Brandon Krieg is on his second really big startup. His first sold for tens of millions of dollars. His next venture has raised hundreds of millions and is changing the dynamics of money, spending, banking, and investing for millions of Americans.
During our time on the DealMakers podcast, Brandon Krieg shared his adventures in building and scaling big fintech ventures. He talked about raising money all the way through a Series F, even during a crisis. Plus, integrating companies in an M&A deal, hitting product-market fit, and developing successful product roadmaps.
Hacking Wall Street
Brandon Krieg was originally born in NYC before ending up growing up in South Florida.
His parents hit some financial struggles while he was a teenager, and he ended up going to high school and culinary school in Florida.
He wasn’t finding it fulfilling, and inspired by Wall Street, yearned to move back to New York and get involved in the financial services area.
Brandon made the move and ran into two others who had just started a new company, Edge Trade. Ultimately, they made him a partner in that business.
They were at the forefront of the transition to electronic trading. When he came on the scene it was still very much the iconic NYC Exchange floor with guys shouting and running around with paper. It was crazy.
Edge Trade began facilitating computerized orders trading. It grew, and Knight Capital came along and acquired them for $60M in 2007. It grew so big that Knight was responsible for trading over a quarter of the US stock market on a daily basis. He was certainly responsible for helping to change an entire industry and a massive one.
Merging and integrating two companies is a beast at the best of times. More often than not it just doesn’t work out. It took time, but it did work out for Knight Capital and Edge Trade.
Brandon recalls it taking a good 18 months to fully integrate the two companies. They were careful not to break the fast-moving startup culture that Edge Trade had. Because when you break cultures customers suffer, employees suffer, and things can go downhill fast.
Don’t Create A Problem, Solve One
One of the biggest takeaways Krieg says he gleaned from this experience was to put away ego and preconceived ideas about what customers need and to listen and learn from them instead.
He says to be sure “that you’re solving a real problem, not making one up, then you could ultimately build a really great business.” Be the pain killer, not the problem maker.
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