Category Archives: Public Entrepreneur

Peter Hodson on the 103,000 Answers He Has for DIY Investors

CSE’s Phillip Shum recently sat down with Peter Hodson, the founder of 5i Research, and former Chairman of Sprott Asset Management, to discuss what he’s learned over his 50 years of investing experience.

In this discussion, Peter shares the feeling he gets finding the little gems that turn into the “next big thing” (2:29), how his firm has answered over 103,000 questions from DIY investors, (7:08), and his explanation as to why a value investment isn’t necessarily a cheap investment (10:12).

Listen until the end to hear Peter’s thoughts on why there’s always something to worry about (in investing), and how to combat that with a long-term investment plan. Peter also shares his insights on “FANG” stock and why he believes their value may be immune to government intervention.

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HeyBryan Media: Home maintenance should be easy, safe and a few app-clicks away

HeyBryan Media (CSE:HEY) has its sights set on becoming to the home maintenance industry what Uber Technologies is to the transportation industry – a genuine disrupter.

In 2018, technologist and entrepreneur Lance Montgomery created the HeyBryan app, which seamlessly pairs homeowners and tradespeople. In short, the handyman app gives harried homeowners instant access to reliable experts in their zip code who can handle everything from electrical repairs to plumbing, and more.

Every expert undergoes a background check to ensure a safe experience. Montgomery, who has a strong track record of taking companies public, has done a good job of propelling HeyBryan’s user base, with the company recently announcing average monthly customer growth of some 115% since the beginning of 2019. Having contractor and TV personality Bryan Baeumler playing a key role in the business has certainly helped to drive that growth.

Public Entrepreneur caught up with Montgomery recently to talk about how he is creating a carpe diem moment for the company by tapping Canada’s $50 billion home maintenance market, while eyeing the even larger US market.

Can you share the story about how HeyBryan Media started?

HeyBryan started from a personal experience, as do most successful startups. One day, I came home and the dishwasher was broken. I did what everyone does and googled “dishwasher repair Vancouver” and got served with paid ads. Frustrated, I tried Craigslist and wasn’t comfortable with what I found. I didn’t feel confident about who would come, and what I would be charged. Are they vetted? Will they even show up? These are things homeowners deal with every day; it’s the small tasks that we all need done and it’s hard to find help.

So, I decided to research the space and really didn’t find anything that worked in Canada. That’s how HeyBryan Media was born.

Tell us about your marketplace app and what it does.

HeyBryan connects homeowners to home maintenance experts in your area, on your schedule. All experts are vetted and verified. It’s really an end-to-end solution that brings the connection together. Everything happens in-app – scheduling, payment, chat, ratings, reviews and rescheduling.

On the expert side, we provide the opportunity to work when you want and where you want. They set their own rates and get paid fast through the app, with money deposited in their account. We bring the business to them and allow both sides of the marketplace to rate and review each other. This gives us great data on the quality of the work and where experts rank in our system.

How long did it take the company to develop the app and line up reliable experts?

The app started slowly with just our CTO and me working on it in our spare time. But as we raised money, we were able to get additional support to speed up the process. To go live in Vancouver, we did a 30-day recruitment, so all in all it was 12 months from idea to first city launch.

Typically, does the tradesperson vetting process take a lot of time?

We partnered with Certn, an AI-based company that does ID/criminal and background checks in real time. We then have our customer success team onboard them, so it’s fairly quick. We currently have around 600 experts on the platform.

What are your key markets and how do you expect them to shape up?

We are currently live in Vancouver and Toronto with plans to expand across Canada in 2020. Our marketing efforts are showing growth in both markets and the focus is now on repeat customers, referrals and new customer acquisition, but the growth is solid. Future plans call for entering the United States.

What are the hallmarks of an innovative company and does HeyBryan fit the bill?

I think innovation is solving or disrupting an industry. This small task space has been painted with a negative brush and our goal is to change this perception. We are adding technology to a very outdated industry and bringing value to both the homeowner and the experts — this is highly innovative.

How important is it to have a company like HeyBryan with an aging Canadian population?

Peoples’ homes are their biggest asset and research shows that people are staying in their homes longer and home maintenance is a massive market. As the population ages, it’s important to have a trusted solution for this demographic so they can get help around the house with no worry.

Is the HeyBryan app the number 1 app for averting DIY (do it yourself) mishaps?

Yes, with a trusted brand like Bryan Baeumler, we feel we are number 1. There’s always competition, but we share the same values as Bryan and want to be the go-to home maintenance solution. We focus on the small tasks, so we are not looking to get into large renos, but if you maintain your home properly, you can avert larger disasters. Take a car – if you maintain it, the car will last longer, and you can avoid the engine blowing up.

Talk to us about the business model for the company.

Everything is done in-house, and we have a full team looking after technology, creative, design, development, data, marketing, sales and customer service. Everything has been built in-house, which allows us to grow and scale as well as pivot when needed.

The revenue model is two-sided. We take 20% of every completed task from the expert and a 7.5% trust and support fee from the customer. The customer fee takes care of our hard costs such as insurance/payment processing fees. All in, our margin is 27.5%.

HeyBryan is already disrupting the home maintenance industry, but do you have plans for new products?

Yes, we are exploring many avenues both in strategic partnerships and complementary new revenue streams. The opportunities in the gig economy are endless and we’re excited about the future of the overall company.

You were successful in getting Bryan Baeumler to sign on as the name brand and face of your company. How does the celebrity endorsement help keep marketing costs in check?

Securing a celebrity endorsement was a massive win. Trying to build brand awareness and consumer confidence is expensive and time-consuming. Bryan brought that reputation, as well as awareness and trust. We can leverage Bryan’s following and his massive reach allows us to spend money in other areas to evolve and grow the business.

You have the entrepreneurial DNA to take your idea and build it into a business. What is one of the important lessons that you’ve learnt?

Be patient and don’t try to rush to market with a sub-par product. Do your research, plan and always expect delays. The other major thing I learnt was how critical it is to have the right people in the right roles. Surround yourself with the right people in the right roles and allow them to shine. We have built an amazing team and I couldn’t be prouder.

This story was featured in the Public Entrepreneur magazine.

Learn more about HeyBryan Media at https://heybryan.com/.

Rana Vig on How to Maintain Investor Interest 365 Days a Year in Mining

CSE’s James Black and Barrington Miller (!) both recently sat down with Blue Lagoon Resources Inc. CEO Rana Vig to discuss the company’s new listing (CSE:BLLG) on the CSE and the lessons he’s learned through the first 10 years of his capital markets career.

In this discussion, Rana shares the origin of the company’s name and offers the “best” advice ever shared on #HashtagFinance (2:58), the importance of keeping investor attention year-round (4:27), and why he insists on being the “dumbest” person in the room (10:45).

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Public Entrepreneur Magazine: The Inspiration Issue – Now Live!

Welcome to the latest issue of Public Entrepreneur Magazine, your source for in-depth stories of entrepreneurs from a wealth of varying industries.

The first issue of the new decade shares captivating entrepreneurial stories, offering exclusive insights into how the featured business undertakers have harnessed the power of innovation to become genuine disruptors in their respective industries.

This magazine installment also takes a look back and reviews the many milestones achieved during the previous year, and provides an exciting outlook on what you can expect for 2020.

CSE-listed companies featured in this issue include:

HeyBryan Media Inc. (CSE:HEY)
New Wave Esports Corp. (CSE:NWES)
Versus Systems Inc. (CSE:VS)
AMPD Ventures Inc. (CSE:AMPD)
BevCanna Enterprises Inc. (CSE:BEV)

Check out the most recent edition of Public Entrepreneur below.

Chris Bursey on the Technical Solution for Better Beer Management

CSE’s James Black recently sat down with Chris Bursey, CEO of Direct Communication Solutions, Inc. (CSE:DCSI), to reflect on the company’s innovations in the IoT space and recent public listing on the CSE.

In this discussion, Chris shares the motivating factors behind choosing public capital over venture capital (1:36), DCSI’s plans to revolutionize the bar and restaurant industry through better beer monitoring (2:57), and how he transitioned into entrepreneurship after serving on aircraft carriers as an air traffic controller (7:34).

Listen until the end to hear about Chris’s “Grizzly Bear Theory” and the burden (and honour) of being the head of an organization.

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Andrew Jappy on How Trading Technology is Impacting Today’s Investor

Andrew Jappy, Managing Director of Canada for Iress, recently joined James Black to chat about his recent appointment with the company and to discuss the challenges of deploying order routing solutions for Canada’s multi-market environment.

In this discussion, Andrews shares his theory as to why Canada has 16(!) trading venues (3:15), the basics behind “dark pools” and how they operate (5:38), his observations from the “Flash Boys” phenomena (8:30), and whether he thinks retail investors still stand a chance against pro traders (10:03).

Listen until the end to learn about Andrew’s globe-spanning career in financial IT, as well as his thoughts on the exciting changes and opportunities he sees in a rapidly-evolving financial technology sector.

Mo Lidsky on How to Find Conflict-Free Financial Advice (and Avoid Snake Oil!)

CSE’s Phillip Shum recently sat down with Mo Lidsky, CEO of Prime Quadrant, to discuss the market perspectives he has earned through advising 120 ultra-high net-worth families comprising $15 billion in assets under management.

In this discussion, Mo shares how his own challenge in obtaining unbiased, conflict-free investment advice led him to start Prime Quadrant (0:57), why his firm is applying a “super protective” mindset during these rising markets (5:09), his common principles and best practices for investing (10:39), and why it is potentially dangerous to apply recency bias when investing in fixed income products (14:42).

Listen until the end to hear how Mo’s own encounter with a fraudster led him to research and write his new book, “Selling Snake Oil” (19:03), and how he has leveraged his family office network to support his philanthropic efforts every year at the Prime Quadrant Conference (24:14).

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Ian Tennant on How to Earn Investor Attention with Your Next Press Release

CSE’s Phillip Shum recently caught up with Ian Tennant, Co-Founder and Director of Newsfile Corp., to reflect on the company’s origins starting 20 years ago.

In this chat, Ian shares how the Sarbanes-Oxley Act presented an opportunity for a new, national newswire service (1:04), his tips to maximize the most important real estate of a press release (4:00), and the key ingredients to reaching both Canadian and US investors (8:09).

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Helen Bilhete on How to Build Courage in Sales and Stand Out on Bay Street

CSE’s Grace Pedota recently caught up with Helen Bilhete, Head of Corporate Development at Newsfile, to discuss her recent experience at the “boutique” newswire service and her other career endeavors, including acting.

During this chat, Helen shares her perspective on how newswire services work a lot like courier systems (3:10), the journey she underwent to build courage and success in sales (8:55), and the distinct benefits of not being afraid to “stand out” on Bay Street (12:34).

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The 2019 CSE Year in Review with James, Barrington, and Phil

CSE’s James Black recently joined his colleagues Barrington Miller and Phillip Shum to reflect on another eventful year at the Exchange for Entrepreneurs.

This special episode includes a wide-ranging discussion on the many highlights from 2019. The team discusses the numerous global destinations that the CSE covered throughout the year (1:53), the fascinating intersection between public cannabis companies and famous athletes (7:11), and the memorable events that left a lasting impression (11:25).

Listen until the end to hear James, Barrington, and Phil’s insights from interviewing over 80 entrepreneurs on the #HashtagFinance podcast, and the inspiration generated by the newly launched Market Open at the CSE Media Centre in Toronto (27:53).

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