For many like Michael, whether as an entrepreneur, or any other field there comes a point where you want to reinvent yourself or take a new career path. So following 20 years as an entrepreneur it was then he became a venture investor.
“What really motivated me was the thought that the experiences that I’d had could be something that would be useful to others, for sure. But also on a personal level, I was thinking, ‘what can I do?’
“And what you can do is figure out how to create the basis for success in amongst the founders and entrepreneurs, because the really great entrepreneurs honestly don’t need you.”
And so the mission behind Michael’s latest venture Underscore VC and its Startup Secrets platform is to ensure the community frameworks exist to create this basis for those following in his footsteps.
“It’s about trying to help the next generation of founders and entrepreneurs to build their businesses, and trying to share a means for them to do that. And that’s where the idea of Startup Secrets came from. I wish I had known back then, when I was at Nottingham or even before that, what it takes to start a business, and how to scale it and create the value.”
It's about people, stupid
And behind all of this is one of the key values Michael learned here at Nottingham and still resonates the best part of 40 years later.
“When I started Underscore I spoke to over 300 entrepreneurs, asking them one simple question. ‘What do you most need to build your business successfully?’
“When you really look at what the scarce resource was, it was people, and it still is today. If you ask an entrepreneur what their biggest problem is, they might say ten other things, but at the core of it will be hiring, and how do they access people.
“All the people I’ve met at Nottingham have stayed lifelong friends, literally to the point where there’s people that I work with, there’s people that I refer to about the challenges I have in life. And so, I’m extremely grateful to Nottingham for all the experiences it gave me, and believe it or not, yes, even my degree.”