Forget about thinking outside the box. For Jennifer Wright-Laracy, it's about thinking of the entire box — a pizza box, that is.
Reimagining that iconic food container was not a career Wright-Laracy envisioned for herself. She spent more than a decade working in the financial industry at places such as Citigroup.
But when the economic crisis hit in 2008, she headed to Columbia Business School to get her MBA and soon discovered she had an appetite for a new career: helping to redesign a pizza box to include a top that would become four plates and a bottom that would transform into a storage container. Oh yeah, and it would be made from 100 percent recycled corrugated cardboard.
"I realized that it was a fun idea," Wright-Laracy told CNBC in early 2015. "I didn't know if I would pursue it full time, but I thought I could add value."
Her finely tuned financial palate appealed to her friend William Walsh, the inventor and patent holder of the convertible pizza box, and his business partner, Ned Kensing. "We started pursuing Jen to come in and join our team," Kensing said.
Wright-Laracy moved forward slowly — introducing the team and its product at competitions and other events, creating a business plan as a school assignment and enrolling in an entrepreneurial class in which the multifunctional pizza box received $50,000 in bridge funding.