The Founder.org $100,000 launch event

The winners who will advance to the next stage, with Michael Baum (centre) Image credit: Quintus Liu
Traits of the entrepreneur Image credit: Quintus Liu
Michael Baum during his talk Image credit: Quintus Liu
Common features of billion dollar companies Image credit: Quintus Liu

On 6 February, I attended the Founder.org $100k launch event, which was sponsored by Cambridge University Tech and Enterprise Club (CUTEC) and Cambridge University Entrepreneurs (CUE). It promised be an exciting night, with a talk from Michael Baum, CEO of Founder.org, followed by short presentations from groups of Cambridge students.

Michael Baum is a leader in the technology sector, with six start-ups and one of the most successful IPOs in history, Splunk. Needless to say, I was looking forward to hearing what he had to say! Michael discussed what he believed to be the most important factors when starting your own business, and how to form a billion dollar company.

After the talk, it was time for the groups to take over and present their ideas to the room. There were some really exciting contributions: we had the promise of earlier dementia diagnosis (Diamond Tech), new ways to store hydrogen energy 
(Hydrogen Sponge), and my favourite, Logsquared: a new anaesthesia monitor designed to remove completely the risk of anaesthetic in operations. There were many more fantastic ideas that hopefully we’ll hear more from in the future.

After the groups finished their presentations, we voted on the companies we would be most likely to join. Among the winners were Logsquared and Diamond Tech (above), and also ELVES, a new treatment method for vascular cancer. Typical of Cambridge, all the winners were in Bio-Tech.

If you missed out on this event, don’t worry. In a few weeks (27 February), CUTEC will be hosting another similar event, this one with three guest speakers. Also to look forward to is the annual Tech Venture Conference (TVC) in June. This year the event is 
looking to be incredibly exciting. There will be a range of advisors present, among whom is Hermann Hausser, co-founder and CEO of Amadeus Capital.

As well as this event, Founder.org hold various schemes to aid graduate start-ups. This includes a venture capital investment scheme, and even a business university program which teaches you the skills needed to succeed. As a final piece of advice, when asked what Michael’s biggest challenge was in his first start-up, he said, “managing immature engineers”. Sorry about that, engineers...

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