their own business, I cannot recommend the program enough.
ECT: How does a 20-something get to thinking about incontinence garments?
LL: Over the years, my grandmother has increasingly experienced incontinence. When I visited home in California for winter break, I really saw how much it disrupted her day-to-day life. And if you knew my grandma—she's the liveliest 93-year-old person I've ever met—you can imagine how disappointing it was to learn that her best options are disposable products that are unreliable, unflattering, and unsustainable for the environment. That's when I knew I had to do something.
ECT: What's been the reaction from your family?
LL: In addition to my grandma, several other relatives, family friends, and caregivers have expressed a need for Wunder, so we all share this happiness and strong hope that with the help of MassChallenge, Wunder will help make the burden of incontinence a thing of the past.
ECT: What's the immediate next step for Wunder, and what's the long-term goal?
LL: I am on track to complete our prototype this summer and begin testing. The long-term goal is to continue building our team and launch sales both online and eventually in retail stores.