Pacing the room, Alejandro Cremades progressed through his slides to one with a map of the United States. Pins in the map appeared, showing locations from which the world’s most-famous start-ups were launched out of garages.
Amazon. Harley-Davidson. Apple. Google. Disney. The list comprised a veritable who’s who of famous American businesspeople and entrepreneurs.
“A start-up can start from anywhere – even an empty garage,” Cremades told students from Temple University’s Fox School of Business.
The Spanish author and entrepreneur delivered a keynote centered on entrepreneurship and investing, speaking to students and faculty members March 8 as the Fox School’s Warren V. “Pete” Musser Visiting Professor of Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Established in 2015, the Musser Professorship is an endowed term professorship filled by experienced and well-known practitioners who are interested in visiting the Fox School to mentor and engage with students.
Cremades’ credentials speak for themselves. He is the 30-year-old executive chairman of CoFoundersLab, which provides the world’s largest network of entrepreneurs with access to necessary resources to help their businesses thrive, grow, and excel. He is also the co-founder and executive chairman of 1,000 Angels, the world’s largest digital-first, invitation-only investor network, and is the author of the best-selling “The Art of Startup Fundraising.”
Cremades’ personal story is similar to those that he described at the open of his presentation. He shared that he had started his first company out of a New York City studio apartment at the corner of 6th Avenue and 29th Street. He conducted business meetings from the bed in the cramped living space. Eventually, he said, his landlord caught on and put an end to Cremades’ arrangement.
Since those days, the idea of starting a business – at least with regard to the kind of capital required to do so – has changed dramatically. A tech start-up, for example, would have necessitated $5 million in funding in 2000. Seventeen years later, that total has dropped significantly, to a mere $5,000, he said.
Magazines like GQ, Entrepreneur, and Vanity Fair have featured Cremades on their top 30 under 30 lists in recent years, and for good reason. The entrepreneur is an expert in growing and securing funding for businesses. He cautioned student-entrepreneurs in the room against allowing themselves to dream big after only the earliest stages of operation.
“You may hit today, but something tomorrow can trigger a loss,” Cremades said. “A start-up requires building a repeatable and scalable business model.”
Cremades’ talk transitioned into fundraising, which is his area of professional proficiency. “Did you know,” he said, starting one sentence with a rhetorical question, “that 65 percent of companies fail because of a lack of funding?” He described crowdfunding, angel investing, and venture capital funding, all of which appeal to “different entrepreneurs at different stages of their startups,” Cremades said.
Cremades’ visit is the latest in a series of high-profile speakers who have served as the Fox School’s Musser Visiting Professor of Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Previously, Fox has hosted Bernard “Bernie” Marcus, co-founder and former Chief Executive Officer of The Home Depot, and David L. Cohen, Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer of the Comcast Corporation.
“It’s an honor to welcome Alejandro to the Fox School at a time during which our school is experiencing incredible momentum,” said Dean M. Moshe Porat.
Porat mentioned Fox’s undergraduate- and graduate-level Entrepreneurship programs, as each have been ranked among the top 10 nationally by The Princeton Review and Entrepreneur magazine. He also shared the school’s mission to provide entrepreneurial support through the university’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship Institute, and access to entrepreneurship education across all of Temple’s schools and colleges with the newly established Temple University Entrepreneurship Academy.