Our Stories

Launching Another Venture

Emerging entrepreneur emerges with array of skills for success

Neil Granberry
Co-Founder, CEO, Venturous

Vanderbilt MBA 2023

An aspiring entrepreneur, Neil Granberry left his job as an engineer in the automotive industry and bought a small company called Cottage Software. At the same time, he decided to pursue an MBA. “I wanted a change and to take some risks, but I knew I needed to build a business education foundation and a network before I could really be effective,” he says.

In the summer before he began the MBA program at Vanderbilt, Neil and his partner successfully launched a new product, gained users, and earned revenue. He continued in his role with the company during the first year of his MBA studies. He describes it as “the hardest ten months of my life.”

While the venture “didn’t pay off in the traditional sense,” he says, “I learned so much, and it set me on my current path. The experience opened a lot of opportunities for me, which was sort of the theme of my two years at Vanderbilt.”

Exiting the company after his first year in the program, Neil remained focused on building his skills as a budding entrepreneur. He particularly credits Professor Michael Burcham’s Launching the Venture course with equipping him for the next phase of his career. “It’s basically an eight-week ideation bootcamp that gets you from concept to pre-seed pitch,” Neil says. “From that course, I learned how to put myself in the investors’ shoes to see what great looks like for them and to fully understand the level of preparation required to be viewed as an investable founding team.”

For a student like Neil, a small program in a large city was ideally suited for his needs. “As someone from a small town,” he says, “I knew I perform better in a 15- to 20-person class than in a 40- to 50-person class. All the entrepreneurship-emphasis courses had this smaller class size, and I think that was a benefit to my education. In addition, I did my undergraduate work in a ‘college town’ where students nearly outnumber residents. I knew that would limit my opportunity to network. Nashville is booming and has new opportunities coming in every week. So, Vanderbilt allowed me to get embedded in Nashville, which will be my home.” (Shortly before graduation, Neil and his fiancée married and bought a house in East Nashville.)

Along with the new home, Neil has also launched a new venture named (appropriately enough) Venturous, which connects entrepreneurially minded students with startups and venture capitalists in the technology and information fields.

Fun Fact: Neil walked a mile to class every day at Vanderbilt. “The weather is so mild here, it’s only uncomfortable a few weeks per year,” he says.

“I learned how to put myself in the investors’ shoes to see what great looks like for them.”