A true entrepreneur, Brett has founded several companies and has helped many more bring their vision to life through his role as Entrepreneur in Residence at Techstars, an accelerator and incubator for start-ups. In his most recent venture he oversees The Syndicate Fund, an early stage venture capital fund that provides entrepreneurs capital and access to the network of Syndicate members. Brett has seen the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat in growing businesses and is regarded as an expert in the field. His passion for entrepreneurship made Scouts curious to learn more…

Q: If you could try a different job for a day, what would you choose?

A: Lobster Boat Captain in the Fl Keys. It is a tough job but I love the the FL Keys and there is something great about jobs where you can see immediate results for a days work.

Q: What advice would you give someone starting out in your industry?

A: Entrepreneurship is incredibly difficult. It is often glamorized but the reality is that it is a lonely roller coaster that most people dont understand.  To survive the grind you need to build your tribe. Who are the mentors, peers, and friends that will support and guide you through the ups and downs? While difficult, building something is also the most rewarding experience I have ever had. There is no better time than now to start down your entrepreneurial path. Make the leap!

Q: What is your mantra?

A: Here are two that I try my best to live by.

  1. It is the things you don’t do that you will regret the most.
  2. Give First.

Q: How do you get yourself out of a slump?

A: Play with my kids.

Q: What companies or leaders do you admire?

A: Tony Hsieh - I have attempted to copy the customer first model he built at Zappos at every company I have been a part of.

Eric Ries - I am an avid believer in the Lean Startup methodology.

The Foundry Group - Their entrepreneur first approach to Venture Capital is unique to anything else I have seen in the space and I strive to take the same approach with the companies I invest in.

Q: What has been the biggest shift you’ve noticed in your industry in the last decade?

A: There is a flood of venture capital out there.  It is an incredible time to be an entrepreneur that needs capital.

Q: Who has been most instrumental in your career?

A: My wife Sara. No one has been more supportive of the career path I chose. Without her I may not have stuck with it throughout the tough times.

Q: What is your go-to celebration meal, drink or tradition?

A: Chicken Wings at Runyons. One of the best things in the Twin Cities.