Kush Kapila, MBA

FlexWeekend, 2010
Founder & CEO, STERLINGS Mobile

Sometimes an idea hits you when you least expect it. For Kush Kapila (MBA, ‘10) his winning idea struck just days before crossing the Rady School of Management commencement stage.

As a busy full-time student with a full-time job and family, Kapila found it difficult to set aside time for a proper haircut.

I figured that there had to be a better, more efficient way.”

“When I went to get my haircut one day, it took me around 45 minutes to be seen, and after all that time I spent waiting, I ended up with a bad haircut,” he said. “I figured that there had to be a better, more efficient way.”

Fast-forward to today – Kapila walks into the room looking sharp. He's dressed to the nines with a fresh haircut, courtesy of his flourishing startup business, Sterlings Mobile.

What began as a thought developed into a Lab to Market program for the following year’s cohort. After a successful stint in the program, the business was launched a year and a half later, and is in the works to expand globally in the near future.

Style on the Go

Sterlings Mobile was inspired by the working professional. The concept? A tricked-out airstream-turned-mobile-salon that partners with corporations to provide high-quality salon and barber services at reasonable prices.

Kapila designed the business to eliminate having to drive or wait in line for superior service— all at a price comparable to the chain salons.

And people are noticing which has launched another business model, events and promotional tours. Just this year, Sterlings Mobile has partnered with companies such as Warner Bros., Walgreens, Schick and Merz Pharma on tours across the US to promote their brands.

“These events have been really fantastic for us - we have received a lot of attention and both businesses and consumers are excited about the idea,” Kapila said. “Since inception we’ve done more than 18,000 services and we’re continuing to grow every day.”

Finding a foundation

Kapila’s interest in the burgeoning world of entrepreneurship drive brought him to Rady in 2008.

“I’ve always had this entrepreneurial drive - I just didn’t know where to start,” he said. ” I was really drawn to the flexibility of the part-time program that was also entrepreneurship and innovation-focused.”

Kapila firmly believes that his time at Rady was integral to the success of his business.

“Without Rady, I wouldn’t have the confidence to start this business or to have the knowledge and skills to take it to the next level,” he said. “Today I'm continuing to launch my business in various cities around the United States, with opportunities to go global. The Rady School's focus on entrepreneurship and innovation got me to where I am today.”