Kamiak graduate profiles the ‘Unicorns’ of the enterprise world

In enterprise, a “unicorn” is a privately held startup firm valued at greater than $1 billion.

The time period was popularized by enterprise capitalist Aileen Lee, who selected the legendary creature to symbolize the statistical rarity of such profitable ventures.

Michael Bervell, 24, of Mill Creek, is the writer of “Unlocking Unicorns,” a e book that profiles profitable billion-dollar startup founders in Africa, Asia and the Center East.

“Most individuals, for those who ask them to call a super-successful enterprise founder and entrepreneur, they may say Steve Jobs, or Invoice Gates, or Warren Buffett, or possibly Jeff Bezos. They’re all males, they’re all white males, so the place are the remainder of the startup founders?

“I wrote a e book that appears at feminine founders, out of the U.S., and non-white founders, out of the U.S., who’ve nonetheless been profitable. They’ve lesser-known tales with much more fascinating classes.”

“Unlocking Unicorns” options 10 entrepreneurs who discovered the important thing to success — together with Jack Ma, founding father of e-commerce big AliBaba; Robin Li, co-founder of the search engine Baidu; Ritesh Agarwal, founding father of OYO Rooms for finances accommodations; Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, founding father of Biocon, a biopharmaceutical firm; Mudassir Sheikha, founding father of the vehicle-for-hire firm Careem; Bang Si-Hyuk, producer behind the boy band BTS; Cher Wang, founding father of HTC, a shopper electronics firm; and Mitchell Elegbe, founding father of Interswitch, a cashless cost processor.

“Unlocking Unicorns” explains how 10 founders in non-Western nations overcame and tailored to mind drain, leapfrogging applied sciences, location-based discrimination and authorities unrest.

Right here’s one other enterprise time period for you: Bervell is an angel investor via M12, Microsoft’s enterprise fund, that means he offers capital for startup firms — when most traders aren’t but ready to again them — in change for convertible debt or possession fairness.

“I’d describe what I do now as ‘Shark Tank,’” he mentioned. “Entrepreneurs will pitch our workforce totally different concepts of startups that they’ve created, and we use Microsoft’s cash to put money into these startups.

“It’s a extremely enjoyable and fascinating job since you get to see primarily 5 years into the longer term at what individuals are making an attempt to construct to turn out to be the subsequent multi-million greenback firm.”

The Kamiak Excessive College graduate is writing what he is aware of. Bervell has helped to discovered and lead numerous organizations, together with the Enchiridion Corp., a advertising consulting firm, and Billion Greenback Startup Concepts, a media and innovation firm.

“I actually grew to like know-how as a fast-growing methodology for altering the world,” mentioned Bervell, who has labored as a enterprise fellow at Harlem Capital, product supervisor at Microsoft and a software program engineer at Twitter. “It’s making a constructive influence.”

His every day weblog, about billion-dollar startup concepts, has greater than 750,000 readers and 10,000 subscribers from 150 international locations. He based the Billion Greenback Startup Membership on TikTok — his account is @startupideaking — which has greater than 832,000 views.

“It’s my approach of being curious concerning the world,” Bervell mentioned. “I really like trying on the world, and looking for an issue with it, and eager about how might you construct a enterprise to resolve this downside. And finally a bunch of different folks thought that was a extremely cool concept as properly.”

At Kamiak, Bervell additionally co-founded Hugs for Ghana, a nonprofit that sends presents to children in hospitals and orphanages all over the world. (He’s a Ghanaian-American.) Since 2007, the student-run group has expanded its operations to Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya, Sierra Leone and the US.

After graduating from Kamiak Excessive College, he earned his bachelor’s diploma in philosophy and laptop science at Harvard College and his grasp’s diploma in communication on the College of Washington.

Janice Riley, a advertising revisions editor for New Diploma Press, was assigned to edit his e book. Collectively, Michael and Janice unlocked the e book’s potential.

“We’re requested what are we interested by, what will we like studying and what’s our experience,” Riley mentioned. “Since I had expertise working in enterprise improvement for a software program startup for 4 years and ran a enterprise incubator for six years, it was type of a no brainer to assign Michael’s e book to me.”

Riley mentioned Bervell’s e book is destined to be a best-seller as a result of it’s about startup firms from all over the world — not simply the U.S. What makes “Unlocking Unicorns” particular, she mentioned, is that it doesn’t profile the billion-dollar firms all People know: Fb, Amazon, Microsoft, Apple, Google, and so forth.

“The world’s larger than the simply the US,” she mentioned. “Synthetic intelligence, tech advances and cutting-edge know-how exists in different international locations. There are scientists and technologists and engineers doing wonderful issues all over the world.”

Who ought to learn this e book? Bervell mentioned “Unlocking Unicorns” is for aspiring startup founders or rising financial system traders who wish to do enterprise within the twenty first century.

He mentioned it’s not that onerous to consider a billion-dollar startup concept. “If 1 billion individuals are dealing with an issue, and also you remedy it for $1, and so they’re prepared to pay it, then you definitely’ve created a enterprise that might probably be a billion-dollar enterprise,” he mentioned.

There’s your unicorn.

Riley recommends the e book for those who like watching ABC’s “Shark Tank,” during which entrepreneurs pitch concepts for a enterprise, or CNBC’s “The Revenue,” which follows enterprise capitalist Marcus Lemonis.

What’s subsequent for Bervell? “I undoubtedly wish to write a second e book,” he mentioned. Bervell is considering profiling startup firms in Latin America, the Caribbean and Australia. “Possibly ‘Unlocking Unicorns’ may very well be a collection of various books about startup founders and startup tales all all over the world.”

Possibly he’ll launch an “Unlocking Unicorns” podcast to go together with his weblog and TikTok, he mentioned.

Bervell additionally has utilized to return to Harvard to get one other grasp’s diploma, this time in enterprise administration.

All this, and he’s solely 24 — “What’s he going to perform by the point he’s 30?” Riley requested.

Along with his personal key to success, Bervell would possibly simply make it to Forbes’ 30 Underneath 30 record.

Sara Bruestle: 425-339-3046; [email protected]; @sarabruestle.

“Unlocking Unicorns”

By Michael Bervell

New Diploma. 196 pages. $19.99.


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