Bay McLaughlin Designs Businesses and Builds Founders
Bay McLaughlin, called BetaBay because of his passion for testing new technologies and always trying to improve himself, is a leader in the world of startups and has built his career by helping startup ideas come to life.
During college, Bay started working for Apple, where he rose and joined their global campus advisory board. After completing his masters degree, he 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 his second time at Apple, Bay helped grow a small division to a 2,000 person team running at a $1B USD run rate. His 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.
Bay will be on the road in 2017 speaking at SXSW, Hardwarecon, RIOT Conference, RISE, and more, and will be launching a new video series called Honest Hardware in the Spring.
In addition to running operations at Brinc, Bay also serves on the board at Soundbrenner, is 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 he does for startups that catch his eye).
Bay actively shares his experiences and insights to his community on Whale (🐳 Ask me anything: https://askwhale.com/add/betabay), Twitter, Facebook Live, and Instagram where he has a community of over X#s. Trying to share as much as he can, Bay is very approachable. Be persistent, specific and honest... you may be surprised by the time he will give you!
Bay McLaughlin was born and raised in Virginia Beach, Virginia, a small beach town where the first settler’s landed in America in search of freedom (the forrest he grew up playing in is named First Landing State Park). Born into deep military and education roots, Bay’s father was a Navy Captain (29 years) and his mother completed all coursework minus her dissertation for her PhD in education, citing Bay as her thesis :), and taught for 42 years. Their family was in the middle class and put everything the had into their home and time together at the beach with their friends and family.
Bay’s discipline and entrepreneurial journey started when his family told him at 12 years old that he had to make money for himself. This mandate is the foundation of his tireless work ethic. From starting a small company of friends picking up pine cones and mowing lawns to manage irrigation systems and bussing tables, Bay has never forgotten that the world owes him nothing and that he has to work for everything he wants in life.
During college, Bay worked year round at a golf course, as a multi-media consultant, as a music producer, and managed his then classical band, Savant’s, album sales and live show bookings and budgets. During his masters, tired of education and dying to get into the world, Bay petitioned for switching to the flexible MBA program and taking class at night so he could focus on his work at Apple and his other four side jobs.
East Coast to the West Coast
Hooked on the energy and mindset of California tech companies, Bay finished his master, got in his truck and drove cross country with his best friend, looking for his next adventure. No job and everything to his name in the car, Bay interviewed while at gas stations and motels across America and landed a job selling software for a company in Berkeley and Scotland. Bay covered the entire West Cost and was selling education software to universities and colleges. He hated the software but loved ‘carrying a bag’. Traveling 20 days a month, a new city every day, and crashing with friends who had scattered across the West Coast after college. A skill that's lost on our current generation, Bay’s love of the sales grind and connecting to new users is one of his competitive advantages and what he loves to teach people who join his companies.
The first startup blew up (learned on someone else’s dime what not to do), but the next startup hit. Finding a lead to two brilliant engineers that had created software to make their software training company easier to run, Bay saw an opportunity to make their internal tool a company of its own. He joined as the first employee and worked with the brothers to operationalize the platform, get their first clients and the company was purchased a year and a half later.
2008 hit hard! Bay had started his own company, LocaX, a location platform for outdoor activities and sports (this was before location was normal on phones and in apps). He worked on it with his friends and spent all his money getting the basic platform and IP structured. The recession didn’t hit San Francisco particularly hard, but it seemed like his company would take more than he had and he felt that he was too early (10 years later, no one has done this right… still). Bay started interviewing at Apple and found the opportunity of a lifetime.
Apple, Take 2
Meeting with executives far above his pay grade and age, Bay knew something special was happening this second time around at Apple. He 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. Bay joined VPs from IBM, HP, and others and started building a new sales and integration channel that ended up growing to 2,000 employees and a $1B run rate in under 4 years. His team rose to being #1 globally in the SMB division for Apple, where they’ve stayed even 5 years after his departure.
Servicing the startup and VC elite like Twitter, Yelp!, Dropbox, AirBnB, Yammer, True Ventures, First Round Capital, Accel, SVAngel, and more, Bay 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 Bay and his team got to witness first hand. So he 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 his team’s success, driving $250M USD in sales and the highest customer retention numbers in the entire SMB channel. Bay learned first-hand what issues tier one VCs and their startups face as they grow super fast.
Bay left Apple after four years in this capacity as he saw a new trend emerging in the Valley in hardware and new investment models that he wanted to immerse himself in.
Beta Business Design
After Apple, while working on his next steps, Bay started consulting for VCs and launched a business design consultancy where he worked with founders to build scalable businesses. After being in digital for so long, Bay felt the need to get back into the offline economy. He 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 his digital skills on point (https://www.intercom.com/).
One area he knew that he needed to learn more about was how to develop top performing founders. He had been working with founders for years, but had learned through doing, not through any formal training. He 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, Bay started practicing these new skills with Google and AirBnB leaders in North America, Asia, and Australia to cement his learning.
California to China & Founding Brinc
After a decade in San Francisco, Bay felt the itch. Something was going on and it wasn’t in the Bay Area. His 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, they were packing up and selling their 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 Bay met his 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, London, and soon to be in the Middle East, 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.
2017 is going to be a huge year for Brinc and Bay, so keep in touch!