Inspired by his mother and sister, Kavun Nuggihalli, CST ’19, wanted to build software that helped beauty companies build better relationships with their customers.
Having participated in several programs and competitions through the Innovation & Entrepreneurship Institute at Temple University, Nuggihalli knew there had to be a solution out there—he just needed the right resources, and the right person, to help him with this new business venture.
Through StartupTree and the IEI’s Startup Studio program, Nuggihalli knew about fellow Temple alumnus Heather Jones, CLA ’14, founder of skincare line Luci Skin. He reached out to her and proposed a business venture combining his background in technology and hers in beauty. This partnership is how Foundera came to be.
Jones and Nuggihalli started Foundera with the intention of making it easier for people to interact with the industry as a whole— allowing the company’s mission to evolve as both the product and its intended audience expands. With feedback from peers, potential customers and trusted mentors, their focus shifted to helping not just underrepresented groups, but beginner makeup lovers as well.
Although Jones and Nuggihalli come with their own unique backgrounds, their biggest challenge became effective communication with their target market and working through the process of developing a plan for the new venture, including sales, marketing and operations. How did they solve the problem of filling in the competency gaps where they, as the founders, were lacking? They turned to the IEI’s network once again and connected with fellow entrepreneurs for their business expertise.
With their own respective ventures, Sun and Star Co and House of Cesare, Caroline O’Keefe, BBA ‘20, and Gabriel Madnick, BBA ‘20, brought skills missing from the Foundera duo. O’Keefe now serves as the social media content strategist, while Madnick lends his skills and background in the beauty tech industry to help with business operations and strategy.
Both founders agree that the biggest reward of Foundera is this incredible community of staff and support from fellow entrepreneurs that they’ve been able to build. Their community helped them navigate major challenges and milestones through simple feedback and collaborative working sessions.
Although their community started small and began with a few like-minded Temple “Owlpreneurs” looking to bridge a gap in the beauty industry for underrepresented consumers, it really has become about so much more.
Jones notes, “The cornerstone of any good business is the story behind the brand. Foundera’s story is about this community we’ve built.”