Mark Dencker is CEO of Wiredelta, a digital development company that makes everything from apps to websites—“Basically, anything connected to the internet,” he says.
BusinessBecause first spoke to Mark in 2017 about his MBA at EU Business School, his startup, and his plans for expansion. “If you want to get ahead of the game, you need to create the game,” he told us then.
Now, with two more years’ experience under his belt in a rapidly-shifting global business landscape, we caught up with Mark to find out what he thinks young MBA entrepreneurs like himself should be focusing on.
Here are his three tips for MBAs who want to become entrepreneurs:
1. Don’t underestimate Europe
Though most people tend to think of Silicon Valley or Shenzhen in China when it comes to booming startup hubs, Mark believes that Europe is where future startup activity lies, and a lot of that has to do with data.
Mark points out that, while data is a free-for-all in the US, and under heavy surveillance in China, Europe offers a middle ground where data protection is a priority, and that will be attractive to customers in years to come.
“In our world, data is king—if it’s restricted by law that you can’t store as much data as your competitors in China or the US, you’re going to lose out to them [in the short term], but I would argue that GDPR is actually one of the reasons why people in future are going to want to go to Europe,” Mark says.
In fact, this shift is already apparent: Geneva, Munich, and Barcelona were ranked in the top 30 startup ecosystems around the world by Startup Genome. EU Business School has campuses in all three cities.
2. Create outstanding content
When it comes to launching a company, Mark has a word of warning: do not get carried away by the excitement around new technology.
“When I started my first company, I think everybody was looking to build the next big platform, the next Uber or whatever,” he recalls. “That’s still true to a certain extent, but the market is so saturated now by this ‘There’s an app for everything’ culture.”
Mark says that if he were starting his entrepreneurial career fresh today, instead of creating a new platform, he would focus on creating outstanding content for those platforms; identifying the niches that are opening up within these new technologies.
This is something that the MBA at EU Business School aims to provide for students. As well as offering a dedicated major in entrepreneurship, the school also offers majors in digital business and blockchain management, which aim to give students a nuanced understanding of how new technologies work and impact businesses in practice.
3. Aim for failing
Mark’s final piece of advice to MBA students now is simple: get comfortable with failing.
“During my studies at EU, I started another company [not Wiredelta], that completely failed,” he says.
“I made probably every mistake in the book—which was great! It’s a big reason why Wiredelta ended up being a success, because I was really putting theory into practice.”
Business school can protect you from making a lot of the big blunders that new founders often make, but it also gave Mark the chance to experience them for himself, and that’s the legacy of his MBA in his career afterwards.
To future MBAs hoping to make an entrepreneurial career as he has, he is full of enthusiasm.
“It’s an amazing time to be alive—there’s so much opportunity out there,” he says.
“If I were [starting out as] an entrepreneur today, I would try a lot of things, and almost aim for failing—hopefully along the way you’ll figure out something that gives you purpose, gives you drive.”