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OSU business student realizes big dream in small container

Friday, June 3, 2016

Swapneel Deshpande, M.S. business analytics student, hopes to redefine the 'American Dream.' Photo (c) Jordan Richards
Swapneel Deshpande, M.S. business analytics student, hopes to redefine the 'American Dream.' Photo (c) Jordan Richards

The “American Dream” is an idea that most every person in United States seeks out, but Oklahoma State University business analytics master’s student Swapneel Deshpande seeks to redefine it.

Deshpande, along with OSU graduates Ben Loh and Lee Easton, created ModernBlox, a startup that turns old shipping containers into weather-resistant housing. The containers are safe (they can withstand up to 250 miles an hour wind when anchored), modern and eco-friendly and aim to offer affordable housing options at a time when the housing market has skyrocketed in price.

“Owning a house is part of that ‘American Dream,’ and, especially as an international student, that’s a major milestone,” Deshpande said. “I came to OSU from India in 2010 and met Ben in the International Student Organization, and, with Lee, we talked a lot about starting a business making houses out of shipping containers as a housing solution. We worked on the prototype all last summer and made great progress.”

ModernBlox has already sold several units for personal and business use with a notable unit located at the Inner Circle Vodka Bar in downtown Tulsa. The team is working on other projects, such as a HuntingBlox unit for a customer in Enid. The units are customized to meet the needs of patrons, but the next step is mass production.

“We want to start mass producing to make the containers cost efficient,” Deshapande said. “We can sell the base unit for $35,000, which is just as much as a mobile home but more durable and eco-friendly. We are currently are working on a process that will help everyone to design and order a Modernblox from our website, which will ultimately be shipped to the customer  at their desired location within just a month. We are really looking at the practicality aspect of living in a Blox.”

Deshpande primarily handles the marketing and public relations of the company. After receiving a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from India, he came to OSU and received a master’s in environmental engineering. Deshpande decided to pursue a master’s in business analytics after realizing the business aspects of engineering interested him more.

To learn more about the Spears School of Business Master of Science in Business Analytics, visist

To learn more about ModernBlox, visit

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