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Hansel – Unlocking MBA Travels

Phil Sprawls (left) and Felix Watson, Jr. (right) at the UCLA Anderson Venture Accelerator.

Phil Sprawls and Felix Watson Jr., UCLA Anderson’s Class of 2018 alumni, are founders of Hansel, a venture-backed technology startup. Hansel started with a simple idea, “What if the powerful digital mapping technology on our phones was used for social purposes rather than navigation?” Phil and Felix took this idea and ran with it, receiving grant funding from UCLA, hiring Consortium classmates, and executing on the lean startup methodology (build, test, measure, iterate). They rose to the top of UCLA’s startup scene, excelled in its on-campus accelerator programs, and were selected to present to hundreds of investors at the Anderson Venture Accelerator Spring Showcase.

Hansel’s mission is to help people get trusted recommendations and make confident decisions. Their mobile platform gives people the fastest and safest way to see where their friends have traveled and reach out for private, personalized recommendations. This platform provides a major boost to MBA communities, where classmates come from diverse backgrounds and take advantage of once-in-a-lifetime travel opportunities. Hansel brings MBAs the platform and data to tap into their network in a powerful new way.

Felix Watson, Jr. and Phil Sprawls were selected to present with top startups at UCLA’s Demo Day.

Phil and Felix met at OP back in 2016 and quickly realized they had a shared passion for technology and product management. That shared passion fueled them through MBA programming, where they completed courses in Entrepreneurship and Venture Initiation, Business Plan Development, and UCLA’s Business Creation Option Master’s Thesis. Their persistence allowed them to iterate through multiple products and business models, build relationships with key investors, and ultimately secure institutional financing to launch their startup after graduating.

Hansel was founded with Consortium principles at its core. Phil and Felix are happy to pay it forward and help other Consortium members achieve their startup dreams. Feel free to connect with them at and, and download Hansel from!

Submitted by Phil Sprawls, Anderson ’18 alum

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