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The Superconnector in the Venture Capital Ecosystem, Carl Grant

The Superconnector in the Venture Capital Ecosystem, Carl Grant | Ep. 175 | Business Podcast

The Superconnector in the Venture Capital Ecosystem, Carl Grant | Ep. 175 | Business Podcast

The Superconnector in the Venture Capital Ecosystem, Carl Grant
The Superconnector in the Venture Capital Ecosystem, Carl Grant

Summary

As EVP, Global Business Development at Cooley, Carl Grant leads a team of super connectors who are connected to venture capital firms and the technology and life sciences ecosystems.

During Covid, Carl designed Venture Raise to help entrepreneurs find the investors who are the best fit for their companies and get to know connectors who can get them a proper referral to the investor.

Carl Grant and I have known each other for over two decades. He’s a great guy, always smiling and you’ll love this epsiode where we talk about his move to Austin Texas, venture capital and his Venture Raise company that can help you find investors for your business.

Links from this episode:

Venture Raise
* Cooley

Hello Friends.

Brandon:

Welcome to the Edge.

Brandon:

Today we’re talking with Karl Grant, who is the head of business development for Cooley, a national law firm that works with a variety of different businesses, including startups. Carl and I have known each other for over two decades and today we’re talking with him about startups. We’re talking about his recent move to Austin texas and what type of business environment he’s found there and we talk about an exciting startup that he’s been working on for a while.

Brandon:

That is an investing platform that you’re going to want to learn more about.

Brandon:

You’ll love this episode.

Brandon:

Carl is a great guy. Carl Grant had a business development for Cooley.

Brandon:

Here we go.

Carl:

Welcome to the Edge podcast.

Brandon:

Your weekly playbook about the inner game of building a successful business, making you a happier, healthier and richer business owner and here’s your host Brandon White there, Carl, Oh how are you?

Brandon:

I’m great.

Carl:

How about you?

Brandon:

Well, I’m doing good.

Carl:

Thanks for joining this morning.

Brandon:

You bet.

Carl:

I think I haven’t talked to you and I was thinking about it this morning and probably 10 or 15 years.

Brandon:

Is that so I see you on social media so I feel like I’ve been in touch.

Brandon:

I know you moved recently from northern Virginia to Austin.

Carl:

Yes, I live in like way it’s 23 miles outside of Boston.

Carl:

How is it?

Carl:

I love it here, I wish I came here earlier.

Brandon:

Really?

Carl:

Yeah, you had a really nice setup in Virginia.

Brandon:

I did and it was great for a season and that season that season is over.

Carl:

I mean, we, we had a 20 acre horse farm with a six bedroom house and that was fun.

Brandon:

It was fun when we had five kids and now we still have five kids, but they’re grown a lot of them are, we have two of them living at home right now.

Carl:

It gets complicated when they all come back to visit at the same time because we’ve downsized, this was kind of an unplanned downsize.

Brandon:

We came to Austin.

Carl:

So I’ve been coming in boston eight years now six times to south by southwest, came out for a corporate group off site for the firm.

Carl:

I work for, brought my wife with me and we carved out a couple of extra days beyond the meeting to look around Austin.

Carl:

I always tell her how wonderful it is here, how the weather is so much better and all of that.

Carl:

And so we took a boat out onto Lake Travis And we were looking at the homes and boy, the home prices have gone up, but they were expensive back then.

Carl:

And uh, and you know, we’re looking at these $5 million like we don’t need a giant house and we stumbled upon condos that were right next to the Lakeway resort and spawn and We kind of fixated on these because they had the $5 million dollar view without the price tag And without all of the maintenance and stuff that we had, you know, 20 acres is a lot to keep up, right?

Carl:

We the road was killing us out there.

Carl:

It would snow in the winter time and we had to keep the road up and it’s just getting getting old.

Carl:

And so uh we had dinner over there and within days we had a contract on the uh the condo and I didn’t know at the time that the whole world was going to follow me here, but they did.

Carl:

Elon musk was right behind me and oracle and everybody else. And uh and so the last time I checked it had appreciated by a third and we’re getting another appraisal done. So we’ll see what it’s done since then. It’s it’s an exciting time here.

Carl:

A third. In what amount of time in a year?

Brandon:

Yeah.

Brandon:

Yeah.

Carl:

That’s crazy. And joe Rogan came there.

Brandon:

Yeah, he’s here. There’s so many, there’s so many people here, right? You know, to even start rattling down the list. Uh you know, it’s it’s hard to keep up with.

Carl:

I feel like an old timer here. Brandon. So I went to an event the other night and the event was to welcome a team from Raytheon that is moving here. Leaving D. C. The army futures command is here. And uh and so it’s really interesting at this event because there are these three star generals walking around in civilian clothes and introducing their themselves by their first name, not just civilian clothes, but like Austin civilian clothes.

Carl:

I mean casual and I was like, okay, are you guys still in the service?

Carl:

And I’m like, yeah, this is our stick and that was interesting. And so all the people at this event were there like the guy who runs the chamber of Commerce for the state of texas, He’s been here four months And he was an old timer.

Carl:

The other guys have been here one week, two weeks and I’m like, wow, like I bought my place in 2019 you know, I’ve got seniority.

Carl:

It was, it’s just a crazy feel.

Carl:

Yes.

Carl:

So I wonder if it’s okay to go back for the listeners to where you started because you and I met and carl and I aren’t that old.

Carl:

But we met In the best I can remember.

Brandon:

I think going back to 1997 when you started Coley in northern Virginia or thereabouts, you were at accounting firm before that.

Brandon:

Right.

Brandon:

So in 97 I was with the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority and I organized the first venture fair in Tysons corner Virginia.

Brandon:

And that was The beginning of the Internet.

Carl:

Crazy days. And so that 1997 Venture Fair really put Northern Virginia on the map in terms of being a venture hub at that time.

Carl:

And so from 97 through 2000, we saw a lot of stuff happened in Northern Virginia that really, really was the center of the internet.

Carl:

If you wanted a web domain network solutions was the only place you could go that was in D. C.

Carl:

Or in Northern Virginia. In Fairfax County if you wanted to get on the internet, most of the internet service providers were in northern Virginia. I remember driving in my car in 1991 over to PS and had to get an email address. I knew what an email address was. Most people didn’t at that point in time, but I had an email address in grad school and you know, it makes me sound like a dinosaur talking about this, but but like I was one of the first people to have have an email address, you know, around my circles of contacts in northern Virginia.

Carl:

And I remember when I took my job at Fairfax County D.

Carl:

A. We didn’t have email addresses and then we got one email address for the whole team and I’m like, that’s crazy, like how are we gonna do this?

Carl:

So so much has happened since then. I yeah, I did go after that to work for an accounting firm. I was the first business development higher at Pricewaterhousecoopers kind of, I jokingly say I wrote the book, but you know, I’m I’m about to write the book, I had to do this.

Carl:

Uh it’s certainly in the works, but I had to figure out how to do that. And then after doing that for a couple of years. Brandon, I was a member of the management team of the first company to put video over the internet. And uh it’s hard to believe because I can see you on video right now and uh It’s 21 years later and you know, it’s just here we are zooming with everybody during Covid.

Carl:

And I remember when the first, so the first video of the internet was one frame per second motion jpeg.

Carl:

If you can imagine that we raised $36 million off of that was like the old uh flip movies. You’re seeing those things where you flip the, you know, that’s what it was like no audio, we got it to three frames per second and then we got it to mpeg four and then at the market creator and we were all sent packing.

Carl:

So unfortunately the VCS didn’t want to play the long game and and you know, put the technology on ice and wait for the recession and we would have liked to see that, but it just wasn’t something they wanted to do.

Carl:

Yeah, I remember that.

Carl:

I didn’t realize that you were in a startup before you you went to Cool E. D.

Brandon:

Oh yeah I did two startups. I actually before I did Fairfax County D. A. I just start up, I’m a technology entrepreneur, but I’ve got five kids. Brandon and unless you have an exit as I think you have, you know, it’s, you can’t subsidize its lifestyle and I have a wife who wanted to stay home and raise our five kids.

Carl:

It was kind of the pact we made when we got married. And so she said, hey, how about if while I’m raising all these kids, you don’t do any more startups and I abided by her wishes.

Carl:

I, I went to Cooley and it was the law firm that represented the two startups I was with previously and uh, I’ve lived vicariously through startup founders. I’ve been able to dibble and dabble and you know, my friend startups, I sort of as an adviser here and there and had a little exit event a few years ago with a buddy of mine start up. I mean it’s, it’s fun, it’s not, it’s, I do have one that I’m working on Brandon that my colleagues that coolie no about you want me to tell you about it?

Carl:

Well, yeah, I do.

Carl:

Okay, so, so during Covid and you know, my stick, I don’t go out and sell legal services, nobody wants to buy legal services.

Brandon:

They, they want help with their businesses.

Carl:

And so every entrepreneur I come across has to raise money at some point in their business life cycle And whether it’s when they’re starting or when they get to 50 million in revenue.

Carl:

I was meeting with an entrepreneur yesterday about raising $100 million dollars around and you know, those are the exciting ones. It’s harder to raise the early money. And so during covid the numbers of entrepreneurs that couldn’t get out and meet investors through like conferences and normal courses of business ended up in my inbox.

Carl:

I mean it was overwhelming the number of requests I was getting for help because the fundings were still happening, but they were happening through trusted connectors like myself.

Carl:

And so during the move to texas is when I just really realized, I can’t like I become in the middle of moving across the country and, and I’ve got hundreds and hundreds of emails.

Carl:

I took over the techstars relationship right around that time for Cooley and I hadn’t figured out how to embed that into my whole team working on it.

Carl:

So it was all ending up in my inbox and I’m like, all right.

Carl:

The way deal flow gets done is no different today than it was in 1998 when I was at Pricewaterhousecoopers.

Carl:

They’re sending the same freaking attachments to VCS and I just had to take a step back and say there’s gotta be a way to improve this. I saw others in the market doing various platforms where they would connect entrepreneurs directly with VCS but that’s not the way it happens. Vcs don’t want every tom dick and harry coming into their inbox, right?

Carl:

They want to have it vetted by people they know and trust ceos, they’ve backed limited partners in their fund service providers such as law firms, accounting firms, banks that they work with and maybe investment bankers on $100 million deal like I mentioned to you. And so I thought about all of the technology that’s been developed over the past 21 years that I’ve been doing this and and then I decided, you know what, there’s nobody really better situated than me to figure out a new way of doing this.

Carl:

And so I started talking to software developers, a couple of them, one was overseas based ones us based, I ended up going with the US based development team because of the cultural nuances of of these, these relationships.

Carl:

I I thought it might get lost in translation with foreign developers.

Carl:

And so we built a software platform. It’s like a linkedin think of linkedin like platform, but it’s for a very specific purpose and that’s for the entrepreneur who was looking to raise venture capital. It really what we did was we took my workflow.

Carl:

I literally, I did, here’s the emails that I sent right, like here’s screenshots of what I do, we took that and we built that into software and so it cuts down the number of emails by hundreds and hundreds. I mean I can do in five minutes. What I could do in three hours before in the past, what I would do is I would, I started out researching the stuff myself to figure out who the investors were that were a fit, then I got a research team to support me on that.

Carl:

And, and then they would get, you know, the pitchbook data and they would query that against my linkedin sales navigator contacts and figure out who I knew it, these funds and then I would have a list and then I would have to, So basically that whole process is now baked into software and so it’ll show the entrepreneur and I get random entrepreneurs just showing up on the platform now which investors are the strongest fit and then who they need to get to know to get to those investors.

Carl:

And it’s not just me on the platform.

Carl:

We’ve got folks from, from Silicon Valley Bank and Pricewaterhousecoopers and other organizations that are, that are on the platform and other smaller firms that are known nationally necessarily and they’re using the platform as well. So you might reach out. I had a guy reach out to me actually, he lives right down the street and I had lunch at them earlier this week, I know where he came from, like how did you find me and somebody from Silicon Valley Bank had invited him onto the platform and and he reached out to me because I was connected to folks who wanted to get to know, so it’s a, it’s a busy day of tool.

Carl:

I’ve received several leads that have come in through like that as well. So that’s something I’m working on the side, I’m not going to leave my job to go run that and it’s not just mine, you know, I co own it with a development partner, we’re gonna hire a ceo to run it for us and uh well, you know, that person will raise money and and hopefully blow it out.

Carl:

So do entrepreneurs come on there, carl or or everybody can join?

Carl:

It’s basically the entrepreneurs come on so that they can, let me say it back to you, the elevator pitch entrepreneurs come on there and register.

Carl:

I imagine they come in and pick their industry and whatnot in profile and then this software through some magic ai and machine learning matches them with firms that would be the best fit.

Carl:

Exactly.

Brandon:

So it’s it’s based on where the company is located, what their revenue is, what industry they’re in, who they’re selling to and how much they’re raising and then whether or not they’re a female or underrepresented entrepreneur and I shouldn’t just gloss over that part of that’s a huge component of this because as you know, during covid, the other really strong trend is that vcs are getting a lot of social pressure to diversify their investments into entrepreneurs that, that aren’t necessarily part of the club, right?

Brandon:

I’m part of the club, I’ve been doing this as long as I can remember, you’re part of the club because you have this well, but there are people who come from other parts of the country, right?

Brandon:

Fly over parts of the country and maybe there from a family that doesn’t have any of these connections, where do you even start?

Brandon:

How do you even begin to know where to go?

Brandon:

And so there are funds that are formed to focus just on female founders or just on minority founders and how do you even know where to find those people?

Carl:

How do you get a proper introduction to those folks?

Carl:

So we, we have built the leveling the playing ground platform for those entrepreneurs and so I, you know, like I’ve got a female entrepreneur who’s who’s kind of off the beaten path in Georgia who’s got a software company for the construction business.

Carl:

I mean she’s having a really hard time figuring out who to talk to you.

Carl:

Well, she got on the platform and she hasn’t gotten funded necessarily, but she’s gotten a couple of good leads where she’s had some good conversations.

Carl:

I’m like, see this is huge.

Carl:

I mean this would have never happened if you were relying on me to remember who might be interested in a female lead construction software company.

Carl:

I mean it’s just not information, I carry around in my head.

Carl:

Right, And so but now that I’ve got all those investment criteria built into this platform, it does it for me.

Carl:

I think that that’s awesome. I also think that one of the things that I always wind up helping entrepreneurs with is that entrepreneurs and you know this carl generally we believe we just want some money right?

Brandon:

I mean we just, we want some money and what happens is is that from this, from the entrepreneur side of the table, we want the money so bad that we put the firms in control and candidly we don’t do our research and a lot of the people going back to what you said carl, they don’t know how, they don’t even know what that means, right?

Brandon:

They don’t know, it means that you should go through their portfolio and see if they have any competitors.

Brandon:

They don’t know that necessarily.

Brandon:

You should go through every single partner, see what deals they did and where they sit on boards.

Brandon:

It’s just not common knowledge and it sounds like your platform is accelerating and actually helping and maybe making everybody more efficient because I can’t imagine over you’ve seen, I don’t know hundreds of thousands of deals that you get meetings that you instantly in five minutes.

Brandon:

Not because the entrepreneur is bad, not because the entrepreneurs not cool, not because even the business can’t work, but it doesn’t fit your niche as a firm and it sounds like, oh and by the way, carl, what is the name of this platform so that people can jump on.

Brandon:

So it’s venture raise venture is that I o venture res dot io cool and anybody can register as a qualification.

Brandon:

Yeah, right, right now.

Brandon:

I mean like, um, pre revenue companies don’t do as well on there.

Brandon:

Just be honest with you.

Brandon:

Like that’s investment trends.

Brandon:

Favorite companies that have traction.

Brandon:

And so it will be hoping to get some paying customers before you go on there.

Brandon:

You know, I’ve got, so that the connectors don’t need to forward you on.

Brandon:

I think I’ve got 42 or 43 companies that are in my like active box for raising capital.

Brandon:

10 of those.

Brandon:

I have not pushed on her 11.

Brandon:

I have not when I pushed one on this morning, so it’s down.

Brandon:

But you know, some of those are in the weight and hold category because they’re not ready and I know entrepreneurs don’t like to hear that, but it’s true.

Brandon:

Like there’s some of them, you could, you just look at the ones that have gotten traction and the ones that haven’t gotten traction on the platform and you can see the ones that have interested, like the little green, there’s little indicators on there.

Brandon:

Those are the ones that have revenue traction and the ones that don’t, they’re still waiting, the VCS will, will wait and not reply or they’ll decline them.

Brandon:

Sometimes we’ll just wait.

Brandon:

And so I would, I’d rather see an entrepreneur get interested, check marks on there when, when they go through.

Brandon:

Right.

Carl:

And so what happens is the referral goes into the investors in box just like email and and the investor then rather than clicking on an attachment, just clicks on a link and they’re used to doing that because pitch lee has, has, you know, kind of gotten used to looking at links to presentations and so they click on the link, they see the whole profile in that profile.

Brandon:

If the entrepreneurs done a good job, they’ve also put an elevator pitch up there, they’ve done a full length narrated pitch.

Carl:

They have a link to the linkedin profile and a downloadable executive summary and deck.

Carl:

And so the investor can really dig in and take a look at the entrepreneur and then there’s two buttons and the entrepreneurs tell me this is Tinder like functionality.

Carl:

I have not been on Tinder, I’ve been married since all this craziness has come about, but you go to the left and it’s a pass and you go to the right and it’s connect me and so the behavior, you know, they’re used to doing that stuff.

Carl:

At least the younger ones that have been on Tinder are used to that kind of una swiping.

Carl:

Yeah, it’s not really a swipe.

Carl:

It’s a, it’s a click, you know, right?

Carl:

The, you know, you’ve had really a front row seat two, I mean thousands, hundreds of thousands, A lot of deals over the years.

Carl:

Do you think there’s a lot of talk about entrepreneurs always want to get funded with the idea and now and I don’t think this is a new trend carl.

Carl:

I remember when I worked at the venture firms in northern Virginia?

Carl:

I mean there was a portion of our fund that was allocated too early stages what we called it but early even early stage didn’t necessarily mean they had no revenue.

Carl:

They just might be losing money in a path to get there overall your years.

Carl:

The buzz goes about companies that have great ideas and are going but do you find that the real companies that actually get the funding already have some sort of revenue traction?

Carl:

Well it depends on what industry because I’ve been doing since I’ve moved here a lot more life sciences.

Carl:

There’s a there’s a big life science community in san Antonio med devices, therapeutics, all that diagnostics and healthcare I.

Carl:

T.

Brandon:

And and so the health care I.

Brandon:

T.

Brandon:

Companies.

Brandon:

Yes right out of those but the other ones.

Brandon:

No but there’s other hurdles that they have to get through and so getting through certain trial trial hurdles is key and so so I don’t want to make a blanket statement.

Brandon:

But on the technology side yeah you gotta have you gotta have some traction.

Brandon:

You’ve got to have proof of the business model.

Brandon:

It’s trending towards earlier now than it was before it used to be that nobody would talk to you unless you had a million annually recurring revenue anymore.

Brandon:

I see it coming down because it’s more competitive now but still the ones that have more revenue do better.

Brandon:

Got young.

Brandon:

And what do you think about this trend about crowdsourcing do you think that’s going to change the landscape for?

Brandon:

You just mentioned it’s becoming more competitive and the discussions that I’ve had with either angels, super Angels or smaller funds have said that that is actually the case.

Carl:

And now I’m seeing, I mean I’m seeing tons and tons of companies raising what I would consider significant money, meaning several million dollars in early rounds by crowd sourcing.

Carl:

And the terms actually, when you start digging into the paperwork, the terms aren’t necessarily bad, but the valuations are pretty high.

Carl:

Do you think that that dynamic right now is driving the VCS to have to become more competitive and go down market in the way of intact for revenue?

Carl:

I don’t I don’t think so.

Carl:

I think the types of companies that crowdsource are different than the types of companies that raise venture capital.

Carl:

I had a call, I guess it was last week my weeks run together, so I can’t remember what it was, but it was, it was recent with an entrepreneur here who developed like a consumer product that it sounds like it has, it has potential, I won’t get into the weeds on it, but it was the type of thing.

Carl:

It, it had a it was a hardware product and I told him I thought it was better suited for crowdsourcing?

Carl:

Like because you’re, you’re really selling the product, you’re not really raising selling equity, right?

Brandon:

And it was the type of product that had a niche audience.

Brandon:

I didn’t foresee it necessarily being in best buy out of the gate, but maybe down the road, who knows, Right.

Brandon:

And so yeah, a company like that.

Brandon:

Absolutely.

Brandon:

I couldn’t really guide him on the crowd sourcing, that’s not something I deal with.

Brandon:

So I see, I see very little of this, but every now and then I come across a company that just seems like it would do better because most species don’t like hardware, some do, but there’s so few and far between so on the hardware side and then, and even consumer products, I see a lot of the consumer products.

Brandon:

I I’ve seen some technology companies, but more technology companies that have a hardware components, so that’s interesting.

Brandon:

And do you think that the I I tend to believe that the reputation of some of the top tier firms across the country are always going to have inability to help these companies more than necessarily crowdsourcing is great because you get the cash, but you don’t necessarily get the help and sometimes, you know, cash is great, money is great, but if you don’t have the relationships to get into best buy or you don’t have the relationship to have an acquirer down the line, then yeah, you got you got the money and you don’t have necessarily all the hassle of managing people on your board and things like that.

Brandon:

But you also lose out on the opportunity to have these connections that ultimately can help you build a business.

Carl:

You have to really be careful.

Carl:

It’s not nerve about expecting too much of your investors.

Carl:

Like there’s very few of them that actually provide that value and you’ve got to make sure that your investor is one of those guys that their gals, it does right get it from them, but also get it from ceos of portfolio companies.

Carl:

Did they really do this?

Carl:

Did they really open up doors for you?

Carl:

Because if they do, it’s great and some of them do, but not all of them do.

Carl:

Yeah, I guess I was wearing my old dc hat.

Carl:

Maybe you were one of those folks.

Carl:

I, I don’t know, but I’ve seen or or they make unproductive introductions, right?

Brandon:

They you think these guys are brilliant, but not all of them really are.

Brandon:

They don’t know what they don’t know.

Brandon:

I’m just being honest.

Brandon:

I would say this to my VC friends.

Brandon:

I appreciate.

Brandon:

I appreciate it.

Brandon:

I say the same thing.

Brandon:

I’m laughing.

Carl:

You know, people laugh because it’s true, right?

Carl:

I was In a venture backed company.

Carl:

I won’t say which fund it was or what partner was, but I had a partner on day one introduced me to one of his portfolio companies and wanted me to do a deal with this guy And, and I hope he’s not listening to your podcast wrote on the whiteboard, $50 million, year one.

Carl:

And so I I was chasing my tail trying to get this deal done only to realize that it was technically impossible that like the network that this company had, it could not handle the video stream that we were producing at the time.

Carl:

And we were, when I got down to exploring like breaking up marvel to put new wires into these buildings to, to make this deal happen.

Carl:

Like this is, this is stupid.

Brandon:

Like this is not, this is not how it’s supposed to work and we, as we scrapped it and you know, you don’t go and listen to a VC just because he tells you to go do a deal, you gotta take a step back and say, does this make sense?

Brandon:

Is it technologically feasible?

Carl:

On the surface, it looks like a good idea.

Carl:

But then when you dug in and realize the network didn’t have the bandwidth to handle that, it’s all totally different today than it was back then we could put large amounts of video through very little bandwidth and it’s wonderful.

Carl:

But it was different back then.

Carl:

You needed, You needed a T1 in some instances to get the video into certain locations.

Brandon:

This has changed a lot.

Carl:

I think that’s good advice.

Carl:

One of the things that, that I did, I guess in the second decade of this journey is I put non investor people on my board and that tended to give me better advice, mainly because I felt like over those years that I had raised money that I was being pushed and the company pushed just like you just described and you wasted time and money and now you’re behind the eight ball and then you’re going to show up to get more money and they’re gonna say what you do and you’re gonna tell them that you did try to do the deal they told you to do, but it didn’t work out And they seem to forget about that or not care about it and then you’re behind the eight ball.

Carl:

Yeah, so look, it varies from investor to investor also, as you look at investors, you gotta look at how they behave in good times and how they behave in and not good times.

Carl:

And when I seen that good times, I’m talking recessions, right?

Carl:

So we’ve, we’ve had two major recessions since I’ve been in the technology space 2000 and 2000 and eight, I’m sure you remember those well and where you were at the time.

Carl:

Unfortunately, I was, I was in an internet company for the first one and I was a founding board.

Carl:

I was still cool, but I was a founding board member of a bank in, in, in the 2000 and eight recession and Bear stearns went down in the middle of our capital raise and so those are, I’m still here, I’m doing fine, but those are tough experiences that, that you learn from and so what concerns me is a lot of the younger Vcs, They’ve never been through one of these or like they were in school, when, when, when this was, you know, 2008 and they’re not gonna know what to do when this happens.

Carl:

Like, how are they going to behave like I would want somebody who has at least been through one, if not both of those recessions around because we’re overdue.

Carl:

I mean, we haven’t had a real, we had a kind of a fake recession during Covid, but that wasn’t a real recession, right?

Brandon:

I mean, it was, it was a recession in pockets, you know, it was really bad for people that had it bad, but for for the rest of us who were in the technology space, it was actually pretty good.

Brandon:

And so we haven’t had a meltdown in the technology and life sciences space for a while.

Brandon:

Yeah.

Brandon:

And you and I lived through that 2000 and I will say that it wasn’t, it wasn’t pretty.

Brandon:

People thought basically what happens is, I don’t want to say people panic, right?

Brandon:

But they, they start doing things that may not be rational and for my case it was the internet’s going away, it’s over Brandon find another career now.

Brandon:

I didn’t believe that of course, and that was either stubborn, stupid luck or pride.

Brandon:

I don’t know which one, but ultimately it worked out.

Brandon:

But I think your point is really valid a real recession that doesn’t, that lasts a long time.

Brandon:

That can put companies in a spot whether they’re going to be able to make it through and how you’re going to act and support them really along the way.

Carl:

Yeah.

Carl:

So that’s something I would be asking investors like tell me, tell me how you handled the last recession, like what did you do?

Carl:

Like, what are your company’s still alive or did you, you know, put bullets in them.

Carl:

It’s a valid question because we probably have one around the corner somewhere.

Carl:

I don’t, I’m not going to predict when, but, but we’re overdue.

Carl:

And so, and, and any time there’s a recession, there’s also opportunities.

Brandon:

I, I’ve, I’ve watched recessions and the bubble, the bubble moves right?

Brandon:

Brandon, I mean the bubble that was the tech sector moved to the real estate sector before.

Brandon:

So if you got out of tech and got into real estate, you did well, and you know, you just got to see where, where all the capital goes when it pulls out of the market.

Brandon:

Where has it gone?

Brandon:

Crypto?

Brandon:

I mean there’s been some opportunities in crypto, I don’t know.

Brandon:

I’m not sure if I had a crystal ball, I’d be one of these, uh, top quartile investors.

Brandon:

Yeah, exactly.

Brandon:

Well that leads me to a question.

Brandon:

Carl had been that I have on my list because I haven’t talked to you so long, you’ve had the opportunity to see all of these deals and you’ve seen what’s been pitched and you’ve seen what got funded and then you’ve seen what actually worked in your experience, What do you think it takes for a Ceo founder co founder co founding team to really make one of these startups?

Brandon:

If you are early stage companies work, what traits do you think people have to have to actually make that work?

Brandon:

Or is there such a wide variety that you can’t even narrow it down?

Carl:

Let’s go back to some of the companies that you and I both saw become enduring companies.

Carl:

Let’s talk about enduring companies.

Carl:

I think if I think if companies like blackboard, blackboard, I remember when the two founders, Michael and Matthew were still at KPMG when I met them.

Carl:

Right.

Carl:

And and they and they came out of there and they had this idea and I was there helping him pitch, you know, like but those guys, they built an enduring company and they stayed with it.

Carl:

I mean if you if you looked at how they built that, especially Michael, right, Michael, he gave up the Ceo role for a while, you can’t have a death grip on that role.

Carl:

Got him lou came in and ran it for a while, did his part.

Carl:

And then and then Michael took it back over and ran it as a publicly traded company and you look at how they managed to the way they entered the market.

Carl:

They were, I still tell the story, even though it’s an ancient story, like they gave it away to the classrooms because the money was not in the classrooms, it was in the department’s remember that.

Carl:

I don’t know if you remember that, but you know, so it was a department level sale, right?

Brandon:

And and so then they, you know, leverage the departments to get higher up and eventually the universities and it just became a mainstay of, of education.

Brandon:

There’s one c event, there’s another one see event I remember back in the nineties, they raised a little bit of money and then they just quietly went about building the business that all through the recession and just stick to itiveness is what it was and and to, to Reggie Aggarwal is credit, I mean, he just stuck to it.

Brandon:

He was, I remember when he sold Cooley, you know, he was on the phone doing the sales himself like, you know, I mean, just rolled up his sleeves and did it and then it seemed like out of the blue all of a sudden he raised $100 million round led by any a and I’m like holy cow look at that.

Brandon:

And then and then he took it public and then you got bought by private equity, I mean, and it’s it’s but that’s an enduring company, right?

Brandon:

They, there’s other companies that do this stuff but they’ve got an enterprise event management platform that I don’t think it’s going away.

Brandon:

And so I just see those guys they adapted to changing environments because we will have changing environments and and blackboards through through the recession’s continue to sell.

Brandon:

It helped that.

Brandon:

Education is one of those recession proof industries.

Brandon:

I think I was just having a conversation with the venture capitalists morning who’s thinking about you know thinking about these things?

Brandon:

People thinking about these things.

Carl:

I said well look at your look at your portfolio companies customer basis like as you’re looking at investments, ask yourself during a downturn do these customers disappear?

Carl:

And there’s certain ones that don’t education, utilities, hospitals and health care.

Carl:

I mean like certain things don’t go away because there’s a recession.

Brandon:

In fact education does better because people will go back to school.

Carl:

So you got to look at these things and as a company If you think in the D.C.

Carl:

area the ones that made it through the 2000 recession were ones that figured out how to sell to the government because the government still had money right?

Carl:

And so you’ve got to be flexible you’ve got to pivot, you’ve got to adjust to changing environments in order to stay alive during changing economies?

Carl:

I think that I I agree with you Carl one of the things that I always say is last man standing wins or woman because the ones that don’t or get upset or for whatever reason decide that they’re going to get off track.

Brandon:

They lose themselves another one in the actually D.

Carl:

C.

Carl:

Area that I recently subscribed to because I was interested to see what they were doing was motley fool.

Carl:

Yeah they’ve been around forever.

Carl:

I mean two decades They’ve stayed you know the other one in that region was AOL which the truth is for 10 years Stephen those guys didn’t do much.

Carl:

They were behind that car dealership I think in Leesburg pike aren’t they?

Carl:

Have been to the office?

Carl:

I actually built a website there.

Carl:

Well there you go.

Carl:

So you know but they kept at it and I think that’s the I think that’s a great observation on how that works.

Brandon:

Here’s a question for your car.

Brandon:

How do you think these people know when to keep going and want to stop?

Brandon:

Like one basically because they did endure these things and they did change.

Brandon:

They didn’t quit.

Brandon:

But how do you how do you where is that fine line?

Brandon:

Well Brandon it’s not so much giving up.

Brandon:

Right?

Brandon:

So I I think I think of bravo systems.

Brandon:

All right.

Carl:

There’s another enduring company.

Brandon:

I don’t know if you know the bravo guys but all right.

Brandon:

So I knew the founding team because I showed up literally at my doorstep at Pricewaterhousecoopers when they had their idea to do this and the original idea was called replenish.

Brandon:

Right?

Carl:

So so this was a home replenishment model where for certain things that you need and some of us do this on on amazon today, where you know, you’re going to need toothbrush, toothpaste and toilet paper and certain things that you’re just gonna buy on a regular basis.

Brandon:

And and probably it’s a good idea to replace your toothpaste and not run out of toilet paper.

Brandon:

So that was the model for for stuff like that.

Brandon:

And they had a a box that they were going to stick in front of the house.

Brandon:

And they had this wireless technology where the ups driver, whoever Fedex could come by and open the box and put their stuff in in your box.

Brandon:

And it seemed like a brilliant idea until they realized that homeowners associations didn’t want these boxes in front of people’s houses, that was a problem.

Brandon:

And so they could have just packed it up and shut the company.

Brandon:

Right.

Brandon:

They didn’t, they figured out what, what do we have here?

Carl:

We have like an access control technology.

Carl:

And eventually they sold the company to chamberlain.

Carl:

They built it and continued to endure.

Carl:

And and and chamberlain, the garage door opener company.

Carl:

They bought it.

Carl:

And uh I realized how enduring it was when I was going into capital Factory when people started going back to the offices and I got my brave, oh, I got my bravo systems access entry for for the offices and the young, the young woman who set me up there.

Carl:

I said if you want to hear the story of this company and I told her about it.

Carl:

She wouldn’t even live probably when when the uh when the company was founded but she loved that story.

Carl:

Yeah, I think you’re right. I I don’t mean to say giving up is not giving up its recognizing where you are in the process and what you’ve got to do to make it happen.

Brandon:

I want to switch gears for a second if it’s okay and talk about ecosystems and ecosystems for entrepreneurs because you were in northern Virginia really started that night when you were telling that story before.

Brandon:

I remember being a part of that community and actually meeting you.

Brandon:

I thought it was so cool. I was living on the eastern shore of Maryland and if you remember we had a message board and I still have the messages in my old yahoo account from net pen or do you remember that?

Brandon:

Of course it’s become connect your, it’s not the same organization but then long smartly recreated that.

Carl:

Well that’s cool.

Carl:

That was, it was one of the first, well it was the first formal ecosystem that I knew about.

Brandon:

Maybe there was already one on the west coast at the time. But I wasn’t familiar.

Brandon:

The ecosystem I think is an interesting discussion. There’s obviously I’m hearing a lot of my friends have moved from Silicon Valley area Bay area to Austin in Colorado in these other places?

Brandon:

Maybe they’ll come back?

Brandon:

I don’t know, maybe it was a covid thing.

Brandon:

Maybe people realize that finally some of us who had been advocating that you could work remotely that it actually works and prove that and people said I don’t need to be here anymore.

Brandon:

But what do you what do you think about the discussion around ecosystems?

Brandon:

Northern Virginia and that D.

Brandon:

C. Area really went through some, you know, it was boom and then it sort of slowed and maybe the government they’re affected that or maybe certain types of companies worked and certain didn’t.

Brandon:

But the ecosystem is really important from having angel investors, super angels to get traction and then smaller venture funds in your A and B around and then moving up to the chain and ultimately what I’ve experienced in the last decade in Silicon Valley really understanding and having come out here a lot is that it’s as important to have The person who can give you $20,000 as it is having the company that could eventually potentially acquire you.

Brandon:

And these, I struggled a lot on the east Coast with that.

Brandon:

First.

Brandon:

It ultimately worked out.

Brandon:

Thank the Good Lord. But the not having as many people in that ecosystem really hurt.

Brandon:

I think northern Virginia got hurt when they all lost in my estimation at least from a technology standpoint.

Brandon:

But now Austin is this seems to be this thriving ecosystem.

Brandon:

How what do you think about the ecosystem discussion?

Brandon:

Do you have to be in Silicon Valley if you’re a tech company? How long does it take to develop these networks, so to speak? I’m just, I’m sure you out on the west Coast now?

Brandon:

Yeah, I’ve been living in half Moon bay California for a decade and then I’ve been, I’ve been there five years previous, I guess you live inside of my social media where you are?

Carl:

Well, I didn’t know where you were actually.

Brandon:

I just always see your pictures and then I saw your house for sale and I was like, carl’s moving from northern Virginia, where you going?

Carl:

And I saw these pictures of you on the lake in Austin, I was like it’s going to Austin texas.

Brandon:

Huh?

Carl:

It looks like I’m out there a lot more than I am.

Brandon:

It’s just the most interesting thing to post, right?

Brandon:

Like if you saw me working from home and on zoom it would be kind of boring.

Brandon:

So I don’t share those but I do share the like pictures.

Brandon:

So people think I goof off on the lake all the time. I might get out there once, maybe twice a week and uh it’s nice.

Carl:

So let’s talk about ecosystems. If you think about the ecosystem in the northern general. One more thing A. O L.

Carl:

A. O L. Didn’t go away like there are a lot of millionaires? Multimillionaires that were produced by Ol a lot of that capital ended up in the whole startup community in Northern Virginia and now steve case and and his wealth from from that company is now a revolution and the adventure of revenue growth. I mean it’s it’s being redeployed and it’s being redeployed in in some, you know, flyover country around the country. So it’s still there. It’s in Washington, D. C. And alive and well. So A. O. L. In fact, I think they all still has a good portion of the the internet. This is from flyover country right? Like there’s a lot of folks are still on dial up internet believe there’s not three point five million subs karl that when I worked there in the early days predicted would happen.

Carl:

But you are absolutely correct.

Brandon:

They, and I don’t know that that base will go away for a really long time, but that’s a great point.

Brandon:

Right? So so the real ecosystems that I saw over time in the venture community there was, there was made to the mid atlantic Metro Association which I helped to bring down, it was focused on Baltimore in philadelphia.

Carl:

I recruited them down in 1997 to hold their first venture fair. I also invited them to set up office space inside of the Fairfax County Economic economic Development Authority. And so we headquartered them there for a while and that really was the cornerstone for that, forgetting all that going in the early days.

Carl:

What happened is over time, venture fairs are not as important to raising money as they were as they were back then.

Carl:

There’s other ways to get deals done now.

Carl:

E when we were talking about earlier, but, but so, so, you know, big, expensive venture affairs aren’t quite the business, they were maybe still around, it’s just not kind of as essential as it was back in the day. The other ones were no entrepreneur, it kind of ran its course and then was kind of reinvented by tien wang from, you know, and the first one is still out there.

Carl:

If you go to an entrepreneur dot org, I believe that the archives are still on the internet, it’s just not an active community anymore, but one that has stayed around through all of this is mindshare.

Carl:

Did you go through mindshare?

Carl:

I did a really, really long time ago.

Carl:

Yeah, so because it’s been around a really, really long time.

Brandon:

Harry Glaser started, that was my first attorney Carl before mike Lincoln showed up in northern Virginia and we’re still, we’re still in touch with Harry, I was gonna call with it.

Carl:

He’s talking about moving to Austin believes he is he, is he still in Annapolis?

Brandon:

Uh, you know, I don’t know he was on his is in a zoom box.

Carl:

Yeah, I never know where anybody is.

Brandon:

Right. And so I think zoom has made everybody’s world much smaller, right?

Carl:

I I’m, I can go from meeting somebody in europe to meeting somebody down the street and just a click of a button, right?

Carl:

It’s it’s crazy. So I never know where anybody really is unless I ask them and everybody has fake background. So you don’t really know where they are real today.

Carl:

But I love Harry. Harry was his first advice to me, Carl was this, I had no idea what I was doing.

Brandon:

I mean you imagine a psychology major trying to build an internet social networking site, vertical network as we called it back then he said, hey kid, I got one piece of advice for you.

Brandon:

It was like, all right.

Brandon:

It’s like don’t run out of money.

Brandon:

Yeah, well, thanks Harry.

Brandon:

All right, I’ll figure that out.

Brandon:

But only later did I really understand what his vices?

Brandon:

But I love Harry. He’s a super guy.

Brandon:

What he did smartly is that that when he was moving out of practicing law, he took this jam of an organization that he created and he wanted it to be in good hands.

Carl:

And so checked whatever ego he might have. And and and he he ended it off to mike Lincoln and to his credit mike has been a later in the market for decades.

Carl:

And he recruited me to come to Cooley.

Carl:

And that mindshare has been managed not by me, but by somebody who I manage and and we’ve kept it alive and going for all these years and that’s not so it’s not kind of out in front that Kulis managing this because it’s not a coolie thing.

Carl:

It’s a community thing but an organization like that needs the resources of a firm like ours to manage it and yeah we you know we kept we catch a few clients coming through there because we get to know them but but there’s something that we missed.

Carl:

Two to our shame. You know, we don’t we don’t we don’t get them all.

Carl:

You know and just like the capital call event that’s another one that’s endured and it’s it’s actually changed. It was it was a community event held in Reston in D. C. For 17, 18 years.

Carl:

And then Covid happened and and you know people aren’t getting together in rooms anymore and and pitching in person and so it became a virtual event and we realized we realized that as a virtual event it doesn’t really matter. We’re people are, you know, they could be anywhere.

Carl:

And so it started to actually started to move around the firm now now different different offices take turns managing it in different industries and and it’s really it’s really changed a lot. It’s kind of cool. I don’t know what’s going to happen when we all start getting together where we have started getting the other person, probably some sort of hybrid event. You know I think we’re going to want to do. We have a new Chicago office and there’s a lot of energy around that. I think we’re going to want to do an event in Chicago probably with some in person attendees not as big as we used to.

Carl:

I mean those those events and rest and we’re getting huge and we did, you know, hundreds of people coming and uh you know, standing room only and and you know, we didn’t have to you don’t have to feed people online, they become became cheaper to do and uh and we got more attendance.

Carl:

You know, we would we would have hundreds of people all over the place attending these things and then you don’t have to be online at the same time, you could share it, you know, after the event and it’s kind of kind of an interesting time.

Carl:

So, but that’s an enduring event and an enduring ecosystem that has stayed together. Another one that I’ve been involved with. Brandon is, and it’s a community, right? It’s the high tech prayer breakfast. I’ve been hosting that event but it will be our 20th year this year and we’re going back in person, we did a virtual event last year, we were focused on racial reconciliation and that was, it was a powerful event, it was online and now we’re going back this year what it’ll look like.

Carl:

I don’t know, we have, you know, people hosting tables and we’ll be as big as it was before Maybe.

Carl:

I don’t know, we got I think 820 people in the room, you know, prior to Covid.

Carl:

So we’ll see what happens. I’m coming back to the D. C. Area for that and uh we’ll see see what we do after that, where you are you bringing this stuff to Austin all these great programs.

Carl:

Well, so, so it’s interesting.

Brandon:

I don’t want to give away all of my plants here, but I am at late last night before I went to bed I was working on laying the groundwork for creating an ecosystem here in Austin because people are so new here.

Brandon:

There’s very few old timers here. I mean they’re they’re here. But when you look at the tech, the tech ecosystem, everybody’s new, they’re all from California and new york and various other places, but mainly California new york and and so they’re all trying to figure it out. And so there’s a there’s a market opportunity to to coalesce that community. Capital Factory was kind of the the cornerstone of the community for years and years.

Carl:

But it’s outgrown Capital Factory. I I work from Capital Factory one day a week. It’s great, it’s one piece of the puzzle here.

Carl:

It needs bigger ecosystem now. And uh and so what I’m gonna do is not going to compete at all with them and it’s going to kind of be more of an umbrella. So more news to come, I don’t want to share too much and in terms of prayer breakfast, like what works in D.

Carl:

C.

Carl:

It doesn’t necessarily work in Austin texas. So you know the funniest thing was I went to that Raytheon reception the other night. I’m like oh man it’s the northern Virginia crowd. I’m gonna have to put on the northern Virginia uniform. So I broke out the khaki pants and the, you know the button down shirt and the blue blazer, you know right? Like people dressed around D. C. No tie. You know, I’m not gonna do a tie, although there was a guy in a tie. So I show up in my uniform and the Raytheon guys dressed Austin, they were wearing jeans and polos and I’m like guys I dressed for you. Look at it was it was funny to see because because that was a culture shock.

Carl:

I knew South by Southwest was it was casual but when I would show up to business lunches and guys would show up in shorts like this is different.

Carl:

Right? I have, I will, I will um dress down but not, I haven’t worn shorts to the meeting yet. South by Southwest to wear shorts but not that’s a business lunch.

Carl:

Yeah I was actually funny, I’m wearing shorts right now and I was thinking can I wear my shorts today?

Carl:

I was like I just don’t feel comfortable. But you know maybe I could pull it off but maybe that’s the still the east coast roots in me that says um zoom you can wear shorts, right?

Brandon:

So I am working on a variation of the prayer breakfast, but it’s not going to be a sit down in the room with a bunch of guys were in suits listening to a speaker, right?

Carl:

It’s gonna be, it’s gonna be more of a festival type thing and we’re going to leverage an existing event, not ready to talk about it all yet, but we have a planning meeting next month.

Carl:

We’re pulling together representatives from the tech community and some of the large churches in the area and we’re going to start in an outside organization that does this stuff. We’re going to start planning this. So if you have me back on a few years from now, we’ll see if it worked. You know, it’s something that needs to be done.

Carl:

Well, you have a lot of energy and you’ll bring that energy and you know how it, how it happens. I know on time here we’re getting close, but I wanted you to not be promotional, but I think it’s important that entrepreneurs know how the system works or law firms like Cooley to bring in early stage companies and expose them to these things in, in someone in a role like you have, I’m not sure that even today entrepreneurs understand law firms and how carl grant works or pam washburn, I think pam’s still out in the valley valley and because, because cool is still my law firm for one of my company’s full disclosure, but pam is really nice and gets us office space sometimes if I have to meet down that way.

Brandon:

But these are the types of things that law firms can do for companies and also, and I don’t know if you still do this, but break on rates in the early days with the idea that you’re going to grow with the company, but you don’t take everybody.

Brandon:

I mean you do have to apply.

Brandon:

Can you talk just a little bit about that you were, so we’re not going to be a fit for every company.

Brandon:

Like when I look at techstars, Techstars has a great program, great companies and I had to kind of figure out that whole program, we’re probably A good fit for out of every, every program of 10, you know, 22 of those, one or two of those companies, right?

Brandon:

And, and so the other ones, I’m sure they’re great companies.

Brandon:

There’s just not the profile where we’re going to be the best fit for them.

Brandon:

And so finding a mutual fit like that is important.

Carl:

And what I always try to do for the entrepreneur and I don’t know what other law firms do.

Brandon:

I, I frankly just haven’t really interacted with them all that much.

Brandon:

Some of the smaller ones I have where I have friends, but what I’ll do is I will always try to do what’s right for the entrepreneur.

Brandon:

So if, if you are a bootstrapped company and there’s a way to do what you need to do by pulling some some documents off of a coolie go, I will send you to Cooley go.

Brandon:

And cool ego is just, you know where you put in your name of your company and your address and it will produce legal documents for you.

Carl:

I used to go for for the thing that I formed and it worked like a charm and so you know, and I feel more comfortable telling entrepreneurs doing that to do that now that I’ve done it and I’ll, and I had to like tell them to go all the way through to the end and, and, and make it happen so it works, it’s not gonna work for everything.

Carl:

So the, there was a privacy policy generator up there.

Carl:

It’s not up right now.

Carl:

That was really nice California, change some of its laws and that kind of changed the way that worked and we haven’t updated it to to have all those new ones, we like to get it right before we put it up there.

Carl:

And so, so sometimes it’ll be cool ego, sometimes it’ll be a smaller firm or a solo practitioner that will be a good fit for a company and you know, I try to do what’s right by the company I said, here’s a smaller firm or maybe somebody who used to work at Cooley who went out and hung up their own shingle, like we don’t, if they leave on friendly terms, we’re happy to support those businesses because there’s, you know, they can they can have a different billing structure inside of a smaller solo practitioner set up like that.

Carl:

Or a smaller firm or firm that’s in a, you know, I have a firm in buffalo new york that I refer a lot of stuff too.

Carl:

It’s just a lower priced part of the country and and they do good work and you know, they’ll send it back to us when when it grows up and is ready for us, that’s a good relationship to happen.

Carl:

So we try to maintain a number of those relationships around the country and around the world and to make those referrals when it’s a good fit.

Carl:

And and a lot of times I’m in the, in that position where I have to make that call and it’s not always black or white, right?

Carl:

Sometimes you’re just not sure.

Carl:

And so 11 thing I learned Brandon when I was at Pricewaterhousecoopers is if something shows up at your doorstep, not everything is a fit for Pricewaterhousecoopers.

Carl:

Like if there’s not a chance that company’s gonna go public, it’s probably not a good fit for the firm.

Carl:

And so it may, it may show up and sound really goofy the first time you see it, but it could go out and get its act together or that person can go and join another team and come back.

Carl:

And and so I never wanted to reject and we had to reject most of the companies, right? But I never wanted to reject them and make them like feel bad, right? And and so we had developed this, this it was a paper manual. I wish I still had it at the time. I had five interns working for me the time and they were really smart folks. They were all NBA students and and they developed a reject referral manual. And so anybody that came in there and and worked as an intern for me knew what to do when it wasn’t a fit and like who to send it to. Maybe it was not entrepreneur, maybe it was too. I don’t know what one of these other organizations and so we made them feel good about what we did for them because we sent them somewhere where they can get help.

Carl:

And so I’ve tried to I don’t have a manual that I followed today but I but I try to do that when when folks come to me that aren’t a fit and hopefully my team members do that as well because we we want to make friends in the in the market and not enemies and and so if you are a fit though, we we will work with you at the right time, you know.

Carl:

Yeah, we do have some emerging company discounts but I don’t really try to push that stuff. I mean, we’re not the low cost provider, that’s not why you come to Cooley.

Carl:

Right? So positioning is the low cost provider doesn’t help and, and steep discounts. Look, it’s, we’re very busy right now. If you’re not going to be at a point where your venture funded and need our services, it’s probably not a good fit right now and there’s other resources I can get you to that are going to help you.

Carl:

So hopefully that answers your question.

Carl:

And then I’m not, I’m also not a fan. I know we’ve done some of this, but I’ve never been involved with any feat of pearls. I don’t like that. It incentivizes bad behavior because you can rack up a $30,000 legal bill pretty quick by doing a bunch of stuff that you really shouldn’t be doing right now. Like if you’re a bootstrapped startup, do you really need to go out and protect your trademark?

Carl:

I mean, if it’s like the cornerstone of your business maybe.

Carl:

But could that wait, like there’s a lot of stuff that, that, that you can hold off on until you’ve got outside funding. And so trademark was just one example that was an issue. I had to deal with that at a startup company. I remember, you know, somebody is violating our trademark, but we were not in a position to go litigate with this company.

Carl:

That’s that, you know, I just want to make sure we weren’t, you know, violating their trademark and, and so it’s probably, it’s probably a decent example right?

Carl:

You know, maybe a patent is something you need to file.

Carl:

Maybe not. Right. Could you file a provisional patent and wait to file the full blown patent? That’s a cheaper thing to do. Right. And it’s a placeholder and you’ve got a year to file off of the provisional to, to get the full blown patent. So let’s not, let’s not do that right now.

Carl:

Let’s wait until we raise the money to file the full bone patent.

Carl:

Right. Little things like that.

Carl:

I think there’s a great examples in that example is exactly what our guys and women actually did with us with one of my companies is they said, hey, I wanted to patent and they’re like, hey, just follow provisional.

Brandon:

You’ll save yourself a bunch of money, we get the date and we’ll see where we are in eight months or you know, six months because you kind of get ahead of it.

Brandon:

You know, if we’re going to do it.

Brandon:

And we actually worked out and we got a technology pattern, which I was pretty excited about.

Brandon:

Perfect.

Brandon:

So when you did it, did you write it yourself the provisional, we did, we wrote the provisional with guidance, basically just trying to minimize minimize our legal bill candidly, which they helped us manage.

Brandon:

And then we, I actually wrote a lot of the pattern with, with another gentleman and the firm.

Brandon:

and then coolly and the team took it and made it a patent, if that makes sense.

Carl:

Yeah.

Brandon:

So like a review, having a provisional reviewed is about a 10th of the cost of filing a patent roughly.

Brandon:

And so if you want to, you know, write it up yourself, find a template, you know when you go on the internet you can find templates for doing just about anything right?

Brandon:

Find yourself a good template right up the provisional and then have a patent attorney review it before you submit it.

Carl:

That’s a good way to to spend resources.

Carl:

Right.

Carl:

And we wanted cool it. I mean I know mike I remember going the first five guys in alexandria when he first showed up with dan you when I was working at G. I. V. Venture partners if you remember them and you know, I just wanted I didn’t have all the capital but I wanted the top people to review it so that we’re going to take the time and effort to do it.

Brandon:

Let’s at least put some resources towards it.

Brandon:

So I just for all the listeners out there who are listening when you gave your example is exactly what we did and we did get the pattern.

Brandon:

It took a long time and you know, it was we minimize the cost and nobody tried to out build us or do anything like that.

Brandon:

So I think it’s important for people to know that your law firm isn’t is a team.

Brandon:

It’s an asset.

Brandon:

I mean it really can get you resources and be one of your best business development if that’s the right word for it or operations partner.

Brandon:

Well, I think, I think also the fact that I’ve been a customer prior to joining, you know, like seeing the trademark Geico crazy on something and, and think he actually had a canned email.

Brandon:

It was, he didn’t spend much time on it.

Brandon:

But it was, it was already an email that he had done.

Carl:

So we have and we have Brandon.

Carl:

We also have a lot of tools that we can use to get you like every question that’s going to be answered has probably been answered in some form or fashion. In the past we have a repository of answers and a google like function where we can find the most suitable answer and then tweak it before sending it on.

Carl:

And so it looks like it took a long time to answer it. But actually it didn’t. So there’s a lot of secret sauce behind the curtain here that you know, that allows us to be more efficient at our building rights. The other thing since I’ve been at Cooley, I’ve used Cooley too form a small venture fund.

Carl:

I’ve used coolie to take on a pro bono client. This is a whole other thing. I won’t get deep into it. But I filed a provisional patent life sciences provisional patent for a project that I’m working on through a nonprofit. So I I’ve been through that process, we’re about to file the full, full blown patent. So actually I kind of know what I’m talking about when it comes to that.

Carl:

And I’ve I’ve interacted with a number of fronts.

Carl:

I won’t bore you with all the stories. But just having done those things, it gives me better ability to advise entrepreneurs on how to interact with Cooley.

Carl:

Right? I’m not just selling you because I want you to buy No, I want you to do the right thing for your business. And if it’s a good fit for us fabulous. If it’s not, let’s do what’s right for you and in the long term that that benefits me because those folks say good things about us in the marketplace.

Carl:

Well, carl I’m really grateful for you taking time out of your schedule today to catch up. It was good catching up. I haven’t heard your voice and other than your podcast, which you have, where is the best place for people to find you?

Brandon:

Well, so social media for sure.

Brandon:

I’ve got my name at most uh social media platforms.

Carl:

So it’s just carl Grant and uh listen to the podcast, right? The podcast is called Rainmakers and uh you can find it if you look at Rainmakers and my name, Carl Grant with a c you can find that we are interviewing Rainmakers people who do what I do but are really good at it in other industries and, and we were finding out how they do what they do.

Carl:

And it’s especially good for somebody who wants to be a good business developer, somebody who wants to learn about relational sales as opposed to transactional sales, because that’s really what these are the relational sales.

Carl:

People that use our services are people that have developed relationships with us that have lasted decades and uh, and I’m not worried about what that person is going to do with me in the next month.

Carl:

I I really that doesn’t matter.

Carl:

It’s a lifetime and one more time on that platform that you’re building for every for entrepreneurs listening out there that they could get on.

Carl:

Remember you got to have some traction if you want to see great results, but again, and we’ll put it in the show notes, but like venture raised dot Io is the website and uh, and you could connect with me and others others at other companies that are on there that have good connections to help you navigate the funding sources.

Carl:

Cool.

Brandon:

Well, thanks again, Carl, we will.

Brandon:

Well, I’m going to have you back and see how the, your Austin community building is going to.

Carl:

Hopefully not a few years, although time flies when you start to get older, but thanks again for being on my pleasure.

Brandon:

Thanks for being generous with your time and joining us for this episode of the edge before you go.

Brandon:

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