A Law Student from Washington University, St Louis, Brian learned about blockchain and cryptocurrency early on in 2012 – this is before it became commercial. He became infatuated with the concept and started doing intensive research when he wasn’t in class. He ended up aggregating a ton of information he ended up writing several books on it.
“This is going to be very impactful”
This is what Brian thought before he changed courses and dedicated all his energies in early-stage cryptocurrency startups in different cities. The challenge he faced was that they were all looking for technical engineers to build their product and he had no technical background. “So at that time I decided – you know if I wanted to try to get into the space, I need to figure out a different route into it.”
That is when he figuratively as well as literally walked into working for Capital Innovators in one of the co-working spaces he visited. From working for free as an intern to becoming COO in a span of 6 years, is what Brian teaches about following one’s passion coupled with a strong sense of investing correctly.
Brian has learned and applied his education in blockchain across the world as well as disciplines. He feels lucky to get the chance to do so and says, “it’s been a lot of fun.”
Talking about investments at Capital Innovators he shares; “We seek companies from all around the world. Right now we are running three programs a year. Two are focused on technology and consumer products and one is focused on energy technology that we run on behalf of an energy corporation that is based out of St. Louis.”
Capital Innovators vets around 1100 – 1300 companies from across 60-70 countries every year and they do their due diligence before they bring the number down to just 6 per accelerator program – in which they invest in.
The reason why they keep the cap at 6 businesses is because Capital Innovators is very intensive during the 12-week accelerator program. It is very hands-on and very high touch. They even differentiate themselves through their mentorship program.
Capital Innovators has so far invested in 122 companies with 85% of the businesses still operating and growing. They have collectively gone on to raise over $330 Million in capital and created over 1200 jobs. Now those are some amazing stats!
Speaking on the topic of remote employment, Brian is of the opinion that more and more companies have become adept at operating remotely even if they have localized teams. However, when it comes to engineering, companies face a huge challenge to fill in the talent gap.
“9/10 they have a big challenge trying to find really great people where they are located,” hence, they “leverage remote engineers that can help and scale their products.”
In all his years investing in global businesses, he shares that the type of technologies are better depending on where they are located, for example, a country like Israel is great with cybersecurity and a lot of times startups are geared towards this technology.
Learn more about what Brian has to share, especially how the cohort at Capital Innovators operates.