Independent Work/Junior Paper/Senior Thesis

The Keller Center provides opportunities for students to do their Independent Work (Junior Paper and Senior Thesis) in Entrepreneurship and Design. Advisors for this independent work are Mung Chiang, Derek Lidow and Chris Kuenne.

Please contact Victoria Dorman (, 609-258-8676, ACE24 E-Quad) for more information.


The Advisability of Price Wars

Under what circumstances do price wars make sense? Using price to gain market share happens frequently in many different markets: insurance, transportation, semiconductors, gas stations, sushi restaurants, among others. Pricing is also critical to the success of startups as the most successful startups attract copycats (e.g., Uber and Lyft) and pricing is therefor used as a differentiator. Using net present values of expected profitability, a price war can be modeled as a control problem and yield rich insights into what conditions should justify using pricing as a primary differentiator.

Venture Capital Value Creation

How much money venture capitalists actually make by investing in startups is a big mystery. Technology now exists to actually answer this question as the answer lies in thousands of on-line document filings with the SEC (their EDGAR database). Finding the answer would involve developing software to review several thousand publicly available documents that would extract information on the VC share ownership in companies that have gone public (i.e. IPO'd) and how much each VC received when they subsequently sold their holdings. These returns could then be compared with records on how much capital has been invested into these venture capital firms and how much money has been received from venture backed companies that have been sold in public M&A transactions.

Entrepreneurial Mis-information

There is strong evidence that public attitudes towards entrepreneurship may be highly mis-aligned with actual research on how and when entrepreneurs add value to our economy. This research project would involve surveying different segments of society using on-line survey tools to find out what these segments of society think about entrepreneurship and comparing their responses across groups and also to the latest research on entrepreneurial value creation.

Illustra Health - Online Healthcare Marketplace

The evolution of healthcare has constrained consumers to products that are based on narrow networks, with limited choice and high deductibles. The vision of Illustra Health, co-founded by seniors Cara Haas and Jeff Silverstein, is to help consumers break through the network constraints to get care where they want it, when they want it, and at a reasonable price. With the help of entrepreneurship professors Christopher Kuenne and Shahram Hejazi, Illustra Health hopes to realize its vision with the creation of a marketplace that enables physicians to bid for patients’ business. Cara and Jeff believe this marketplace will inject much needed competition into the healthcare system and finally bring power back to the consumer. This research project will focus on the Online Healthcare Marketplace.