Category Archives: Stories from BASES

BASES Alumni Spotlight: Adam Marchick

This week we had the chance to sit down and talk with one of our BASES alumni – Adam Marchick. He has had a rich career, starting his own company Kahuna, and serves as a great inspiration to the rest of BASES. See the full interview below!

Can we have a quick introduction?

I was born and raised in Palo Alto and graduated Stanford as a CS major in 2002. During school I was a part of BASES, where my team was in charge or running the E-Challenge and Social E-Challenge program. After college, I joined Oracle as a programmer, then worked at a VC, attended Stanford Graduate School of Business, worked in Bangalore, India, running a sales team, then worked in the product/growth team at Facebook. I also started a non-profit called Glow Foundation, which supports financial literacy for over 15,000 kids.

Thereafter I started Kahuna, a mobile marketing automation company that helps increase revenue. Mobile applications are taking over the world, and as a result web companies are getting disrupted by mobile applications. It was interesting to see that companies had 30 people focused on sending emails but none of them really focused on push messages. When you get messages you like, you expect a 30% expect rate compared to 1-2% response rate with random marketing. The idea is to send one good message rather than 10 generic messages.

How did BASES help you get into the world of start-ups?

 I started off as a freshman in the E-challenge team. We had a great mentor, Othman Loraki, who guided us along the way. Through him, I learned how great getting mentored was. Within 3 months, I was sitting and watching people pitch to VCs and also hearing how VCs evaluate companies. It was an opportunity to help me dream bigger. Later, I entered E-Challenge because it was an unbelievably low-risk way of getting a ton of experience. We pitched to Sequioa, but didn’t get any funding because they already invested in a company who was in the same space. It’s a small world – 12 years and five companies later, Kahuna is funded by Sequoia!

Did your view of the startup culture and Silicon Valley change as you moved from joining a startup, working at various companies as an engineer, working as a venture capitalist and finally landing at Kahuna?

My view totally changed. In terms of thinking of VCs, when I was a developer at Oracle, I thought all VCs were the same. When I started working at a VC firm, however, I realized venture capital is actually an industry, rather than one firm.

It was also interesting to see how every company was different, fundamentally in terms of each of its culture. For example, Oracle is a sales driven culture while Facebook is an engineer driven culture – they operate very differently. So when creating Kahuna, I strive to have a balanced company, valuing both sales and engineering.

Advice?

 A lot of the advice I would give stems from what I saw in BASES. First thing: the biggest determinant of success is believing in a person when he/she takes responsibility and says “I’ll do it”. When you find someone for whom when they say it will get done, you have 100% confidence it will happen, you have an A+ team member.   What’s most important is perseverance, follow through, and driving towards completion.

If you are thinking of starting a company, focus on a problem that you are passionate about, and get conviction – i.e. be proud of your 30 second pitch.  Your conviction, your understanding and your passion will come through when recruiting people and good people will come through the good work. So you need to stick through and fuel your idea.

Lastly, you don’t have to wait for your career. If you see something, take initiative and follow through.

 

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Meet Simar Mangat – BASES member and entrepreneur

Last week, we had the chance to sit down with our very own Simar Mangat – member of the Freshman Battalion and participant in the BASES E-Challenge.  As a freshman, Simar has been active in the entrepreneurship at Stanford and has taken numerous leadership roles both in organizations and his own companies. See his interview below for a peek into Simar’s world:

Did your experience in frosh battalion change how you view entrepreneurship? Why or why not?
I realized that entrepreneurship is going head on and figuring things out along the way.  One thing which was really cool to see was the opportunity to working on a startup with Jason (Teplitz, also a member of Freshman Battalion).

What was the greatest surprise you found through your BASES experience?
Initially, I went in thinking that BASES would teach us how entrepreneurship worked and have a more educational angle.  It was awesome to find that there are so many opportunities available in the organization and realize that a lot of what BASES provides–the people you meet, the networking opportunities–help you realize how the organization functions and where you can extract value for personal growth.

How did your experience in BASES this year help you grow? What person or project inspired you most through this process?
I’m currently working on the public pitch to compete for $33,000 in the finale of E-Challenge.  After the second-round pitch, multiple investors and judges reached out to (our team) to express their commitment to helping us grow.  There is this incredible network of people to look out for our success.  Through those conversations, we were given an incredible opportunity to connect with one mentor from Andreessen Horowitz.

What advice do you have for other budding entrepreneurs?
Entrepreneurship is not something that can be taught.  A lot of it is going out and getting your hands dirty.  Try a project on your own, and don’t wait for someone to give you feedback.  Always be thinking and be aware of solutions to the problems in the world!

What is BASES to You?

The Business Association of Stanford Entrepreneurial Students is the central heart of entrepreneurship for students at Stanford University and the general community of entrepreneurs.  Whether it is bringing famous speakers such as the founder of Khan Academy to share valuable advice at ETL or providing cutting-edge mentors to hone the pitches of student founders at E-Bootcamp, BASES is deeply entrenched in building the next generation of entrepreneurial leaders.

Defining our organization and its value for members is one of BASES’ main objectives.  With that goal in mind, we are launching a new campaign called “What is BASES to you?” – a project that shares the weekly 100-word or 6-word story accounts of officers in order to serve as an inspiration for the team and community.

Among the first submissions received was a 6-word story from Liu Jiang,  Operations Officer, who values her “family of close friends whose relationships extend beyond entrepreneurship and last a lifetime.”  Akaash Nanda, Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders Officer, remarked on “the shared curiosity with quality people.”

Help define BASES and submit your story.

Liu Jiang

Liu Jiang ’17 – Operations Team

”Family of close friends whose relationships extend beyond entrepreneurship and last a lifetime”

Worthwhile?  “Yup! Excited to see what others say.”

 

 

Akaash Nanda

Akaash Nanda ’15 – VP ETL

“A shared curiosity with quality people. (that’s what BASES is all about for me!)”

Worthwhile?  “Absolutely! Nothing is more valuable to reflecting upon why we do what we do.”