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Build a Business Allowing People to Invest in the Things They Never Thought Possible - Mythic Markets Founder Joe Mahavuthivanij tells how he did it

Allowing People to Invest in the Things They Never Thought Possible – Mythic Markets Founder Joe Mahavuthivanij tells how he did it | Ep. #26 Business Podcast

Allowing People to Invest in the Things They Never Thought Possible – Mythic Markets Founder Joe Mahavuthivanij tells how he did it | Ep. #26 Business Podcast

Build a Business Allowing People to Invest in the Things They Never Thought Possible - Mythic Markets Founder Joe Mahavuthivanij tells how he did it
Build a Business Allowing People to Invest in the Things They Never Thought Possible – Mythic Markets Founder Joe Mahavuthivanij tells how he did it

Summary

Joe Mahavuthivanij of Mythic Markets is a repeat entrepreneur with a great story of how he landed founding Mythic Markets that allows people to invest in the most unusual things.

Mythic Markets is an investing platform and community for pop culture fans. And get this, they’re venture-backed and based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Their team actually met at Comic Con in San Diego and California’s best burritos (so Joe says). Between meeting and getting funded their team has worked at places like Apple, Fandom, Google and Uber. 

Tune in to hear Joe’s amazing adventure that led him to Mythic Markets, you’ll leave inspired.

Don’t forget to the check out our monthly print newsletter…
👉  https://BSuccessSecrets.com

Brandon: 

Hello, friends. Welcome to another episode of Build a business success Secrets. I am your host, Brandon C. White. And today got a really cool episode for you, Joe. From mythic Market. 

Brandon: 

We’ll talk about how he built a business allowing people to invest in the most interesting things that you would never guess. 

Brandon: 

Unexpected things but things that you always wished you might be able to own. 

Brandon: 

You don’t wanna miss this episode supercool Joe And I know each other from a mastermind group that needs in Palo Alto, California. 

Brandon: 

I’m not gonna waste another second. 

Brandon: 

Let’s get to it. 

Brandon: 

Hey. 

Brandon: 

Hey, everybody, Welcome to another episode. We’ve got Joe here from mythic markets and Joe and I met you and I met through a mastermind that I have been I just be candidates say awful at participating since this whole code because we jump on Zoom and I’m either I don’t know why I think I’m zoomed out on this job, but welcome to the podcast. Thanks for coming in. And, Joe, help me. We were talking before we got on here. Pronounce your last name for all the listeners. 

Brandon: 

Sure it’s ma ha Booty Vanni. It’s ah It’s a tie last name, but Joe works justice Justus. 

Joe: 

Well, you know that’s awesome. But that’s a that’s a great last name, and if my get over my dyslexia, I will be able to pronounce it at some point. So hey, thanks for coming on. You tell us you and I have talked and the mastermind we always go around for our listeners. Masterminds, really. A group of this group is in Paulo Alto, and it’s a group of people who have been through the Y. C program and we’ve gotten together. It’s pretty cool, and you go around given update to everybody which does help with accountability and realize that you may or may not have gotten done something done by the from the previous meeting and then ask for help. 

Brandon: 

So, Joe, can you tell us a little bit about how the heck you wound up with thick markets and how that even bins? 

Brandon: 

I mean, other than the fact that you’re probably a pulp culture guy and I purposely wore my Star Wars shirt that probably ages me a little bit today for for this podcast. 

Brandon: 

Sure, so let’s see. 

Brandon: 

I mean, like you mentioned, we met at this sort of mastermind group. And just to clarify it was for the startup y Combinator startup school on. I know that. Why, why? She likes to sort of make sure that there’s that differentiation for their brand. 

Joe: 

Yeah, thank you for doing that. So that we’re FTC compliant. 

Brandon: 

Eso I mean, I guess you know, my my background is, you know, has been in product and growth that start ups of all stages. But prior to starting mythic markets, I’ve been a lifelong geek, primarily a collector, investor and trader of a collectible card game called Magic The Gathering. And that’s sort of like Dungeons and Dragons and card form. And so I a master collection since the beginning of the game. Well, since 1994. And my collection was stolen when my car was stolen back in in 2000 and 2000 and two. 

Joe: 

And so, you know, back then insurance, you know, was able toe kind of pay me for about $5000 of sort of the value of the collection of the time, which, you know, seemed seemed substantial for anybody that sort of outside of that game. But today those cards would be worth in excess of a million dollars. 

Joe: 

And so yeah, yeah, it’s It’s incredible how much the value of the cards and the collection has increased during that time. 

Joe: 

So a million, A million dollars? 

Brandon: 

Yeah. So if you take a look at like, for instance, you’ve got the home page up now, you know, you can see, for instance, like the black lotus at the bottom, you know, that’s depending on the grade. You know that particular one that we have now is about $90,000. And I had several of those, for instance, and, uh, along along with many other sort of high value cards that go way back to the beginning of the game. 

Joe: 

And so you know that it’s the original collectible card game. The word trading is, you know, sort of in the collectible. Just it’s a trading card game. And you know, these cards trade very much like stocks like unregulated securities between people. And they all have individual value. Most of them, you know, in the you know, let’s say one tow $100 range. But as the game has kind of grown and in terms of its player base. And throughout sort of the last 26 years, the value of these certain certain cards have been skyrocketing, beating the market and gold in real estate and other alternatives. Handily, we’ve seen the same thing in, you know, the comic book universe, especially with the popularity of superhero film genre driving a lot of that value. So an example is like Wonder Woman being a $10,000 book before the movie came out and that sounds like a lot. But it became a copy of it sold for 930,000 like two months after the movie came out. Because suddenly you know you, you had literally billions of new fans of that particular character and her origin stories and, you know, just had way more people aware of that character. And so So that’s, ah, big driver of the popularity of that particular book. For instance, now that Marvel owns practically everything, you can pretty much expect that especially given that like movies like Black Panther and Infinity, War and The Avengers and So Forth have become so popular in the highest grossing films that Disney is gonna continue pumping, pumping those out and So, you know, we also see the same thing with, like, Star Wars collectibles and that sort of thing. 

Joe: 

So everybody has, like, sort of their fandom. And, you know, my history, at least with magic, has sort of brought me to recognizing, you know, this trend and being sort of investing myself, I guess I forget to mention that, you know, prior to starting this company, I spent a few years in venture capital investing primarily in Fintech in enterprise SAS startups. And so, you know, kind of combining that experience with magic and collecting and investing and all these things kind of probable these things together into into this new business concept. 

Joe: 

So I want to go back a little bit. 

Brandon: 

Did you set out? 

Brandon: 

I mean, I know you were in the venture space, and you and I have talked about a little bit about that, but I like to go back before that. Like, did you ever dream of becoming an encore, or did that just happen? Or how did you wind up here? 

Brandon: 

Yeah. So my parents I grew up with entrepreneur parents and who were immigrants to this country. And so you know, my My dad is Chinese, born in Bangkok. My mom is Chinese, born in Seoul, Korea, South Korea. And they met here and started a number of small businesses and worked super hard so and and in their own words, so that, you know, my sister and I wouldn’t have to. And so But as it often turns out, we often take after our parents and, you know, kind of gettinto those same things because, you know, they sort of lead by example. 

Joe: 

And, I don’t know, I guess have been in tech for a long time. You were here in the valley. I I happen to be in San Francisco and, uh, you know, sort of the place to be when it comes to being a tech tech founder, at least for the time being. 

Joe: 

So have you always lived here in the Bay Area? 

Brandon: 

Except for the time I spent in college in San Diego, in San Diego? 

Joe: 

And that’s where I will get Thio. I know you met some of your co founders there. I think a comic con, but so walk me through you. You go to college. And what did you think you were going to become when you were in college, so I’ve never been a great student. 

Brandon: 

But I did study psychology at UCSD University of California, San Diego, and I transferred there from, Ah, Community College here in the Bay Area again. Not a great student. And but, you know, in college it’s college in general is just a great opportunity to learn more about yourself, meet people from all different kinds of backgrounds and areas and making friends and sort of expand, you know, your community and you know your opportunities and and that sort of thing. 

Joe: 

And so colleges, where I met my well and broader San Diego is where I met my co founders and also my team. In fact, two thirds of our team, you know, where a team of nine and two thirds of our team have known each other, depending on the relationship for between 10 and 20 years. You know, whether it was growing up together, meeting in college, meeting in San Diego between friends of friends and so forth. And so we’re really lucky to be ableto work with each other. I mean, because I studied psych. 

Joe: 

I kind of figured like that might be the path that I would go. The problem is that, like, you know, the social sciences air so broad and there’s no riel sort of clear path. 

Joe: 

And I just I I knew I wasn’t good enough. Student toe go into, like, a clinical environment. And so, ultimately psychology, you know, serves Thio, help me understand people and and work with people. And I think, like, that’s probably the more valuable aspect of the degree part. 

Joe: 

Yes. So I have a psychology degree as well. One of the lines that I gave everybody Joe was I just told everybody was going to become a lawyer. 

Brandon: 

Like, you know, my grandfather was a lawyer, but I didn’t actually really didn’t do anything. Thio make that happen. But everybody, you know, when you’re in college like, Hey, Joe, what you gonna do when you get out? And they say, Hey, Brandon, what you gonna do? I’d be like, I’m gonna be a lawyer. Oh, well, that sounds good. And that was the end of the conversation and getting more crap. Really? Right. So what did you tell people? When when people asked you that question like, Hey, Joe, you gotta get your psychology degree. What you gonna dio? 

Brandon: 

I mean upon graduating, and it seems like this is the case every year where you know, new graduates, the store where the line is. You know, there’s not very many jobs like the environment is terrible for new grads, etcetera. And now is definitely the case. But, you know, at the time it was a lot of sort of sales and, you know, sort of marketing related roles for for psych new grads that weren’t going on to grad school. And in San Diego, at least, the popular industries are engineering as it is, many places defense and also biotech health care. 

Joe: 

And so I was none of those things. So the options were limited and, you know, sort of as a result of having a limited set of options. You know, you kind of have toe hustle. And, you know, I always kind of knew that I was into, you know, starting businesses and and technology provides a great modality for that. And so during college, I started a discussion based community that was ultimately, like sued by the university for for using the letters you and see what you can do and you know UCSD and things like that. You can’t There’s specific, like university judicial code against using the university’s s. 

Joe: 

So let me understand this. Your student, you are creating a community. Was this around pop culture and things, or was it or just a like student life? 

Brandon: 

So, you know, we we launched one month before Facebook, and oftentimes these things happen all at the same time. So it wasn’t just Facebook. It wasn’t just us. It wasn’t just, you know, there were many of these types of college base communities popping up everywhere. 

Joe: 

Yeah, I remember that. So but the thing that just blowing my mind a little bit here, Joe is the college student sues the students who are community around community life with further promotes the brand. 

Brandon: 

Yes, that’s right. 

Brandon: 

That’s right. So So you cannot. It’s a lot of just the technical, intellectual intellectual property rules on campus, and you just can’t create anything. And this is true of any other brand as well that you cannot create something that’s necessarily derivative. That might confuse, could create confusion associations that makes sense. 

Joe: 

So you basically you and some other people you literally got suitor you get a cease and desist letter, and then you just stopped. 

Brandon: 

Yeah, so we got, like, this cease and desist letters we got, like the, you know, we got brought in by the judicial Committee. The it went thio. I mean, it’s all it’s if you google for it, it’s it’s still there, but yeah, we we were threatened with expulsion, you know, we were brought. It was it was pretty bad, you know? 

Joe: 

All right, so that means you were doing something right? So the community must have been growing. 

Brandon: 

Yeah. So I think that our peak, we probably had, like, 30,000 students We fought for years to kind of keep it up. And ultimately, when Once Facebook’s have proliferated through the community and they were going to stop Facebook, you know, we just we our goal was to grow through the U C community, whereas they were, you know, going through the I V s and and so forth. But yeah, I mean, you know, we just didn’t get to, you know, the level of growth and frankly, like ambition that Facebook had, And as students on a quarterly system, like every five and 10 weeks we have midterms and finals and stuff. We just We just couldn’t keep up And we were just beaten down pretty good and worked with us the associate students to try to make it a student utility. But it was It was it was a tough time. 

Joe: 

So you that’s awesome. 

Brandon: 

I didn’t actually didn’t know you that you had built a community. I loved the online community stuff. So you do that. And then did you do that through college? Or did you extend that after college and try to make turn that into a business? 

Brandon: 

So shortly after college, we we kind of, like, spun it down because Facebook was just getting so much scheme, and we decided just we wanted to pursue different things. Eso This was my roommate night, my college roommate night. And yeah, so ultimately just decided to move on. 

Joe: 

So you spend this thing down and you move on to So at the time, San Diego was starting to become a, you know, starting to build up its its startup scene and s. 

Brandon: 

So I joined a startup called Eventful. The Events in Menu Database and did a lot of sort of marketing there, particularly on on like social media. It was like a combination of, like marketing sales, working with various spans and artists and politicians and comedians and so forth to use our product and expand their their their fan base. All of this was like not called, you know, following or, you know, social media or any of this kind of stuff. Back then. 

Joe: 

What year is this about, uh, 2000 and like 5 2000 and six, something like that. 

Brandon: 

So that predated basically most things that we recognize the social media today from there joined a small, you know, So that was that was a growing startup. 

Joe: 

I think at that point, we’d raised about $10 million which back then was a lot of money that in some cases, like a seed around these days. And then I joined a small startup, another small startup, and we built widgets when widgets were thing. 

Joe: 

And so, you know, you could put like a flash based widget on your MySpace page or, you know, ah, flash based widget on your like wages where everything, man, right. 

Joe: 

Like everybody was going crowd. Remember, I was on the East Coast of that time and it was Everyone’s like, I got a widget app. I got a widget at the widget on your desktop. It could do this. It could do that. It was like And isn’t it funny, though, Joe, that were sort of going back to the desktop light install stuff now, but yeah, I remember that. So funny. Do the widget time. That was crazy. So did that work out? 

Brandon: 

So we had one investor in Mark Cuban, and we were small team. I think we were seven people, and, uh, that company ended up becoming acquired by a O. L. And became our widgets became sort of the basis of their It was called, like my a o l like homepage. 

Joe: 

That’s right, because because I was at a well working at a well, then what? It was like 2007 2007, I think. 

Brandon: 

Oh, okay. You may be familiar with company gooey media. 

Joe: 

Yeah, I dio I do remember. I am. Yeah, I spent some time at a Well, they’re great time. But the widget stuff And then it was my a o l homepage, and we did all sorts of stuff. Well, It was interesting. The media play the media was like gravy for us money. It was really the dialogue. But, you know, we had Bill pay and that I worked on and things like that. So yeah, that’s pretty cool. So you get your first taste of what an acquisition is Now, Did you go work for a O. L as a like subsidiary so hard that some of the team did move up from San Diego to Santa Monica and I opted to stay in San Diego and then, uh, and then started building. 

Brandon: 

What would you What was it at that time? So I think I was building. So I started building like Facebook APS around that time and released a couple of APS when that was sort of the big opportunity Thio chase cold and none of our APs ever really like, knocked it out of the park. 

Joe: 

We had some that went viral, but, you know, we’ve had some. They just They never became as Bigas. You know, we thought they could be at the time. 

Joe: 

That was the gold rush. Now, Joe, I don’t even I don’t know if this makes me learn. I just don’t Facebook. 

Brandon: 

I don’t see a lot of those acts are to you. 

Brandon: 

So most of the apse have gone the way of the dodo. The platform itself, like, really was a missed opportunity. And I think you know, a lot of that had to do with privacy and changing priorities with with with Facebook as a whole. But, you know, really, like, if you think about it as, like an APP store, you know, sort of, you know, certainly predated the apple App store. 

Joe: 

You know, Facebook was trying to build itself as a platform and for whatever reason, decided Thio move away from that strategy. 

Joe: 

But wasn’t that great? Because I remember as a marketer, you could tap right into the your users and you got all their information as it relates to their profile. So from a marketing perspective, you know, selling a product to these people was it was really cool. They used to have that game was a farm animal game, wasn’t it that that everybody played or something? 

Brandon: 

Well, Farmville was was one of the really popular ones. I mean, it still is really popular. Zynga’s still a thing, believe it or not. And there are still some some maps. But, you know, I think once some of these games became popular, like off the platform, then sort of logging into, you know, instead of having like, for instance, when a o. L had, like, a well specific chat rooms and all this other stuff it’s like when they spun out, like a meme or or some of the other products. You could just log in using your Facebook log in and and so forth and still tap into your graph data, and they wouldn’t have toe host anything on on site. 

Joe: 

So I wanna ask you a question, Joe, because I’m sitting here and listening to you and I’m thinking maybe some listeners who are gonna, you know, with all this stuff with privacy and you and I are let’s just call it the older Internet generation, right? 

Brandon: 

Like if you could talk about a O. L then you’re you’re you’re from sort of a different era, but we’re still young, but but we did you know, we were there, you know, as a pioneer in the early days, and there’s this whole conversation around privacy, and I can imagine some people getting raising their eyebrows by my comment of, you know, isn’t it great that we can get all the user data? 

Brandon: 

And I’m interested in your thoughts? Because, really, Joe, isn’t it true? I mean, you try to educate people, but people have been marketing and gathering data going back to the catalog industry. When the catalogers would share for free on these exchanges, they were they were match up buyers and build profiles of people. 

Brandon: 

I mean, it was a little bit more manual, and maybe the technology scares people. 

Brandon: 

But what do you think about this whole thing about tracking and privacy and how that works? 

Brandon: 

I’m probably, you know, less sort of doom and gloom about it than most I kind of looked at is inevitable. You know, there’s just going to be, like targeting works, and that data is valuable. I remember, like using, you know, club like like grocery store club cards. You know, they like I oh, I’m gonna get I’m gonna save 50 cents on on this item. But like now they know exactly what I’m buying. And they could target, you know, coupons and also the stuff. And our phones, for instance, are tracking us constantly. You know, we are passively used as data for tracking traffic. Or certainly these days, like, you know, you could probably justify the use of our location data for, like, contact tracing for co vid. And so, you know, there’s a lot of, like, good uses for that data. 

Joe: 

I’m not necessarily like of the camp that I’m going to be the owner of my data and I’m going to charge people for it Like I guess, like, that could be a thing. 

Brandon: 

But I’m just I just kind of look at it as like, you know, they’re benefiting, and so am I. 

Joe: 

In a lot of ways, yeah, here’s the thing that that’s really interested in the media is is that people get really upset that people are collecting card. 

Joe: 

I think that I think the shopping thing is a great example, like how many people have been using their shopping code in their supermarket forever to save 50 cents on it? 

Joe: 

Whatever. 

Joe: 

But these services I’m and coming from a guy who built an online community and was able thio get a little lucky and sell it, I don’t understand how we would offer these services for free without making any money, right? 

Brandon: 

Yeah, for sure. 

Brandon: 

I mean, I think and we experienced this now even. 

Brandon: 

But the expectation is that everything should be free and everything should be open and that Jeff Bezos should be paying for everything. 

Brandon: 

And so the truth is, is that like, if if you’re not paying for something like you’re probably being, you’re probably the product being sold? 

Brandon: 

Yeah, and I’m not sure that that’s a bad thing unless you’re willing to pay. 

Joe: 

I mean, I get my weather on weather underground on my app every morning. 

Joe: 

And it’s got way too many ads, in my opinion, but they give me the option. 

Joe: 

So for 9, 99 or 29 9, you know, whatever it is, a year I can pay and get rid of that. And on some things, I’m actually willing to do that. But I think that this is crazy thing out there that the Internet is free like it costs a lot. I mean, you’ve you’ve been involved in these companies, your current company. I mean, these companies cost a lot of money Thio to run. I mean, there’s this perception like, Oh, it’s easy to build a company now because you can stand up a website on WordPress, which you absolutely can, but it still costs money like it’s still going to cost money. So, yeah, I was interested in your thoughts, and I agree with you. It’s, um I actually don’t worry as much about them. 

Brandon: 

Tracking me is is I try to train it so that I could make my life easier. So that actually gives me what I need, right? 

Brandon: 

Yeah. I mean, I think like we can, you know, leverage technology to all benefit and get, you know, have a better life and lifestyle and and, like, I mean, it could be a utopia if not for potentially misaligned incentives. 

Joe: 

So, I mean, if, for instance like I’m gonna be making so much money by doing something bad with data or whatever it is, you might be motivating people to do bad things. 

Joe: 

I mean, so, yeah, I mean, it’s just it’s just I I think a lot of things that we do, we do a lot of things based on what the incentives are. 

Joe: 

And if there’s no incentive Thio, you know, by making money or selling data or or giving something away for free, like you expect. 

Joe: 

Like everything’s gonna be free. Well, that thing is just not gonna happen, right? 

Joe: 

Like, wouldn’t that be a nonprofit? 

Brandon: 

Well, but nonprofits are wildly profitable in a lot of ways. So, um, but yeah. I mean, unless you’re a saint of some kind, you’re not just doing something because you’re not getting something out of it. Like, that’s just not how how it’s going to be, whether it’s in a capitalist society or something else. 

Joe: 

I agree. 

Joe: 

So we digressed a little bit, but I thought that was interesting. 

Brandon: 

So you sell this company going back, you sell this company. 

Brandon: 

I mean, I’m not one of the founders, just to be clear, like of that company. I joined that company that was acquired by you. 

Joe: 

Well, yeah, I’m just putting you in, like, if you’re seven of you, you’re all in it like you didn’t get the upside. But you you were all sitting in that room hacking away at building that thing. 

Brandon: 

So you get some credit for that for sure. So you graduate college. You shut down the online community that you were building. You go to the startup that gets acquired. And now and you stay in San Diego. They moved to Santa Monica. 

Brandon: 

And what’s next? 

Brandon: 

So I was building widgets. 

Joe: 

Oh, the widgets. Then you’re doing widgets for Facebook. You get some traction, but then you sort of that, which is like Facebook APS, but yeah, perhaps. 

Brandon: 

Yeah. 

Joe: 

Sorry. We’re getting all mixed up with, like, old school terms that that younger people are. I have no idea we’re talking about. 

Brandon: 

Yeah, I mean, back then it was like Web two point. Oh, right. 

Joe: 

So exactly It was Yeah. What are we in now, by the way? Like if we just lost count, I don’t I don’t even know how we keep track of it anymore. 

Brandon: 

Honestly, it moves so quickly every day that I I’m just shocked and amazed to see all the cool stuff that that continues to come out. And I mean, I don’t know, I must I am starting to understand, like, how probably my parents feel about seeing some of this come out and just kind of like, kind of like, feeling like an old dog and just like, all right, I’m not gonna learn how to use TIC tac like, you know, I’m gonna stick with what I know, right? 

Joe: 

So the Facebook app stuff and what’s next? 

Joe: 

So I started after the Facebook app thing kind of went away. 

Brandon: 

You know, a lot of these things just kind of come and go there. Trends. And once that Facebook app opportunity sort of went, you know, we’re looking at the sort of opportunities one of them have, and that was actually right when the iPhone came out. I think the iPhone came out in 2000 and seven or 2000 and eight, maybe. 

Joe: 

And so there’s sort of new opportunities there, you know, started working on a new community sort of product for a niche space, particularly for pet owners, which sort of became the quintessential thing not to do so. 

Joe: 

You know, we built, like Yelp for pet owners company called the APP, See. 

Joe: 

And so this is what some of my existing co founders and friends that we all worked on these things together and and and grew that Teoh sort of, ah, nationwide product and, you know, brought together a bunch of pet owners together and leaving reviews and meeting in real life and creating like a pub crawl, a pub crawl events. Siri’s but ultimately is just like one of these problems that pet owners found to be wide but, like not very, very deep, so built that worked on that for a few years. 

Joe: 

And, yeah, I wanna interrupt you. 

Joe: 

Whoa! Why do you say it’s the quintessential thing not to do? Is it just because you can’t make money in that market? I mean, people still trying to do that? 

Brandon: 

Yeah. I mean, it’s It’s Ah, vitamin and not necessarily a painkiller is often sort of how firms like why comedy or might describe it. 

Joe: 

Or, you know, and actually, speaking of like Paul Graham will use that example as like a yelp for pets type of thing as the thing not to do specifically because you know you’re addressing a problem that you know the market of people is large, like pet owners, lots of pet owners. But is this a problem that people have in like Is this a hugely painful problem like No, it isn’t. On the other hand, you know, like finding a regular dog walker in a city environment where you know there’s a lot of density and people are, you know, there’s not a lot of parks and so forth like that. That happens to be, Ah, much deeper problem and and the other thing to emphasize is one that people are willing to pay for. So we never really created a sustainable business model for for Yap C and ultimately had to put it down. 

Joe: 

Did you think? Nice pun did you think about? 

Brandon: 

I mean, what’s that? There’s a big one in Florida that was acquired recently, The e commerce company for dogs. My wife uses it. 

Brandon: 

It’s a It’s a pure e commerce company. My point in asking you is, did you think about adding e commerce into the model? It all? 

Brandon: 

Yeah, but I mean, like the thing. The thing back then was Solo Mo, which, you know, if I recall correctly, was social, local Mobile. And I think there’s a co now which is camera with CO part is but but But yeah, I mean, this hyper local super niche sort of opportunity was the look with emphasis on the local is something that we were sort of trying to do, EECOM, I mean all economies tough, just like being in these deep niches is tough. 

Joe: 

And and I think at that point, you know, once you’ve been working on it for a few years, you’re trying a million different things and throwing opportunities against the wall. 

Joe: 

I mean, I think you just get burnt out, and so you can all raise my hand to that. 

Joe: 

I mean, after a while, the team just gets tired of turning right, Like you got to turn early to try to find it. 

Joe: 

Well, that’s cool, though. 

Brandon: 

I actually didn’t know you did something in the in the pet space. 

Brandon: 

It’s just I always see these. Remember, Back then, Joe, it was Sequoia back. I think pets dot com and, uh I mean, that’s way back. 

Brandon: 

Well, that may age me a little bit. 

Brandon: 

I started in 1996 but, uh, the, uh, I remember my wife and I ordering these £50 bags of dog food for free delivery, and I was like running the numbers and there’s just first of all, Dog food has really slim margins, and I was like, How in the world are they doing this? 

Joe: 

So we just ordered the living heck out of it while we couldn’t stocked up. And then eventually they went away like the dodo bird. 

Brandon: 

Yeah, well, so I mean, in that specific case, that was sort of the I think there’s probably a lot of hubris back then. 

Brandon: 

I think that there was a lot of venture backed. 

Joe: 

I mean, And you see that today, too. With a lot of companies like relying on venture backing Thio, try to build an audience and get to scale as quickly as possible and hopefully sell as quickly as possible. So I mean, you know, pest dot com is an example where if there was somebody to acquire them, you know, way back when, like, that might have been looked at as an enormous success versus the opposite. And so you could say the same thing about group on or we work or ah, lot of these companies that are now sort of shunned for as big failures or even even the the you know, the birds and the lines and so forth of the world where you know, they’re just burning through tons of investor cash trying to get to scale, and it’s looking like a lot of them are just gonna they’re just gonna fail. And so you know, you you just keep on raising money and giving away the product. You lose three cents a unit and try to make it up in volume. And before you know it, like, you know, if you may be out of business, if if there’s not more and more capital toe support it, yeah, I think that’s one of the things that I learned which you and I could get to talking about because we have similar backgrounds in the sense that we’re gonna get to it here in a minute, you’re gonna get to a venture capital firm. 

Joe: 

But, you know, I attended over the years. 

Brandon: 

Probably after everybody says, like, about how many companies have you done? I’m like, I don’t even know, like, had a lot of ideas, right? Like, you have an idea. You build a website, you see, if it works and it dies, I don’t know how many of those been 20 more. I don’t know, maybe 10 real ones to have worked a lot of projects in between. 

Brandon: 

Even some things I would even qualify is like full blown company. 

Joe: 

Yeah, exactly like there’s that stage where you sort of build the project. I mean, I got so many of them got notes all over my office, and some of them come back around right? Like, and they and they work. But, oh, the venture capital thing is I just think that what I learned is and tell me what you think is if you build a product going back to your point and you saw the real pain point that’s so big that someone will pay you for and you can you can grow that profitably. 

Brandon: 

Now, if you decide to dump money into it and put the venture gas on it, then it’s just a marketing acquisition thing. 

Brandon: 

But at least if you’re fundamentals like some of these business just fundament, you can’t free ship dog food you’re fundamentally, are not gonna like. That’s not that’s not even profitable in the beginning. So I’ve come up with the idea that if you could build a product that people want and will pay for and focus on building, you know I’m going to say this lovingly or respectfully to everybody out there, but, you know, don’t build it to sell it, build it to build a real business. 

Brandon: 

And if you do that, you’ll get customers you can pour Venture capital casts on it if you need to scale the marketing. But ultimately then you’ve built a real business that if you hit a time like this right where things were starting to get shaking, you’re not gonna get raised money. 

Brandon: 

At least you have a fundamental business you could scale back and live properly on. And ultimately somebody’s gonna wanna buy a good business. 

Brandon: 

Where have you been like, where do you fall over the years from all these experiences? 

Brandon: 

Yeah, I mean, I guess I I mean, I’m certainly guilty of, like, trying toe leverage capital toe try, toe pour fuel on a fire to grow quickly and and by the way, like a lot of these things are like a said incentive based. 

Joe: 

And so if you’re raising money from other people, like they you’re not there to, like, save it and, you know, make it last as long as possible. 

Joe: 

That’s not gonna be interesting for, you know, the people giving you money and and so forth. And so, yeah, I mean, I think I we all want to build Ah, sustainable sort of business and find product market fit and get people toe pay us and and scale up from there and just continue growing once, you know, economics get right, but yeah, I mean, I think like, it just takes it. 

Joe: 

Business is different periods of time and different amounts of capital and infrastructure and in our case, regulatory to get there. And so I think it just depends on the business. 

Joe: 

All right, let’s get back to your story now. So we’re at the Facebook stuff, and then you actually the pet stuff. 

Brandon: 

Oh, God. 

Brandon: 

I’m telling you, I’ve only had one cup of caffeine today and I need more. 

Joe: 

Why am I one step behind your awful So we get the pet stuff with yappy, which is totally cool, but doesn’t really have the economics. So were you depressed after this? 

Brandon: 

I mean, I think like to do any of this kind of stuff. You kind of have to have a certain level of resilience and having been through that before, you kind of know what to expect. It’s still you’re still gonna be in a trough of sorrow for some time, but like nothing is more exciting than to start something new. And so, you know, I think at that point at that point, I’d move back from San Diego to San Francisco and, you know, sort of in the interim, After shutting that down, you need to pay pay, rent and also this stuff. And you worked at a number of startups and a big co here and there as a product manager primarily and and in growth. And, you know, so built some interesting products in education and identity and and death care, I guess. End of life care. It was. It’s called now. And so, uh, until like, I guess, you know, I started another company called Pad worthy, and basically we made what we called renter resumes. And those air basically like reusable rental applications. Particularly useful for, like, you know, building building rental history in in busy markets like San Francisco and New York. And you know where they’re hyper competitive, you’re going toe 50 showings and and filling out all these applications and the landlord or or the property manager has to choose. And so that’s something that was that was a problem that we’re tryingto solve for for that that group of people. 

Joe: 

How’d that go? 

Brandon: 

Yeah, I mean, I think like we were, we were We built and launched it. It was bootstrapped again. Ultimate, like the ultimate problem with pad worthy ultimately came down to We couldn’t move as fast as the landlords and, frankly, Craigslist. 

Joe: 

So they would still take 200 applications but would have someone to rent the property that day. And so, yeah, I mean, ultimately, we weren’t we We solved the problem. 

Joe: 

We couldn’t get people to pay for it. You know, the idea was to help landlords landlords find better tenants faster and particularly in markets in that time. Like where there’s a boom in San Francisco of just the rental market was crazy and, you know, was crazy up until a few months ago and continues to drive prices up. But if you can fill your space oftentimes, like with a decent tenant, you’re you’re done like once you filled it like you have no more use for the product for maybe years And, uh, just not enough, like of a product market fit there more of, ah vent based business that that event comes along every so sort of like a dating site is why they always struggle, right? 

Joe: 

You get the date, you forget the app. 

Joe: 

And then I mean, I guess sadly, there, they want you to break up. 

Joe: 

So you come back to the app or there’s some sort of German, but the same thing in the rental market, right? 

Brandon: 

Yeah, I would say that’s a pretty good analogy. 

Brandon: 

Yeah. I mean, if you start, if the dating app are successful and you are successful on the dating app, they become less successful. So, yeah, that’s interesting. 

Joe: 

The same thing. So did you Were you doing this as a side hustle and funding it with your day job, or did you quit your day job again? 

Brandon: 

This was during one of the day jobs for the most part, you know, working with a lot of the same sort of team members and stuff, but yeah, I mean, this was something that, you know, we were again chasing trends and chasing opportunities and stuff and not something that we necessarily like, were incredibly passionate about. 

Brandon: 

Just again. 

Joe: 

Sort of chasing opportunities. 

Joe: 

So can you talk a little bit about how hard that is to do your day job and do the side hustle at night. 

Joe: 

Were you dating or did you have a significant other like, how did that work? 

Brandon: 

Yeah, I mean it Z thing is in the Bay Area and probably certain other more markets as well, I imagine, like L A New York and and others you know, a lot of that is sort of ingrained in the culture of these sort of hubs. 

Joe: 

And so, like in Santas in the Bay Area, everybody is doing multiple multiple hustles and and, you know, day job and side job and start a project and also the stuff. 

Brandon: 

And so, you know, it sort of comes with the territory. 

Joe: 

I think, you know, I was dating at the time. It was challenging, certainly. But you know, it’s for better or for worse. It’s sort of just part of the culture here. 

Joe: 

I will say that like, you know, I found it to be a bit pernicious and so, like, you know, I think you know, at least in the Bay Area. And probably some of these other areas, like people aren’t are getting married later or not having kids and all this other stuff that as they continue to chase whatever dream that happens to be. 

Joe: 

And so, yeah, I mean, I think that sort of makes regular life more challenging. 

Joe: 

But, like for the people here, I think it’s just sort of people here are coming to places like the Bay Area to chase whatever that dream happens to be. 

Joe: 

Yeah, I agree with you. 

Brandon: 

I just always tell people that some people come and like, Brandon, this entrepreneur thing, you know, first time I compare is hard. I’m like, Yeah, it’s super hard and it like late nights and it’s just got to be part of you. And But I think acknowledging that it’s hard is is just a big relief for a lot of people, if you know what I mean, because I just think it’s just magical, like everybody’s painting these magical entrepreneurs. 

Brandon: 

Half of them are just wanna be preneurs talking about ideas and not doing anything. You asked for their business plan and they couldn’t send it to you in a second. Nor nor do they know how to run a financial model. But that’s another story. But you know it is hard, but it’s really hard. There’s there’s glamour to it. Right? But that’s sort of the forward facing, if you know you want to see me in my pajamas last night at 11 30 cranking away on something that that’s the reality of it. 

Brandon: 

I would say that in general, it’s probably not healthy. 

Joe: 

Long term. 

Joe: 

That’s fair. I’m glad. 

Brandon: 

Yeah, so I mean, you know, there’s no such thing as work life balance. Well, not no such thing. But I would say that, like, it’s really difficult Thio achieve, like, work, life, balance while, you know, having a family. 

Joe: 

And even if you, by the way, if you want to pursue that route like nothing wrong with that but like good luck affording the square footage to do things like that, so all of that makes it It’s a bit of a cycle of pernicious cycle. 

Joe: 

Yeah, I agree. 

Joe: 

Okay, So what? Let’s go back to your story. What is next? What do you do next? After the real estate, I’m calling it real estate rental play. 

Brandon: 

Yeah. So you know, one of the founders of the company that was acquired by a o. L. I’d stayed close with that team throughout. Like we were a small team went through hard times and we, you know, stayed, stayed close and became friends. You know, each each person on the team into this day. I still, you know, and connected to everybody. And so, you know, we got to kind of watch and help each other is, like, kind of careers grow. The founders of that company had, you know, since gone off to start a new company that was then acquired by a sales force, and, uh, and after that turn out, they were trying to figure out what to do next. One of them joined one of the funds that had backed that company and, you know, was looking at a few deals and had sent some to me. You know, as often like, you know, investors will do to people who have experience in those spaces to get there sort of feedback and things like that s so you know, he was sending me a few deals since he knew that was like doing, sort of, ah, had a really diverse background in terms of what I’d pursued and experience and stuff and, you know, give my feedback on some ended up doing one of those deals. That deal turned out really good and and was like, Hey, you know, you don’t come join the team, and that was sort of the the, you know, the intro into the VC world. 

Joe: 

So how long did you do the V C gig? 

Brandon: 

A little over three years. Almost 3.5 years, I think. And that was incredible. 

Joe: 

It was a really, like, privileged to be ableto experience life on the other side of the table. And a lot of it is just perspective and understanding. What motivates investors like, what investors are looking for, an opportunity to sort of like, network and have that, I guess, I don’t know, level of popularity. 

Joe: 

So, you know, if you go like the Bay Area every night or it used to be every night, you know you’d be able to go to any number of events and network and do all this other stuff. 

Joe: 

And what I imagine it’s like to be sort of ah, really popular person or a really attractive person where everyone’s just like, Oh my God, like I get this person’s attention and, like, you know, talk to them and so forth. I think that was kind of an interesting experience, because the nanosecond anybody learns that you’re on the investing side, it’s like, Oh my God, here’s my deck. Like, let’s set up a meeting like I wanna I imagine it’s like this in Hollywood with, like, producers and stuff like, you know, check out my script like, lets me like I gotta A soon as you have a checkbook, you become really popular. 

Joe: 

Yeah, I mean, I kind of learned to like not where those logos like everywhere anymore and and so it starts off like flattering. 

Brandon: 

It’s kind of fun, but it gets a little pretty quick. 

Joe: 

But it was such a cool opportunity because I think the coolest thing about it was being able to see future technologies six months to two years before it ever became a reality and kind of like start toe, see trends in the market and in various ideas, and and and work with some amazing people like, you know, people building the future of whatever it happens to be, and so had an opportunity to see a lot of really cool companies that went on to do really cool things. 

Joe: 

Whether or not the firm invested in them and and work with them. 

Joe: 

And just, you know, being around that, that you get a lot of energy from it. 

Joe: 

Yeah, I totally agree with that. But what made you Well, I wanna ask you this for our listeners. I call him H P T s High percentage tips. What? Three h p t s, would you give an entrepreneur who’s trying to raise venture capital from your experience? 

Brandon: 

Yeah. 

Brandon: 

I mean, I think a lot of these have been reiterated many times. I mean, you know, certainly like the just getting the meeting. A lot of it just it does come down to sort of that warm intro and ah, lot of new Founders will say like, Oh, I don’t have that network And I don’t know anybody and whatever at the other day, I just don’t know that they’re trying hard enough because at least you know, here in the valley or in the Bay Area and really anywhere like you can. Admittedly, it was easier before before co vid to network and knows someone who knows someone and work your way in that way, but also like not to be offended if they don’t do the intro because, like you’re using a lot of social capital to make those introductions. And so there is a filtering process for a lot of good reasons. I would look at 3000 opportunities a year and, like meet with a few 100 of those and like we all ended up on Lee doing maybe, like, 10 deals a year and and so 10 new deals a year. 

Joe: 

And so there’s just not enough time in the day that that’s what I’ve kind of come to see. 

Joe: 

Like I always thought that venture was like the coolest job in the world, and and it is It is, but that, you know, it was just, you know, writing checks and playing golf. 

Joe: 

And it isn’t It’s actually really hard. 

Joe: 

And, ah, Law, out of time goes into finding great deals and and doing those deals. 

Joe: 

So, yeah, I mean, I think like just having that perspective for me was really helpful, But yeah, so I guess the first thing is those warm introductions. However you get them and just be being ready for to request and make those introductions. I mean, the other part of it I guess in terms of raising money is to target and do your research. 

Joe: 

You know, not every investor is going to be right for you. 

Joe: 

And all of that information is out there. 

Joe: 

And I think a lot of people get really frustrated because they go investor means, you know, investors going to invest in anything well, like, No, that’s not the case, because, I mean, I think, like for anybody, I would just in terms of investing, don’t invest in anything you necessarily don’t know. It’s a great way to lose money and in this case, like we are investing other people’s money. And, you know, being aware that there are things like lps that you know, restrict what you can invest in and like, You know what? You know someone’s particularly expertise is in and funds, expertise and all these other things, like people just don’t do enough research coming through the door to know whether or not this is even in the realm of possibility. 

Joe: 

So I mean, you know, if you look at a deal and it’s just like, oh, well, it’s in, you know, someone comes like like I’ve got a deal in in biotech or or something like that. 

Joe: 

It’s just like, Well, I don’t know anything about that. 

Joe: 

And it’s not anything that we’ve invested in the past and we don’t have any partners on the team who could make those determinations. 

Joe: 

And the fund just isn’t themed that way. For for our investor rlp base, it’s a nonstarter. 

Joe: 

So not to be rude, but like because, like, I’ve got this other meeting way, can’t really like talk. 

Joe: 

And so and then the following question to that, I guess it would be a a good tip is, well, is making it as easy as possible for other people to help you. 

Joe: 

And so a question that I get a lot, especially like during passes, is like, Do you know any other investors who might be interested in a company like mine? 

Joe: 

It’s like, Yes, probably. 

Joe: 

But like, I’m not fundraising for you and like, if you have, if you know exactly who you want to talk to and why, and and confident that I know that person as well, like and pretty much right to the email that I could just forward along and get get, you know, thoughts on that makes the introduction that much easier again. 

Joe: 

I think it just comes down to like time constraints, not about like being lazy or like the investors like, aren’t returning my calls or whatever. 

Joe: 

Like it’s just he, you know, when on the other side of it, there’s just so much arbitrage happening. 

Joe: 

There’s you’re trying to maximize returns, warm introductions help. 

Joe: 

But investing in known quantities, whether you know your they’re known up front or that you know you build those relationships over time is I wouldn’t necessarily call a safer bet. But its ah, at least, um, work a confident one because you’re getting married to this person for 5, 10 years or whatever it happens to be. 

Joe: 

And you don’t wanna be in business or in a relationship with anybody that you don’t want to work with for that period of time. 

Joe: 

Yeah, I want to get on to your current venture unless there’s one in between there. 

Joe: 

But one thing that I’ve always found interesting that, as I’m listening to you, Joe, is I think probably the greatest advice that any of us could give other people is make it easier for people to help him. 

Brandon: 

I think that is absolutely incredible. 

Brandon: 

The other thing, the other the other saying that I like from you, is trough of sorrow, but is, um is make it easy for people to help you, but the whole thing, like if somebody it’s only conflicted like over as an entrepreneur over that and when I was a D. C as well is people with people you I think it’s a good question asked, Do you know anything? But I think you have to think about like, How is that intro goingto happen? Hey, I’m Joe. I saw this great company. I think there’d be a fit for you. We passed. I mean, the problem is, Is that or the challenge, not problems? 

Brandon: 

The challenges is that you’re friends with this other VC and that VC intellectually might know that you passed because it’s not in your space. But emotionally, there’s this part of the human brain that says Joe past, like so I think that you know, what do you think about that? 

Brandon: 

Because sometimes I’m like, I think would be good to get to people’s name, but you don’t want to use the person who passed on you. 

Brandon: 

As the reference you want to try to figure out something that use that? No for Intel gathering. But don’t use it as your intro because I just feel like, emotionally you just put a block up. 

Brandon: 

Absolutely. That’s something that I think isn’t understood or sort of emphasize enough is just, you know, people are like, Well, I just I think from the entrepreneur’s perspective, like they just want to know who’s out there and and, you know, want the intro because that seems the shortest path to them. 

Joe: 

But yeah, I mean, I think like, there’s just like you said, like Brandon passed on this deal, But he’s setting it to me like why? 

Joe: 

And, you know, if Brand is not confident in it, like then keep you know, I’m probably not that confident either, unless it’s clear, like this is just not in his wheelhouse and and and you know that that’s okay. 

Joe: 

I think like the other thing that people don’t understand it is that it requires social capital to make you know V. 

Joe: 

C. T. V C intros as well, and again like you’re you’re gonna get your probably higher likely to get a response. As a result, of that request. 

Joe: 

But that response is probably gonna be no and knowing that you’re probably less likely Thio, make that intro in the first place. Like and you would know that. 

Joe: 

And so but But most green entrepreneurs I don’t think are sort of aware of the social capital costs of doing that just, you know, might be something like just they don’t know. 

Joe: 

I haven’t had the experience to, like, nowhere toe start or like what the motivations are. 

Joe: 

I think that’s great advice. 

Brandon: 

So you do that. What makes you leave venture capital? 

Brandon: 

Yeah, So, I mean, I would say that like, eh? So I started this new company called Mythic Markets, and we essentially turned high value collectible assets in our case, like phantom assets like vintage comic books, collectible cards, fantasy art and, you know, moving into other phantom assets and hopefully sports teams in the publicly traded companies so that, like, people can invest in shares of these high value things. So everybody has like, their thing. So in your case, it might be Star Wars. So the original Luke Skywalker lightsaber, for instance, might be something that you covet. But that might be a million dollar lightsaber. The original problem and the people who really care about this stuff are like the Star Wars fans. 

Joe: 

Or in this case, you know, we’ve got comic books and art and collectibles and because of the high price tag of this stuff are things that are generally out of their capacity. There, there, there, you know, investing or affordability capacity. But because they have been sort of outperforming, you know, the market in golden real estate they’re attractive to people who do have that capacity. And we’re bringing that down to a price point where really anybody can can be involved in the things that they know and love, and they know these things intimately. Well, So if you’re trading on information about something, you know, your you have a better or higher like I don’t know about probability. 

Joe: 

But it’s something that you know that you have in information and, you know, sort of instinct and intel on, just like researching, you know, any any any company that you might want to invest in. 

Joe: 

So so this is a new thing. 

Joe: 

I’ve got the website so anybody tuning into the YouTube channel can check it out. It’s cool. Can you talk what you can about how it works? 

Brandon: 

Do you? For instance, I’m looking at this amazing fantasy Spiderman comic. First time Spider Man effectively appears in a comic as a big Spider Man thing they used to. You and I are old enough when we actually used to see real people dressed up in that and beyond cartoons. But do you buy this asset yourself as the company and then sell shares in it effectively? 

Brandon: 

That is correct. At the moment, at least, we do acquire these collectibles off of balance sheet. And so, in this case, like, you know, we all of these things are sitting in our vault right now. And so yeah, so like, for instance, in Amazing fantasy is something that we acquired. You know, we create a LLC that exists solely to own this comic book, and and it’s sort of like an SPV. But it’s a serious LLC. It was this book that LLC is what’s broken up into shares in this case 2000 shares. We securitize that using regulatory framework called Regulation, a plus of the Jobs Act, and that essentially, you know, it’s like 80% of the way Thio company public and then, you know, reggae plus allows us to sell shares not only to accredited investors but also unaccredited investors. And so, you know, this is unique in the sense that, like now, for the first time, anybody can invest in these things that in shares of these things that were out of their capacity before, so that you know, that’s something that’s really exciting for us. 

Joe: 

It’s a new way of sort of conceptualizing ownership and then being and we’re also enabling the ability to trade these shares like exactly like stock, because they are, in fact, sec qualified securities. 

Joe: 

That is really cool. Now I’m just scrolling through this amazing spider Man. You get in each one of these, you go into great detail about the history of this quote unquote investment and what it looks like what there’s a graph here. 

Brandon: 

What drives these prices, Joe, in your opinion, is it Is it the trends like you were talking about way back earlier, a zoo we were talking about? 

Brandon: 

You know, Marvel comes out with Wonder Woman and now everything. Wonder Woman from Linda Evans is spiking because it’s worth all this money, Is it? Is it just time and trends in general, like Star Wars? You know, I love for you mainly. What’s going through my head? Quite frankly, Joe, is that I had the original lifesaver that they built as the toy. And I threw that damn thing out like a So I started to get older, so I probably threw out a bunch of money. But is how does that? How does it work? In general, these things go up 10 20% a year. Do you have any statistics around that? 

Brandon: 

Yeah. So, um, in this case, like, for instance, this specific book, like a CGC graded 7.0 book has been increasing based on publicly available sales data increasing about 14 and some odd percent year over year compounding. And that’s over over the last 10 years. And and mawr beyond that. I mean, this was originally a 12 cent book, and you know this particular copy is 9 92,000, you know? Ah, higher grade one, for instance. Acee GC eight. Probably be about, like 2. 

Joe: 

52 150,000 on. And can you explain just for I actually don’t know this. And for the listener steak, they grade the condition of the comic or in this case book. 

Brandon: 

Yeah, so in this case, it’s a Yeah, the comic book. So the condition is graded. Ah, lot of that is, you know, the pages, and, like the brittleness of the pages like paper dries out like it kind of falls apart. And you know whether there’s been restoration or tears or touch ups or whether it’s signed even. And so, you know, at the end of the day, like everyone, really, you know, is looking for the the nicest version of that thing that we care about and and so therefore, those nice versions of it are inherently scarce or oftentimes more scarce than less high quality versions of that thing. 

Joe: 

And so as they get more and more scarce, they become more and more valuable. 

Brandon: 

And so what’s the scale? 

Joe: 

Go to 10? 

Joe: 

Yes. 

Joe: 

Yeah, it goes up, goes up to 10. 

Brandon: 

But, you know, finding a perfect 10 something that’s in this case from 1962 is gonna be, like, very, very unlikely. And, uh, yeah, I mean, so to answer your question about, like, what drives the value of these things. Ah, lot of it is just time. And as thes things become more and more scarce. And now, you know, being driven by the superhero films more and more important to sort of social culture. More and more people know about them, and we’re aware of them and more important and therefore just drives the price drives the value. These are comic book origins. Is the origin of Spiderman in this case. And Spiderman is kind of important. 

Joe: 

Yeah, he is important now. Right now, I can see that I could buy these shares of this comic book for $46 and I read somewhere earlier that you will eventually have a secondary market, sort of. I think there’s a tennis shoe company out there are sneaker company, right? That does something like this or so There are. 

Brandon: 

Yeah, there are a number of other companies in in other asset classes, and some are certainly comic sense and that sort of thing, you know, some focus on, like watches and sneakers and fine art and cars and and so forth. 

Brandon: 

And so, yeah, we we do intend to offer a secondary treating marketplace, which is our, you know, far and away our number one most requested feature and, uh, the regulatory process to kind of getting all of this off the ground is substantial. 

Joe: 

And so we are working through the regulatory process and and technical challenges of offering trading. 

Joe: 

And and we hope to release that We intend to release that later this year. 

Joe: 

Well, this year, that’s awesome. I think I’m going to get myself some shares of this comic. 

Brandon: 

I mean, 14 15% is really good. I got into collecting trains because of my father when I was a kid and have a pretty extensive Linnell train collection. 

Brandon: 

I actually don’t know if they went up in in. It’s sort of like these things can go through lulls where you’re sort of in no man’s land, sort of like a car I’ve got of all things in 84 Jeep Renegade. That was my first car, and it it sort of went through this time of where and tell me if this is true with most of this stuff, Joe is like it was worth nothing. And now I go to eBay and you know you get a a good condition G. I mean, much less original, but even restored, you know? 

Brandon: 

Now, now, Now it’s worth 2030 $40,000. 

Brandon: 

So I would think that these things they do this sort of the same thing, right? They go through this wasteland or no man’s land, and then they and then they increase at some point. 

Brandon: 

Yeah. I mean, you know, I can’t say Well, so I mean, I think like, you know, past performance is not the future of indicative of future returns and and all the normal disclaimers. And I think regulators would like me to, you know, balance all of any any statements on performance with the other side of it as well. So but yeah, I mean, so it is definitely true that it is possible for these things to have ebbs and flows of, of demand and popularity and value and and that kind of thing, Which is why we generally look at sort of the long, long term sort of history and performance of this stuff. 

Joe: 

And in the case of what’s a comic books, entertainment has changed like before. 

Joe: 

Iron Man. Maybe the original iron man, like, you know, if you were in a superhero film like That’s where you would go make a superhero film so you could deep six year career. 

Joe: 

And so, but now it’s like That’s the That’s the gig. 

Joe: 

And so, you know, I think part of what’s driven that is beyond beyond that, you know, part of what’s driven that is that geek fandom, at least back then, was something you got dumped into a trash can for and now it’s like the cool thing, and it’s more acceptable. 

Joe: 

And it is our culture changed, probably more than anything now, do you? 

Joe: 

Will you keep this asset and then allow the secondary trading to be the market? 

Joe: 

And I assume your business model is you take some percentage of these trades or some percentage of this as income? 

Brandon: 

What you can talk about, but will you ever sell it? 

Brandon: 

And what would make you sell it? Do you have triggers where you say, Hey, once it gets 25% we automatically sell it and you make it extra? How’s that work? 

Brandon: 

So let’s see. There’s a couple of parts here, so I’ll start from the the last move back. 

Joe: 

So in terms of like triggers to sell it. There are primarily two main triggers. So one being that if there is an opportunity for sort of outsized returns for investors, like in the Wonder Woman example, you know, we could go from 10,000 to a million and make people very much hole. That’s something that we would definitely consider, you know, based on investor sentiment. 

Joe: 

The other is in. The more likely one is that somebody, a private collector, wants to take a public company private, make an offer to acquire that whole asset and in the exact same way as if, like, you know, Google wanted to go acquire some company like there’d be some premium one on the share price. 

Joe: 

And so this is the two main triggers. 

Joe: 

There isn’t like, unnecessarily like, you know, some percentage where it’ll trip something, and then we take it to market. In general, we expect that the secondary market is where most liquidity for most investors is gonna happen. 

Joe: 

Yeah, and then what is going just from a business model perspective? How does how does your company make money? 

Brandon: 

So we take a Although it’s not a primary business small, there is a nominal 2 to 3% acquisition, feed and sourcing feed baked into each public offering were also co investors of each of these assets, a minimum of 2%. And, uh and so you know that aligns our incentives. Although this is not set up like a fun structure, it’s sort of aligns. The incentives, similar like a G PLP structure, is set up, and ultimately we aspire to be able to have a subscription based model like a premium subscription based models akin to like Robin Hood Gold, where the number of investor benefits for that subscription. I think there’s a lot of different ways to build interesting business models into this, including from an institutional investing perspective, whether it’s creating indexes or funds and things like that. I think those were also very interesting. But yeah, those air various ways that we intend toe monetize. 

Joe: 

Now, how old E. How old is this? Your you’ve been? I think we’ve known each other two years. Maybe, uh, Amelia, our mutual friend reminded me that time goes much faster than apparently I used to think, But, uh, how old, How old? What? 

Brandon: 

That we’ve been in quarantine for quite a few months now. 

Joe: 

Yeah, well, that’s it. Yeah. I don’t even know what today is. I wasn’t thinking it was Wednesday before I got on here. Yeah. So how long have you Okay, well, let me ask you this question in a different way, other than just making it super simple. 

Brandon: 

Question is, how long did you how long? 

Brandon: 

Total have you worked on it? But then, how long have you been going at this full time That you sort of had to get over that hump to basically be able to do it. 

Brandon: 

Yeah. So, uh, started working on this about 2.5 years ago, full time for about two years. And I think a big part of the most companies can be bootstrapped pretty effectively because so much of what we do require it is, You know, there’s regulatory sensitivity and legal sensitivity and stuff. We raised a small amount of pre seed capital in order. Thio, you know, sort of get us past the some of those regulatory hurdles to start. So we raised about 250,000 little less than two years ago, and that got us to building the first version and doing all the regulatory stuff and acquiring our first assets. And then quickly, you know, soon thereafter, raised $2 million. 

Joe: 

And, uh and so that’s been what we’ve been building the product on since. 

Joe: 

And how many people on your team? 

Joe: 

Currently we are nine between full and part time. 

Brandon: 

Yeah. 

Joe: 

Wow, that’s a lot in that. They just working on the platform and the legal compliance. And is that where most of your manpower or woman power is so primarily on products. 

Brandon: 

So, like, half our team is engineers. Um, you know, we are building product and integrating the rails toe enable Ah, lot of this stuff to happen. Legal is also a very big part of this. Most companies don’t have a general counsel on the team, but what we happen to and most other companies don’t have, like a CFO on the team, which we also do. But yeah, I mean, like, product and engineering makes up at least half the half the overhead in terms of in this cost. 

Joe: 

And how do you promote this? 

Joe: 

I mean, there’s some SEC issues around this, so I can’t imagine that that’s not challenging. Or maybe it’s not with the with the Jobs Act and how you’re able to do that with non qualified investors. 

Brandon: 

So it is definitely challenging. So everything we do have actually has to pass through our broker dealer, which then also passes through FINRA. And that’s a nontrivial process, you know, Like I said, everything that we say and do like has to be fair and balanced, and we cannot describe and promote things to investors in a sort of misleading way. For instance, we provide all of the publicly available sales data nothing that’s private and, you know, I think like regulators are, you know, just trying to protect investors. But it also makes our job a lot harder because everything has to be approved and word in a certain way and where there’s no, I mean from legal perspective that there’s no sort of opportunity or potential for confusion and fraud and things like that. 

Joe: 

So would it be fair to say that you can’t run Facebook ads and say, buy a share of the Spider Man comic? 

Brandon: 

That is generally correct. 

Brandon: 

So I mean, we can market the platform, but we cannot necessarily market and you buy ads against um specific offering. We have to establish relationships with your investors before we can, you know, market a certain way. So, like that really shit bar, maybe a simple As someone signed up on the site, for instance. There’s a lot of, like regulatory things that that bar continues to move as regulators continue to adjust the rules because it is very new. And there are a number of players coming into into this space. And, you know, I think they want to protect their the protect investors and consumers, especially after the crypto like, sort of, you know, crypto debacle. 

Joe: 

Yeah, my word, My word that poisoned the well, a little bit, Yeah, But in many ways I’m thinking about this. 

Joe: 

If you can get past all those regulations and you can in many ways it’s It’s very niche specific, so you can pick those customers those customers out and target them. 

Brandon: 

So when did you I’m thinking here two years ago you raised a like a seed round 2 50 then a year ago raised two million. 

Joe: 

Yeah, about a year ago, we closed. 

Brandon: 

Yeah, and I imagine I mean, nine people’s a lot, but not a ton like you’re probably running a lien show. 

Brandon: 

You don’t pay for an office. 

Joe: 

Things like that all remote? 

Brandon: 

Yeah, especially today. We are all remote. And so, yeah. I mean, we’ve we’ve been extremely cash efficient, and but we do intend to raise ah, new round of financing. 

Joe: 

Do you think that at this point you’ve proved the concept toe to scale it? I mean, scaling it for you means probably releasing that secondary trading platform type thing and acquiring, or however you intend to do it partnering or whatever it is new assets. 

Brandon: 

So I don’t know that we have necessarily found product market fit. I think all the players in the space they’re still trying to figure that out because this is a new category. Um, this idea of fractional ownership still new and weird to consumer retail investors. And, you know, we’re working really hard to build trust with with those communities, especially with unaccredited investors who are, You know, I think the way that the most PC way of putting it would be like, sort of less sophisticated with these kinds of investments. 

Joe: 

And so, you know, and is exactly who the regulators are working to protect. 

Joe: 

So can you walk me through a scenario because I’m gonna buy some shares of this amazing Spiderman because I think it’s cool concept. 

Brandon: 

And and just so all listeners know, Joe didn’t pay to be on here. 

Brandon: 

He didn’t pay me. 

Brandon: 

And there’s no financial incentive whatsoever. 

Brandon: 

The if I buy this at $46 a share, Um, I locked up until that secondary market comes up, Could I sell it back to you? How does that work right now? 

Brandon: 

Yeah, So we are not appropriate dealer. We are are regulated by the SEC and FINRA and you know all those guys we do not or are not, frankly, in a position to buy back any of those shares. Which is why there’s actually a substantial sort of qualification process that you you know, you as you go through it, you’ll you’ll be able to see like that. There’s a lot of things toe to make sure that, like, you know, the version of like, are you sure? Like and and a lot of this stuff you have to go through, like with other you know, Fintech products as well K y C and and suitability and credit. You know, there will be some accreditation related things, but in general there is a lock up until the asset opens up for secondary trading. And but But also like a regulatory lockup is well, so you know, you know, like a 90 day lockup minimum. And so but we will be creating monthly trading windows for that volume. So it’s not a continuous like like market because, you know, there these are ultimately low Kaplow liquidity public companies at the moment. 

Joe: 

But as you know, we continue to build our investor base. And also the markets, you know, continues to mature for alternative assets and asset investing. We expect that to pick up quite a bit, but, I mean, it is still a brand new concept for a lot of people. And, uh, you know, I think there’s still a lot of education and trust and things like that Teoh build with, um with with consumers. 

Joe: 

Yeah, I trust you. 

Joe: 

I know where to find you on Fridays at noon. And for everybody out there like this is completely trustworthy platform that Joe and his team put together. 

Brandon: 

So much so that I am compelled toe buy some shares here and I just want to say, though, for anybody listening, While this may be new as it relates to creating fractional ownership of high value things, it’s actually not really that new, because I’ll use an example myself. 

Brandon: 

So I invested and and continue invest in fund rise. 

Brandon: 

But I think it’s called Sunrise. It’s the real estate. I think they’re based out of D. C. And you can. 

Brandon: 

It’s sort of like a public reap, but it’s not. It’s a private read, so to speak or private investment fund. And you become an LP in these projects and you can pick whether you want cash or whatnot. And I own, ah, fractional ownership of I think my portfolio has like 10 or 15 apartment buildings in major cities from Los Angeles to D c T o think Dallas. So I think the educational process is just really getting people used to the fact that there’s these alternative. There’s this alternative asset class that theoretically, you should be allocating maybe 7% of your total assets into anyway, as a large fund would dio. I’m saying all this so that you are not job, but from my perspective, in my history, and experience. That’s what you would dio and then, you know, it’s an interesting way. It’s really no different than buying art, except that I don’t have to pay $92,000 for this piece of art. I can own ah fraction of that. One question that comes to mind Joe is the regulatory stuff because you as the management company, are managing all these funds, so to speak. And that’s why, because I could buy some asset and then just have partners in an LLC. So is that distinguished? Because you have multiple these air, really many funds in many ways. 

Brandon: 

In some ways you can certainly think of it that way. But regulators are there to protect consumers and especially those that are unaccredited. And so if so, if, like, fund arise, for instance, I believe requires you to be credited and to invest. I think, like five like I think there’s like $5000 minimum for deal, but they do now have what you’re doing. 

Joe: 

They do not have an unaccredited investor. I am in credit investor accredited investor, but they do offer it. I didn’t go through that process, but I I think they do walk you through like this? It’s a process like, are you sure? You do know that you will be locked up for three years? This is a real estate asset. We just can’t sell it right away. We’re gonna build it. We’re going to renovate it, right? 

Brandon: 

Yeah. So, I mean, real estate is the original use case for this and reggae Plus made this possible for, like, things not worth $100 million and so and available to everybody. And so, you know, regulators, as I mentioned, really are as much of, ah pain in the butt as they have been. And I say that lovingly they are. They’re there to protect consumers. And so I I totally get it. I think given that you know our experience, you know, working with like, retail investors, there is a broad sort of range of sophistication. And and so, you know, there’s just a lot of, I think, as a new market for, like, the reggae stuff for unaccredited, like there’s just a lot of education and trust to be built because the the I guess the potential for loss is greater with unaccredited. Like if you lose, if you’re on a credit and you know you’re making, like, 10 bucks an hour or something or $15 an hour like and you lose $500 like that. That’s a lot. And for you know, I think the stat is that, like most people don’t have like 400 bucks and their savings account for a rainy day like that’s devastating. If another credit investor, you know, loses 500 bucks, it’s just like, Well, e guess I’m not, you know, having that that bottle of wine, you know, with dinner this tonight, I don’t know, but awful is that sounds. 

Joe: 

It’s It’s probably true. 

Brandon: 

Yeah, And so I mean, capacity is just and and and sophistication in sense of, like, experience and understanding risks And that sort of thing are you know, why these why regulators are doing their thing. But again, like crypto, you know, poisoned that well, like I mean, you know, being as unregulated as it was is very wild West and anybody get involved in a lot of people lost their shirts. 

Joe: 

Yeah, I mean, it’s a super exciting to be on these waves of new things. 

Brandon: 

It’s unfortunate because it just takes a few of these people to take advantage of it. And then the rest of us pay. And we go through this like, I want to say, 36 months trough of having to rebuild trust and put some regulations. 

Brandon: 

You know, it’s just I’ve seen it on the Internet. 

Brandon: 

I’m using the Internet as a as an example. But, you know, we’ve seen it over and over again. Hey, you’re gonna ruin digital marketing. I mean, or we’ll build a website for you for $96. Like maybe I just I don’t know how good that website is gonna be. Then people get burned and you know, I have it myself with many industries, but I think you’re in a super exciting space. I actually love this. Do you have your Are you allowed to say, like, do you have your eyes on something that you’re looking at? Like, do you target three new assets? 

Brandon: 

So we’ve got a lot of assets that we have not yet listed on the on the site already. So we’ve acquired quite a few like that. We have in hand. Now we have about $30 million of stuff in the pipeline that we could just go acquire today, and but because it’s off balance sheet like it’s just there’s a lot of capital toe front. But yeah, I mean, we we are. We definitely have our eye on certain pieces or like pieces that I would love Thio pick up because I’m just a huge fan of these things. Some of those things are, for instance, the original art for that black lotus card. That the $90,000 card is something that we have our eye on. And that’s about 6.5 million. And that we have through one of our partners, for instance, another piece as a big Star Trek geek. And you know, I e like Star Trek over Star Wars and them’s fighting words. 

Joe: 

Yeah, we’ll have to talk about that on a Friday afternoon. 

Brandon: 

Yeah, I don’t know how much Star Trek look. 

Joe: 

The original Star Trek. I grew up watching my dad on Saturdays or whatever it was, so I I love I love Star Trek. I’m gonna have toe. Actually, I’m gonna think about that one over lunch today. On which one? Listen, that’s a That’s a tough one. But you got your eye on some Star Trek memorabilia. 

Brandon: 

Yeah, there’s one thing I would particularly. I mean, there’s a few things, but there is one thing in particular that I’d love to get our hands on. It’ll never be available, but I would love to get it is the best conclude from the inner light episode of Star Trek next Generation? Um, that thing is ah, really special, you know, And and these are artifacts from, like the things we love, as I mentioned. And, you know, there are probably millions of people who also care about that risk and flute. And it’s something that they’ll never for the most part see anywhere but the Internet. And this is why these things are important to people, and that’s why they’re also is expensive as they are. 

Joe: 

One last thing before we go and ask can. 

Brandon: 

In many ways you have a really great business model because you contest things right. Could you put something up on there and see if there was going to be demand for it and say, like, I see the giant growth art that you have up here, Notify me, and if you get enough people, then you pursue it, And if you don’t, you don’t. Is that is that part of your model part of it? 

Brandon: 

I mean, in the giant growth case, we actually do have that asset in the vault now, along with a few other pieces. And but yeah, I mean, we could certainly test the waters on, you know, on new pieces. And yeah, I mean, there’s just there’s like, one of our acquisition models is a purchase option. And so, you know, we can certainly, you know, be like, Okay, you know, let’s throw this up and see if people are interested in it. And then, you know, we will, you know, sign a deal to acquire it and offer it and then sort of go from there. But yeah, I mean, like, not everything is going. I have the same level of demand and, you know, I think as we continue to grow, you know, our hope is to be able to turn over asked So some of our competitors have been in the market for a year or two before us even and, you know, have built up their investor base is such that, like offering of, let’s say, $92,000 comic book will sell out in 30 seconds. So that’s what we’re working up toward. 

Joe: 

Oh, that’s really cool. I think you’re going to get there. You are super persistent. You have a great story. I’m really grateful for you sharing that story with everybody today. It’s It’s been a journey. Can can we finish off? Could you give us three h BTS for entrepreneurs who are either just starting out or in the middle of their idea and and just maybe getting some revenue or testing it? 

Brandon: 

What three things would you offer to them as advice? 

Brandon: 

Moving forward? 

Brandon: 

I mean, I think if you’re just starting out one thing that I see a lot of people do too much of or and not enough of is like kind of like hoarding their idea and like not talking about it because, like, you know, my idea is so good. It’s a billion dollar idea. You need to sign India and also this stuff and just talk to as many people as possible about it, like nobody’s going to steal your idea like it’s, you know, your execution. You know, it’s like cliche and kind of tried at this point, but like it’s all about execution and without talking about it, you don’t know if people actually want what you’re doing and ideas air are cheap and and it’s difficult. Thio bring people around you toe work with you on these things. Like if nobody knows about it also, Ah, Hallmark of like a good founder as well as you know, is I still look for in entrepreneurs that, like I’ll want to invest in not on the venture side at the moment, primarily on the Angel side, but yeah, so that’s something that that is really important. I think it’s also really important to, you know, really embraced competition in the same way. It’s like, Oh, you know, Yeah, I got this other company that’s doing the same thing and they have money and I don’t or they’re moving faster or whatever, Like, you know, it’s really important toe. Be aware of like what other people are doing toe inform. Maybe Thio inform like what you are doing as an entrepreneur. But you know, I think like focusing on that it really doesn’t help. It’s not terribly motivating, like, you know, a lot of people quit as soon as they see someone else doing it, even if it’s like Google or something. And you know, really just not being afraid of that because you’re running your own race and, frankly, pursuing a different mission. 

Joe: 

Probably move as quickly as possible, like you do need to get as much done as quickly as possible because and and frankly like. 

Joe: 

And I’m not saying like, you know, and this is probably part of the pernicious attitude of the Bay Area, which is like, just constantly, like hustling and and and and so forth. But But it’s something I have noticed is that, like it’s really important to to move as quickly as possible, as if someone was chasing you, like trying to take it away from you all the time. It’s really easy to kind of get complacent and, you know, kind of good to make that motivation in the same way. If you would make your competitors as sort of a motivating factor, you know you don’t want to put too much like emphasis and worry on it, but like in some ways it is good to be a little bit a little bit paranoid, which I I don’t know. 

Joe: 

I just wouldn’t let it kind of take over my life. 

Joe: 

I think those air. 

Joe: 

Great advice. Thanks a lot for sharing your story, Joe. And maybe if you’re open to it, will When are you gonna? 

Brandon: 

When do you think you’re gonna start your next raise? 

Brandon: 

Probably like Q one Q four. Something like that. 

Joe: 

Yeah, maybe. Well, maybe we’ll check in at the end of the year or the beginning, Beginning of the coming year. Times going so fast here in this cove in warp thing it realized. 

Brandon: 

I think the only indication of time is how fast our grow our hair grows. 

Brandon: 

Yeah, this is a new for me. I have not had a haircut or shaved, actually in, like, five or six months. And so yeah, actually, that is something to that. I think, you know, for entrepreneurs, it would be good to know is that in some ways it is harder to raise money now. But good entrepreneurs and good projects can raise any time. There’s plenty of dry powder out there, and it it needs to get deployed. So go out. Go out there and get it. Continue building your businesses. 

Joe: 

Cool, Joe. Well, I will see you at the next mastermind. Thanks again and enjoy the rest of your week, man. 

Brandon: 

Likewise. Thank you so much for having me. 

Joe: 

How cool was that story, Joe? Thanks for coming on. Looking forward to investing in some comic books soon and having you back to get an update to hear how everything’s going. 

Brandon: 

If you enjoyed this episode, please click Subscribe. And as my e a extraordinary JIA says, click it so that you can listen, learn and stay updated with all the episodes. And if you know somebody that would enjoy this podcast, please pass it on its people like you who have helped us grow this podcast. And we are grateful for you being generous with your time to pass it along until the next episode. 

Brandon: 

Remember, you really are just one business plan away. 

Brandon: 

I’m rooting for your success. We’ll see you soon

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