In the dynamic world of entrepreneurship, few stories capture the essence of determination, innovation, and mission-driven success quite like that of Brian Lee. Born in South Korea and raised in Orange County, California, Brian’s journey is a testament to the power of hard work, resilience, and a deep passion for creating meaningful businesses.
His venture, Arena Club, has attracted funding from top-tier investors like Lightspeed Ventures, Elysian Park Ventures, M13, and BAM Ventures.
In this episode, you will learn:
- Brian Lee’s entrepreneurial spirit was deeply influenced by his parents’ immigrant story, witnessing their hard work and determination to create a better future in the United States.
- Brian’s career path was guided by a desire to follow his passion rather than simply join his family business, leading him to explore entrepreneurship and law.
- The idea for LegalZoom emerged from the realization that simple legal documents could be automated online, disrupting traditional legal services and making them more affordable.
- LegalZoom faced challenges during the dot-com crash, but Brian and his partner persevered, believing in the potential of their idea to democratize legal services through technology.
- Brian’s ventures, including ShoeDazzle and The Honest Company, involved partnerships with celebrities like Kim Kardashian and Jessica Alba, leveraging their influence to build successful brands.
- The Honest Company’s mission to create a non-toxic world exemplifies Brian’s commitment to mission-driven businesses, emphasizing the importance of a shared vision among team members.
- Brian’s transition into venture capital with Bam Ventures showcases his extensive angel investing experience. His latest venture, Arena Club, combines his passion for sports memorabilia with a tech-driven approach, introducing transparency and a virtual card show experience.
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About Brian Lee:
Brian Lee is the co-founder and Managing Director of BAM Ventures and has served in this capacity since 2015. He currently serves as Founder and CEO of Arena Club, which focuses on sports collectibles.
In 2000, Brian co-founded LegalZoom.com, Inc., an online legal services platform, where he served as the company’s President.
In 2009, Brian co-founded ShoeDazzle.com Inc., an e-commerce website for women’s shoes, where he served as Chief Executive Officer.
In 2012, Brian co-founded The Honest Co., a consumer goods company, where he served as Chief Executive Officer from 2012 to 2017.
He currently serves as a board member at the Lowell Milken Institute of Business Law and Policy at the University of California, Los Angeles, and also serves on the board of Brentwood School.
Brian holds a B.A. in Economics and Business and a J.D., each from the University of California, Los Angeles.
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Read the Full Transcription of the Interview:
Alejandro Cremades: Alrighty hello everyone and welcome to the dealmakerr show. So today. We have an amazing guest. You know we have a guest that they has done it so many times and so successfully so that it’s a is pretty inspiring. You know we’re gonna be talking about building scaling financing. Exiting going public. You know all types of m and a is there. You know like this story also of how he built his first company raisingcing capital with no experience also breakthroughs in business models. We’re also going to be talking about building a mission-driven business. And then also what he’s doing now you know and also figuring out product market fit so without farther. Do let’s welcome our guests today Brian Lee welcome to the show.
Brian Lee: Um, thank you so much for having me all Ajandra happy to be here.
Alejandro Cremades: So quite the childhood you had Brian you know doing a walk through memory lane here born in South Korea and then also raised in Orange County walk us through your upbringings. How was life growing up.
Brian Lee: Yeah, well I was born in South Korea but came out here with my parents. Um, when I was just like a kid grew up in Orange County California in an area called Laguna Hills and then eventually Huntington Beach but my childhood was pretty pretty normal. Um, very Korean American in a lot of ways we celebrated both traditions of Korea and the american traditions. So for example I remember my earliest halloweens my mom addressed me up in a very traditional korean humbook and so that was my Halloween costume. We were those traditional korean. Ah, where so um, yeah, so a very very interesting background there I learned a lot from my dad who was also an entrepreneur which kind of sowed the seeds in me to to go start some companies.
Alejandro Cremades: Now It’s really interesting here because you had already the the seed planted there. You know with the with the family you know and I’m sure that you know you learned quite a bit you know having your family coming here and seeing them you know working so hard to give you guys a better Future. So I Guess. How do you think that shaped you up to? okay.
Brian Lee: I think it really shaped me. Um I think that immigrant story for so many of us really shapes who you become so you know I when I was younger I didn’t quite realize know what I was taking in but when we came to this country to the United States my dad flew out here. With me my sister, my older sister and then ah and my mom 2 pieces of luggage and $500 that’s how we started our life here in America and I saw my father who was educated in Koreaa went to college and so did my mom but they didn’t speak english and so my mom worked a job on a. In the factory. It was bare aspirin back back in the day and she would actually work the factory library. She counted 25 pills to a bottle that was her job and then my my dad worked at a furniture factory making furniture and then at night would work in the orange the fields of Orange County picking oranges so those were his two jobs and I just watched them grow um eventually my dad started his own company. So that’s a long story but he moved from restaurant furniture making a furniture to selling it and then getting into restaurant supplies and so forth. So. And then ended up building a pretty substantial business and stainless steel utensils. So that’s but the story of my dad and my childhood growing up. We grew up I remember just being watch I I didn’t know we were poor at the time but we’ were pretty poor. You know we were living in ah a 1 ne-edment apartment and just trying to make ends meet I remember.
Brian Lee: My mom would shop at the thrift shops and take me and my sister with her and you know our our new our clothes for the the new school year would be from thrift stores. So that’s how we kind of started our life here in America.
Alejandro Cremades: That’s incredible now. Obviously you had the seed planted two when it came to the drive for business. So I guess my my question here is the seed was planted. Why did you decide to go obviously you did the undergrad and you studied their economics at you see la but they law. Degree I’m becoming a lawyer I mean where is that coming from Brian.
Brian Lee: Yeah, you know it’s ah it’s a great question. Um, part of it is because my my father eventually yeah was running a pretty successful company in stainless steel and wanted me to come work with him and I honestly just wanted to set my own path. And create my own career and so I was kind of delaying and kind of punching on it. Um, and I remember when I was at Ucla for undergrad I had a great time in college you know it was really fun for me. Um, and so I just kind of wanted to keep at school. Ah.
Brian Lee: And I was just thinking well I could go to law school and that’s three more years of trying to figure out what I really want to do I actually never went to law school with the intent of being becoming a lawyer I went to law school with the idea that it would give me three more years to figure things out. Um and decide whether or not I wanted to go work. My dad or go start something else.
Alejandro Cremades: So so then let’s talk about this for for a minute because you ended up becoming a lawyer and you were a lawyer in in some of the best firms I mean you were you were a lawyer at scaden you know when you literally you know like took the um. The idea of of maybe you know like branching out into into business. No. So what was that what was that the incuation process you know, obviously at this point you’re making a good salary. You’ve done. You know very well. You’ve you’ve been able to achieve going to 1 of the best firms that a lawyer could could dream of. So now you’re thinking about leaving that career aside and and venturing into the unknown I mean how how did that come up first.
Brian Lee: Yeah, you know I think I think deep down I Always knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur that I was wanted to start something and build something. Um again I ended up in law school because I thought it would just give me more time.
Brian Lee: Still didn’t figure it out ended up that all my friends started taking jobs at law firms. So I was like well maybe I should go do that and so I went and did that I did enjoy um, the people that I worked with at the law firm I just wasn’t getting as much fulfillment out of it as I wanted in terms of just personal fulfillment. Um. And I just yeah I think I was kind of born with an entrepreneurial spirit I think many people are not only just watching my dad and working with him during the summers and so forth, but it was just more I always come up with ideas you know I’m an idea generator every day I come up with another idea. It’s a blessing and a curse really? but. You know I think see things and I see a service and I think it could be improved I see a product I think it’d be better. You know so forth. So just ideas galore. Um, in terms of the idea for legal zoom. It really came about very early with ah my business partner Brian Lo I started it with he was a friend of mine from law school. My best friend from law school. We were just drumming up different ideas and you know we both realized that a lot of the documents that we were filing with the law firms that we were working with were very straightforward. We’re very simple type of documents. Um. But we would still kind of charge a pretty high margin to our our clients in the end truthfully because you know you charge by the hour and if something takes 10 minutes you still have a minimum charge and so forth. So we realize a lot of these documents can be automated.
Brian Lee: And that was like the genesis the idea for for legal zoom was just automating very simple legal documents using the internet which was very new at the time this is back in 9098 Ninety Ninety Nine is when we started druming up the idea.
Alejandro Cremades: So then for a legal sum you know I guess for the people that are listening what ended up being the business model of the company. How are you guys making money there.
Brian Lee: Yeah, so we would charge per document so people would make ah a last will and testament or legal Zoom or you know a living trust or have us form a corporation for them or or file a trademark. These are all very simple straightforward procedures. Ah, legal processes and documents that we would generate online and then do the filing work for the client and so forth and then um, we’d charge per per document. So for example, like ah I remember last one testament when we started was like $99.
Alejandro Cremades: So for legal sum. Also it was the first time that you guys had to raise money you know I’m sure that that was not easy. What was that experience like.
Brian Lee: Oh it’s horrible. Um, yeah, it was ah it was. It was pretty hard because um, our very first venture capital meeting was the day that Nasdaq crashed back in 6001 timeframe is what we. We were getting going on legal zoom um, and that’s when we tried to raise some capital and I remember the very first meeting we took was with um Brian Lu’s uncle at the time who was a venture capitalist and I remember he answered the door and and sat us down and said do you know what’s happening. Like yeah, there’s a little hiccup in the market. The Nasdaq was weighed out all the internet stocks are getting beaten up and he looked at us and said it’s over and he said what’s over he said the internet it’s done and he says it’s not coming back for a very long time if ever this is what he told us. And we’re like we’re like what do you mean? it’s like and and I remember he said you should go get your jobs back because we had quit our jobs at the law firms at the time to go to our legal Zoom and I remember Brian and I sat across the street for lunch after that meeting and we’re both very depressed. Like well what do you think? should we go get our jobs back and I remember we looked at each other we said well how much do you really believe in this idea and the idea for legal Zoom about automating legal processes and making it making the law much more affordable for the masses and both of us said 100 %
Brian Lee: Ah, hundred percent someone would rather pay $99 for a will over thousands of dollars right or for me a corporation. They’d rather pay one hundred and fifty dollars versus $2000 it just made so much sense to us and it could be so much more efficient and and so. We both thought you know what? Even if we don’t raise a lot of capital. We’re just going to go try. We’re going to go do this so the only money we raised initially was from my parents his parents. Um and from a couple relatives we raised $50000 in total to start legals in this is. Back in ninety nine I think it was or 2 times sorry 2000 so that was it and we couldn’t raise any more money because of Nasa crash and all the venture capitalists said no um so we just took that little bit of money and we we started working out of my condo at the time met Eddie Hartman who was our. Cofounding cto and he helped build the site and so forth and we got lucky we got lucky at legal soon truthfully because we were in all a lot of people know this but we were the one of the earliest earliest advertisers on a site called go to which was one of the was it was the first paid search engine. Go to eventually that technology eventually powered. You know Google search and Yahoo and everything else, but we were very early. We’re paying one step per click ah for terms like incorporate Wills. You know so forth like all these legal terms and we kind of really grew with paid search and built a mode around that.
Alejandro Cremades: So obviously the rest is history because legal sumi is listed. You know is’s 2000000000 plus you know so really incredible. You know rocket ship that you guys built there I guess you know, ah you you were part of of the whole ah craziness for. Of like building something from nothing for about 10 years you know with a legal sum and then eventually you know the next idea comes knocking I mean at this point you’ve built something meaningful. You know something that has legs something that has great success. So why turning page brian.
Brian Lee: Yeah that’s it’s a great question and I I often ask myself the same question I’m like what’s what’s wrong with you. How can you keep why to start companies. Um, but for me, it’s I looked back at my time at legal zoom and the most fun I had. Was the earliest days of building right? it it truly was it was when you know 4 5 6 people were at the company we would iterate quickly. We would come up with ideas and try things and there weren’t many people to report to because we we hadn’t taken in outside capital at that point it was just it was just us. You know we were just hustling and building and it was just so much fun. Even though we were broke. We had no money we were we were eating ramen and peanut butter jellies sandwiches every day but it was fun. You know and I looked back at that time so fondly and it was just like that grind right? The the. The initial stages were anything is possible and I just got addicted to that and so I came up with an idea with my wife at the time to do a new type of business model online. It was very early. It was a very early subscription ecommerce model. For shoes and it was called shoedazzle and we started that I started that after about 10 years at legal zoom I started shoedazzle with my wife and um with Ken Kardashian at the time and it was the the idea would be a shoe of the month club for for woman.
Brian Lee: So every month you would get a choice of shoes to choose from based on an algorithm that shows shoes for you and so forth. So you know it was again super early in terms of ecommerce subscription. We launched the company and it just took off and we hit like I think $10000000 in revenue. Ah, run rate revenue within probably four or five months right and just kind of took off out the gate and just started growing and growing and growing it eventually sold it to a company called textile down in Elsa Gundo and textile has done well with it since. They also own a bunch of other brands like savage by Fey I think is called and ah some others but a fabletics and some other brands. Um, so we had a lot of fun building that and Kim Kardashian is amazing. Um, it deserves everything that she has accomplished today.
Alejandro Cremades: And and how was that experience of going through an a and a transaction because this was your your first m and a experience. So what did you learn you know from going through something like that.
Brian Lee: You know I learned that bankers are right half the time. Um, that basically a lot of it is is just so nuanced. A lot. Nothing is set in stone when it comes to m and a there’s all sorts of creative dual structures that you can accomplish. Um, and the the whole thing is just get to the finish line because there’s so many things that could derail any m and a process and you know it’s just like starting a company There’s so many reasons why you shouldn’t start a company and if you listen to any of those reasons nothing would ever get done. And so I felt the same way about the first m and a process is that there are so many days where like oh my god the deal’s not going to happen right? and then the next day you wake up and you’re like no, we’re just going to power through it. You know we’ll come up with solutions as as we go and that was it. It was this more like solutions solving. Problems up until the day that you know the money is wired.
Alejandro Cremades: So one of the things that is interesting too is obviously with shoot assle. It was the first experience with a celebrity now being there on the on the founding you know team. Um, and since then you know you’ve done it. You know, multiple times whether it’s the honors. They honest, you know with Jessica Alba which we’re gonna be talking about right now but then also I in a clip with the um with Derek Jeter so what did you get from the experience too of shudasl that now it’s like something that has been a common pattern that you’ve had on your. Next companies of starting something with a celebrity first.
Brian Lee: Yeah, so I actually is seem before sheetazzle it was with with legal Zoom ah my partner at that time was ah Robert Shapiro the attorney and at that point was the world. 1 of the most world famous attorneys um, because of the oj simpson trial.
Alejandro Cremades: That’s right.
Brian Lee: Now the reason why we started working with with I call him Bob if that’s okay so the reason we started work with Bob Shapiro it was really for credibility right? So remember I said legal zoom was very early. This is back in 103001 people are scared of the internet they’re scared to put credit card information into their computer. They didn’t know where it was going right? And and there’s a lot of trust issues and so forth when it came to the internet and so we realized very quickly that with legal documents a lot of legal documents. We’re asking for a lot of personal information. Not just your credit card information but your bank account information your mortgage information and so so many things that we needed. Um and so we needed to build instant trust with that customer so we decided okay, let’s put Bob front and center because everyone knows him as ah as a great lawyer. Um, and so we put him front and center to to add that credibility. But what we realized is that every time he went on to television like on Cnn or or whatever it was and if he would talk about legal Zoom we would get orders right? more people would order and we’re like wow we we brought him on for credibility. But what we’re getting is marketing. And and so that’s that’s what happened was that it was very very early influencer marketing if you will and I knew that model worked because I saw firsthand every time he was he he did ah an article like for ah press he would mention legal Zoom we get orders. So I knew that whatever company I started next I would want to work with someone who could get us you know publicity.
Brian Lee: And so at that time Kim Kardashian was just starting her career. She was a silas at the time and she was in season 1 of keeping up with the kardashians and my wife fell in love with her just like she’s she’s great. She’s the future and this is super early and and so we decided okay, let’s go talk to Kim. We had met her through Bob so Bob Shapiro used to work with Kim’s dad Robert Kardashian they had some cases together and and so that’s how we met Kim um, and Kim loved the idea for shedazzle she’s just she loved it and so we we decided let’s go do this and we launched it and it was.
Alejandro Cremades: And how how amazing because a king karation right now you know is probably 1 of the biggest celebrities and that one can think of now for the next chapter with the honest company. How did the idea of the honest company come to mind and.
Brian Lee: Was a lot of fun.
Alejandro Cremades: And how did you get Jessica Alva to to jump in. So.
Brian Lee: Actually yeah, it was the the opposite actually um so the idea came from Jessica Alba and she came and got me. Um, so I’m friends with her husband cash and he’s a great guy and cash had told me that Jessica is working on a new company. Needed some some advice and some consulting and so forth. So I met up with Jessica a few times. Um, really love the idea of you know what she was working on which was trying to create a non-toxic world and the idea would be to start with babies first because that was the way into. People’s homes because it’s really when a mother has a child for the first time their first child, especially they they think you know I’m going to do anything I can to protect this child including feeding my child organic foods and only surrounding this child with with healthy products. And so that was ah the idea for the honest company was to help create a non-toxic world. Let’s get into your home and let’s build you know a brand from there so that was the idea so we launched the company with baby products so we launched with diapers. Nontoxic diapers wipes baby shampoo and lotions and bubble bath I where those were the first 5 pronks that we launched with and oh I’m sorry and a healing ball to the healing bomb were great. Um, but yeah, so it was it was it was a really fun one but Jessica came and approached me that.
Brian Lee: To help her build it and I said yes and it was off to the races after that and yes.
Alejandro Cremades: So in this case, a mission-driven business. So what did you get? you know from from building a company like that and being Mission- driven and and getting that type of following to from Moms you know that really care about their babies and you know the products that they’re putting on them and.
Brian Lee: Yeah, so really, it really was you know very mission driven every person at the company believed in what we were doing and that leads to something very special. It just leads to everyone seeing the end goal.
Alejandro Cremades: And things like that.
Brian Lee: And everyone holding hands and trying to reach that goal together right? is it’s it’s It’s a unifying force like like I’ve never seen right? So if you have an entire workforce that truly believes in what they’re building what they stand what the company stands for what the company is trying to accomplish to make the world better. Then it’s amazing way you could get out of people your team right? and and then you get investors to buy into that right? So We we met with a lot of investors and we chose to work with investors who truly believed in what we’re trying to accomplish.
Alejandro Cremades: So at the peak or the valuation that was one point eight billion so the honest company you guys took the company public. What was it like you know to ah to take a company public. What was that experience like.
Brian Lee: It was nice by that time I had gone to start Bam ventures but I remember the feeling of just knowing that one of the companies had gone public. It was interesting. Both Legal Zoom and the honest company went public in the same year. Even though we started the honest company much later than Legal zoom. Um, but they both won it went out and so I was on a high. It was like it was a pretty great feeling just have 2 coverages go public in this in the same year.
Alejandro Cremades: If you had to like probably I’m sure that you reflected you know a lot during that year and what would you say were the similarities if you had to like pinpoint like the top 3 key ingredients. That made those companies to be so successful and and go public. What would you say those key ingredients were.
Brian Lee: You know if I could just is really it’s about it’s about the team number 1 right? you have to have just a really really strong workforce and nothing there. There are no shortcuts when it comes to work. You you have to you have to put in your all right? And if you have a whole group of folks putting in all their effort into something good things happen right? So at the end of the day. It’s about team and we have very strong teams at Legalzoom and at the honest company extremely strong. Um, the the other thing I would say is is brand right? So ah, people talk about brand um, almost flippantly today like everything’s a brand right? But what does that really mean you know when when we started legal zoom. We realized that the legal industry was pretty large but yet there was no brand name and law at that time outside of some personal injury attorneys and and so forth, but we just figured if you could build a brand name a law like the only name people know right? when they think legal. Then it’s probably worth a lot of money and we can build something substantial and the same thing with the honest company. We. We really felt like that we could really build a brand that represents non-toxic living right? A non-toxic healthy lifestyle and building a brand. It takes time.
Brian Lee: It takes money. But most importantly, it takes extreme consistency in the delivery of your promise right? If you could consistently deliver what you promise you will win over time right? You will build a brand that people love and that and that’s.
Alejandro Cremades: And.
Brian Lee: Yeah I mean you if you think of the best brands in the world. That’s what they do right? They deliver what they promise or.
Alejandro Cremades: That’s right, that’s Integrity. You deliver on your word now. 1 of the things here that you are alluding to is you decided to start your own ah venture arm. No your own venture business. What would you say trigger that in in. How has it been to experience the venture world from the other side of the table.
Brian Lee: Yeah, so so for me I’m like the accidental venture capitalist I call myself because I started angel investing super early. So anytime I made a little bit of money from legal zoom or some other companies I’ve started I would just put it right back into the ecosystem. Because I sat in a position where I would meet you know a lot of great entrepreneurs and hear a lot of ideas and folks would come to me and ask for some advice and you know about scaling raising capital hiring you know whatever it is marketing and so forth. So I would help and. Provide some advice and never now then I’d be like gosh I really like you and I really like your idea can I invest right? So I started investing small checks. You know, initially and started you know, investing more and more and then I woke up one day and realized I had you know North of a hundred angel investments. Was like oh my gosh this is actual portfolio and so I decided to partner up with a ah friend of mine and we started. Um Bam ventures to put more structure around my investing my startup investing. That’s the fund is called um, bam ventures b a m ventures it stands for Brian and Mira Mirrors my wife and so we started the fund about ten years ago initially with mostly our own capital. But now we do have outside lps and the fund size is pretty small. Still we. We’re a micro fund and we invest into the earliest stages of companies.
Alejandro Cremades: So what is the things that that you typically are like my God We gotta invest on this company. What does that look like okay.
Brian Lee: Well, usually so really is about the team we have. We have a very simple rule at Bam we have to love the team and not hate the idea. That’s what it comes down to so for us, it’s because especially at the stage we invest in it’s all about the team right? So a good team. Could take a horrible idea and turn a good you know a bad team could take a great idea. It’ll just end up bad and so that’s what we realized super early when we invest. Um, but yeah, we we’ve invested in some amazing entrepreneurs. So we invested in honey and what I say invested but it’s usually you know. Very first check or early check so companiess like honey and scopely and thrive market away luggage I have the list goes on and on. We’ve had some some pretty spectacular winners wondering and pretty litter and like again I can go on and on.
Alejandro Cremades: So obviously at this point you know you’ve done a bunch of companies now you’re able to also experience you know the venture world from the other side of the table. Wow what point you know that’s the idea of Arena Club you know doing it. Again, you know building something from nothing at that at what point does that idea come knocking and why did you think it was meaningful enough for you to take action.
Brian Lee: You know it was um I’ve been a card collector a baseball card collector since I was a kid right? So my dad took me to a dodger game and Steve Garvey Irmer was our first baseman and I was so excited. After that game I rode my bike to the local cards and comics shop in Fountain Valley California and I bought a Steve Garvey rookie card um and I was just I never stopped. You know most of my friends stopped collecting in junior high school or high school or wherever whenever but I just kept going. Just love the industry I love the hobby of collecting cards and so it’s the first time I’ve started a company where it is one of my passions like I’m really passionate about this like I was um.
Brian Lee: Passing about a lot of the missions and the and the visions of companies like I was I love that legal zoom was bringing affordable legal services I love shoot ass what was helping women feel beautiful every month for only thirty or nine dollars right or the honest company and trying to build a natoxic world but I was never I would say I was never passionate about you know. Incorporation documents or passionate about highheel shoes or passionate about diapers I was always passionate about their missions right? but but this is the first time I’m actually passionate about the actual product I love cards. So baseball basketball football cards I’ve I’ve a mask kind of a. Ah, pretty large collection. But I’ve was also had issues with the with the hobby. Um, most of those issues related to the way things were getting done like from the the grading companies to some of these marketplaces you know just had issues with them and thought I could do a better using technology. So the idea behind arena club was. Bringing more transparency and technology to the industry.
Alejandro Cremades: So what was that point where you know you and Derek you Jeter decide that is time to partner up on this.
Brian Lee: Yeah, so I met Derek years ago at at ah at a charity event. Um, really hit it off with him. Great guy, super smart, super reliable and I remember he said Brian if you ever start something in in sports anything related to sports. Let me know right? And so. Came up with this idea for Rena Club and it was stewing and so I reached out to to Derek and he loved it. You know he loved the idea and he he was a memorabilia collector. Um, and so made a lot of sense to him and so we went and started it we we launched this thing about a year ago to the public we were working on it for about a year before that. Um, but yeah, it’s been It’s been a lot of fun. Ah we were grading cards. We have a marketplace ah you can buy selling trade. It’s kind of like ah an online card show if you will so what you could looks like card shows are very popular. They they happen every weekend throughout the country. But what we try to do is emulate that excitement. Go into a card show but bringing it to you online.
Alejandro Cremades: And then obviously you guys have a raised a little bit of money there too so 20000000. So obviously at this point you would have anyone throwing money at you with all these successes that you’ve built so how did you decide you know and how did you filter. For they say outside capital that you were getting in.
Brian Lee: Yeah, so yeah, we were in a fortunate position where we could raise you know the amount of money that we would need to make sure that this could have some longevity and give ourselves a real chance. So we raise the 20000000 and we only raise it from people we knew so that I’ve worked with in the past and so it was um.
Brian Lee: Jeremy Lo from lightspeed venture capital it was Neil Sicara who used to be at general calalys who backed me before but he started his own fun called Defi Ventures courtney rem over at m thirteen is a close friend of mine. And has worked with me and invested in me in the past and so really just the investor that I’ve worked with in the past.
Alejandro Cremades: So obviously with investment also comes vision. So Brian imagine you were to go to sleep tonight and you wake up in a world where the vision of Arena Club is fully realized what does that world look like.
Brian Lee: Um, yes.
Brian Lee: Wow, That’s a great I think a lot of it is going to be happening in the future and I think to realize that we will take some time So Everything from you know, virtual reality showrooms to. You know quicker transfers tokenized to memorabilia being being tokenized and so Forth. So It’ll be.. It’ll be a little different than it is today. Um, but using much more the the technologies that will be available in the near future.
Alejandro Cremades: So I want to put you now into a time machine and I want to bring you back in time I’m gonna bring you back in time to that moment where in ninety Nine you’re at Scan you’re giving your notice and let’s say you’re able to stop.
Brian Lee: Um, in.
Alejandro Cremades: That younger Brian and have a sit down with that younger self and being able to have the opportunity of giving that younger Brian one piece of advice before launching a business. What would that be and why given what you know now.
Brian Lee: I think that’s a great question. No one’s ever asked me that before but I would probably tell myself be more patient. Be more patient because a lot of times you know entrepreneurs like myself fall into the trap and that trap is grow at all cost. I actually in hindsight made that mistake a couple times really where you just want to grow grow grow. You’re not really paying as much attention to the fine details as you should in terms of you know how? how are these impacting my margins. How is that decision impacting my employee base. You know, just you really got to like to slow it down and make sure you’re building a strong foundation now I had ah my partner at legal zoom at the time was Brian Lou who is literally the almost a pulllar opposite of me right? So I’m I’m more of a visionary I’m pretty aggressive when it comes to growth. And I just like to build and build quickly. He is definitely much more detailed right? He’s buttoned up. He will check every document he reads every word and everything right? he’s he’s that guy and we really balance each other out in a lot of ways. People joke who who know us people joked at the time that if legal zoom was just my idea it probably would have fizzled out after a little while and then if it was just Brian Lu’s idea it would have never launched so it’s ah it’s a give and take a y and yang kind of situation. So every company I started after that I I took from that and.
Brian Lee: My co-founder was always my counterbalance.
Alejandro Cremades: I love that so Brian for the people that are listening that will love to reach out and say hi. What is the best way for them to do so okay.
Brian Lee: Well, you can hit me up on Instagram and at Brian Way Arena Club lee sorry at arena club LeeLE ah you could dm me and that’s probably the best way to reach me.
Alejandro Cremades: Amazing! Well hey Brian thank you so much for being on the deal maker show. It has been an honor to have you with us.
Brian Lee: Thank you so much alejandros. But it’s been a lot of fun. Thank you.
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