Humanity will prevail. We do not know everything about this terrible virus, but we do know that it is not harming and/or killing everyone that contracts it. I am not sure the timing of when this all will blow over, but it will and when it does, people need to be ready to get back on the offense in every sense of the word.
As a part of my series about the things we can do to remain hopeful and support each other during anxious times, I had the pleasure of interviewing Saxon Baum. Saxon is the VP of Investor Relations at Florida Funders, one of the most active Venture Capital firms in the state of Florida. Saxon has been working in early stage technology and Venture Capital for about 10 years and has a deep background in business development and fundraising. Saxon brings a unique perspective by being a former entrepreneur turned investor.
Florida Funders is a hybrid venture capital fund and early-stage investment platform led by a team of investors, innovators and senior level executives fixated on transforming Florida from the Sunshine State to the Startup State. Florida Funders propels investment by utilizing their community of investors, network of partners and a unique platform that provides transparency, fosters communication and empowers strategic relationships. For more information on Florida Funders, please visit www.floridafunders.com. Keep up with the latest news from Florida Funders on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the backstory about what brought you to your specific career path?
Moving to FL as an entrepreneur with a startup technology company in 2013, I was put in a unique situation to see the early stage technology ecosystem grow in the state of FL over the past seven years. I have always had the entrepreneurial spirit and I wanted to be in a position to run my own company from an early age. Following the exit of my first technology company, I was in a position to join Florida Funders as one of the first employees. At the time, 2017, Florida was beginning to emerge as a new hub for technology and venture capital and we, as Florida Funders, were in a great position to capitalize. Fast forward three years, we are now the most active VC in the state of FL with over 40 portfolio companies, a team of 15, and a pipeline of potential investments opportunities as strong as any firm in the world.
Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?
The most recent book I read, “What it Takes” by Steve Schwartzman the CEO of Blackstone, is quite possibly the best business book I have ever read. Steve has an amazing story of not only how he became successful, but of how he grew his company and the integral team members and investments they made to truly create the best PE firm in the world. The one nugget, out of many, that resonates the best with me is his notion that “It’s as easy to do something big as it is to do something small.” This truly applies to all types of business and many different scenarios. For me, this might mean it is as easy to ask someone to invest $50k as it is to ask them to invest $5M. The same work is going to go into both scenarios, so why not reach for the stars?. I truly believe that many individuals have a fear of asking or reaching above their threshold because they are scared of rejection. What is the worst that is going to happen? Someone will say no?.
Ok, thank you for all that. Now let’s move to the main focus of our interview. Many people have become anxious from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. The fears related to the coronavirus pandemic have heightened a sense of uncertainty, fear, and loneliness. From your perspective can you help our readers to see the “Light at the End of the Tunnel”? Can you share your “5 Reasons To Be Hopeful During this Corona Crisis”? If you can, please share a story or example for each.
- Humanity will prevail. We do not know everything about this terrible virus, but we do know that it is not harming and/or killing everyone that contracts it. I am not sure the timing of when this all will blow over, but it will and when it does, people need to be ready to get back on the offense in every sense of the word.
- Life must continue. Although our lives will forever be dramatically changed, life has to go on. Individuals and companies are going to adjust to working remotely and this will become somewhat of a norm. Business will be forever changed, but out of this time of fear and uncertainty will come innovation and change that will better the world forever moving forward.
- Slowing down is not always a bad thing. This might just be the “freeze” in the world that some people need. The world is more connected than ever and information travels faster than we could have ever imagined. People are stressed and they can never relax and take a step back. This is a perfect time to think about a reset and try things you have always wanted to get into like meditation or reading.
- Do not be lonely. Although we can not physically be together right now, let’s make sure we are still together, virtually. Chat on the phone with friends, family and colleagues. Video call when you can to see people’s faces. Just because we are at home does not mean we can not communicate!
- We are all in this together. Unlike many other global issues in the past such as war or economic downturn that affect different people in different ways and affect some countries and not others, this virus is affecting the world as a whole. There is one common enemy here. We need to band together as a human race to support each other and beat this thing. If we all work together and get through this together, we will come out stronger on the other side.
From your experience or research what are five steps that each of us can take to effectively offer support to those around us who are feeling anxious? Can you explain?
- Take a deep breath. Chances are, you or your family may be affected by this. Some things you can control and some things you cannot. So do your part, stay at home and practice social distancing.
- Do not let the media control your life. Stay informed, but do not let the media dictate how you feel.
- Meditate. There are many types of meditation that will help you clear your head. I practice transcendental meditation, but any type of meditation will help you slow down and relax.
- Talk to friends. Everyone is going through this so talk to others and share a laugh.
- Stay Active. If you are able to, walk around outside as much as you can. If you are not able to go outside, then bring activities inside of your house like online yoga classes.
What are the best resources you would suggest to a person who is feeling anxious?
App Based: Calm
Meditation: Practice TM, research mediation and see what works for you
Workout: Online classes with CorePower have been great
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?
“Look up, look down, and look around. No matter if you are rich or poor, you always need to know how everyone else in the world is living and you should never forget how lucky you are to be here.” When I was traveling in Bali, a famous Yogi, Wannanna, told me that quote and it makes you realize no matter how bad or great your life is, there are always people below you and above you. So look around and live your life knowing how others are living as well. Never forget you’re not the only person on this planet.
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
I do not think we think we need a movement, but need a shift in the way we live our lives, and I think this virus might be the catalyst to do so. We need to be more positive and more collective as humanity. I really hope these crazy times bring the world’s people closer than ever. This virus has shown people how quickly bad things can travel around the world. Lets come out of this showing how positive thoughts and feelings can change the world.
What is the best way our readers can follow you online?
@Saxonemanuel on Twitter
Thank you for these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in your great work!