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Michael Baum
Michael Baum at Splunk in 2011
Born Michael Joseph Baum
May 28, 1962 (1962-05-28) (age 55)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
Residence San Francisco, California and
Paris, France
Education Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania
Drexel University
Occupation Entrepreneur, Investor and Philanthrapist
Known for Founder & CEO of
Co-founder & CEO of Splunk
Founder of Big Data Supper Club
Co-founder of Collation
VP e-Commerce at Yahoo!
Co-founder & COO of DotBank
VP e-Commerce at Disney
Co-founder & CEO of 280
Co-founder & CEO of Pensoft
Co-founder & CTO at Reality
Parent(s) Mardell A. Baum
Richard L. Baum, Sr.

Michael Baum (born May 28, 1962) is an American entrepreneur, investor and philanthropist. He is best known as the Founder & CEO of, a foundation supporting student innovation and entrepreneurship and Co-founder & CEO of Splunk, a big data software technology used for making sense of machine-generated data primarily for systems management,[1] security forensics,[2] compliance reporting[3] and real-time operational intelligence.[4] Baum is the founder of six technology start-ups, five of which have been acquired and one (NASDAQ: SPLK) which went public.[5] He has also been a Venture Capital investor with Rembrandt Venture Partners, Advent International and Crosspoint Venture Partners. Baum graduated with a computer science degree from Drexel University and an MBA from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.[6]


Baum was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and attended high school at Cherry Hill High School East where he was a competitive New Jersey state high school swimmer for four years. He graduated with a BS in Computer Science from Drexel University where his focus was on artificial intelligence and compiler and language theory. During his studies he worked as an intern at the IBM Silicon Valley Lab developing language parsing engines and with IBM Entry Systems Division where he was a software engineer responsible for power on self-diagnostics on the original IBM PC BIOS. He went on to earn a Masters of Business Administration with a focus on corporate finance from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and played hooker with the Wharton Rugby Team started the Wharton Venture Capital Club.

Michael says that in college he formed a curiosity for how computers and software could be applied to enable humans to make sense of large amounts of data in complex decision-making and he published his thesis titled Information Chunking and Human Decision Making.

“When I graduated from Drexel my plan was to become a researcher, but I realized after being offered positions with companies like IBM and Microsoft that being an entrepreneur would give me a better opportunity to see my ideas make an impact on the world around me," says Baum.

With that in mind, Baum pursued a career in technology and entrepreneurship. He teamed with co-founders Mark Goldstein and Doug Alexander and started, Reality Online, where they leveraged more than 100 years of historical financial instrument data to simulate market conditions, investment outcomes and portfolio optimizations for individual investors and certified financial planners. Reality was funded by Venrock, the venture capital arm of the Rockefeller family, and later acquired by Reuters in 1989.

After graduate school, Michael moved to Silicon Valley and started his second company, Pensoft, a software company that created a small footprint object-oriented database for wireless devices including the GO Corporation's pen-based computing operating system. It was here he first met Rob Das, the company's Chief Architect. Pensoft was backed by Institutional Venture Partners and Mohr Davidow Ventures. AT&T acquired the company in 1993. In his third start-up venture, Baum connected with Rob Das and Erik Swan as co-founders at 280, an early hosted business collaboration platform exploiting the Java (programming language) to bring real-time interaction around unstructured data to the Internet. Crosspoint Venture Partners backed 280. The company was acquired by Infoseek in 1997. Infoseek partnered with and later merged into The Walt Disney Company to form Disney Internet Group where Baum was VP of e-Commerce. He left Disney and joined co-founder Robert Simon to start his fourth company, dotBank, an Internet money exchange platform for person to person and business to business payments, synthetic currencies and financial transactions.[7] dotBank was later acquired by Yahoo![8] where Michael became VP of e-Commerce.

Big Data[edit]

With front line experience building and operating big web-based applications at Infoseek, Disney and Yahoo!, Baum developed an appreciation for the complexities of large-scale, distributed systems. His passion led him to pioneer several efforts to help humans better understand and manage indeterminate systems behavior by applying models of chaos theory to real-time machine-generated data sets. The first effort was focused on dynamic application and infrastructure mapping at Collation, his fifth startup. Along with co-founders Bob Roblin and Vinu Sundaresan, the team created a large-scale data center mapping platform and configuration management database systems that discovered and related all infrastructure, system and application components and provided the fundamental piece of the ITIL framework. Worldview Venture Partners and Prism Venture Partners backed Collation. The company was later acquired by IBM.[9]

In 2011 and 2012, Michael sponsored the Big Data Supper Club[10], a series of salon style evenings with hundreds of big data innovators, analysts, entrepreneurs, investors[11] and executives to discuss the potential of a better human condition through data science. The dinners were held in conjunction with the popular Strata Conference[12] in Palo Alto, CA and New York City where Baum judges the Startup Showcase a competition for entrepreneurs in the big data industry.


Continuing to explore the possibilities of advancing human understanding of chaotic systems,[13] Baum began to explore the application of search technology to large-scale machine data. Michael reconnected with Rob Das and Erik Swan in 2003 and the three co-founded Splunk.[14] Their goal was to build a search engine for real-time flows and massive historical corpuses of machine data.[15] Splunk was the sixth startup for Baum and the first pure-play big data company to reach significant customer and revenue scale and debut on the public markets. Baum, Das and Swan and their team at Splunk have been awarded two US Patents for their work.[16][17] Michael was Splunk's founding CEO for the first six years[18] and he raised $40M in venture capital financing from August Capital[19] Seven Rosen Funds, JK&B Capital[20] and Ignition Partners.[21][edit]

In 2012, Baum began work on, a non-profit with a mission to inspire student entrepreneurs to chase big ideas and become founders of impactful companies that drive innovation and economic growth. Baum believes global youth unemployment is a ticking time bomb and that young innovative companies are the key to a brighter economic future with more higher paying jobs for todays youth and college graduates. Over the next ten years, the foundation sets out to triple the number of university students starting successful companies by

  • Sponsoring university-based innovation and entrepreneur programs,
  • Conducting an annual competition where ten student startup teams win $100K funding grants[22] [23] [24],
  • Operating a founder skills education program for student founders and
  • Providing venture capital funding for student founder companies.[25]

Current partner schools include Carnegie Mellon University, Harvard Business School, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, New York University, Stanford University, University of California at Berkeley, University of Pennsylvania and University of Texas at Austin.

Venture Capital Investing[edit]

During his career Baum has invested as an venture capital and angel investor in more 35 technology and technology enabled startups. He has been a partner with Rembrandt Venture Partners,[26] Advent International and Crosspoint Venture Partners and a personal angel investor. Baum sits on the board of directors of innovative foods provider NewTree, content marketing data analytics company, Papershare [27], advertising big data company, Liveramp and travel technology provider, Rezopia.[28]

He is now helping students become founders of impactful companies through FOUNDER_org.


  • On July 1, 2005, Baum and his co-invetors were awarded United States Patent 7,937,344 - Machine Data Web.[29]
  • On August 28, 2006, he and his co-invetors were issued United States Patent 8,112,425 - Time Series Search Engine.[30]
  • On August 15, 2000, Baum and his co-inventors were issued United States Patent 7,792,20 - Person to Person Money Exchange.[31]

Awards and Honors[edit]

  • Fast Company names Splunk one of the World's Most Innovative Companies of 2013, April 10, 2013.
  • San Francisco Business Times names Splunk One of the Best Places to Work, San Francisco Business Times, 2008-2013.
  • Wharton Alumni Entrepreneur 2012[32]
  • The Deloitte Rising Star Award for Fastest Growing Company[33]
  • ComputerWorld awards Splunk founders Michael Baum, Rob Das and Erik Swan the ComputerWorld Horizon Award[34]


  1. ^ Stephen Sowyer. "Data Center Troubleshooting Rx". Enterprise Systems Journal website. Retrieved February 2, 2006. 
  2. ^ David Hubler. "Search fuels one small firm's dream of big data success". Washington Technology, The Authority for Government Contractors and Partners. Retrieved December 21, 2011. 
  3. ^ Andrew Gillies. "Mining Government Tech Dollars". Forbes. Retrieved April 23, 2008. 
  4. ^ Victor Hwang. "Revamping Spacecraft Operational Intelligence". NASA Technical Reports. Retrieved June 10, 2012. 
  5. ^ Olaf de Senerpont Domis. "Splunk shows spunk in market debut". The Deal. Retrieved April 20, 2012. 
  6. ^ Jennifer Royer. "Given Thanks to Alumni Inspired Excellence". Wharton Magazine. Retrieved November 27, 2012. 
  7. ^ Gallagher; et al. "Person to Person Money Exchange, United States Patent 7,792,20". US Patent Office. Retrieved August 15, 2000.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  8. ^ Lori Enos. "Yahoo! Targets eBay with Payment Service Acquisition". E-Commerce Times. Retrieved March 24, 2000.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  9. ^ Ann Bednarz. "IBM adds to system management, CMDB lineup with Collation buy". Network World. Retrieved November 16, 2005. 
  10. ^ Rich Brueckner. "Rembrandt Venture Partners See Gold in Big Data". Inside Big Data. Retrieved March 26, 2012. 
  11. ^ Sean Michael Kerner. "Where Big Money is Investing in Big Data". Enterprise Apps Today. Retrieved April 25, 2012. 
  12. ^ Alistair Croll. "Strata Conference in Santa Clara 2013 Startup Showcase". O'Reilly. Retrieved February 11, 2013. 
  13. ^ Clint Boulton. "Michael Baum, CEO Splunk Interview". Internet News. Retrieved September 22, 2006. 
  14. ^ "2006 Horizon Awards Winner: Splunk". ComputerWorld. Retrieved August 21, 2006. 
  15. ^ Lisa Vaas. "Splunk Brings Google-Like Search to the Data Center". eWeek. Retrieved August 9, 2005. 
  16. ^ Baum; et al. "Machine Data Web, United States Patent 7,937,344". United States Patent Office. Retrieved July 1, 2005. 
  17. ^ Baum; et al. "Time Series Search Engine, United States Patent 8,112,425". United States Patent Office. Retrieved August 28, 2006. 
  18. ^ Jeremy Geelan. "Splunk's Michael Baum Speaks with Jeremy Geelan". Sys-Con.TV. 
  19. ^ David Hornik. "A Tribute to Splunk". VentureBlog: A Walk Down Sand Hill Road. Retrieved July 2012.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  20. ^ "Splunk Gets $10M". Light Reading. Retrieved January 25, 2006. 
  21. ^ Matt Marshall. "Splunk Raisers $25M". VentureBeat. Retrieved September 11, 2007. 
  22. ^ Jeff Burton. "Two SkyDeck Companies Make the Cut with". SkyDeck From the Executive Director's Chair. Retrieved June 4, 2013. 
  23. ^ UT Austin Mechanical Engineering and Faculty Innovation Center. "AdBm Wins $100,000 Stratup Grant". Retrieved July 3, 2013. 
  24. ^ Jane Nho. "Two Berkeley Startups win $100,000 Dollars Each to Expand". The Daily Californian. Retrieved June 5, 2013. 
  25. ^ Tony Wan. "Securly Raises Over $1M to Safeguard School Internet". Edsurge. Retrieved October 23, 2013. 
  26. ^ Lisa Sibley. "Michael Baum Joins Rembrandt as Venture Partner". Silicon Valley Business Journal. Retrieved June 29, 2011. 
  27. ^ Bruce Rogers; et al. "PaperShare Automates Content Marketing". Forbes Insights Profiles. Retrieved September 24, 2013. 
  28. ^ "Rezopia People". Bloomberg BusinessWeek. Retrieved July 29, 2013. 
  29. ^ Baum; et al. "United States Patent 7,937,344 - Machine Data Web". United States Patent Office. Retrieved May 3, 2011. 
  30. ^ Baum; et al. "United States Patent 8,112,425 - Time Series Search Engine". United States Patent Office. Retrieved February 7, 2012. 
  31. ^ Gallager; et al. "United States Patent 7,792,20 - Person to Person Money Exchange". United States Patent Office. Retrieved August 15, 2000.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  32. ^ Emily Cieri, Managing Director Wharton Entrepreneurship. "Keeping Kids off the Streets". Wharton Entrepreneurship Blog. Retrieved November 2, 2012. 
  33. ^ "Splunk Ranked #1 in Deloitte’s Technology Fast 50 Rising Star". Deloitte Fast 50 Awards. Retrieved 2008.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  34. ^ Drew Robb. "2006 Horizon Awards Winner: Splunk". Retrieved August 21, 2006. 

External links[edit]

Category:Splunk people Category:Yahoo people Category:Infoseek people Category:Disney people Category:People from Philadelphia Category:People from Ross, California Category:People from San Francisco Category:People from Paris Category:IBM people Category:1962 births Category:Living people Category:American computer businesspeople Category:American philanthropists Category:Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania alumni Category:Alumni of the University of Pennsylvania Category:Alumni of Drexel University Category:Angel investors Category:American technology company founders