It is never too late to be who you are meant to be, as Bryan Leach has proven by starting a business in his 30s and building it to one of the fastest-growing private companies in the United States. He had a career in law and had already made partner but still, it was not enough for Bryan; he knew he was destined for more. He founded Ibotta in 2011, and it now has more than 650 employees, and its users spend over $6 billion every year. Let's delve into a few facts about how Bryan became a successful entrepreneur.
1. How the idea of Ibotta was born
They say every day is a learning experience and for Bryan, traveling back from Rio where he had gone to attend an arbitration conference became the birthday of an idea that would change his life. He saw a woman use her smartphone to take pictures of receipts so she could be reimbursed. At that moment, Bryan wondered how much better it would be if a person would get rewarded with instant cashback for their expenditure, and thus Ibotta came to be.
2. Why he founded the company
We have always been enticed by the idea of shopping in malls where we can get everything in one place, but what if we did so virtually? Bryan Leach aimed at offering his clients a one-stop-shop where they could access retailers at a go to check if they are offering discounts. That was his primary goal. Now that the company is growing, according to PMBC Group, his objectives have also increased. Therefore with the introduction of Ibotta teams, customers get points faster if they can recommend the service to their friends.
3. Ibotta is his first company
They say you do not have to see the whole staircase; take the first step, and you will still get to the top somehow. That is precisely what Bryan did with Ibotta. He did not have any experience in running a company nor a clue about mobile technology or even how the reward system would be built. All he knew is that he had an idea, and it needed to be explored; thus, Ibotta became his first company.
4. He ran a business while in college
Ibotta maybe Bryan's first company to be widely known, but even when in school, he still was looking for ways to make some money. When in Harvard, he had a tour guide business in which he would use a tripod and sign to convince people to go on his tours. Although not 100% of the people he pitched to bought the idea, he would still get a few that were interested, and it was his pride to make some money on his own.
5. The person who pushed him to leave law and venture into business
Taking a leap of faith is better when you have the right people to motivate you towards making the right decision. When Bryan got the itch to start a business and leave his law practice, he was not sure if he was making the right decision until he met Larry Sonsini. Bryan was introduced to Larry through his wife's family, and at first, Larry urged him to be cautious of leaving his job. However, after Larry, who was once listed as Silicon Valley's most powerful man, heard the business idea, he told Bryan to make the leap and even helped him raise the seed capital.
6. How he met his wife
Love can be found in any place, and Bryan found the love of his life, Jennifer Gaudiani, in a theatrical production and immediately fell in love with her. The two have always had an affinity for theater, and their shared passion led them to contribute $3 million to construct the Leach Center for The Performing Arts. By donating a third of the projected $10 million cost, Bryan and Jen hoped that the center would inspire the young generation to fall in love with performing arts.
7. People with whom he would like to have a private breakfast or lunch
Iron sharpens iron; therefore, as an entrepreneur, Bryan hopes to one day have a private lunch with Elon Musk and pick his brain on how he decides the projects he undertakes. Bryan also has an acting past therefore one person who would shed some light in the creative process would be Lin –Manuel Miranda. Lin-Manuel has quite a resume with him being a playwright singer, actor, composer, producer among many other hats hence creativity is mandatory in his career. Finally, Bryan would have loved to sit with the former President Barack Obama and talk about anything since Bryan is wowed by all that Barack did.
8. What he wishes he knew before he started his company
Starting a company from scratch can have you wondering if you are in the right path, and for Bryan, he wishes he had been told that nothing lasts forever, regardless of how good or bad things are. Further, unless you are running a monopoly you will always have competition so Bryan learned with time that he should not fixate on your competitors; instead one should focus on the company and aim at bettering yourself. Additionally, he wished he had been told that the failure or success of his business would not determine his self-worth.
9. How he pitched to Jim Clark
Jim Clark led Ibotta in its Series B funding, and one of the most exciting stories that Bryan has to tell is how the two met. As he told Medium, when he pitched to Jim, he had no idea that he had just married and had newborns. Therefore Bryan tried convincing Jim that with Ibotta, he would never have to worry about getting diaper alerts since, at 60, Jim would not need them. Bryan stood there as he watched Jim and his colleague smile at each other unaware that he had just blown his chance. Despite his blunder, he managed to convince Jim again about being on board.
10. How the entrepreneurial bug bit him
When Bryan was young, his father owned a computer store that became a company named Harbinger. The firm grew to be worth $1.2 billion in 2000 after having gone public in the late 1990s. Bryan had the opportunity to work in the company in various capacities, and it is the success of his father's tech business that made him have an entrepreneurial mind even in college.
Written by Allen Lee
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