We continue OEN’s new One-On-One With the CEO series this month with Brandlive CEO Fritz Brumder, who shares his entrepreneurial story, from an idea that was born during graduate school to the launching of his company and product and his involvement with OEN.
Interview conducted by OEN intern, Austin Meyer-Ferris
Q: Tell us about your company – how and when did it start and where are you at today?
A: Brandlive is a web application that provides live video interactive conversations between a brand and customers. It is helping companies visually communicate their product information and engage with people in a simple way. The idea of Brandlive started during my MBA program at Babson College. After 1000’s of hours of education, brainstorming, prototyping and experimenting, we launched Brandlive. We decided to bootstrap out of the gate and launched inside of an experienced Portland development company, Cascade Web Development.
Now we are launching our second version of the product, which will allow us to add 300-400 percent more customers than we have currently without a great deal of new infrastructure needed. So far we have been completely funded from within, but are currently negotiating terms on new funding, and we hope to close a large scale note round early this Fall.
Q: Tell us how your involvement with OEN has helped your company through any or all of the following ways: networking, education, mentoring, local recognition, funding, etc.
A: OEN was the first organization I became a member of when I moved to Portland 11 years ago. I had been in similar organizations in other places, and I knew that this type of place was absolutely necessary for entrepreneurs. OEN was and is great to simply meet other entrepreneurs and kick around ideas. I participated in numerous programs, such as the Business Plan Development Seminars, as well as sitting on numerous committees. At the beginning OEN was quite educational for me and helped me to consolidate my ideas and form new ones. I sorted through numerous options and finally settled on the idea of Brandlive.
Now that Brandlive is developed, OEN is great because they use our product in their Webinars. They aren’t afraid to try and adopt new technologies developed by Portland-based companies. Also, they obviously help us to meet investors and participate in many venture-related activities, including incubators, seed funds, Angel Oregon, and the Oregon Angel Fund to name a few.
Q: In your view, what are the top 3 ways OEN helps entrepreneurs?
A: OEN is quite adaptable. They have different programs depending on your stage of company or industry. As you develop as a company, OEN has a new way to assist you. They are great at helping you along the path from a simple idea to creating a profitable company. If you can understand what stage you are at, then you can use the OEN to assist you with that stage.
Q: If you had to describe OEN to another entrepreneur, what would you say?
A: It is simply a requirement if you are interested in entrepreneurship. There is an immense value from OEN that one would be foolish to let pass.