Vincent Bradley is the co-founder of FlashFunders, the first no-cost equity funding platform that connects investors and startups online. Erik Huberman, CEO of Hawke Media, talks to Vincent about how he became an entrepreneur, the Silicon Beach scene and FlashFunders.
Erik Huberman: How did you become an entrepreneur?
Vincent Bradley: From a young age, I just loved problem solving. I’m sure this is a common answer, but there is a gentleman named Steve Jobs, who was quite the visionary and motivated a lot of us to want to solve problems. When I was 7 years old, I saw an interview with Jobs. He was telling a story he very frequently used to tell about human beings being able to be toolmakers, up to the creation of the bicycle and explaining how we are the most efficient creature on the planet. That really always resonated with me. From a young age, I always wanted to solve problems, I always really enjoyed hustling and creating. I started my first company when I was 14 years old doing neighborhood odd jobs and had 20 guys working for me. After, I had a gaming company in college. I’ve always had a curiosity to learn and think differently. So, for me, what made me want to become an entrepreneur: I don’t think I had a choice. Some people are entrepreneurs and can’t do anything else, I think some other people grow into it. It’s just what I am, I can’t work for anyone else. I enjoy building and creating.
E: Tell me about FlashFunders.
V: FlashFunders is an online equity-funding platform that connects accredited investors and allows them to purchase direct equity in startup companies with no fees attached. The no fee component is a big deal we’re really excited about. The other big differentiator with FlashFunders that I want to touch on, we’re creating an industry standard. To the best of my knowledge, today, FlashFunders is the first brokerage dealer in the United States approved by FINRA to operate an online platform. We were launched publicly last week, and if you go to FlashFunder.com right now you can already see companies raising money.
E: How is FlashFunders changing the world?
V: Raising capital for your business takes six months and costs upwards of $23,000. At FlashFunders we want to allow the ability start raising in days or weeks with no fees associated. We’re helping startups reach capital efficiently and economically. There’s 8.5 million accredited investors, and only 3% actively invest in startups. FlashFunders is truly opening up access and democratizing startup investing in this country. At FlashFunders, we want to put every company in front of as many investors as possible.
E: What made you choose Santa Monica?
V: There’s a lot of great things in Santa Monica right now. From a venture capital perspective and looking at Silicon Valley, Los Angeles / Santa Monica can’t compete. We’re just not on the same level yet. Having said that, the growth in Santa Monica is real. I’m newer to Santa Monica, so I haven’t been through the ups and downs. People that have been here for years say that this has happened before, that Los Angeles has almost turned the corner a couple of times. To that I’d say, there are real tech companies coming out of Los Angeles right now. Successful companies with teach entrepreneurs how to do it. Successful companies will bring other successful companies and talent to the area.
E: Do you have one piece of advice for an entrepreneur starting their own business?
V: This is one I had to learn the hard way: listen and scale back. Listen to your users. There’s something known as founder features, which is founders cranking out features it thinks it’s user might want. That’s a good way to burn through a lot of money. Don’t be afraid to fail, and fail fast. Listen and keep listening to your users and practice agile development. If you know what you don’t know, that’s how you become successful. Accepting that you don’t know. That doesn’t mean you can’t have convictions or believe in yourself, but you have to be willing to listen and change your opinion based off of real hardcore feedback.
E: What’s something you’d like to share with Santa Monica?
V: At FlashFunders, we’re really altruistic. We believe that there are a lot of good ideas out there that don’t get a real chance. We need people to innovate and go for it. They may fail, but the impact they could make will be well worth it. Do something. Take risks.