Degree: MBA (Entrepreneurship and Innovation Management)
Class Year: 2017
Position and Employer: Founder and CEO, AnneeLondon
Cycling has been a part of Rachel Benyola’s life since she was a girl. When she came to Drexel LeBow for her MBA, she became acutely aware of the dangers of cycling in Philadelphia and noticed many of her fellow Center City cyclists were not wearing helmets. This realization piqued her curiosity and she began asking other cyclists why they chose to ride without safety gear. Their answers - style, convenience, comfort - sparked the idea that would lead Benyola to founding AnneeLondon and designing a better, safer bike helmet that folds flat for easy storage.
Benyola founded AnneeLondon while earning her Drexel LeBow MBA. She did extensive research and regularly sought feedback from her target customers by going to cycling events and tradeshows. The design of the bike helmet was inspired by origami; it folds to about the size of an iPad and is therefore easy to store in a bag.
Armed with her business plan and a prototype, Benyola pitched her idea and won second prize at Drexel Startup Day. The prize, space in Drexel’s Baiada Institute, gave AnneeLondon a more permanent home. She continued to develop the product and eventually found a supplier for raw materials and a manufacturer based in the United States. With a working model of her folding bike helmet in hand, Benyola is seeking further investment and eagerly awaiting government safety certification.