Ep. 21 - Rache Brand Interview - Safer Revenue Building For Small Businesses
The journey and diverse experiences in the food, technology, and climate-related industries have shaped today's guest's perspective on the importance of human connection and community in business. With her experience in venturing through capital and lending, she offers her expertise in today's discussion. In this not-to-be-missed episode, we have an amazing conversation with Rache Brand, co-founder of Superstruct Partners and StarStrong Capital, on a new way for small businesses to more strategically and ethically finance prudent growth without running out of money. Her innovative approach enables business owners a safer revenue building to avoid risking themselves from vulture capitalists. She also explains the role of Sprint Calendar in your business. Looking for valuable information and strategies for small business owners seeking ethical and sustainable financing solutions? Then, this episode is for you!
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Rache Brand Interview - Safer Revenue Building For Small Businesses
At Last -- An Ethical Way To Finance Growth Without Putting Your Business At Risk
Welcome back. In this episode, we get to talk to our new friend, an all-around amazing lady, Rache Brand. Rache believes in a better world and that we can do it better together. I have a whole bunch of things I would love to say about her, but you would rather hear it from the lady herself. Rache, would you mind introducing yourself?
Thanks, Jason and David, for having me. This is so exciting. First, I loved being able to have a conversation with Blue Sky. We're very aligned in terms of how we like to work with businesses. I'll dig in. My background is in food. I started as the drive-through girl at McDonald's when I was fourteen. From that moment forward, I fell in love with the process of the food system. It's such a huge part of our lives. One-third of greenhouse gases are attributable to something related to the food industry.
It's also a third of our day if we think about grocery shopping, planning, eating three square meals, and feeding our families. It's a big part of what I still do, but I also work in entrepreneurship and the credit markets. I switched over to finance halfway through my career. I still work in the food industry as part of that, but now, I am excited to say that I'm fully diversified in my portfolio. I joined a small lending group in Connecticut in 2022 post-pandemic. We are in the process of building out a fully diversified portfolio and raising funds too. I'm here. I'm very excited to chat with you both.
I love your vision of melding food and business together to improve the communities in the ecosystem. We will talk a little bit more about your vision in a moment. With me as always is my co-host, friend, and partner in crime, Dr. David Gruder, Blue Sky's Business Lifecycle, Exit Planning, and Post-Acquisition Psychologist. David, would you kick this conversation off for us?
I would be delighted to do that. As we were talking briefly before starting this episode, what I saw is that you have an overarching vision that leads you into what you're focusing on in terms of food and the financing mechanisms that you've got. I would love to start with the big picture. Say a bit about the next wave of brands that you're supporting and why you're supporting that next wave. Say a little bit about the wave and why that's important to you to support it.
In terms of the next wave overall, one of the things that I've identified as I've worked with brands is that most of the time, especially when you come into a smaller business, you're just getting started, you're a founder, and you have an idea, it's because of passion, but that doesn't necessarily mean that you're rooted in business. One of the things I love to do is think about the human condition as we set out on a path together. I love connecting dots and figuring out who works with whom and who would be a better fit to potentially support this group. I am a connector.
My greatest skillset is looking over the entire ecosystem and being able to figure out who should work with who and how they can best support each other. Part of why I ended up in a fully diversified portfolio is that I believe that we all need to see what other groups are doing. It's impossible to be in your industry and keep your head down. You need to look up and see all the things around you. That's what I'm building with my new business. It's called Superstruct.
Superstruct makes a lot of sense as a brand name based on what you were saying. You tell me if I'm tracking this right. It seems to me that your vision is there's so much more that businesses can do to be profitable while nourishing, protecting, and caring for our quality of life and offering new and improved opportunities for the betterment of human beings. Bringing that higher vision into a business is something very central to my values, and I know it's important to Jason's as well. How did you come to that vision in the first place? What sparked that for you after having started at McDonald's of all places?
It's interesting. I was a kid with lots of food allergies. I had weird food allergies like citric acid, and nobody knew I was breaking out in a rash every time I had orange juice. You start living your life, and everything is a part of that journey. It doesn't matter which direction you end up going. Somehow those little life experiences snowball effects into the person you become. When I was fourteen, I realized when I started at McDonald's that what I loved about it was the process. I also loved that we had this mass market. If we could incrementally move the needle a little bit, we would have the opportunity to make a big change. I took that model throughout my life and everything that I was doing.
I'll test out my theory on you and your audience and see what they think, but my higher belief is my North Star. We created Krispy Kreme donuts, Type 2 diabetes, and Big Pharma to solve the solutions that Type 2 diabetes created. The reason why all of those things exist is because we had to have some capitalistic monetary exchange between each industry. My greater belief is that we can have that same dopamine effect from Krispy Kreme donuts without having all the effects of the other items. We can have a wellness society as opposed to an illness society by helping to transition people into wanting to be well and not having to fix something after they have had that dopamine lift.
I don't know what the product is, and that's where I've been searching. I've been spending a lot of time working and talking to interesting entrepreneurs around the world. I do not have the answer now. My goal in life is to break down the walls between food and healthcare and find a fit that everyone still makes money with but ultimately benefits the person in the center because that's the most important part. The world will survive us. There is no question in my mind that we are going to be the ones who will be endangered species at some point if we can't figure out a way to be well. That's my life's purpose. It's my North Star. It's what I wake up every morning trying to figure out. I am on this path. If anyone wants to connect with me, I'm down to discuss.
I love this about you. I get so excited every time we talk because I too was a young restaurant employee, and I spent a lot of time in the space. I'm very passionate about food and production. We both would agree that the concept that ketchup is considered a vegetable in schools is unconscionable. I love the fact that you're out there doing something about it.
Thanks. I don't know if I'm doing much yet, but I will tell you that it is amazing when you can see that very small incremental shift. I was at the Food and Brand Lab at Cornell with Dr. Brian Wansink and his team. It was simple shifts that he was making using language and also removing the barriers that we don't consider like putting white milk in front of chocolate milk or calling them superpower of peas instead of regular sweet peas.
It makes a difference in the way that people think about products, even those little shifts of having that white milk in front of the chocolate milk and the amount of change that you saw overall. It's incredible what we could do in such a short period if we paid attention. Some of it is laziness. The other side of it is that there's so much resistance to change. We have a long way to go, but it's possible.
You're part of a larger movement that in some circles is referred to as conscious capitalism. One of my bylines at least in the business world is, "Making integrity profitable." What you're talking about is that there are very simple boots-on-the-ground interventions or changes that can be made, and you gave a couple of examples of them, that can alter the consciousness of the consumer, not in a manipulative way, but in a way that brings them back to their fundamental human nature because what you're referring to is the 1950s version of the American Dream that was installed after World War II.
Make integrity profitable.
It was installed for some very interesting reasons, and I don't want to get into those. It led to a redefinition of the pursuit of happiness as excessive consumption. To make that version of happiness happen, the business world felt like it had to create demand for products that people didn't necessarily need and things that would end up being harmful to us individually and collectively. What you're also referring to is what I refer to as the unholy alliance between the illness-producing industry and the symptom control industry, which is the portions of the food industry and the healthcare industry that are fundamentally corrupt.
Underline the word portions because not everyone in those industries is corrupt, but corruption is where you have people that are pushing illness-creating foods and other substances and environmental toxins, and then people in the healthcare industry who are inventing interventions that control the symptoms that those illness-creating foods produce so that people can remain on those illness-creating foods for the rest of their lives through symptom control. That is a perversion of the food industry and the healthcare industry. That unholy alliance between the corrupt sectors of both of those industries is part of what your North Star is about making changes with. Am I capturing that accurately?
I'm overwhelmed because you've captured it not only correctly, but I would push back and ask. Why is this not something that we can shift in a dramatic way by having the realization of this knowledge?
The reason it's hard to shift is because of the power of propaganda. I want to make sure we cover the other topics we want to cover. The encapsulated version is captured by a definition of a term that the Father of Modern Public Relations invented years ago. His name was Edward Bernays. The term he invented was manufactured consent. Manufactured consent is manipulating people into supporting products, services, causes, or candidates while thinking they're doing that out of their free will. What that creates is spells. People are under a spell. For a spell to work, one has to not know that they're under it because the moment someone starts to recognize they have been under a spell, the spell starts to break.
I would love to jump in. You hit on a very good point when you started talking about the dopamine effect. We're seeing the manipulation of that dopamine effect spreading beyond food and consumption things into social media, gaming, and all of these things. One of the things that also happened at this time when mass consumption was being indoctrinated into our culture was that those companies were becoming large and powerful and able to moat this abusive and unethical treatment of the consumer with legal protections, financial protections, and a government that has an unspoken agreement to not thoroughly enforce or actively enforce antitrust laws.
You've got these massive power centers that have huge protective moats around them. It's very hard to break those down when they're keeping the people happy. What I love about what you are doing is you're getting back down to the community and the personal level. I want to bring us back to talking to you. Tell us more about your organization and the way that you're providing financial means to small startups to give them a little bit of cushion and protection against the behemoths that can underprice them, undercut them, and compete them out of business.
Thank you for bringing that back. First of all, Dr. Gruder, I want to spend more time with you. This is very interesting to me. I'm fascinated by the overarching topic.
We will do it.
One thing that I noticed when I went to Expo West in 2023, and I've been in years past but this was the largest, is 60,000 attendees and 3,000 businesses presented their products. As I looked around at these people who had limited knowledge of business and production or the food industry, and they were setting out on their life's path, it was almost like looking at a sea of graveyards in front of me. I'll tell you why.
In 2016, I joined the venture capital movement in California. What I saw was a gross expansion of excess capital in a market that could not sustain it. It makes a lot of sense when you're looking at 30-times-plus returns that you're going to see businesses grow and succeed when there is limited overhead and an opportunity to produce a product that is going to be scalable without a high COGS and low margin.
When you start to look at some of the businesses that we're getting invested in between 2016 and now, those businesses are food companies that probably have a long lead time to market. They're new and novel ingredients in some cases that are getting tremendous investment, and the market is simply not ready for it. That was my thesis when I couldn't finish closing the round that I had during COVID.
We moved back East to Connecticut. I was broken from the experience of being in California with a little kid during the pandemic. I started looking around, and what I realized is that Connecticut is a closed system. I decided to join Connecticut Innovations' nonprofit arm. It's called CTNext. They provide a nonprofit support system to entrepreneurs who want to join. There's a whole host of other issues associated with that. Connecticut Innovations has a $300 million venture capital fund for the state of Connecticut. They invest in businesses cross-sector, mostly businesses that were going to have a presence in Connecticut.
When I joined this nonprofit arm, what I realized is these businesses weren't being supported with the tools that they needed to be set up for success. That led me into lending. The credit markets are an interesting place to be for small businesses. Most businesses think, "We need to do an Angel round. We need to raise a Series A. We need to move on to X, Y, and Z." I would say, "You have one hour in a day. Do you want to focus on selling your product for revenue? Do you want to focus on selling your business to give it away? You've got two options."
As a small business in this economic climate, it's my job as somebody who wants to support entrepreneurs who are starting for the first time to educate them about their options. Debt is a scary term. This is an entirely different system and market that's out there. It's also not that accessible to small to medium-sized businesses. Typically, you can't walk into a bank and get a line of credit for your business unless you have cashflow. That is true for us as well, especially in this market.
I can recognize why it hasn't been used as a tool the way it should be, but at the end of the day, if you're going to set up a business and get started, the first and easiest way to get started is not selling your vision to then ultimately sell your business equity and be diluted. It's to sell your product, earn enough revenue, and then be able to get yourself into the next step, which would be some version of credit.
In my case, we start with businesses that are about $5 million in top-line revenue. We will do lower. We provide them with a very different style of lending. You might tell me that you need $2 million. What we're going to say is, "What are your milestones? Let's work backward from there." We help them build forward from that lens.
It's so similar to the way that we have been talking to business owners. We do support capital raises, but one of the first things that every single one of our advisors will tell a business owner is, "We want to protect your equity." We're going to look at all the options and see if you need to sell and what's the bare minimum you need to sell so that you can always protect your equity.
It's great that there are more people out there who 1) Are willing to help business owners protect that equity and 2) Give them other financial options because banks are hard for young businesses. Even the SBA has some impossible hurdles for a small startup to climb. Hats off to you for taking your vision and using it to promote this young privately-held business ecosystem. That's great.
I love where this is going. For the benefit of our audiences, I would like you to say a little bit more about what sets your approach to credit financing and debt financing apart from the bad reputation that venture capitalists have in certain sectors because of certain venture capital groups, not all of them. They're referred to as vulture capitalists. Your model is not that. Say a little bit about what makes your approach to debt financing or credit financing ethical and helpful to companies rather than putting them at risk of being taken over.
First, it's an industry-specific thing. To clarify my point, a SaaS company is a great example of a business that should remain in the venture capital space. If you're starting to get runway and you think that you can go to capital credit advisors, that's great. You should, but in most cases, you can stay in the realm of venture because you're going to see those big ten-times-plus returns.
The businesses that we work with are in the 2 to 5-times return place. What we started noticing a couple of years ago is that businesses were being unwound from venture capital firms. 1 in 10 businesses would succeed. They needed to close the fund. What you had to do is extract those other nine companies and figure out what to do with them. Those are great ideas. They're viable businesses. They're family businesses in some cases that don't want to see their product produced.
The best thing for us to do is recap them and figure out a way to make them survive. The way that we approach this business community is we lead with empathy. Empathy is one of our core tenets and values. We always say, "If you could cry, we would probably give you more money." You have come to us and recognize that you can't do it all. You are a lone ranger. You have limited resources. You need friends in the space. You want people to support you and surround you.
While we don't have all the ideas, we have a huge and extensive network of people that we can try to help you with. We ask the companies that we're lending to be super open, honest, and transparent. We work backward from their goals and milestones that they intend to meet and then figure out together a payment schedule that makes sense for them.
It is a math game. Ultimately, you have to be able to have enough revenue to be able to pay back the debt that you're taking, but we can help show you a way to get there. One of the things that we're doing that is very unique with Superstruct is that Superstruct is the consulting arm of Star Strong Capital, which is our capital provider. As part of that, we will do an overall business assessment of where you are or a health check of the business.
We can underwrite you for the cost of whatever it takes to help fix some of the problems that you are working through as a direct line to some of our advisors who work in that area. That's a unique model to most other businesses that are in this realm. We have a great network of advisors. We figure out a way to make sure that you can get where you're going and ultimately be able to open up the door to additional capital by that growth.
This is so integral to what you're doing. First off, you're looking at the finance industry and saying, "Everybody says that financing these low-yield young companies can't happen. You can't make money doing that. This is a recipe for everybody to be disappointed. That's not true. You have to be smart about it." First, I want to get you to talk about how your credit and equity facilities foster success in such a low-margin and high-risk environment.
Part of the secret sauce that you have is having this Supertstruct component because it's not just handing them money and saying, "Good luck." It's handing them money and help. I would love to hear more about both of those because this is in many ways revolutionary. The world, especially the finance community, has to understand that there are recipes to make these things work, and you're doing it.
We are doing well. The default level in 2023 is higher than we would like it to be, but instead of letting the companies default, we figure out ways to work with them and maintain their asset class. We maintain their assets within their purview so that we're not having to take over their business. We did take over one business. In my opinion, it was not the right move. We're trying to figure out something else to do with it. Sometimes businesses are going to fail, and that's fine. It's like a marriage. You have to keep working at it.
Sometimes businesses will fail, and that's fine. It's just like a marriage. You just have to keep working at it.
First of all, from an actual percentage, we are around a 9% monthly return. We're at 14.5% IRR, which I feel pretty good about. That number is increasing because we are in a position where capital markets are challenging and high. We can charge more for our capital. We do try to not cannibalize the business in the process. It becomes this math toggle, whether it's at the beginning or the end that we're getting a success fee or figuring out the right place to insert the brokers. We're competing against people who are charging an MCA price. If you look at these MCAs who are in the market, we're charging anywhere from 25& to 35%. They're starting to hit more of an equity-based position.
When you typically think of debt, you're looking at around a 15% interest rate. When you think of equity, you should be looking at the 30% to 35% interest rate. Even though it is going to be based on the amount of money that's returned, you are also taking a risk and a liability on your company. You should be thinking about that return value. You're also giving away a percentage of your business, but in addition to that, you are paying more ultimately to get that free cash at the beginning. It's something to think about as a business going into it.
You should be thinking about that return value. You're also giving away a percentage of your business, but in addition to that, you are paying more ultimately to get that free cash at the beginning.
To answer your question, it is not always with strings attached. Thirty percent of our portfolio needs help. The other 90% are doing quite well and handling everything in stride on their own very well. We have a series of businesses that do need not just hand-holding but structural change. That's where we start to take a much deeper look at those businesses and bring in new CEOs or help to support them in a more structured way. That was the first answer to your question.
The second answer is as we go forward, the way that we think that we're going to build this is by developing what I would call more of an ecosystem where we have one central thesis, one leadership, one distribution channel, and one logistics and amplification department that all sits within the same wheelhouse. We add to that an arm of brands that all can use those shared services. I looked at the landscape of 3,000 companies at the Expo, and I was like, "Two-thirds of these companies aren't going to be here next year." What would be great is to figure out a new place to put them.
There are a number of businesses working as I do in credit and recapitalizing in an equity fashion but with an idea called orphan funding. One of the ways that we think we can do it is by saying to the founder through an assessment, "What are your strengths? What are the things that make you get up in the morning? What are the things that you love to do? You have a product. You probably have enough earned revenue. We can take your product, put it into a common co-packer, and put you on a common brand platform, and then you can still do the things that you love to do and benefit from the overall ecosystem."
I don't think in all cases that founders get into this and think, "For the rest of my life, I'm going to be doing this." Somehow they end up in it for a long time. A founder should have the ability to step back for a second, have an option, and say, "I love my brand. I did it. It's a baby. I want it to fly now. Is there an alternative for me to nook it into something else?" It's very similar to a private equity model except that in this case, they still run their business. They have debt to the overall ecosystem structure, but they are able to be removed from a position that they may or may not be great at.
I love everything that you're saying. It's very aligned with Blue Sky's values and with Jason's and my personal values as well. This is exciting. Part of what you are doing is something that you've branded as a sprint calendar. Maybe you can say something about that. As you do that, I want to note for our audiences your last name. How did that happen? Your last name is Brand. You're doing all this wonderful branding stuff.
It's a little embarrassing, but I did not love my husband's last name, which was Uchtman. I'm not a huge fan. My maiden name was Baird, and he did not like my maiden name. My requirement is it had to be five letters and begin with a B. There are not that many names that begin with a B and are five letters. We ended up with Black or Brand as the options and did a thumb war to make the decision.
I love this story. I want to interject two quick anecdotes because last-name stories are so much fun. When I was in my young twenties, I was dating a girl. We were checking into a hotel. As we were checking in, the lady checking us in looked at the girl I was with, and she was like, "Are you married?" She says no. She says, "Do you realize that if you marry him, you're going to have to have that for a last name?"
That is so awful. What a terrible person.
It cracked me up. I have another acquaintance that had the same situation you did. Neither of them liked the other's last name. They renamed themselves McCool.
The good news is there's a story there. It becomes fun. That is hilarious.
You might not know this, but back in the 1950s and early '60s, there was a relatively famous folk singer whose last name was Brand. His name was Oscar Brand.
People ask me all the time if I'm connected in some way to Russell Brand, the comedian. I'm like, "He's British." He is dark-skinned in comparison to me. It's always funny when people ask me those kinds of questions. I love last-name stories. It's hilarious.
That's sweet. Tell us about this particular branding aspect of what you're doing called the sprint calendar.
This is something that came out of lots of discussions. I have this visual, which I'm happy to share. It looks like a stair that you're going up, but they're angled stair steps. It's angled in both directions. It's very slight. Let's call it a fifteen-degree angle of sorts where you're always in this motion forward. When you think about venture capital financing, typically the way that it works is they give you a huge tranche, you rocket ship and then peter down, they get you another huge tranche of capital, and you go back up because you're buying your business until you've hit that opportunity zone.
With debt, the opportunity is that because you're going to be in a situation where you're non-diluted in most cases, and also you have the opportunity to hit the point of breakeven on a regular basis, you should be thinking about that as you go into it. It is a stair. You are growing at a much steadier and slower rate, but we think about this in three-month periods with two six-week sprints. The first six-week sprint is an acceleration up the step. Immediately, following that acceleration at the six-week point, you stop the spending and rebuild to hit your point of breakeven.
One of the suggestions that I've made to the way that we handle lending is for anyone that goes through this model, the idea would be at the end of that breakeven point, we would have your interest and principal payment due at that point before you accelerate again. You get to have the benefit of the system working for you in a different manner. We have not yet tried that, but I'm excited to see what happens.
This idea of a sprint calendar is built into this overall 24 to 36-month payback calendar. You have milestones associated with each period. During each of those three-month milestone periods, we can look at what are you trying to accomplish within that. If you do a good enough job and hit that point of breakeven quicker, one idea is that we could discount your interest payments and have some reward as part of that.
We're starting to figure out models of how this might work and support the rest of the ecosystem as we grow. If everyone were to imagine even our lives and think about our spend calendar with our families, most of the time, we overspend, pull back, and hit that point of breakeven or even get into the cashflow positive space and then hit that threshold where we're accelerating. It's a very typical way of creating a spend report. We should all think about it as a way to build our businesses. It builds strength, which is exciting to me.
This is great. If you think about one of the reasons that standard capital and credit facilities fail businesses, it's because of straight-line amortization. You're giving them fiscal flexibility in their working capital with this model, but as the doctor will tell you, there's a lot of good science that says that 90 days is about as long as a team can maintain focus. With this 90-day calendar that you have, you're resetting the rudder every time and keeping them back into focus. On both the cashflow management side as well as the strategic focus side, this is great. I love that you're incorporating that into your credit model.
What I'll add to that is what you described is the first model for debt financing that I've ever run across that I consider to be ultimately ethical. It is a profoundly ethical model because it is responsible debting that is stair-stepped. With each step, you come back to breakeven so that you're not going into the next step carrying debt from the prior step that will threaten to pull you under as you take the next growth step.
Since we haven't seen this in action yet, one of the elements that we can work together on, which would be exciting with the support of Blue Sky, is what happens if you do hit that point of breakeven and you've not yet been able to get to breakeven. You're at the end of your three months, and you've not yet gotten to breakeven. What happens? Do you keep muscling through? Do you keep pushing? Do you have an extra reserve available that you could potentially use at that moment?
We know that things happen. There always has to be also that element of no surprises. COVID happened. No one was ready for it. Credit was available and supportive to a lot of businesses, but if you keep going for that period with no return on that capital, it's challenging for your business. We have to come up with measures that benefit the business at every stage. That's one that I have not thought through yet. I would love your thoughts.
That's something that we spend a lot of time on because what we do strategically is look at the exit back to the front as you do, but our exit is all predicated on risk ratings. We're always looking at the risk. What we do when we set off on our objectives and key results for our 90-day sprints is we do premortems on it. We say, "Assume this failed. What got in the way?" That gives us the ability to start thinking through where are the major risk elements and what are the things that could throw a monkey wrench in this and start to have proactive resolutions to the things we think are the most critically viable risk elements.
That's so interesting. There's something there that we can unpack together.
The other thing is if you know which KPIs are integral to your success factor, and you're watching those every single week, you can be proactive. You can know if you're starting to slip from where you need to be. The last thing you want to do is be at day 90 and realize you missed the mark. It's so much better to be at day 45 and say, "I'm missing the mark. We need to figure out how we gain momentum. We need to regroup now and figure out what's reasonable and viable."
I know that we can talk about this among the three of us for hours upon hours. Unless there are any other crucial statements or points that need to be made, we're at a point in the episode where it would be good to turn our attention to what the takeaways are from this episode. Are you both in agreement about pivoting over to that?
Let's start with you, Rache. In light of what we have covered in this episode, what are the takeaways that are most important to you for our audiences from this conversation?
I'm going to ignore my North Star, which is not typical for me because I have so many in there that are takeaways that will be distracting to the rest of this conversation. It was fascinating for me and I learned a lot. In this episode, the true takeaway for me is figuring out that pivot. That's something I haven't thought about yet. It's making sure that I manage my three-month window and ensuring at every stage your postmortems. I love that. You can figure out the pivot moments that you need to make at every single stage. For me, that's the biggest takeaway.
That's beautiful. How about you, Jason?
The thing that's getting me excited through this whole conversation is the concept that this community stewardship is not only possible but it's capitalistically viable, and the idea that you're bringing all of these small businesses together to form a community where all the boats can be lifted by the tide. I love the fact that you're out there making altruism in many ways and empathy commercially viable. Thank you for that.
This community stewardship is not only possible but capitalistic and viable.
That's beautifully said. The overarching takeaway for me is that this conversation is a reinforcement of something that Buckminster Fuller was very adamant about, which is that there are more than enough resources available for success to happen and for humanity to flourish. The takeaway for me from this episode is that scarcity is an illusion. There is an abundance of resources that if well tapped into and well selected first before tapping into them can ensure the flourishing of a business rather than the implosion of a business. That whole abundance thinking rather than scarcity fear is crucial in terms of mindset pivots, not only for society in general but for the business world in specific.
Three cheers for that.
That's a big one. I love that. I recall a tall order to fill now. I'm a little overwhelmed.
That's the way a goal ought to be. Goals should be audacious and scary. BHAGs or Big Hairy Audacious Goals. You've got that. Blessings to you for that. Bring it on. Bring it out because the world is thirsty for it.
You've got a community of friends and fans who want to help you on your road to success.
Blue Sky is going to be pivotal to that. I'm very excited about our partnership.
Are there any other final comments before I do our sign-off?
I have a million, but I'm going to follow up afterward about these spells.
On behalf of Rache Brand, Jason Tuzinkewich, and myself, we thank you for reading this marvelous episode, and we invite you to click on the subscribe button so you can be notified immediately when we release future episodes. We also look forward to reading your thoughts, questions, topic suggestions, and other requests. Lastly, we invite you to take advantage of Blue Sky's free surveys for gauging your business health more accurately. Each includes real-time feedback and recommendations. Go ahead and get started.
Thanks so much, Rache. This was a lot of fun.
Thank you. This is so awesome. I appreciate the time.
About Rache Brand
Rache Brand is fascinated with the human connection. Her work has always been about connecting dots and impressing the concept of community into the fabric of every business she works with. She has been a founder with an exit, worked as a researcher, shifted cultural barriers, and helped grow businesses – mostly in the food, technology, and climate-related industries. Today, her work is related to acceleration (growth) through capital and strategic relationships.
Brand started in the food industry at 14, working as the drive-thru girl at Mcdonald's. Fascinated by the process of food and production, she has remained installed in the industry for three decades. Working for the Wood Company in high school (purchased by Compass Group) and Hospitality Services International post-college, Brand spent over a decade as a consultant for Compass Group and International Paper. She overhauled Friendly's Ice Cream from bankruptcy and accelerated Chobani Yogurt's growth through strategic partnerships and foodservice. She went from space-making to brand-building to challenging how we think about consumption. Brand's time at Cornell University's Food & Brand Lab helped her see how the human condition is censored based on how we market. It is a power we have as brand builders.
Mrs. Brand has had her most recent stint in finance. From Venture Capital to Lending, she has navigated the waters, creatively trying to find the best angle. Lending seeks the 2x-5x return and creates a real-time return with capital deployment. It is not something sought in an exit but rather positioned for businesses with great ideas and non-traditional access to capital. It's for the genuine individual with real dreams that needs a real chance. Many food businesses are started and grown by folks that work with their back. Capital, in this instance, can be a natural accelerant that builds the brand, the team, and the vision and gets the growth to the other side.
When an investment landed in her lap in 2022 for a distressed meal kit company, she realized that the Family Meal was the real opportunity for change. Finding the unique balance of nutrient density, quality, taste, mouthfeel, conversation, and community creates absolute satiation. Sitting at the family table, making change through the lens of the family meal is the only way forward in making the food center of the plate of change. Instead of medicine on the other side, why not start with prevention?
Brand focuses on sourcing meaningful businesses that want to transform and need capital and strategic support. She is raising a $75M lending vehicle with real-time returns and a small equity fund for new and novel ideas.