Designing Businesses and Building Founders
I'm Bay McLaughlin, called BetaBay because of my passion for testing new technologies and always trying to improve myself. I've built my career by helping startup ideas come to life and I love doing it.
During college, I started working for Apple, where I rose and joined their global campus advisory board. After completing my masters degree, I moved to San Francisco and joined a startup that failed, helped build another startup that exited, and then went back to Apple to build their global Small to Medium business division. During this second time with Apple, I helped grow a small division to a 2,000 person team running at a $1B USD run rate. My team at Apple still ranks #1 in the world for SMB sales and has grossed more than $250M USD while maintaining the highest customer loyalty in the division.
In addition to running operations at Brinc, I also serve on the board at Soundbrenner, and I am a contributor at Forbes.com, a mentor at Chinaccelerator, and an advisor to Anyroad and The Inertia (not to mention all the ad-hoc advising I do for startups that catch my eye).
I actively share my experiences and insights to my community on Twitter, Facebook Live, and Instagram where I have a community of over 20,000 followers. Trying to share as much as I can, I'm very approachable. Be persistent, specific and honest... you may be surprised by the time I will give you!
I was born and raised in Virginia Beach, Virginia, a small beach town where the first settler’s landed in America in search of freedom. My father was a Navy Captain for 29 years and my mother completed all coursework minus her dissertation for her PhD in education (citing me as her thesis :) ) and taught for 42 years.
My discipline and entrepreneurial journey started when my family told him at 12 years old that I had to make money for myself. This mandate is the foundation of my tireless work ethic. From starting a small company of friends picking up pine cones and mowing lawns to managing irrigation systems and bussing tables, I have never forgotten that the world owes me nothing and that I have to work for everything I want in life.
During college, I worked year round at a golf course, as a multi-media consultant, as a music producer, and managed my own classical band, Savant. During my masters, tired of education and dying to get into the world, I petitioned for switching to the flexible MBA program and took class at night so I could focus on my work at Apple and my four other jobs.
East Coast to the West Coast
Hooked on the energy and mindset of California tech companies, I finished my master, got in my truck and drove cross country with my best friend, looking for his next adventure. No job and everything to my name in the car, I interviewed while at gas stations and motels across America and landed a job selling software for a company in Berkeley and Scotland. I covered the entire West Cost and sold education software to universities and colleges. I hated the software but loved ‘carrying a bag’. I traveled 20 days a month, a new city every day, crashing with friends who had scattered across the West Coast after college. I loved the sales grind.
My first startup blew up (learned on someone else’s dime what not to do), but my next startup hit. I found a lead to two brilliant engineers that had created software to make their company easier to run. I saw an opportunity to make their internal tool a business of its own. I joined as the first employee and worked to operationalize our platform, get our first clients and the company was purchased a year and a half later.
The next year, 2008, hit hard! I had started my own company, LocaX, a location platform for outdoor activities and sports. I worked on it with some friends and spent all my money getting the basic platform and IP structured. The recession didn’t hit San Francisco particularly hard, but it seemed like the company would take more than I had and I felt that I was too early (10 years later, no one has done this right… still). I went back to interview at Apple and found the opportunity of a lifetime.
Apple, Take 2
Meeting with executives far above my pay grade and age, I knew something special was happening this second time around at Apple. I started on a project that Steve never liked, but that the sales executives at Apple knew had to be tackled: Small to Medium sized businesses. Representing the largest sales segment on Earth, it was an exciting prospect. I joined VPs from IBM, HP, and other industry leaders and started building a new sales and integration channel. This experiment ended up growing to 2,000 employees with a $1B run rate in under 4 years. My team rose to #1 globally in the SMB division for Apple, where they’ve stayed even 5 years after my departure.
Servicing the startup and VC elite like Twitter, Yelp!, Dropbox, AirBnB, Yammer, True Ventures, First Round Capital, Accel, SVAngel, and more, I saw an opportunity to help startups and investors decrease their risk. The pattern of growing a small company to enterprise scale in a matter of a few years presented unique operational issues that me and my team got to witness first hand. So I started a Skunkworks project within Apple that partnered with the most notable startups VCs and accelerators in North America to help finance, deploy, on-board, and maintain their Apple technology and find new ways to interact with the new App Store.
Apple never sanctioned this work, but it ended up being the driving factor in my team’s success, driving $250M USD in sales and the highest customer retention numbers in the entire SMB channel. I learned first-hand what issues tier one VCs and their startups face as they grow super fast.
I left Apple after four successful years as I saw a new trend emerging in the Valley in hardware and new investment models that I wanted to immerse myself in.
Beta Business Design
After Apple, while working on my next steps, I started consulting for VCs and launched a business design consultancy where I worked with founders to build scalable businesses. After being in digital for so long, I felt the need to get back into the offline economy. I took on clients in the food and beverage (http://www.juiceshop.com/), architecture (http://www.envelopead.com/), film (http://frenchpressfilms.com/), fitness industries (http://www.basictrainingsf.com/), and one tech client to keep my digital skills on point (https://www.intercom.com/).
One area I knew that I needed to learn more about was how to develop top performing founders. I had been working with founders for years, but had learned through doing, not through any formal training. I joined up with SNP Communications in San Francisco to learn how they've trained executives from AirBnB, Google, Twitter, Yahoo!, Disney, Pixar, Fitbit and many more. After deep diving into the SNP method, I started practicing these new skills with Google and AirBnB leaders in North America, Asia, and Australia to cement my learning.
California to China & Founding Brinc
After a decade in San Francisco, I felt the itch. Something was going on and it wasn’t in the Bay Area. My wife put in for a transfer to see if a move to Asia was in the cards. Within 24 hours of receiving the green light, we were packing up and selling our lives in San Francisco and New York City and headed to Asia!
The move to Hong Kong focused on learning and looking for new opportunity. The obvious shot was raising an IoT / Hardware focused fund that would support western founders in China. This evolved when I met my co-founder Manav Gupta in Beijing. It was clear that there was a need for an ultra-hands on approach to building and supporting hardware entrepreneurs.
Brinc started as an accelerator in Hong Kong and now has a product development studio in China and a growth and distribution team too. Seeing that the future of the world is hyper-connected, Brinc has positioned itself as a heavy hitter in the world of connected technologies. With offices in Hong Kong, Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Barcelona, and our newest in Bahrain, the Brinc platform is expanding globally.
Currently, Brinc has supported 40+ companies, launched 22 products, raised $14M+ in VC money for our teams and is shipping products globally.
2018 is going to be a huge year for Brinc and BetaBay, so keep in touch!