Author: Greg Wymer
by Kara Baskin
As a child growing up in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Ale Resnik, MBA ’13, always dreamed about going to MIT and becoming an engineer.
“I was a geeky young kid. I got a Commodore 64 when I was four years old, because my dad was into computers,” he says with a laugh.
But it wasn’t until his dream came true in 2011 and he enrolled at MIT that Resnik realized that software could help solve a lot problems—even how we think about cars.
Studying at the Martin Trust Center in the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Track, Resnik was enchanted by the environment of possibility and creativity.
“There was energy surrounding the idea that the world is constantly in a beta state. It’s our job to make it better. Anything is hackable, and nothing is final,” he says.
At the Trust Center, Resnik developed the idea for Beepi, an online marketplace allowing customers to buy or sell pre-owned vehicles remotely with free delivery.
“The Trust Center became my command center. I sat there for hours, starting my company, whenever I wasn’t in class,” he recalls.
Resnik had always been an entrepreneur: He sold Global Vitamins, a subscription-based, e-commerce company geared to Latin American and European customers, in order to attend MIT.
But this time, the company’s mission was personal. The idea for Beepi sprang from an unfortunate but relatable incident — Resnik bought a Jeep, and it caught fire 48 hours later. He’d been sold a lemon. When Resnik explained the situation to the dealer and asked for a refund, the dealer refused. Resnik took the battle to court, and he was finally offered a settlement.
Through the disheartening process, Resnik became acquainted with lemon laws, and he recognized a gap in the marketplace. He vowed that other car-buyers wouldn’t go through something similar.
“At the Trust Center, I learned that everything is improvable: A single person or a single team can change anything about the world; anything can be formulated and adapted in a way that serves humanity better,” he says.
Beepi’s premise was novel. It sold used cars completely online, taking the dealer out of the equation. It offered certified inspection and a money-back guarantee for buyers. Cars were inspected in a seller’s driveway; Beepi set the price and delivery schedule. Buyers could test out the purchase within 10 days and, best of all, they could return the car for a full refund if they weren’t satisfied. Prices tended to be better than those from a traditional dealership, due to lack of overhead like salespeople and lots.
Resnik graduated from MIT in May 2013 and had raised his first $1.3 million for Beepi by June; he raised another $5 million in February 2014 and launched the business that April. That year, Resnik was named an “Innovator Under 35” by the MIT Technology Review. The company went on to raise a total of $120 million in venture capital.
As such, he has also given back, returning to campus to lecture and to judge Trust Center competitions, such as the Latin American Startup Competition.
In 2016, Beepi merged with a competitor. Today, Resnik is founder-in-residence at Andreessen Horowitz, a $6 billion California-based venture capital firm started by Netscape founder Marc Andreessen; he is also working on the genesis of his next company. And though Beepi didn’t last, Resnik maintains a strong sense of risk-taking and confidence, thanks to lessons learned at the Trust Center.
“At the Trust Center, I was in a place where I could feel at home, starting my business, taking the risks I was taking without people judging me or whether it was the right thing to do. I felt the support,” he says.