David Robinson, founder of DSM Technology Consultants, is a serial entrepreneur who has launched 15 companies using DSM as their incubator.
"If I could have chosen any job out of school, I would have loved to have been in Bell Labs solving technology problems," he said. "I took a different approach. Everything I did was solving business problems with technology. I've operated on five of the seven continents. My latest venture, Inzata, is less than one year old and was just awarded a patent in the big data space. We sold my last company, Intelimedix, to Blue Health Intelligence, a licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association. Intelimedix was a health informatics company doing big data analytics. I also have a network security company called Impulse.com."
Those companies and many more spun out of DSM, Robinson's original startup. DSM offers a secure private cloud with integration to public clouds providing IT solutions for data protection, disaster recovery and security services.
"I was recruited out of college to work for a company just growing through the roof in the second year of business," Robinson explained. "I had been with them for 18 months when they told me I had to fire 15 people who I just hired. At that point, I told myself I would never work for someone again so I founded DSM in 1986. I launched it with all three of us: me, myself and I and I grew it. Now, DSM is a journeyman, meaning that if everyone is on one of the many steps to get to cloud nirvana, we help guide them and place them in the right place. We have our own cloud with multi-cloud capability. We have cloud architects and execute our clients' cloud strategy. Specifically we help our clients focus on their business instead of the technology that runs it."
Robinson's advice for aspiring entrepreneurs is to focus on achieving positive cash flow and aligning yourself with the right people. "I'm a firm believer in getting your bottom line under control," he said. "If you have investments, whether sweat or external, get to positive cash flow as soon as possible in the first year to 18 months. If your idea can't cash flow in that time, then you need a different set of pockets. You can also get too many people talking in your ear. Make sure you have the right mentors and coaches. You need good people. Without them, the best idea falls flat on its face."