Lost&Found: One Disruptive MBA Startup
Friday, November 13, 2020
Among 2020’s most disruptive MBA startups is Lost&Found, a nonprofit organization that gives young adults ages 14-35 the skills and community to be resilient, attempting to address the systemic issue of rising suicide rates across the country. Leading the effort at Lost&Found is Erik Muckey, who did his graduate studies at the Carlson School of Management and Humphrey School of Public Affairs.
Ten years ago, Muckey, his friend Dennis Smith, and five of their friends at University of South Dakota launched a nonprofit that provided financial support to families and students impacted by suicide or attempted suicide. As they finished their undergraduate studies, the team split up and went their separate ways, but Muckey stuck with Lost&Found during his graduate studies at the University of Minnesota, taking the lead and rethinking its operating model based on what he learned from his courses.
Muckey credits much of Lost&Found’s success to the people he met and courses he took at Carlson. The entrepreneur who inspired him to take the leap into leading his own venture was friend and mentor Adam Rao, who’s encouragement and conversations led Muckey to be where he is today. Carlson’s STARTUP class played a big role in re-focusing Lost&Found’s business model to make it more customer-centric, impactful, and engaging. There are four professors who Muckey says made a significant contribution to his plans: Terri Barreiro, Toby Nord, John Stavig, and Steve Spruth. These four helped Muckey in a variety of ways, from helping him improve his impact model to providing networking and sponsor opportunities.
In the long-term, Muckey wants people to think of Lost&Found when they think of resilience. More importantly, he wants Lost&Found to change the way we support mental health for young adults in the United States. Muckey wants these young adults to have greater access to help, for a greater understanding of mental health in families and the workplace, and ultimately, a country that embraces the importance of mental health as a necessary aspect of well-being.