Jacob Kehoe, Baylor Angel Network

It’s rewarding to be back on campus
in a position where I can assist and support
entrepreneurially-minded Baylor students.

-Jacob Kehoe

Think about a time when a mistake actually turned out to be a good thing. The time you made a wrong turn, and as GPS recalculated, you stumbled upon the best hidden-jewel, hole-in-the-wall coffee shop. Or the time you missed your shuttle and ended up in a ride-share with your future soulmate. Or that time you unintentionally enrolled in an entrepreneurship class that actually changed your entire career path.

Jacob Kehoe was the high school student who landed in an entrepreneurship class by mistake. Growing up, he wasn’t the kid who came up with the money-making gigs. You didn’t see him around the neighborhood washing cars, mowing lawns or selling lemonade. He was the kid in his parents’ garage trying to build things with scrap metal and his grandpa’s old tools. Entrepreneurship wasn’t even really a blip on his radar. But Jacob stuck it out in the entrepreneurship class he wasn’t supposed to be in. Then something happened. During the class there was clarity. Jacob found inspiration in Steve Jobs and Sam Walton as his career aspirations started to completely change course. Jacob had the spark, that entrepreneurial spark that ultimately turns into a fiery passion. Could this class mistake actually turn out to be a good thing?

No mistakes were made when it was time to decide on higher ed. Baylor University was always the top choice for Jacob. The class sizes were a plus, but what ultimately swayed the pendulum is Baylor’s unabashedly Christian foundation.

While at Baylor, Jacob had no intention to let this new-found entrepreneurial spark fade. He teamed up with management professor Wayne Hampton and co-founded Aerial Intelligence and Reports (AIR). What initially began as a school project, evolved into a real business venture. AIR utilized drones to capture roof images, which were processed through a machine learning program to identify damage, generate cost estimates, construct 3D models of buildings and even produce bills of materials.

Jacob firmly believes that Baylor’s small class sizes and the countless campus opportunities are some of the University’s biggest assets for students. He feels students absolutely need to soak up all the expertise and knowledge from their professors. For Jacob, Professor Hampton and Entrepreneurship Professor Shaun Limbers had impactful influences on his journey. He explains, “I think all students should dig deep into all the resources that Baylor has to offer, both in programming and personnel.” He continues, “I spent countless hours in professors’ office hours picking their brains and absorbing their knowledge.” 

Jacob graduated Baylor with a BBA in Marketing and soon after landed a full-time entrepreneurial gig at Startup Waco. Startup Waco is a hub for the entrepreneurial ecosystem for the Greater Waco community. By creating a culture of entrepreneurship, Startup Waco is a conduit of support for local businesses. 

At Startup Waco, Jacob was responsible for programming initiatives that provide crucial resources, mentorship and networking opportunities to early-stage startups in the Waco community. He also worked to create opportunities for economic growth and creation through  strategic partnerships and initiatives that strategically positioned Waco as a premier destination for businesses seeking to establish or expand operations.

In 2023, Jacob had the opportunity to come back to Baylor as staff with the Baylor Angel Network (BAN). BAN is a unique opportunity that provides students with outside-the-classroom experiences that allow them to engage with businesses, people and capital. With BAN, student analysts are immersed in a deep understanding of startup funding and private company investing. 

As the BAN Associate Director, Jacob is typically the first point of contact for most of the involved entrepreneurs. He oversees BAN operations by encompassing deal sourcing and assessment, investment and communications strategies. In this role he is also actively engaged with the student analysts. He says, “Returning to Baylor and interacting with both entrepreneurs and students has been an incredible experience.” He continues, “It’s rewarding to be back on campus in a position where I can assist and support entrepreneurially-minded Baylor students.”

What started out as a perceived mistake certainly turned out to be a good thing for Jacob. This entrepreneurial gig is a very, very good thing indeed. Sic ‘em, Jacob!

For more information on Baylor Entrepreneurship, please visit our website at baylor.edu/business/entrepreneurship/.

I’ll trade ya…

You have to be able to tell the story of your own passion
so others can buy into that passion.

-Gabriella Cacciotti, Assistant Professor

Very few things are more impressive than a savvy eight year old who recognizes the value of a pudding cup. The kid who boldly walks into the cafeteria with a smooth-talking, I’ll trade ya… and then bargains with all the diplomacy an eight year old can muster and walks away with a packet of Oreos, a bag of Cheetos and a troll head eraser. With nothing more than a pudding cup in hand, an unsuspecting classmate is left confident that said pudding cup is the most valuable thing… ever.

Students enrolled in ENT 3320 Entrepreneurship New Ventures sessions taught by Lee Grumbles and Gabriella Cacciotti were asked to hone in on their inner eight year old self for an experiential learning exercise commonly referred to as The Marble Game. The Marble Game was developed by Professor James D. Hart from Southern Methodist University as a learning exercise that helps students recognize sales strategy, self-branding, the relativity of value and asset acquisition.

Professor Cacciotti explains, “When you start with nothing (or something very small like a marble), it forces you to create value and to leverage your own story.” She continues, “You have to be able to tell the story of your own passion so others can buy into that passion.”

For the assignment, students were given a marble. Admittedly, there was nothing extraordinarily breathtaking about the marble. It was just a basic, run-of-the-mill marble. But that’s the whole point of the activity. The students had one month to master a convincing I’ll trade ya… as they bargained with all the suaveness of an eight year old to trade up from the original marble.

Professor Grumbles shares, “The notion of value is such a subjective thing.” He continues, “In my opinion, there were times students actually traded down, but in their minds they were increasing in value.”

Some of the students showed the cunning prowess of a modern day pudding swapper. There were quite a few notable trades.

  • A trade from marble, can of spray paint, hammer, walking stick, book, computer mouse to the final trade for a slightly used fire extinguisher
  • A trade from marble, bald picture of Joey King, candy, seasonal Waterloo drink, troll doll to the final trade for a live goldfish in a Ziplock baggie filled with water (which Professor Grumbles strongly encouraged be returned to its original owner)
  • A trade from marble, mechanical pencil, pack of gum, party size bag of Doritos, big bag of raisins, an HEB hat to the final trade for a green adirondack chair with a broken arm that the students repaired

Students in each of Grumbles’ classes voted on the best trade up. The winning teams were then given the opportunity to select a local charity as the recipient for all of the final trade items for the respective classes.

  • Kevin Tolotti and Rhett Bradsky 
    marble, sunglasses, a pair of cleats, a working tv without a power cord 
    CHARITY – Hidden Treasures, Caritas Waco
  • Hudson Graber and Cade Hanshaw 
    marble, phone case, perfume, box of string lights, dartboard, a pair of water skis
    CHARITY – Mission Waco

The best trade was not decided by a formal vote in Cacciotti’s classes. However, there were a couple of very clear standouts. Unbeknown to the students at the beginning of the experiment, the most engaged traders received extra credit points. All traded items Professor Cacciotti’s class were donated to the Salvation Army.

  • Zoe Brandenstein and Trey Robison 
    marble, computer mouse, Bauer hockey helmet

The overall Baugh Center Blog honorable mention goes to the trade from marble to a somewhat broken traffic light. No questions asked, but certainly ingenuity at its peak.

All in all, this was a fantastic exercise. Students were able to learn experientially, while having a little fun in the process. And if they also learned the value of saying I’ll trade ya… with all the passion and gusto of an eight year old, well that would just be cool.

Big Sic ‘em goes out to Baylor Entrepreneurship professors like Lee Grumbles and Gabriella Cacciotti who are quite literally rock stars in the classroom.

For more information on Baylor Entrepreneurship, please visit our website at baylor.edu/business/entrepreneurship/.