BBC Mafia Panel Recap

This week, to honor the homecoming of so many Ohio State alumni and to kick off the BBC Mafia (alumni) festivities, the Business Builders brought in four awesome alum to put on an open-ended style panel. Maria de Caris graduated in 2014 with a degree in city planning and is currently a Product Analyst at Loop Returns. Jay Clouse graduated in 2014 with a degree in marketing and was a former president of BBC. Since 2017 he has been freelancing, with most of his time being taken up by small business consulting and his podcast, Upside. Zach Boerger graduated in 2014 with a CSE degree, and is the Director of Engineering at Drive Capital. He joined Drive Capital when it was just taking off as employee #6 and has been with the company since then. Julia Fletcher graduated in 2019 with a finance degree and is a Financial Analyst at Aware. Each panelist went in depth on their careers and what their companies do before opening the floor to questions. That overview is what you see below.

Aware is a company that adds HR compliance and security to communication platforms that a company uses. Aware uses AI and machine learning to add security to collaboration platforms such as Slack in order to keep a companies communication under regulation.

Unreal Collective is a 12 week online accelerator where 3 groups of 5 individual business owners meet with Jay for an hour every week and work on their business. Jay also has a podcast about early stage investing and startup communities called Upside. He teaches online course on freelancing and product management as well.

Drive Capital is a venture capital firm for very early stage start-ups that helps them grow and develop. Drive promotes that you don’t have to be in Silicon Valley to start a company anymore and that Ohio can and has produced plenty of kick-ass companies. 

Loop Returns is an e-commerce software solution that helps mitigate the huge problem that returns have created for online merchants. They mostly work with shopify and some of their clients include Allbirds and Chubbies.


The style of the meeting was essentially a Q&A with each panelist pitching in their knowledge and expertise for the questions that applied to them. What you see below are the questions asked and their answers. Go gain some knowledge people!


@Jay & Julia: “Do you ever get into a situation with a client where a job/task is over your head and you’re in too deep, and if so, how do you handle it?”

@Jay & Zach: “Is it necessary to have a technical background when going into Product Management?

@Panel: “In your experience with Innovation and Startups, what's been the one big differentiator between products that work and products that don’t?”

@Panel: “If you could give your college self one piece of advise, what would it be?”


As Business Builders we not only offer you the resources to succeed, but we bring you into our family of entrepreneurs. A group of people with a common goal can do anything and the Business Builders and our multi-million dollar BBC mafia network share the goal of helping one another. We honor our alumni because we truly do stand on the shoulders of giants. And it’s those giants that are willing to help us in return. Thank you BBC Mafia for all you do. This organization would be nothing without you guys.


Jared Musci

VP of Public Relations


Stay Up To Date