• Elina Agrawal

NCH's HIT Society hosts Max Buchan

Last month, the New College of Humanity’s HIT Society held its first event of the semester. Eliseo Palous, HIT president, hosted the virtual fireside chat with founder and CEO of Worldr, Max Buchan. Max graduated from NCH and very quickly moved into the tech space in London by being one of the first employees at Coinshares. There, he experienced the startup’s valuation grow from seed to becoming a unicorn. Max was kind enough to share his experience and answer questions in a jam-packed one-hour session.


Here were the key takeaways

  • Join a scaling startup and grow with them

  • De-risk!

  • Build what the world will need in the future

  • Stay true to your idea with the right community


Join a scaling startup and grow with them


When you’re looking to get involved in the startup ecosystem the best thing you can do is just get your foot in the door. Max recommends joining a scaling startup and then growing into the industry. He did just that with Coinshares and with that opportunity he had the chance to meet people he never would have had a chance to meet if he worked in the company they represented. The opportunities of entrepreneurship are endless that way. Knowing this, it’s common to ask: how do I get my foot in the door?


This is one case where “opportunity comes to those who ask” holds true. Max recommended directly messaging founders of startups you’re interested in and getting to know people in the industry. They’re likely to respond to you and at the minimum, they will be impressed by your initiative!


If you’re like the large percentage of students who don’t know what they want to do in their life, the best thing you can do is: figure out what you don’t want. Talk to professionals in your interested industry and ask questions, learn what the day-to-day schedule looks like, and consider if that’s how you want your life to look like


De-risk!


After figuring out what you don’t want, if you decide that the startup life is for you, then it’s time to plan it out. Most people have a hard time transitioning from the security of a steady paycheck to giving that up to build their own idea. This is where Max’s suggestion to “de-risk” plays in.


Consider, if you have a job paying you £50,000 a year, and you want to quit to follow your own idea, all you need to maintain your current lifestyle is a micro fund of £50,000. This way, instead of thinking about starting a business in terms of how do I live with less? Consider: can I raise my income in a fund for my business? Your current salary is the minimum you would need to raise in order to pay yourself what you want, and spend your time developing your idea.


Build what the world will need in the future


When creating a startup, think about what the world looks like in 5 to 10 years, and then make that a reality. 3 years ago, Max thought correctly predicted privacy would be a growing issue for people. With that, he built out his startup and has safeguarded his venture.


Once you do start a company, he suggests moving away from the brand of a startup and very quickly transitioning to a tech company. “Building startups is a race for legitimacy,” says Max.

Startups are associated very heavily with risk and considered hopeful, and by moving away from that brand your company is more likely to be considered more legitimate. He also recommends writing a press release for both the 5-year and 10-year mark to keep clarity on what you want the startup to be.



Stay true to your idea with the right community


As Elon Musk once said, “running a startup is like chewing glass and staring into the abyss…”. Most know that startups have their long period of lows and also their extreme highs. You’re likely to get rejected a lot, especially at the start. With all the hurdles, it can become difficult to stay true to the idea. The most important thing is to be careful with your community and network. Gossip and reputation are closely tied in the tech space and finance industries. Basically, your credibility counts a bit more. Startups are defined by the team that way, with the right community in your team and board, you’ll have the support to set out to accomplish the idea it all began with.



“We all have one life, so we all have one narrative”


The startup ecosystem is made up of widely diverging paths and Max’s detailed insight is just one of many possible journeys. The budding European startup ecosystem is beginning to rival those in the US. So whether you drop out of university and start a company, or start this journey later in life, there is a growing ecosystem that awaits you.



The HIT Society will be hosting more events in the coming weeks where you can get a chance to hear from similarly successful hustlers, innovators, and trendsetters.



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