CC011: making the startup ecosystem bigger in Texas // a Coffee Chat with Bryan Chambers (Capital Factory)

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Bryan Chambers: 00:00

We’ve got four of the 11 largest cities within driving distance of each other, but yet they’re not even really collaborating. And so our whole mission is to just begin to unleash all this new value, billions and billions of dollars of new value by just allowing startups and mentors and advisors and investors to move between these markets that are in driving distance of each other.

Jay Clouse: 00:24

The startup investment landscape is changing and world class companies are being built outside of Silicon Valley. We find them, talk with them and discuss the upside of investing in them. Welcome to upside.

Jay Clouse: 00:52

Hello. Hello, hello, and welcome to the upside podcast, the first podcast finding upside outside of Silicon Valley. I’m Jay Clouse and I’m accompanied by my cohost, Mr I love you alive girl himself, Eric Hornung.

Eric Hornung: 01:05

Are you comparing me to Jeff Bezos now? I know that in previous episodes you said that I compared myself to Jeff Bezos, but I don’t think I’ve ever texted anything as creepy as that to another human. I hope I haven’t.

Jay Clouse: 01:17

Uh, I said this in the slack channel that we had. The texts from Jeff Bezos to his mistress. They were so, I guess creepy is probably an apt word, but they weren’t like overtly gross. They were just strange.

Eric Hornung: 01:35

It was like Alexa was trying to learn how to text.

Jay Clouse: 01:39

It was like a machine learned text message to a lover. It was, it was weird.

Eric Hornung: 01:45

Like he’s iterating and doing like AB tests and these are the ones that leaked out.

Jay Clouse: 01:51

Maybe try maybe trash talking. Jeff Bezos is not our best move.

Eric Hornung: 01:54

Yeah. You saw how that worked out for the National Inquirer. He released a medium article, which I’m sure everyone listening to this podcast has either read or seen. Pretty much just saying, yeah, you have some pictures of me. All right, go for it. Release them. You can’t blackmail me. I’m, I’m, I’m the man.

Jay Clouse: 02:12

Also as Twitter found, the National Enquirer’s website runs on Amazon web services. I don’t think the Upside podcast runs on Amazon web services though, although our hosting provider probably does.

Eric Hornung: 02:21

Well that’s cause we’re antifragile Jay.

Jay Clouse: 02:23

Yeah, we are. We are very intentional with the strength of, of our show and our resilience in case. Uh, you know we have some enemies in high places.

Eric Hornung: 02:32

Yeah. In case we ever have a run in with Jeff Bezos.

Jay Clouse: 02:35

Just in case, just in case.

Eric Hornung: 02:36

You always got a plan for that.

Jay Clouse: 02:38

Very important. Eric, we’ve got an exciting episode here today. We are venturing back into the great state of Texas. We spoke to Dr. Tye and Courtney Caldwell of ShearShare and astro ar, but haven’t spent a whole lot of time in Texas and we’re going back there today.

Eric Hornung: 02:52

Yeah. For how big the state is for how much is how many cities there are there. I feel like we got some exploring to do.

Jay Clouse: 02:58

How much time have you spent in Texas?

Eric Hornung: 02:59

I have spent two straight weeks in Houston once where I went outside for a total of 20 minutes because my office was in the middle of the summer. My office was connected to the hotel I was staying in and there was a bridge that took you from one to the other. Also Houston is connected by underground tunnels downtown. So I was in Houston, but I really didn’t experience anything other than my my cubicle. I’ve spent some time in Austin, which I thoroughly enjoyed and I’ve been in the Dallas Airport multiple times, so, oh and one other thing that I’ve done is I went to El Paso and I actually really enjoyed El Paso.

Jay Clouse: 03:37

I got, I’ve got a good view of Texas. I’ve spent a few weeks there in Austin for south by southwest. I also strongly associate it with strange wildlife because a friend of mine who’s a management consultant has met with, I don’t know if it was a client or someone on his team that has a huge property down there and apparently just has all kinds of wildlife on the property and they went all around on like an ATV. Just looking at these things that it just sounded like a real life zoo.

Eric Hornung: 04:05

Like are you talking, are you talking like they had like Geckos that run on water or they had like elephants.

Jay Clouse: 04:11

I’m talking close to the elephant. I’m talking like large. I forget the name, like almost Caribou. But like exotic animals that just live on this property.

Eric Hornung: 04:20

Real quick aside, there is a place in Sedona called jungle safari zip line and it is a very similar thing where they have Bengal tigers and they rescue all of these exotic animals from personal farms and they bring them there to Arizona, which I think is crazy because I think they have a polar bear or something. I’m like, what does that polar bear doing in Arizona? It just seems like a bad place, but you do a zip line like 15 of them back and forth over the top of all of these animals. Random, random aside there.

Jay Clouse: 04:49

But it sounds awesome.

Eric Hornung: 04:49

Yeah, it was pretty cool.

Jay Clouse: 04:51

Well today we’re going to be speaking with Bryan Chambers who’s the vice president of accelerator and the Investment Fund for Capital Factory. Capital Factory is quote, the center of gravity for entrepreneurs in Texas, the capital factory incubator. It’s a seed stage mentoring program for startups that provides weekly mentoring sessions with mentors and investors who have built, scaled and sold lean startups themselves. Capital factory itself is based in Austin, Texas. Found in 2009, they’ve made 114 investments to date, have had something like 11 exits out of those investments, but Bryan is based in Dallas and I believe he is starting a Capital Factory office in Dallas.

Eric Hornung: 05:31

As Ohioans. I am very excited to learn about Texas, I think it is one of the similar states in terms of relative population, so I think that Bryan’s going to offer a ton of insight into an ecosystem, into a statewide ecosystem that I have very limited insight into right now.

Jay Clouse: 05:48

If you guys have thoughts as we go through this episode, be sure to tweet at us @upsideFM or email us, and we’ll dive in right after this.

Eric Hornung: 05:58

Hey guys, wanting to cut in here real quick and let you know about something. Jay and I have been getting ready behind the scenes in 2019. When we started this podcast, Jay and I said that you the listener, we have an opportunity to learn in real time to think like venture investors with us as we meet a wide variety of personalities and examine a wide range of industries. Well now we’re going to share something new and it’s a little different. This new idea is called the update. It’s a carefully curated quarterly publication of editorials, trends and stories happening outside of Silicon Valley. Jay and I will be writing stories about what we’re learning about on the podcast, have guests, editorials on interesting topics and share news and updates from our podcast. In some cases we may even share some exclusive content or first looks. Our goal is to stay at the cutting edge and of course bring you along with us. We’re super excited about it and know you’re going to love it. If you want to be the first to hear about our Q one launch in subsequent letters, go to to get on the mailing list.

Jay Clouse: 07:06

Brian, welcome to the show.

Bryan Chambers: 07:08

Thanks. That’s good to be here guys. Thank you for having me.

Eric Hornung: 07:11

Great having you. We like to start on upside with getting a bit of background on our guests. So can you tell us about the history of Bryan?

Bryan Chambers: 07:20

Sure. I’m Texan, born in Houston when I moved to my family, moved to Dallas, relocated to Dallas and a little area out actually outside of Dallas called Flower Mound. And when we moved there in the kind of early, mid, mid nineties there wasn’t much there. You know, we were lucky enough our family got a boat and I got really good in the, in the mid nineties and late the late nineties there was a big trend. Everybody was migrating from a sport called water skiing over to a sport called wake boarding. I was lucky enough to have a boat and I got really good at wake boarding. It was a, it was a hobby that I had and developed and had a lot of fun doing. And at the age of 14 when I was turning 15 cause my birthday’s in April, I remember very vividly turning 15 going into the summer. I really, I launched a professional water sport school and I built my first business. This was a lifestyle business and I had a lot of fun doing it, made great money. It was everything about it. I didn’t really recognize that I was building a business when I was doing this, but everything about it would impact and influence my life quite a bit. And so it was highly seasonal. There’s not a big demand for wakeboarding and January, so you had to manage cashflow. I had, I got to build, you know, build a team and manage drivers and all of a sudden rep, you know, sponsor brands and so much and build strategic partnerships with a local boat shops to procure customers. And so all of this stuff gave me some really early entrepreneurship lessons I would say. And I didn’t realize it would have such a big impact on my life, but I went to school locally at UT Arlington and did my undergraduate and graduate degrees there. My MBA. And I would say one of the unfair competitive advantages that I had when I was going through school was that in the vantage seat as a student, I had done something incredibly entrepreneurial before and I had a little bit more of a propensity to take risk, which is why most people don’t do a lot, you know, entrepreneurial things a lot of times. And as a result, I really just knew that if I didn’t really want to go take a job or do something I didn’t want to do, I didn’t have to do it and I could just keep wakeboarding. So that was a cool experience. It was really impactful on my life. And then from there I, you know, I was in and out of a couple of startups. I tried a couple of things. Most of them crashed and burned. I went to work for a company called reach local and the company IP owed in 2010 and that’s when I really got addicted to that hypergrowth kind of tech culture.

Eric Hornung: 09:34

How good were you at Wakeboarding, take me back? Were you good? Were you like awesome?

Bryan Chambers: 09:40

Yeah. So I would say, um, I was pretty good. I was good locally so I was one of the better riders probably locally in the North Texas area and then in the state of Texas. But you know, Texans would, would for the most part, what I always get our, we would get our asses kicked by everybody out from Florida and in California was, you know, has some great writers as well. So I think maybe it was like 2002 I was the only person from the state of Texas to qualify in one of the Vans triple crown wakeboarding series that was actually here in Texas to make kind of the qualifying round. And so, you know, I was, I was good but I wasn’t good enough to build a really great career out of it.

Jay Clouse: 10:18

How did you have the worldview to understand what starting a business was at age 15 did you have no family?

Bryan Chambers: 10:26

You know, I had, I didn’t know that I was really starting a business and I didn’t really have the foresight to understand that, you know, I was going to build long term relationships with customers and build a bunch of strategic partnerships. But what I had, I was lucky enough to grow up in a family and we had, I had the first opportunity to have access to a boat and be near the water. It wasn’t a great boat it, but it was a boat and it was a way in a place to start. And we had a lot of fun. That’s really what I was focused on was I just, I started to recognize that no, I would go out and hang out with all my friends and I would teach them. And I love doing that and people love to see me wakeboard and I love to wake board. And so that was a lot of fun. And so I ended up building these camps where I would, I would take mostly children, but I’ll, I’ll oftentimes adults too. And I would take them out and I would teach him and we would, we were, you know, 99 out of 100 times we would have success on the goals that we would set for the wakeboarding lessons. And um, and oftentimes very early, but half of the time everybody just wanted to see me wake board and so I would get out there and get paid to wait for it.

Eric Hornung: 11:24

That’s awesome. If Jay and I come to Dallas, will you give us a little quick lesson on how to Wakeboard? Because I tried one time on Lake Erie, I’m from Cleveland and I was not great.

Bryan Chambers: 11:35

Yeah. So we would be one of the only people out there, I think wakeboarding these days because everybody’s surfing. But I’d be happy to do it as long as it’s, you know, May through September.

Jay Clouse: 11:47

So at this time, what does your understanding of the Texas or Dallas entrepreneurial ecosystem look like even through the time that you’re going through reach local around 2010.

Bryan Chambers: 12:00

Pretty nonexistent. Dallas has been a corporate market. The North Texas market and North Texas industry has just been defined by, I think, you know, just coming off of kind of the big telecom boom. We used to be the telecom corridor. And I think what ended up happening was a lot of the big venture investors along the way, they got lost and you know, there are, you know, began to have some dogs in their portfolio. And so we had, um, a particular area known as the 16th floor at the Galleria Tower and this was where the book of the high, the highest concentration or density of the venture capitalist existed. And all of them ended up going away and they were call invested in a lot of the same deals together. You know, this was around the 2008, 2010 timeframe, you know, after the bus, not a lot of the, the portfolio survived and we lost, we lost a lot of momentum in the venture capital community. And so there wasn’t a lot of activity happening and going on in north Texas as far as the entrepreneurship ecosystem, although it’s always had that potential. I think that the North Texas community has been a little bit more defined by what’s happened in energy and what’s happened in real estate. And outside of that it’s been really interesting to watch north Texas find a little bit of an identity back as a result of innovation and a lot of entrepreneurship now. So it’s taken a while, but over the last 10 years it’s really, really emerged.

Jay Clouse: 13:18

So you were with reach local, the IPO is in 2010 what are the next steps for you having figured out, okay, I really like this experience. I really like this fast paced sort of world of tech entrepreneurship.

Bryan Chambers: 13:31

So I left ReachLocal. I convinced one of the things I like to say I claim I’ve always been good at my whole entire life is I’ve been good at recruiting teams and recruiting people and throwing events and I leverage these two things to help every aspect of my career. And so I was able to recruit kind of on the heels of, of the IPO and the successful Ipo, the founder and chief technology officer of reach local, who’s, you know, got quite the track record stemming back from days with apple to, to other organizations. He announced he was going to retire and I had approached him and I said, Rick, let’s go do something together. Let’s get involved in a startup together. And we did that. So we supported a startup that was based out of Texas and Rick, even though he was living right outside of Boston, spend time regularly came in and we joined together and were helpful in building this startup. You know, we had a little bit of equity in the startup and we had some success. And so I was able to exit at a very early age from this company. The name of that company was Sensei and we built kind of a video eCommerce platform, although it was very, very early in, the company’s really gone through a whole lot of changes.

Jay Clouse: 14:37

Was that in Dallas or did you change location at that point?

Bryan Chambers: 14:40

Yeah. So it was in Dallas and it also had a big presence in Austin as well. So it was, it was kind of on the offices were we’re bifurcated between Dallas and Austin.

Jay Clouse: 14:48

Take us forward now to today being at Capital Factory, help us close that gap.

Bryan Chambers: 14:53

At that moment after that happened and I was, so I was, I was young, I was 26 years old and I kind of had my first, you know, small liquidity event from being in a startup and that it was just a complete whirlwind for me. And right there, I mean I knew it was as clear as daylight. I just knew that there were two things I wanted to dedicate the foreseeable future, my career too. And that was one helping as many people as I could go through that it was obvious to me, nobody gets to do that by themselves. And so, you know, we had a big team of people and there were a lot of people that were critical to that, that journey and story. So one, I just want to help as many people get through that. That was crazy. And I want to be on the other side of the money and I want to start selectively investing in the very best ideas and the best entrepreneurs that I could find. And so I began doing exactly that. I started making investments in technology companies. I began to learn a whole lot about how to invest into, into companies and um, the types of entrepreneurs to work with. Everything I’ve done has aligned with those two goals, help as many people as I can and invest into the best entrepreneurs that I can find. And so, Eh, you know, anything that’s given me an opportunity or a platform to do these two things, I’ve really, um, I invited into my life. I’ve taken full advantage of those opportunities. I had found an opportunity to invest into a deal. Also out of Boston, this was one called level up, which had a pretty big exit and I learned a lot from this deal. It was sold to Grubhub last year for $390 million than some of my friends and I worked together to get an a position in that company. And I helped start another company and took a position in this company out of Dallas called fixed repair. This is about three years ago. So I was active in this company taking a role, also an investment position. And we actually just announced on Thursday this week that we sold that company to Angie’s list. And so that was a Dallas based company and that got announced on the Angie’s earnings call. And so that was a three year journey, which was, you know, something I’ve been working on all along the way. And that was one I was particularly focused on. But also while I was doing this, I was invited to build and manage a partnership between the University of Texas at Dallas and which is an incredible unit, local University of very technical university here and a large one and a private equity group by the name of Blackstone. They have, uh, the Blackstone charitable foundation. And as an a specific entrepreneurship initiative, there was something that was so obvious to me as an outsider and a and a practicing entrepreneur and investor vouch getting embedded with a large education institution, you know, Higher Ed Institution. And it was that the business students stay in the business school and the, and the computer science students stay in the, you know, engineering, computer science school and the arts and technology majors, they, you know, over in their school. And this was really problematic, especially because the entrepreneurship resources we’re in the business school, you know, hence neglecting a large part of who we might consider to be some of the highest potential entrepreneurs. And so what we did with the grant that we received from the Blackstone charitable foundation and this new partnership was we built this independent facility on campus that we call the front door to entrepreneurship. And we built and we changed the culture around entrepreneurship and innovation and drove a campaign and a culture that invited people of all majors and all disciplines and all genders and so forth to to step in and really look at entrepreneurship and have entrepreneurial experiences that would help them explore different types of career paths. And so that’s what I’ve been doing in connection with the university for quite some time. And along the way I was, I was also asked to teach, which actually blows my mind a little bit, but I’m, you know, I’m, I’m still a professor at the university and we’ve got some, some great courses. My, my pedagogy, my teaching philosophy is actually one where I act and serve a little bit more like a facilitator and I designed experiences for students.

Jay Clouse: 18:35

I want to come back to this partnership in a second, but going back to when you had your first liquidation event at age 26 and you say, I want to help more people do this and I want to find the best ideas and the best entrepreneurs to invest in. What was your thought process about geography? You stayed in Texas, you could have moved anywhere at probably at that point at that age. What was the thought process?

Bryan Chambers: 18:57

Yeah, I did. I did stay in Texas. I’ve always lived in Texas, although I joined a company out of Denver, Colorado. I took an active position in this company. You know, you can only be active in one or two things when, when you’re doing it, I was, it really consumes you, but you can be passive and a whole lot of different things. And so I began to be passive in a bunch of Dallas based companies. I was active in this payments company at a Denver and then my roots brought me back to to more active things based on in Dallas. And so I had helped cut up, help the, the, the main operational founders of fixed. Help start the company and get it up and going and get our initial capitalization and then turn to Dallas. So really it’s, my network has been, you know, it was in Dallas. I think my reputation has, has, you know, grown in, in Dallas as well. And so I don’t think it’s a surprise that you know, most of the opportunities are here locally. I think that Texas in general is just benefiting from some big trends. I think that’s really the big part of that you know, you know, central United States in general as we look to trends, something in particular that we call the flyover states. Historically the east coast and the west coast have been very dominant in these innovation areas and the financial capitals and hubs and especially where venture flows and now that the center of the United States has really no longer being ignored. And so there’s specific funds and new initiatives that just focus on what historically had been called fly, you know, fly over states. I think Dallas is just in Texas has just one ecosystem that’s benefiting from this.

Eric Hornung: 20:24

When you made the transition from entrepreneur to investor, you mentioned that there were a lot of things that you learned. You hinted that it was kind of a big transition. Can you break down what that first investment look like after when you kind of transition from entrepreneur to investor?

Bryan Chambers: 20:43

Yeah, I can. The first one that I made was on a uncapped convertible note. And basically what that means is, you know, you, we have a particular type of investment strategy that’s really popular in Texas. I think it is popular, um, across the United States, but in particular we love to use it in Texas and early stage deals and it’s debt that ends up converting based on uh, you know, a few key triggers into, you know, a future equity position in the company. And usually one of the most important terms in a convertible note is what the future, what the valuation cap. So what’s the ceiling going to be? So you, you actually have some sort of prediction as to what your ownership is going to be. And I actually participated in a first note, you know, I actually was influential in, in negotiating and, and it didn’t have a cap associated with it. And so as this company began to take, you know, when a lot of investment and gain momentum or valuation increases and you end up everybody, we kind of shot ourselves in the foot because the valuation inched up, inched up, inched up and when we should have negotiated a ceiling against it, you know, we ended up paying the price for it. You know, in the grand scheme of things, you know, I’ve, I’ve had a multitude of lessons like that that I think theoretically and conceptually you can understand when you read a book. Oh yeah, everybody should have a valuation cap. But you really learn what happens when you don’t. I began to learn the hard way about how rare it is to join a startup and really gained momentum and to have a lot of success. It’s very hard, especially as you build, you know, build big teams. I, you know, I’m a believer that through my own experiences that all the problems really exist because there are people problems. They’re not really technology problems. And so, you know, at the end of the day, I had a lot of different experiences that led me to believe that, you know, I’m, I’m gaining a lot of knowledge about what it takes to build a culture to satisfy investors that’s going to go on and win, you know, future institutional growth rounds and so forth.

Jay Clouse: 22:31

To break that down for the listener, when you don’t have a cap on the note, that means that you guys basically did not get as much value back because you became more diluted. Am I understanding that correctly?

Bryan Chambers: 22:40

Yeah. So look, I mean, if, you know, if you’re putting the first million dollars into a company and you can negotiate, you know, if you negotiated a, uh, 4 million cap, you’d have a, a $4 million pre money valuation plus the $1 million from investors, you’re going to have a $5 million post money valuation and 1 million of the 5 million post money valuation is 20% of the company. So if we were to, if we were to negotiate on day one, hey, there’s going to be a cap and we’re, we’re, we’re never going to convert beyond the cap. So we would know what, you know, if everything goes well and we’re performing really well and the company is growing and there’s going to be this future event that’s going to convert us our deposition to an equity position. You understand at worst case scenario what you’re going to get. But when you don’t have a cap but the company gets all these resources and then raises money and then goes and wins customers and then ends up an investor comes along and negotiates a position way later at 20 million or $40 million pre money valuation, you know, we’re now converting at the same terms. We could have negotiated a cap way back day one that gave us that formula. And so in the meantime, we actually gave the company the ability to create all that value. And, and they did, you know, we ended up paying the price for it a little bit. There’s a lot of experiences, a lot of tricks like that along the way that you just, you understand how these vehicles work and you understand how they work against you, against the entrepreneur and for the investor or for the entrepreneur and most importantly you, you really understand how to build investment structures that create alignment. At the end of the day, everybody has got to be working in alignment and if anybody’s incentivized to do anything against an investor group or a portion of the investor group or against the entrepreneurs, it usually happens.

Eric Hornung: 24:24

I guess I have a theoretical question that I’d like to hear your take on.

Bryan Chambers: 24:29


Eric Hornung: 24:29

Your professor. So you’re teaching this stuff, but so far it seems like you’ve learned most things through experiences. So are these kind of the, you call them tricks earlier. Is this something that you can learn and then apply and be smarter? Like is there a, is there an onramp here or is it as much as you read and learn and study, you’re just never going to get it unless you do it?

Bryan Chambers: 24:53

Well, I think the right answer is it’s a combination of the both, uh, both of them. And you’ve got to be doing both all the time. You know, theory is not good unless you have practical application theories always changing and evolving. And so what I do when I say I design experiential experiential education, one of the, one of the courses that I teach is venture capital at UT Dallas. And we created a practicum, we call it the UTD seed fund. We don’t call our students students, we call them venture associates. There’s a ton that tried to apply to get into the class. We accept 10 in the class. And now we also have, uh, an executive MBA section of this class too. So there’s about 10 in each program and we give them a budget and we tell them to go make an investment and it’s real money, you know, and this was actually how I met Courtney and Dr. Tye was through this process and they were the very first investment that the students selected and the students made. And I nudge a little bit along the way and we read, you know, real documents safes and convertible notes and series, seed term sheets and um, and then we, you know, they meet with the customers and they, they meet with the entrepreneurs and they dig deep into the product and the problem and they go through a due diligence cycle and they understand. And so we’re reading and applying some theory about deal structures and terms and investor education, but they’re really applying it mostly throughout the course of the semester.

Jay Clouse: 26:12

That’s an awesome program. I wish I would have had access to something like that. How rare is that?

Bryan Chambers: 26:16

It’s very rare and me too, I wish I would’ve had access to it, but to be honest is just, it’s my dream course. I just had the ability to, along with some other friends and some local folks to Dallas Fort Worth, we got together and we donated money into the program for UT Dallas to create this, you know, education opportunity. I mean it’s really just the class I would want to take if I was a student. And so as the professor, as the facilitator, you know, that’s what we, that’s what I set out to build.

Jay Clouse: 26:42

So you began this partnership and it looks like 2016 ish. You get to capital factory around 2018 so talk to me about that opportunity, how you came to capital factory and what that looks like today.

Bryan Chambers: 26:53

So shortly after I joined the university and I was building, you know, I was building and managing this partnership between the Blackstone Charitable Foundation with the university that’s standing up kind of this, this new program. I had the opportunity to me, Josh Bear, Josh Bear’s, the, you know, the founder and CEO of capital factory and one of the most relentless leaders, startup leaders, startup champions. I’m, I’ve ever had the pleasure to know. And I sat down with him at dinner one night and he said, hey guys, I’m thinking about capital factory in Dallas. What do you think? I’m thinking about capital factory, you know, expanding outside Austin. What do you, can it work here? What do you think? We had a really healthy discussion that night about, you know, the differences between the Dallas community and the Dallas ecosystem versus the Austin ecosystem and how we might approach this idea. And leaving that meeting shortly after I became an investor and capital factory first and foremost. And so Josh just convinced me, said, hey, you really want to learn about what’s going on, why don’t you become an investor and let’s just start working together that way, you know, he convinced me to, to, to do that. And I, it was probably one of the, one of the best decisions I’ve made. I began to learn a lot about the thing I’m most passionate about, which is being a great venture investor. And my deal flow began to increase and my investor network began to increase and I had access to a lot of great opportunities and, um, you know, through the capital factory. And so I just really fell in love with what I experienced and wasn’t, was bringing a lot of value to capital factory as well. And so in 2018 you know, Josh had asked me to, to get more involved, especially with the, you know, the grand opening of a new facility and the new program and the expansion at the Dallas. So I took Josh up on that opportunity and I joined us as a director. Directors are really active advisors at capital factory. So you’re involved actively every single week working on things with capital factory. And then from there, I mean things just began to blossom even more. So I was thrilled and humbled to be invited to kind of run the investment practice and run the investment business for capital factory. Capital factory’s a very unique organization. We have this, you know, this internal joke that we just say, you know, capital factory’s is fully buzzword compliant. We are a mentor network, an accelerator, a coworking facility, a venture fund. We have an innovation council. We have a lot of different aspects to the business as well. But it’s a, it’s a very, very unique organization with a unique mission. And so it’s been a lot of fun to, to get behind this mission.

Jay Clouse: 29:22

So talk to me more about what, what it is that makes capital factory unique from a mission standpoint.

Bryan Chambers: 29:27

So first and foremost, our focus is on Texas and Texas entrepreneurs. Those people that are are from Texas or native Texan, like myself. Um, we, we actually know that if we all cross the border, you know, if you’ve somebody from Fort Worth from Dallas, from Austin and from Houston, then we all cross the border, does Oklahoma or you know, California, we let everybody know we’re Texan and you know, we all, you know, it looks, it looks like we worked together really well and we have a lot of Texas pride and, but the second that we get back to our own communities, our own communities don’t even work together that well. And we have this thesis that kind of runs in guys, our organization called the Texas Startup Manifesto. And that was all authored by our CEO. And it basically goes like this. It’s no that we do have, we’ve got four of the 11 largest cities within driving distance of each other, but yet they’re not even really collaborating. And so our whole mission is to just begin to unleash all this new value, billions and billions of dollars of new value by just allowing startups and mentors and advisors and investors to move between these markets that are in driving distance of each other. I don’t think that’s such necessarily a novel idea or concept, but operationally it’s really hard to do so far. I mean capital factory’s been the champion to put people on buses and planes and throw events across the whole state to, to connect the of these communities and make sure the investor dollars are moving and startups are getting support, you know, all of these communities, all these major metropolitan areas I just mentioned, they’re incredibly different, are incredibly unique. They offer very different core competencies. You know, a lot of the talent and the tech is in Austin, but all the customers are in Dallas. You know, all the old money is in Dallas. All the real estate and money’s in Dallas. All the, all the industrial technology and the energy tech and most of the health care tech, it’s all in Houston, but all the, all the consumer products and the consumer mobile apps and I mean it all happens at Austin and so, you know, they’re so different. But just allowing these communities to work much better together is, you know, is what we do. That’s our mission. With that said, we’re focused exclusively on working with Texas based technology companies.

Eric Hornung: 31:31

So you kind of just give a little run through on Dallas, Austin and Houston. What about like San Antonio, El Paso, Corpus Christi. Are those also within the mission, within this manifesto? And if so, like how, how would you define those competitive advantages for those cities?

Bryan Chambers: 31:49

You know, we’re focused on Texas and Texas overall and it’s a, it’s a big part of our culture is to wake up and we don’t think Dallas or we don’t think Austin or we don’t think Fortworth or we don’t think San Antonio for that matter. We think Texas and we’re kind of one accelerator, one team, one venture fund, one brand, you know, working to elevate everything in Texas. And so of course this, this means it extends to all the other cities and you know, very actively, we’re, you know, we’re, we’re going to events and we’re attending events and we’re, we’re, we’re bringing the brand, you know, to Waco and, and doing things with Baylor and we’re, you know, we’re getting up to Fort Worth and doing things out there and up to Frisco, Texas, you know, which is way up north and, and so there’s a lot going on and it does extend and transcend to these, to these other growing cities. But, you know, we’ve, we’ve got to pick places to start and those places to start where to outside of next to build, you know, the next facility in Dallas. And then we’ve got a micro presence in Houston and a, and a micro presence in San Antonio through some strategic partnerships. And we’re working on building one in Fort Worth. And so these are the places that we’ve, we’ve started, but we’re inviting people from El Paso to come into Austin and to come into Dallas and we’re and Waco and Corpus Christi. So it’s certainly not limited to those, but for the most part, we’re not necessarily conducting a road show from Dallas to Corpus Christi, but rather inviting and making sure we’re extending and including Corpus Christi and the things that we do in Houston. Right. You know, so that’s how it’s working right now.

Jay Clouse: 33:13

What do you feel are the unique Texan strengths?

Bryan Chambers: 33:16

Yeah, well Texas is big and that’s its strength. Texas is, you know, if it were a country, it would be the 10th largest economy as a country by itself. As a result, we’ve got, you know, four of the 11 largest cities, which, which is, you know, Houston, San Antonio, Dallas and Austin and these, and they’re also also happened to be, one of the fastest growing cities in the United States. They also happen to be incredibly close. They happen to be incredibly different. And so I think Texas is incredibly diverse and has every industry represented. I think these are all incredible strengths. Other, you know, oftentimes a lot of lists come out and on these lists, we almost always find at least two, if not four cities in Texas on this list, the best place to build a startup, you know, the best entrepreneurial ecosystems and so forth. The fastest growing companies, the most fortune 500 companies and so forth. And so we’re, we’re always on these lists, but somehow Texas is incredibly underserved in venture capital, Texas only receives, despite being the 10th largest economy in the world. If it were to be a country, we only receive 2% of national venture capital. It’s California that, you know, takes over 50% of national venture capital. New York is the second market. Massachusetts is the third market in Texas is a pretty distant fourth. But Texas is so strong. It’s got the fastest growing GDP of every state. Um, everybody’s moving to Texas, people from California and all the, a bunch of the investors, I mean, they are showing up to capital factory, looking us in the eye saying, we can’t even tell entrepreneurs to build a company in California anymore. So why are we there? And they’re moving to Texas. And so I think all of these are the strengths. But um, you know, I also just pointed out probably the biggest weakness is Texas is so underrepresented, it only gets 2% of national venture capital and we think that’s a big problem. And so our, we’re on a mission to help change that by elevating everybody in Texas and all of the ecosystems in Texas. And we collaborate with every other incubator, accelerator, all the venture funds, all the universities in an effort to help Texas and Texas entrepreneurs.

Jay Clouse: 35:18

What, what did you guys as thesis for how to bridge that gap and how to make you more represented in terms of venture capital? What’s the like order of operations that you think will work?

Bryan Chambers: 35:28

So first and foremost, I think it just know we don’t even have to leave Texas to, to accomplish this mission. Right. You know, what I stated earlier was just by helping the right customers and mentors and investors and San Antonio get connected with our respective counterpart in Dallas, that alone creates a ton of value between two of the largest cities, right? And if we just start moving that value, you know, our ecosystems flourish. And so it’s, it’s really, I think what’s really going to accelerate it is, is when people from outside Texas turned to Texas and say, wow, we really need to be participating in this ecosystem. And that’s happening and, and we see it every day, but, um, I think it’s going to start, hi, it’s gonna continue to happen that, uh, you know, in a pretty aggressive rate and we’re here to help people from California or Colorado or Utah or Florida or New York, find and navigate Texas.

Eric Hornung: 36:20

So there has been a continuing trend of talking to people from New York and California. You said people from California want to come to Texas because they can’t be starting companies in California, but Texas has like a lot of organic money, right? I think it’s number three in terms of number of billionaires in the United States. There’s a ton of old money in Houston and Dallas 2% seems so low to me of money and venture. Is that money just sitting on the sidelines or is it sitting in old industry or is there a cultural lack of an appetite for risk in Texas? Why does everything have to be looking outwards?

Bryan Chambers: 36:53

Yeah. So yes, for most of those questions, but it’s changing and this is not a light switch. It’s a, it’s a generational change over one generation. It’s, you know, the pendulum will swing fully and we’ll observe this big shift in money from sitting on the sidelines or has it been historically in private equity or it’s been in real estate or it’s been in healthcare. All of these things are digitizing or are being disrupted by tech. Real estate tech was the last coming. The company we just sold to Angie’s list last week was, uh, you know, was disrupting the real estate technology sector. This is, I mean, real estate is a huge value chain from materials to mortgage to insurance to payments too. I mean, you name it to brokerage and the real estate agent, I mean, all of these things are getting disrupted. Dallas in particular does really, really well in real estate. All the home builder and get a lot of the big home builders are here and so forth and, and developers. And so I think what’s going to happen is these industries are, to some extent they’ve been laggards to innovation. With that being said, I think we’re just now seeing a lot of kind of old and patient money learn and kind of find its way into some of these, into these industries that are just kinda late to blossom and, and find a lot of technology adoption. And so we think new generations are turning over and, and younger families and younger children are more interested in tech, are not as scared about it. But historically, I think the risk has always existed in oil, right? I mean oil was the, the, the, the venture cap, but the original venture capital of Texas. And so, and that’s, um, and that’s starting to change as well as just, you know, tech becomes more and more familiar to everybody and all the, all the old family offices and then private equity funds and forth in Texas.

Jay Clouse: 38:36

You’re an investor yourself and you’re in Dallas and now you are joining this capital factory effort to be wholly Texan. I would imagine there are points in time, and you can tell me if I’m wrong here, I would imagine that there are points in time that you make decisions that are driven by, I want Texas to flourish that are not necessarily perfectly aligned with your own immediate financial interests. Does that ever happen?

Bryan Chambers: 39:00

Yeah, I mean I think of course one of the great things about capital factory is we have all of these other parts to our business that augment and help ecosystem. So it’s not always at the brunt of the investor. We have all of these corporations that on an innovation council and they’re historically, they suck at working with startups. They kill startups. Right? And so, um, and they come to capital factory and they turned to us and they say we needed an innovation strategy and we need a culture that’s acceptable for startups and we need to not kill them when we work with them. So please help us work with startups really successfully. And so we’ve got it. Large corporations who are the customers, right? For these, a lot of times, a lot of these startups, um, we’ve become this big marketplace with lots of different sides that includes, you know, p mentors that are super capable to helping startups and these big corporations, the startups themselves, the investors locally. I’m externally to Texas, I’m, everybody’s invited. And with, with all this being said, I mean we’re, we’re creating all these collision points all along the way. And a lot of times it’s a, you know, it’s expensive and it’s hard to do that and we’ve got to really invest in big infrastructure. But we’ve, luckily we’ve been fortunate enough and our leadership team has done a really good job building a very unique brand and a culture and an operation and a business model that supports various ways to do that. And, and we’re always friendly to the startup. It’s always, and we try to do things never at the startup expense and always at the expense of the corporation.

Jay Clouse: 40:27

This isn’t a question so much as just thinking out loud as we’re going through this interview. You know, you mentioned earlier the importance of alignment and making sure that people are incentivized to do the things that you want them to do. But you know, as we talk city to city, to city as they’re trying to grow their city and these community builders is community champions are doing that. It always strikes me that the people leading that charge are putting their own personal financial incentives aside a lot of times to do that. And it’s got, I, I’m just trying to think through, you know, how do you mechanize that and weaponize that to do that for all people in the ecosystem and actually create the alignment of incentives to say, this is why you need to do things this way, because it’ll make Texas better and not have it just be out of like pride.

Bryan Chambers: 41:13

Yeah, it’s definitely a shift in the way people think we see everyday. Great people and great leaders in Dallas wake up and think Dallas. Right? And there’s nothing wrong with that, but you know, but we, we don’t think just Dallas, we, Dallas is a, he’s a hugely important part of our mission and, and it’s an a very important ecosystem, but we think, Texas and Dallas is a really important part and has an important story in elevating Texas. And so, and so, we just start to push that culture on people. It takes a while for people to shift that thinking, but it’s, it’s really a bigger calling and it’s a bigger way of thinking. It’s really, you know, requires you to elevate your thinking. But I think operations and operationally we, we, we do that by putting 200 people on a, on one or two buses from, from Austin and getting them all to show up to Dallas. We’re doing that and getting them all to show up to Houston. All of a sudden when you know a bunch of investors and a bunch of VCs from Austin show up to Houston and say, Hey, we’re here and we’re ready to collaborate. Like, let’s collide and let’s talk and let’s evaluate deals and let’s work together. You know, you, you, you observe it and you see it and you and you get it. Oh Wow, great. We really can collaborate in ways we’ve never done before.

Jay Clouse: 42:25

The first time that I was aware of capital factory was a startup crawl at south by southwest. And so Eric and I are going to be at south by southwest is here and it’s on my mind. I would love to hear what the effect of such a massive festival has on Austin as a city or Texas as a state.

Bryan Chambers: 42:41

Yeah. And we’ve got a bus going from Dallas to, you know, that a bunch of startups and a bunch of investors and mentors are going to be on, um, to go experience south by, because there’s still tons of people outside of Austin that just don’t really take advantage of south by. And so just helping new startups and new investors and so forth, tap into that and give them a strategy to take advantage of south by. It’s a huge opportunity. It’s a big part of culture in Austin. It’s a big part of capital factory. It’s just so lucky that capital factory, it’s in the middle. It’s right in the middle of Austin. We are a hub for south by southwest and so we’re in the middle of the action every single day and we’re constantly throwing a lot of public events, a lot of private secret events that we throw. It’s a really helpful part of our mission, quite frankly. But even again, just turning to Texas by itself and allowing people from no matter where it is to help give them a strategy to come to south by southwest participate and it not cost an arm and a leg for, um, I mean it’s, you know, for the startups, that’s something that we’re, we’re doing. But you’re right, the startup crawl, it’s a huge event. It’s a massive event. And that’s how I think capital factory’s done, you know, been, you know, been so successful in growing a brand and a building a culture is having some deep roots in the south by and leveraging, you know, a lot of the, the stuff that happens there.

Eric Hornung: 43:56

So you mentioned earlier that if you look on any list, fortune, Forbes, whatever, there’s always at least one or two Texas city’s best place to start a startup, best place for business, whatever. And I think that people have a pretty good look into Dallas and Houston and Austin from just the size of the cities, the sports, the, they’re hearing about those cities. What are the most underrated cities in Texas coming from a Lifelong Texan?

Bryan Chambers: 44:25

You know, I think, I think what you’re, what you’re going to find, um, there’s, there’s not one particular city that I’m going to name, but I think just like anything else, you’ve got these burgeoning ecosystems in Dallas in itself can be characterized as an ecosystem or the Dallas Fort Worth community. Right? We were a whole metroplex and I think when you look to the Metroplex, you just find a lot of pockets that are emerging like Arlington and what Arlington is doing in, in the East sports and the gaming arena and so forth. Then when you look up north and Frisco is doing a lot of the same thing and Frisco’s in sports and sports technology and the PGA new headquarters just moved there and it’s got every major sport represented in Frisco and they take a lot of pride in sports. So all the sports tech companies are going there to connect with all the CEOs and you know, the teams and, and so forth. And so I think you’ve got lots of pockets that are historically suburbs, like flower mountain might’ve been Frisco, used to be hunting territory. Um, you know, not too long ago and now it’s the sports capital and powering all these new programs and sports technology and, and so forth. So I, so I think that you look around the big names that we consider to be cities and we find those burgeoning ecosystems and those emerging suburbs, if you will, that are, are finding niches in themselves.

Jay Clouse: 45:43

Do you guys have any peer ecosystems or states or even organizations that you look to as a model for what you’re doing with capital factory?

Bryan Chambers: 45:52

We don’t, you know, we, we talk about that a lot. I think that other people try to sometimes compare what’s happening to silicon valley with words and things like silicon prairie and, and, and whatnot, and other accelerators, whether it be a y Combinator or 500 startups or 1871. But the reality is capital factory’s not like any of those things. Texas is incredibly unique. It’s very different than all of the other geography and other other ecosystems. And nobody’s really, I mean, we’re just trying to take advantage of our own core competencies, which is proximity, geography itself, the Texas culture itself. And these huge, huge cities and all the business that already exists. And so I think we’ve got a formula that’s very, very unique. We think we’re the best at doing what we do, but we’re also one of the only groups that we are aware of that’s just focused on Texas. That is, you know, that’s our unique strategy and, and we don’t think anybody’s going to really compete with Silicon Valley. Silicon valley does silicon valley really, really well. But all of a sudden when you, you, when you get Dallas and Austin and Houston working together, like one big super city, you know, I think they can compete with any state or country in the world. You know, that’s really what we’re focused on. So, and then whatever happens is going to look very different than silicon valley going forward. It’s going to be shaped different and look different and have different core competencies and, and so we’re, you know, we’re, we’re helping that story.

Jay Clouse: 47:19

Awesome. Well this has been great Brian. Really appreciate your time. If listeners to the show want to learn more about you or about capital factory after the show, where should they go?

Bryan Chambers: 47:28

Yeah, so the best thing do is just to go to One of the other things that you can do is you can Google Texas startup manifesto and you can read all about this emission that powers our organization. We’ve got lots of influencers on social media in particular. Um, you know Josh Bear, he’s a, um, he’s a good one to follow on Twitter and you can constantly see some of the live stuff that’s happening at capital factory. We’ve got a lot of events that go on in Texas. Anybody’s welcome to come to them, whether you’re from Texas or not. We have a new partnership that we announced in 2018 with the army, the army futures command, and we’re opening up a new floor and capital factory, Austin dedicated to defense. This is really, really unique. Not a whole lot of other groups are doing this. So we’ve got, you know, we’ve got the army in our building, in our office, you know, working with capital factory every single day to collide with startups saying we’re not good at working with startups, but we know all of them are the future of our, of our country, of our organization, and we need the innovation if we’re going to continue to, you know, be the best in the world. You know, our commitment to defense is also something that’s really unique at that capital factory. But best thing to do is to follow us on social, find us on the website or better yet, find an event that’s coming to one of the cities and go.

Eric Hornung: 48:47

We just spoke with Bryan from capital factory. What are your hot takes?

Jay Clouse: 48:52

Hot takes? I didn’t realize, you know, I know Texas is big. He gave me some numbers that made it bigger than I even realized. The fact that they have four of the 11 largest cities in it, states did not realize that, that if they were a country themselves, they would have the 10th largest economy. That’s pretty crazy. And to still be only receiving 2% of the national venture capital dollars does feel a little bit like a mismatch.

Eric Hornung: 49:17

Yeah, I would agree. Everything is bigger in Texas is definitely an understatement here. It’s way bigger in Texas except for venture capital dollars.

Jay Clouse: 49:26

Except for venture capital dollars. I loved this investment class that he teaches at UT Dallas.

Eric Hornung: 49:32

Yeah. How do we get, how do we steal that?

Jay Clouse: 49:35

I was speaking with the president of Ohio State’s business builders club just yesterday and I was telling him, you guys should look at this model if they have a UT Dallas and figure out how you can do this at Ohio state.

Eric Hornung: 49:45

There you go. You’re already laying the groundwork. We are buckeyes. Jay and I, if you guys are new listeners to the podcast, so we were really just started this podcast to make Ohio State better. That’s the truth. There it is. Now it’s officially out there.

Jay Clouse: 49:59

So Ohio State, if you’re looking to sponsor the podcast, I like this, this phrase of capital factory being fully buzz term compliant as a quote, very unique organization. It does seem unique. This is something we’ve, we’ve touched on a little bit in prior episodes. I think in Stephanie Manning’s episode we talked a little bit about ecosystems and the draw, the parallel to platform rolls at VC. This is something where clearly it has a large net positive effect on Texas as a state, but I would imagine there were people in Texas who have an ax to grind just because when there is some sort of centralized power that seems like it has some centralized role, people just seem to get upset.

Eric Hornung: 50:45

I like the metaphor of ax to grind. I’m just imagining someone out on a ranch in Texas like actually grinding an ax.

Jay Clouse: 50:51

Yeah. I saw in a Facebook group somebody shared the assessment tech stars had on the Cleveland ecosystem and a large part of that report was talking about an organization fairly similar to capital factory called jumpstart and their assessment was that the community was way too critical of that organization and the role they play in the net positive they have on the ecosystem as far as it goes to trying to build a better and more booming ecosystem. They talked a lot about attitude and being open and collaborative with these large powers as opposed to just being negative towards them. And I would imagine capital factory faces some of the same things in in large ways or in small ways. Hard for me to say. But having that centralized role, it’s kind of a give and take. Right. You know, they, they can aggregate more leverage and make more good and do things and you know, bust people from Houston to Dallas to Austin to San Antonio and really connect people. But it just seems to make people in general wary when there is one sort of centralized power.

Eric Hornung: 51:55

So before I get in to my thought on that topic of consolidation, are you aware, cause I’m not, if capital factory is sponsored by the state of Texas or if they’re doing this kind of bottoms up and kind of creating the centralization.

Jay Clouse: 52:11

I, I am not aware that is sponsored by the state of Texas in any way. And I don’t believe that came up in the conversation. I think is bottoms up. And I think Joshua Bear who Bryan mentioned started it, but I’m not 100% positive.

Eric Hornung: 52:26

So that’s the vibe I got to. Is that capital factory was created from the bottom and is expanding outwards, which is a different type of centralization than what we have in Ohio. And throughout the interview I have an Ohio bias. Everyone who’s listening to the podcast knows Jay and I have an Ohio bias. It’s where we’re located, it’s where we’re from, it’s what we understand the best. So it’s what we compare most things to. Texas, Florida, Ohio or the most interesting states to compare in my opinion, because they have this non consolidation of population into one major ecosystem. And it’s, that’s a very unique thing amongst the states. So going back to this idea of how Ohio kind of created, it’s centralization. There’s centralization within each city. There’s jumpstart, rev one Cintrifuse slash Cincy tech, and that’s because there’s centralization of the funding mechanism through the third frontier. So you have this ecosystem that was really created top down in Ohio and I think the point you’re getting to where there might be people who are critical is whenever something kind of gets pushed top down, the people on the bottom are always going to be critical of it because they didn’t have a say in it being created. Whereas my understanding of capital factory is they started on the bottom and they’re working their way up. They have to prove to everyone, like they have to prove credibility. Whereas in Ohio, just by being labeled as that organization and getting that funding, you get credentials. You don’t have to prove anything. You have the money, you have the power. So I think capital factory is a different way of looking at that model. And maybe that’s a tech Texas ethos of smaller government create your own thing. More Austrian in terms of economics, I don’t know. I don’t know that one’s better than the other either. I just think it’s a different form of centralization. So I would assume capital factory does get some pushback. Sure. But it’s probably a different type of pushback than what it what you’re alluding to in Ohio.

Jay Clouse: 54:27

Yeah, and I’m totally projecting. I was really making an assumption that I don’t have any basis in from the interview. We should talk to some of the founders that are in Texas and ask them about about that. Uh, when we speak with them. Something that came to my mind as we went through the interview and I brought it up when we just talked to these different ecosystems. It sounds like a lot of these cities, states are still in a stage where to build the ecosystem there has to be some level of near altruism. You know what I’m saying? In terms of instead of it being such a clear, this is the best for business answer for where you should invest your time and money. There’s still an element everywhere of, hey, let’s do this for Texas. You know, let’s do this for our statewide community. And I don’t know if and when that flips or if it needs to, you know, obviously you and I are both proponents of ecosystems growing themselves and focusing on their strengths and doing what they can. And in a lot of ways as we talked to founders, the cities that they are started in have a lot of strong reasons why there were started there and it’s good for the business. But from like an investor community standpoint, it still seems like most of these communities are pulling on some string of altruism or pride for their local geography to really get that fly wheel turning.

Eric Hornung: 55:44

And maybe that’s just how it has to start.

Jay Clouse: 55:46

Does it stay that way? Do you think it ever flips?

Eric Hornung: 55:49

I dunno. I don’t really have a good take on that.

Jay Clouse: 55:52

I don’t know either.

Eric Hornung: 55:52

This kind of loops back to our first point, but Texas is just so big that the cities that don’t make the top four that you know, like I think Amarillo is like the size of Cincinnati or Cleveland. So it’s just in terms of population, there’s just so much there and so much potential that I see why so many people in real estate and in private equity and in VC now are really bullish on Texas.

Jay Clouse: 56:18

That’s crazy. I didn’t know that. Well. I’m excited to explore more of the great state Texas. We will be down there for south by southwest, so if you’re listening to this and you are in Texas, reach out to us. Let us know. We’ll be in town. We’d love to hear from you. You can tweet at us @upsideFM or email us, If you enjoyed this episode, share it with a friend, rate it on iTunes. It goes long way in helping. Bring on good guests to the show. Thanks. We’ll talk to you next week. That’s all for this week. Thanks for listening. We love to hear your thoughts on today’s guest. So shoot us an email at or find us on Twitter, @upsideFM. We’ll be back here next week at the same time talking to another founder and our quest to find upside outside of Silicon Valley. If you or someone you know would make a good guest for our show, please email us or find us on Twitter and let us know. And if you love our show, please leave us a review on iTunes. That goes a long way in helping us spread the word and continue to help bring high quality guests to the show. Eric and I decided there were a couple of things we wanted to share with you at the end of the podcast, and so here we go. Eric Hornung and Jay Clouse are the founding parties of the upside podcast. At the time of this recording, we do not own equity or other financial interest in the companies which appear on this show. All opinions expressed by podcast participants are solely their own opinion and do not reflect the opinions of Duff and Phelps Llc and its affiliates Unreal Collective LLC and its affiliates or any entity which employ us. This podcast is for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon as a basis for investment decisions. We have not considered your specific financial situation nor provided any investment advice on this show. Thanks for listening and we’ll talk to you next week.

Interview begins: 07:03
Debrief begins: 48:43

Bryan serves as Capital Factory’s Vice President of Accelerator and Investment Fund.

Bryan is a business development and investment professional experienced in portfolio management and venture capital transactions. Prior to joining Capital Factory, Bryan established the Blackstone Launchpad and UT Dallas Seed Fund at the University of Texas at Dallas where he actively advises students, entrepreneurs, and early-stage ventures and serves as a member of the entrepreneurship faculty. Bryan is a founding team member and at Fixd Repair, an insurance technology and home services business where he led the business corporate development strategy. Bryan has spent his career working with and investing in venture-backed startups including ReachLocal, LevelUp, and Fran POS.


Capital Factory’s mission is to be the center of gravity for entrepreneurs in Texas. Last year more than 100,000 entrepreneurs, programmers, and designers gathered day and night, in-person and online for meetups, classes, and coworking.

They meet the best entrepreneurs in Texas and introduce them to their first investors, employees, mentors, and customers. According to Pitchbook, Capital Factory has been the most active investor in Texas since 2013.

Founded in 2009, Capital Factory is based in Austin, Texas.

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