An MIT Entrepreneur’s Perspective

Posted by Stephen Marcus on November 24th, 2007 filed in Uncategorized

The Conference is only five days away and I couldn’t be more excited. I’m a second-year MBA at Sloan and a former Founder of five startups with my sixth in development. I know many entrepreneurs, especially students, face the question, “Do I really have time for another Conference?” To best illustrate the answer, I’d like to share a story with you from a few years back:

I remember when I was taking a Small Business Management class as a sophomore back in undergrad and my Professor required that we write a business plan from scratch. Stewing for all of thirty seconds, I decided on developing a plan to build cell towers. After founding my first business in high school around IT consulting and spending my childhood in the family business hawking two-way radios, I thought that my business acumen and memories of my Dad building his one and only tower were enough to go on. Though, assembling a business plan with real data was a bit different. My Dad had toted me along to his industry trade shows when I was a kid, which were always great opportunities to meet the movers ‘n’ shakers and play with (sometimes destroy) the new products. I immediately dove into the web and drummed up the 2nd Annual Tower Summit and Trade Show in Las Vegas, an event two weeks into my class and a perfect opportunity to find more info quickly. I promptly pulled out my somewhat maxed-out credit card, made a plane ticket, and booked a hotel. There I was, 19-years old in my suit sitting through a number of conference sessions on zoning, marketing, dealing with carriers, construction, all the while meeting a vast amount of people. I remember being so impressed with one presentation by John Tynan of The Tynan Group, who was the Michael Jordan of tower zoning, that I affectionately named my company The Marcus Group. Maybe the magic would rub-off. More importantly, I walked away with at least 150 pages of fresh industry research and trends to help assemble my business plan, not mention the contacts I made with developers and carriers. My Professor asked me at the end of the class, “This looks promising. Why not start it?” Less than a month later The Marcus Group was born.

Fast forward to last year’s VC Conference, where I was sitting at lunch listening to Jeff Tayler, Founder of and former Founder of To my left was an angel investor that I just met. She described how she became an angel, which was through an exit she made many years prior in a very inconspicuous company. I asked, “So, what kind of things are you looking for today?” to which she replied, “I’m due diligencing a plan by these guys and I wasn’t sure they could do it. After listening and asking a few questions today, I now know they can.”

Come to the VC Conference and put that idea into motion. I know I will.

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