A few weeks back, I spoke to Eric Braun about his experience in the entrepreneurship community and specifically as an advisors of the Summer Venture Program. Our conversation was wonderful and I wanted to share a bit of it with you.
What is your role in the Summer Venture Program and within the entrepreneurship ecosystem in Boston?
I serve as one of the three advisors of this year’s Summer Venture Program. I mentor five companies in particular, but try to help out in any way I can with the remaining ten. For the past 20 or so years, I’ve dabbled in various sections of the Boston entrepreneurship ecosystem. I’ve bounced between five companies, all being technology based. Specifically, one being edtech, the other healthcare, and a few financial services companies. I’ve co-founded a startup incubator and teach entrepreneurship at Tufts MIT, and Boston University. I love coaching and working with startups; it is truly a passion of mine.
What excites you about the Summer Venture Program? What made you want to serve as an advisor?
I am really interested in helping other entrepreneurs succeed. It gives me a sense of purpose and value. In the process of analyzing and mentoring startups, I learn so much about myself that I would have never known. I’ve gained invaluable knowledge by serving as a mentor, some of which I am able to apply back to my own companies. Ultimately, I like to do this kind of thing. I’ve known David Chang for a while now and I always got excited whenever he would mention SVP. Once meeting these entrepreneurs, I could see how driven, energized, and motivated they all were. Of course this made me want to serve as an advisor to them.
What advice could you give to teams participating this summer or to any aspiring entrepreneur?
The easiest and hardest thing to do is to go out and talk to your customers. Customer discovery is so important. As much as you might think you know about the problem you are trying to solve, you do not know anything until you go out and talk to the people you’re serving. Don’t get me wrong, this takes work, but it is crucial to do.
What is your definition of entrepreneurship?
Entrepreneurship is coming up with an idea to improve a problem and taking action steps to bring that idea to market and create a business from it.
What does the world need from entrepreneurs today?
The world needs to understand and value entrepreneurs. People stereotype entrepreneurs as these colleges drop outs who never get anything done, but in reality entrepreneurs are good learners and productive. They have similar attributes to Einstein. I think a certain amount of genius is overlooked in entrepreneurs.
What do you do for fun?
I love to ski, hike, and generally just be outside and active. Especially in today’s age where technology is taking over (although I love tech) the opportunity to convene with friends is really important.
Describe yourself in four words.
Grit, resilient, passionate, and energetic.
Anything else people should know?
As an entrepreneur, the process of running a business is so iterative. Make the experience positive, not a frustrating one.