Mark Bao: Serial Entrepreneur and Problem-Solver
In search of a better way to keep in touch with his extended family in China, Bao founded Genevine, a company that helps families easily share photos, messages and videos with each other through a simple online platform. Seeing a big communication problem between devices and people, he created Avecora, a long-term technology innovation business that he predicts will become “the one communication device for your life” when it launches in 2013. And to solve the problem of never getting an honest opinion of yourself, Mark created Three Words, a company he just successfully sold, which allows people to anonymously describe their friends in—you got it—three words.
“All of these companies have a big overarching vision of how they will affect other people through a positive way, in terms of helping them do X or Y easier,” Bao said.
But wait—that’s not all. Bao has also founded a handful of socially responsible nonprofits, such as The Genevine Foundation and the Center for Ethical Business. Okay, so he not only likes to solve problems, but he wants to make the world a more ethical and overall better place.
“I want to promote positive philanthropy—that’s my main goal,” he said. “But the second goal is more near-term. I can create value to solve problems that people have.”
Oh, and by the way, Bao, who is now 18, was only 16 and 17 when he founded a number of his businesses.
“Age is a good thing, because it’s so much easier to start a company when you’re in high school or college. You don’t have many living expenses for the time being, so [when] starting another business on the side, you don’t have to rely on your business to make your money,” Bao said.
He went on to add that being young makes it easier to cope with and learn from failure.
“One of the most important things about startups is the concept of failing fast, and if you fail fast, and go through more cycles of refining; refining your idea, company or business model, and keep doing those revisions, that will help you gain a better knowledge of what’s going on,” Bao said. “And when you’re young, it’s an easier time to do that than anytime else.”
Now a freshman at Bentley University studying business, Bao will unquestionably continue to bring his never-ending ideas to life, innovating and creating new companies that solve unique problems and fill different niches.
“That’s what I really want to do — change and enlighten the world,” he said, with a tone of complete confidence.
However, what are arguably Bao’s most admirable qualities isn’t his intelligence or determination, but rather his openness and willingness to help others.
“If there’s anyone who wants to chat, I’m always open—my email is firstname.lastname@example.org,” Bao said. “If you want to get in touch, feel free! Bounce your ideas off of me, show me your new startup—but even just to chat, I’m always here. I love to speak and meet with new people.”
Visit Mark’s personal website at markbao.com.