Brandon Drew
IMPACT INVESTING

Brandon Drew

#57

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SaaS Investor/Board Member – Advisor/Deep Technology Enthusiast

Scaling a company – Brandon L. Drew

“Just when you think you’ve figured it all out, the dynamics change”

ABOUT

Brandon is a technology investor with a deep passion for the entrepreneurial spirit startup ecosystem. He specializes in operational efficiency and building and scaling products that have achieve great market penetration; specifically in the SaaS space. He started his career early as a paralegal for a US Bankruptcy Trustee at the DOJ where he investigated over 700 cases a month for fraudulent filings while studying his undergrad. After he graduated Cal Poly SLO he worked for a young startup in Krakow, Poland restructuring the company starting two joint ventures in Japan and the United Kingdom doubling the size of the company and 5x revenue. After returning to the states worked at Merrill Lynch managing $450MM along with his team, focusing on alternative Investments and Specialized Products. Wanting to get back to his passion, building products, he has been a founder or founding employee for a number of SaaS, eCommerce and mobile companies. His focus has been building products that have repeatable and scalable revenue stream across company business units.

He has opened subsidiaries in Poland, The Netherlands, Switzerland and has operated development teams on various contents. Currently he is a mentor at 500 StartUps and Highway1, as well as Advisor and Board Member for various companies in the Bay Area. He enjoys an active lifestyle with his family, a 3x Ironman finisher and a marathon swimmer.

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THE FULL INTERVIEW

Brandon Drew

The full #OPNAskAnAngel talk

Jeffery:
All right, well Brandon, it sounds like we’re already in action. We’re already moving and shaking so let’s just jump right into it.

Brandon:
Would love to

Jeffery:
Awesome, welcome. We’re very excited to have you here today. The best way for us to start is if you can give us a little bit of a background on kind of where you’ve come from, where you’re at and where you’re kind of moving to and then uh, one thing about you that nobody would know.

Brandon:
Great, well I appreciate everybody having me on today. It’s a pleasure. My again, my name is Brandon Drew and based out of San Francisco Bay Area. Been involved in tech for well over 20 years. Um first dip my toe into technology when I was going through my academics at cal poly where I studied engineering and business. During that time period, I actually work for the Department of Justice as a law clerk Reviewing over 500 bankruptcy cases a month over five years.

So I jokingly say I learned what not to do in business before I got into business. And since leaving cal poly, I’ve been a part of five companies as a founder of a co-founding employee with three exits underneath my belt. And in between that time I did a brief stint at Merrill Lynch, where I managed about 450 million with a team of three guys. I really realized where my superpower lies throughout my career is understanding the fiscal aspect of the business or the balancing P&L to understand the health of the organization, as well as having a deep part product background and be able to take a young company with some product market fit and develop, develop a go to market strategy for them so that they can impact the business at a faster rate that they could do internally. Through that process, I last I left my last, my last operator role About five or 7 years ago, um, and have since then been working with companies in an advisory board or board seat capacity. And just about a couple years ago started a fund called SAAS Growth Ventures with my partner Arm Cason, uh, where we do what we do, what we love to do best, which is impact company’s revenue. And then if we find companies that we can impact, then we directly invested them. So we’re extremely deliberate in terms of what our company does, SAAS growth ventures. We are, you can almost look at this as a hybrid of private equity and venture and that we have an operating arm that directly impacts the company’s revenue and by doing so revenues directly correlated to valuation. And that’s where our primary thesis is. Um, in terms of what people probably don’t know for me is uh, you know, the usual, uh, if you do know me, you know, I’m a family guy, father of three kids. Uh, and what I like to call PK or pre kids, I was an endurance athlete doing triathlons and marathons swims, but now that I’m locked in on family and as well as covid, uh I’ve been a beekeeper for over 10 years and I would say that that is my side passion.

And as my wife says, she questions my ability to bee keeping. But we have to remind her is that it’s not be harvesting and beekeeping because if you can keep them and all your beekeeper, they’re pretty difficult to maintain sometimes.

Jeffery:
So awesome. Well that’s uh, that’s a great little background and interesting. But the one that I, the first thing that caught my attention was the beekeeping side.

So I was kind of excited to jump into that aspect of it. What got you started in beekeeping? When did you start? You know?

Brandon:
Yeah, that’s a great question. So it’s kind of a little bit of a try and convince the story down as tight as possible. When I was working on Merrill lynch, I actually saw a couple, you know, you come in, you have to stay the market’s current trends. And I saw a couple reports to my eye that came across my desk within our financial analyst group, which was beekeeping and if we lost the bees and you know, the world’s going to collapse.

And I was like, well that’s kind of important. And at the same time going back and forth from work on NPR I was hearing the same thing and so I did, you know, a little bit of my own research and lo and behold when my closest friends out of San Francisco, his family has a ranch up in Oregon and his parents are in town and his dad’s a commercial beekeeper, more of a hobbyist, but he has about 50 bee colonies on his property.

And so let’s just put it this way, one thing leads to another three or four bottles of wine, if not more by the end of the night, he’s like well if you love bees this much you should become a beekeeper and I’ll give you to my beehives. I was like great idea. Next week we had 2BS and uh down in san to be I guess in San Francisco and I was scratching my head going what are we gonna do now? And basically took a crash course of beekeeping out of Marin County Library. Um And then from then we have my buddy brian and I, we’ve been beekeeping ever since.

We’ve done a lot better than where we were. So now I’m actually known in my area for if there’s any beef problems or swarm issues, they call upon me and I get my kids in there and I teach at the schools and kids classrooms and uh there’s probably about three or four neighbors now that I’ve also helped train up. So my nephew is now a beekeeper. So it’s a lot of fun. And I will say this that about beekeeping. I think this is a great analogy for tech and anything else is just when you think you’ve figured it all out, the dynamics change, right? So I’m learning year to year. Um and there’s a great group of people out here that I can to support beekeeping groups. It’s not fun.

Jeffery:
Awesome. Well, I think to a lot of you have whether climate change is a lot of things that can affect hive and and how it how it’s active, that obviously you have the queen bee and there’s a lot of problems wi