CEO OF FOUNDER.ORG, MICHAEL BAUM ADVISES EDHEC GLOBAL MBAS ON ENTREPRENEURSHIP

"If you are going to spend years of your life working hard, chasing an idea then make sure it is a big idea" - Michael Baum. The MBA class of 2015 was privileged to spend a few hours with visionary serial entrepreneur Michael Baum. Kicking off the presentation Mr. Baum debunked the common idea that you need money to start a business. In his words "Money is merely a commodity" like any other resource, it can be obtained.

Michael Baum started his entrepreneurial journey 25 years ago and co-founded 6 companies, some successful, some less so. Perhaps his biggest success was Splunk, which he founded in 2003: Splunk raised just $40 million to generate more than $6 Billion in share-holder value when it went public in 2012, setting the all-time best return on investment from seed to IPO.

With his latest venture, founder.org, Mr Baum aims to help entrepreneurs succeed with their technology startups by capitalizing on the experience of its founders and the trademark 8D program. founder.orgaccompanies young startups during 12 months, providing them financing, coaching and support. US studies show that 99% of new jobs in last 4 years were created by companies less than 5 years old, which shows there is tremendous value in helping these companies come to their own.

The best time to start a business is when conditions are depressed, when no one expects you and when you can have the highest impact. Successful entrepreneurs are at the junction of Desire, Audacity and Delusion. Surprisingly, the average time from startup to a liquidity event is 8 to 10 years in Silicon Valley, and probably much longer in other parts of the world so perseverance is of the essence.

The 8D framework developed by Mr. Baum offers enlightening insights into what you should do to ensure your venture’s success.

Alter the future: make sure your solution changes the future of a big market. You must give the customer a benefit he did not expect, get him to the « aha » moment.

  • Build an A player team, because entrepreneurship is a team sport.
  • Take time to make a great product, or you have nothing.
  • Have a detailed plan of how you will achieve your goals.
  • Innovate on your business model, this is as important as having a good product.
  • Get paid customers early because they will provide feedback to improve your product and help your finances, if you don’t know how to ask for money hire someone who does as soon as possible!
  • Prepare to scale, because the worst thing that can happen to you is success, so be ready.
  • And finally, always have money in the bank: with it you will make better decision, without it you won’t survive. Pick those times when you raise money carefully, try to create competition between your investors.

Five students pitched their ideas during the session in the areas of goods transportation, localized help, 3D printing marketplace, medical supplies and energy from waste. Submit your projects and get more information on founder.org .