Sorry for the slight delay here. Wow, what a story! For starters, yes, that tale will be gold on your application because starting anything puts you ahead of 95% of the people applying, all of whom pretty much say they want to start something. Everyone has dreams, few act on them. Plus, raising that kind of capital is legit. When you factor in that you could not have controlled for those scenarios, no one will ever tag you as a failure. You should be able to make a big impression with that story (especially at HBS, where you can use it for the setback essay - talk about positive messaging in an essay that normally skews negative!).
I think your only mistake right now is being too conservative with your list of schools. My advice is that when you have the monster score, the great story, etc., you want to focus only on "national" U.S. business schools, meaning: programs that bring in recruiters from all over the country and not just regionally (aka a "regional" school). GaTech and Tepper are more or less regional schools and I don't think the ROI will be there. I would consider replacing them with Duke and Ross, or maybe even Kellogg.
The key for you will be (as it is for nearly every applicant going into consulting) figuring out the skills you need to be an awesome consultant (critical thinking, presentation, persuasion, teamwork, stamina, cultural dexterity, etc.) and then highlighting those skills in your life and work. People have a bad habit of explaining only what consulting experience does for THEM and their goals, and they don't make efforts to showcase how they will be good at it. You have to put yourself into the future and imagine you are with a recruiter from BCG or Bain ask, "Would they hire me? How would I get them to hire me?" Usually it comes down to saying, "I am good at X, Y, and Z, which is exactly what your firm needs." So move that whole line of thinking to now and put it in the essay (artfully, of course). That's going to be a big X Factor for you. As is expression of school fit (gotta nail the DNA of each program to get over the hump).
Good luck to you and don't settle. You've got the chops.
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