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Had the opportunity to sit down with BPS Technology CEO Bravis Brown as we discussed a variety of topics, including leadership philosophies related to expertise, how licensing deals are structured, and how to roadmap a company for focused growth on a long-term objective. 

Shout out to episode sponsor R.D. Adair PLLC (https://adair.law).

#75: Leadership, licensing deals, and business growth with Bravis Brown

February 2, 2021 • 53:41

SPEAKERS
Aaron Spatz, Host, America’s Entrepreneur
Bravis Brown, CEO, BPS Technology

Aaron  00:05
You’re listening to America’s Entrepreneur, the podcast designed to educate, entertain, and inspire you in your personal and professional journey. I’m your host, Aaron Spatz. And on the podcast, I interview entrepreneurs, industry experts and other high-achievers that detailed their personal and professional journeys in business. My goal is to glean their experiences into actionable insights that you can apply to your own journey. If you’re new to the show, we’ve spoken with successful entrepreneurs, Grammy Award-winning artists, bestselling authors, chief executives, and other fascinating minds with unique experiences. We’ve covered topics such as how to achieve breakthrough in business, growing startups, effective leadership techniques, and much more. If you strive for continual self-improvement and enjoy fascinating and insightful conversation, hit the subscribe button. You’ll love it here at America’s Entrepreneur.

Without further ado, we’re going to introduce to the show, Bravis Brown. Bravis comes to us from a variety of background. Got a start in the United States Marine Corps. I have to throw that out there. It’s kind of mandatory. And then from there, he’s done a variety of different things within the business world, but most recently, as the CEO of BPS Technology. Bravis, I just want to welcome you. Thank you so much for being here this morning.

Bravis  01:26 
It’s my honor. Thank you for having me

Aaron  01:29
For sure. So I mean, the question I’ve been leading off with just because it’s purely entertaining. Most people I meet are not from DFW. So if you are from DFW man, you’re going to be one of eight people that I’ve met that’s from there. But without further ado, share with us where are you originally from?

Bravis  01:50
I’m originally from Oklahoma.

Aaron  01:52
There we go.

Bravis  01:53
Born and raised.

Aaron  01:54
Nice. What part?

Bravis  01:57
So a small town called Tahlequah, Oklahoma,. It’s nearly due east of Tulsa, about 55 miles or so.

Aaron  02:05
Okay. Nice. And so then share with us the story of how you eventually made your way down here.

Bravis  02:13
Absolutely. Well, as you said, we’ll start with working out of the military. I exited the military in 2005 and kind of maintain that motto of instead of have rifle, we’ll travel, you know, have resume, we’ll travel. I was looking for opportunities anywhere and everywhere that I thought I could jump in and make an impact. And long story short, I got an opportunity to put my foot in the door in 2007 here in North Texas and moved here.

Aaron  02:39
Wow. Okay. Well, I was looking at your background. So you’ve done a variety of different things. So I didn’t realize you’d been with BPS Technology for so long. But before that, almost the same amount of time, seven years, just on your LinkedIn here talks about Falcons Technologies and Services. So share with me a bit about what that experience was like for you.

Bravis  03:01
Certainly. Well, that was my opportunity that I mentioned to get my foot in the door. I came in and started with them in 2007 in a kind of an operation cost accounting role. They’re kind of a new startup business. They wanted somebody to come in and understand their processes, develop their processes, and then help them expand. They had started a business model. They’re starting to gain traction, maybe growing a little faster than anticipated, and they needed some processes, controls and structured growth. At the time, those individuals, the shareholders, et cetera, we began to grow a relationship and one of those became one of the founders here at BPS Technology.

Aaron  03:45
Oh, okay. Okay. Yeah. Well, and again, I’m looking at our history here. So, I mean, what was that first role for you like post-military? And then how were you able to then basically identify and really get an understanding of ways that you can make an impact in the business? Because it seems like you had a lot of opportunity within that organization and you just made the most of every opportunity you were given.

Bravis  04:17
Well, again, if I get my foot in the door, I knew I could showcase essentially what I believe to be a strong work ethic and apply that to either experience, opportunities that they would provide or take my education, my formal education and apply that. And I had the opportunity to do that in the finance and accounting side of that business. And then I had an operational opportunity to expand and kind of show the abilities there. And essentially what it allowed me to do was get engaged hands-on, find out what the operational needs were, assess them, improve them and expand them.

Had great leadership and support there at the organization and allowed us to grow rather rapidly. We ended up expanding into multiple states, the traditional oil and gas states, as you might imagine. So Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, North Dakota, Wyoming, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Ohio. So I did a lot of that expansion for that organization, stayed in many of those states. And essentially over time, as that developed, I progressed to the organization and saw an opportunity to take that experience and move to another startup opportunity with some of the original founders and start over again.

Aaron  05:34
Man, that’s crazy. That’s crazy. So what’s that been like launching a startup now? So one, for those of us that are not as familiar with BPS Technology, give us a quick overview of what that company does.

Bravis  05:47
Well, essentially, BPS Technology is an intellectual property holding company, whether that be chemical or mechanical, and we have both, and then we take those intellectual properties further to develop them. So patents, trademarks, as you might imagine. Identify markets and opportunities, whether that be energy base or whether that be agriculture-based. Bring in some specific infrastructure that has professional background in that segment, i.e. agriculture. And then those individuals help us build out the business case and then segment that industry. Once we have identified the industry and the segments, obviously, we look at products that are required, target customers, et cetera. And then we begin to develop and create those products and then start to introduce them through, I would say, a soft commercialization approach and then look for opportunities with licensing and other opportunities to further develop intellectual property with these companies.

Aaron  06:44
Well, I mean, it’s a great approach because if I’m able to keep up with you, having case studies is always, I mean, people always want to be able to see, what have you done? What impact has the product or service had? How has it impacting business? And so, I mean, when you’re able to demonstrate that, whether it’s in a lab setting or it’s a field setting, whatever the case may be, it gives people some data points. And so you’re getting my marketing brain spun up here, because then with that, you talked about market segmentation and your target audiences. And so, you’re addressing specific pain points, right? There’s very specific problems that you’re solving. So how did you go about identifying the problems that need to be solved? Were the products developed in response to a problem or were they simply something that, you know, “I think we can do this better than the competition”?

Bravis  07:45
Well, a little bit of both. The initial start was in the energy side of our business was “I think we can do this better.” And then better understanding our technology, what it could do and how it could do it, how it could be applied and becoming more of an expert on the application allowed us to see we could do things that would solve problems, whether that be from lack of utilization of fertilizer that’s been applied and the proper uptake of nitrogen and other nutrients or whether that be concerns around the crop and the overall yield and being able to address that. So we looked at how we could do that with this technology and we looked at, like I said, different segments inside of the ag space, whether that’s traditional row crop, whether that’s horticulture greenhouse environments. And then once those were identified, provided what we thought would be the products that would support those segments.

Aaron  08:42
Wow. Okay. So, I mean, what’s that journey been like then for you as a company going as a startup and then all the pre-revenue stuff and then revenue? What’s some of the dynamics of that experience?

Bravis  09:00
Well, I would consider myself more of a generalist and building a lot of that out from a general perspective of a high overview of what all those requirements would be, the processes, and maybe putting placeholders there at the time and then later being able to bring people that are experts in those segments. And so a lot of the initial was let’s just build the larger overview of this organization and we’ll worry about getting into the weeds when we have enough to substantiate that need. And then those individuals hopefully come on with their special set of skills and an open mind and realize, look, this was just a placeholder, I’m here now to drive it, own it, brand it. It’s mine. And a lot of what we’re doing, I believe, allows for people to have the ownership, empowerment, and then collaborate with us, kind of what were you wanting to accomplish? And then actually, it ends up becoming here’s what you should be trying to accomplish. And we get a little more direction than we had prior to them joining the team.

So the biggest portion was just identifying the areas in which you’re going to need additional support over time. How far can you take it without that support? And when’s the proper time to engage them? And hopefully, you don’t get those too far out of order. Branding and marketing might say, “You missed a couple of those.” And I would say that in the oil and gas, the energy space, we probably did. We got out in front of it in the ag space and we’re continuing to do so in some of the other industries that we’re looking at.

Aaron  10:26
Yeah. No, it’s cool. I mean, and there’s a whole another sidebar there too as you’re developing the brand. Because I mean, you guys have multiple brands and so there’s a lot of opportunity there to develop and to target, and really, I mean, I’m saying it in terms of advertising and running advertisements against target audiences of those brands and there’s a lot of things to be done. And that’s the problem. So, you know, very quick rant and then we’ll get back on topic.

Bravis  10:54
Great.

Aaron  10:54
What I’ve seen for some companies is there’s a bit of a difficulty sometimes when you might be a genius and have the solution to world hunger sitting in your hands and the problem is getting it out so people know that it’s there and word of mouth does a lot, right? I mean, especially in the service industry and professional service type businesses, like, “Hey, you know, that CPA is awesome” or “Hey, that consultant did a really good job” or whatever. That helps, right? But then there’s other products where it’s like, man, you know, how deep is your pocketbook, man, because getting that message out, I mean, it’s a big challenge. It’s a big challenge for companies, obviously, trying to be budget conscious. There’s not an unlimited supply of funding necessarily. And so being judicious in how you do that.

So backing up for a second and taking this slightly more macro. But tell me about your learning path, your growth journey as it relates to becoming a CEO. So if there are people that they’re in their career, maybe they are in the C-suite level or senior vice president type roles, what are some things that people can be doing in terms of preparing themselves for the eventual opportunity to be a CEO at some point?

Bravis  12:23
Well, for me, what I wanted to carry up into that role was that servant-minded approach. I’ve engaged with a lot of executive level individuals over time. Some of them keep in the back of their mind that you’re actually part of what is helping them propel the organization and others, not so much. And so I observed people that I felt carried that, that I wanted to emulate. And then I also reached out to different advisors over time that had had that previous experience or could give me some other individuals to reach out to that had that experience and look at how to bring that desire to put others first, serve, and develop a company around my faith-based principles. And one of the things that we decided to build that around was Proverbs 21:3.

And essentially, we boil that down to do what is right and just and then incorporate that into the mission, vision, values, and strategy. And that was the key thing for me was what is your message, what are you going to build the organization around, and how do you get that out into the company and then get them to support that? And a lot of that, to be honest, like I said, is the collaboration of the people that you bring on, asking them to help refine your message. This is what we’re trying to accomplish. This is the strategy of the organization. How do we keep that in the forefront? And then working with them over time?

So one of the things that I had experienced prior to being a CEO was being in an organization where I like it to, you know, essentially, if you watched – my age growing up, you know, Barry Sanders was one of the arguably one of the greatest running backs of all time.

Aaron  14:08
Beast.

Bravis  14:09
Yeah. And yet didn’t win the Super Bowl, yet had struggles with playoffs, right? Amazing player, an amazing individual. But without some of the supporting cast that he needed, he wasn’t ever to get to that pinnacle portion of his career or at least what a lot have targeted. So I’d been in an organization where I kind of felt like every time there was something came up, it was a handoff to me and I was just hungry to get into an organization where they’re not coming to me because there’s so many other talented players. And in this organization, like I said, the generalist is kind of how I started it, but then I bring in people that are key. And that allows us to grow much faster than me trying to be the bottleneck and be the driver and put my fingerprints on all of this. And as a result, I’ve learned more from the people that are brought on than what I learned or knew prior to coming into the organization.

Aaron  15:04
That’s awesome. Funny how that works, right?

Bravis  15:07
Absolutely.

Aaron  15:09
Yeah. Well, so one theme that I’m picking up on here is a large part of what you have done and what you are doing currently is this ability to just navigate people well. So people skill is absolutely vital. I mean, just hearing you talk and people that are just getting to know you right now can really understand, kind of see you’re a very relatable guy, super humble, really down to earth person. And so it causes people to want to see how they can help. So you’re kind of cultivating that environment there.

But one thing that you hit on, and I think it’s important people take note is you were reaching up to different people in your network – people maybe that you knew very well, maybe there’s other people that you didn’t know so well. Like you said, you’re trying to get some introductions to other people. And so you’re expanding your network, but you’re also going after a quality network. And then on top of that, then when you’re in the role and you’re having to go out and grab talent, it’s the same kind of skill, right? You got to know how to talk to people. You got to know how to motivate and inspire them and encourage them to get on board the vision. So what is that like and how difficult – I realize maybe a bit of a loaded question here, but how difficult is it when you are trying to assemble a team and you’re trying to get the highest quality, the best person for that specific role? What is that process like?

Bravis  16:41
Well, being the name of the show, this is a great opportunity to make a plug. I mean, location, location, location, and it’s one of the key things for us in bringing talent to our organization. So it’s hard to look at a startup and say, “Wow, if you come here, there’s all of these opportunities that you’ll never get anywhere else” when a lot of it’s yet to be developed and improved out, so to speak. So what we do have in offer is, “Hey, we live in DFW.” You know, there’s 7.5 million people in DFW. So the fourth largest population in the US. So it’s definitely a pro-business atmosphere. There’s a lot of opportunity for spouses to get employment if they wanted to relocate here and we’ve had to bring people in and relocate them.

But to be able, like you said, to get the talent, how do you find the talent and bring those people on? The area in which we sit, whether it be the community that surround it, United Way, Denton County, Make-A-Wish, I mean, there’s so many different organizations here that the families that are outside of Texas look at and say, “Man, there is an opportunity for my spouse as well as me.” And if this doesn’t work out, there’s these other great organizations. And you look at some of the largest employers we have here, whether that be Bank of America, American Airlines, Lockheed Martin, JP Morgan Chase, I mean, list goes on and on and on, Texas Health.

So it’s very beneficial for us to be in this location when we’re trying to get people out of state to relocate here. You look at Argyle ISD and what they bring as far as an educational support program for the children and communities. We started working with them with a greenhouse that we developed and it ties into our ag space. But the main reason for that was we moved in this area, we came to this area because we believe in all those different things and we believe all of those different things help us attract talent.

So to get the better talent, typically, you’re going to look at somebody who’s already employed that’s somewhere that you either want to be like or they have actions or activities that they already do that are exactly what you’re wanting to bring in, whether that’s an M&A guy with Syngenta or that’s someone that understands how to expand your marketing program that came from Accenture. So going to those locations, grabbing the people that have already proven it, and then coming here and say, “Hey, you may have been given a lot of guidance and direction over there, but now we’re going to reverse that role. Can you give me some guidance and direction and tell me what we need to do to improve our organization?” And giving to the right people and that ability to take ownership of kind of their destiny, we’re able to attract some really impressive talent, probably better than we deserve, and we’re just happy to have them.

Aaron  19:25
Oh, that’s cool. That’s cool. I mean, driving on the same idea here, and it’s another theme that I’m seeing with you is you’re reaching kind of up and outward in terms of identifying great talent. You realize just a baseline level of knowledge or ability isn’t going to cut it. To get some of the best people, you got to go out, you got to get in front of them, you got to develop relationships with people. But then kind of what you just shared, it was also presenting them what the opportunity looks like. And so people that are visionary, strategic, they want to see what the upside of the company could be, they’re going to understand, like, “Oh, my gosh, this is a great opportunity. Here’s where it is today. Here’s the CEO and the ownership team, what the vision is for the future. And wow, I think I can make an impact on that. Here’s how I think I can contribute.”

And so it’s fascinating. Again, I love to pick out the common themes in some of the things you’re saying. It’s powerful. And I think what happens – maybe speaking for myself at different times in my career – is kind of getting stuck within your peer group. And so, where did you learn that? Maybe you didn’t learn it, maybe it was just born into you or something. But what motivated you to continuously look around you to kind of challenge yourself? Were there people that were present in your life at the time that really poured a lot into you maybe when you were younger, or did you just have a desire to be like somebody that you’d looked up to?

Bravis  21:13
Well, I’d say it’s probably a combination of that. I wasn’t short of blessings growing up. I had a great parenting foundation from a mother and father. I started off – and not saying these things are required to have success, but it was my story and it was something that I’m proud of and I felt was core to some of the work ethics and desire for education that I grew up with. And in that process, obviously, faith-based education was important too growing up and becoming an individual that could create an impact back to the community, and community was the heart of it. How do you get back? Who do you help? Why are you doing this in the first place? And if you’re not doing it to help other people and help pull people up with you, then you may want to reassess what your real driver is.

So I would say upbringing was a big part of it, but then everything plays a critical role in your life, whether that be a short time, for me, that I did in the military, whether that be the great experiences I had while I was at UPS. But to take all of those things so that I got and then try to pull them together and make sure that I take the key things from those experiences that were important and apply them to what I’m focused on doing now.

And I look at your question and whether or not it was born developed, I mean, I think you always have to continue to strive and look for ways to improve yourself. And if at any point you feel like you can no longer be improved, then again, you might want to reevaluate that, but there’s always things to read, there’s people learn from, there’s things that you can improve. And no matter how well you may feel like you’re doing, there’s definitely somebody, if you give them the opportunity, can come in and tell you how you could do it better. So I appreciate the comment that you’re trying to place on me, but I will tell you that there’s a lot of growing to do and a lot of individuals to be had to help us get there.

Aaron  23:13
No doubt.

Bravis  23:13
But thanks.

Aaron  23:15
Yeah. No, no doubt. I mean, there’s this life journey, the career of the businesses, and all that boiled into the same thing, right? It’s continuous learning. You’re continuously striving to do better, setting goals and the process of achieving those goals. And so there’s a whole lot there. I mean, we could spend some time there, but what I love to do, though, is as soon as we get back from break, I like to understand a little bit more – and as much as you’re comfortable sharing, obviously, but the funding mechanism for the startups. So is it privately funded? Is it private equity? What’s the foundational element of the company? And then what has been the journey towards profitability? And again, we’ll go as deep as you feel comfortable talking about, but we’ll cover that here in just one second.

So we’re incredibly, incredibly grateful for some amazing sponsors, amazing companies, that we are able to partner with that helped make this show happen. And so today, I just want to give a huge shout out to our show sponsor, Ryan Adair, R.D. Adair PLLC Business Attorneys. They’re based in South Lake. Ryan and his team, they’re fantastic. If you are dealing with anything related to the business transaction all the way to business disputes and litigation, all the things, all the messy stuff, all the fun stuff, that can make business challenging but also incredibly, incredibly critical, I encourage you to reach out to Ryan and his team. Fantastic people. And I’d love for you to see what they can do for you in terms of being able to help in whatever your situation might happen to be. So R.D. Adair Law.

Bravis, there’s a variety of ways that startup companies are found, right? You got venture capital, private equity, private investors. There’s a multitude of ways that things can happen. And so what has been that story behind BPS Technology?

Bravis  25:23
Primarily, it’s been supported by private investors and funds that we’ve invested in. We have a core group of founders that have stayed engaged and believers in the technology. Again, the chemical and mechanical approaches, process that we’ve dealt, developed. And then they continue to obviously have a desire for that profitability as one of the last things you said. And so we’ve looked at, first, how can we further develop what’s needed to develop. So there’s funds required for that. Then how do we protect it? So you get into the legal matter, right? Patents, how to brand it, market it, trademarks. So as you think of all those things, you’re constantly thinking cash, cash, cash. And sometimes how do you go and get cash that’s self-supporting, and that desire that push to do so real rapidly sometimes put the technology or your business model at risk.

So our group wanted to have an approach of three to five years, essentially, we look at that timeframe like 2017 or so when we acquired some of the technology that we’re pushing now and continue to fund internally until we develop a lot of those protections that are needed. And so this year’s big push was patents as well as positioning, trademarks, branding. A huge part of, when I say this year, 2020’s focus. Continuing onto ‘21, we’ll do those same things. So your little breakaway commercial there. If you don’t have a legal team that you can go to and depend on, then you need to be looking at one. You might want to reach out to Adair, but they’re definitely a part of our business strategy model and our need and legal counsel.

So anyway, I guess the idea was build a foundation, understand what you have and start to take it to market. So we’re in that strong commercialization phase in 2020. We looked at direct product sales to prove out the commercial buyability. Like I said, we started a lot of that in the energy space then we went into the ag and now we’re going into a couple other segments to be announced over time.

Aaron  27:31
Nice.

Bravis  27:31
And we did that both with direct product sales, licensing opportunities, and we’re continuing to work on some license opportunities that we’re pretty excited about.

Aaron  27:40
Wow.

Bravis  27:40
We’ve got multiple MTAs that we’re engaged with on the ag space and we can get into that later. But this year, it looks relatively strong for some licensing opportunities that would really help us accelerate the overall growth. But for now, we accelerate at the rate we can with the internal funds that we have.

Aaron  27:58
Wow. Well, I mean, that’s fantastic. And thanks for laying it all out there. Because now that we got a lot of different things to talk about. For those that are kind of in this journey, I mean, you’re helping manage a bunch of resources that other people are entrusting you with. And so what are the dynamics of having to work with an investment team in terms of making sure that everyone’s aligned with the vision and direction of the company? Obviously, patience as it relates to profitability and revenue numbers. I’ll stop there and then I’ll let you jump in.

Bravis  28:43
Yeah. No, no, no. Patience is something to be managed. Honestly, it is the strategy, the mission, vision, values. A lot of people throw that out there, but it’s getting everybody aligned with those and ensuring that when they are aligned, that the way in which you’re going to execute them – the time, the costs, et cetera – are all clearly communicated. Again, people probably say this, but I don’t know if they all practice it, but transparency, transparency, transparency.

Aaron  29:14
How?

Bravis  29:15
Well, a lot of how is breaking down, like I said, what you’re going to do. And a lot of people hear the term source and use. Well, okay, identify the source of funds, how are you going to utilize those funds, get alignment on the use of those. And then as they’re completed, then bring that back. Here’s the execution and this is what it’s doing for the organization.

So again, really easy one to point at is, hey, this new year, they could think about 2019, going into 2020. This year, we need to transition a lot of what we’re doing in our energy from kind of what is the technology, how do we protect the technology. And so this year, again, thinking 2019 conversations for 2020, this coming year, we really need to be thinking about how we’re going to protect that. And one of the things we’re recommending is spending, let’s say, $200,000 on patent applications. Here’s the patent applications that we’re going to do and this is why. These 12 patents – I think is what we completed in ‘20 – are going to support these commercialization approaches in 2021. And we’d have to have those in place. And this is why we need to move at this particular rate because of timelines associated in those patents and how long they’re valid.

All of that messaging needs to come together. And then, like you said earlier, kind of point to how do we get to cash. Well, if you want us to get out and really push your product, really talk about the technology, we first have to protect it. And then we bring in the strategy around the marketing, the branding, positioning, and how do we launch that product. And then we get into the product launches. Where do we position it? Is that the right place to go for the right target audience? And all those things cost money. So how? That source and use is key. This is what we’re going to do and this is what we expect.

And so you talk about a lot of what we do is supported by business cases, you know, hey, we’re going to move in this particular direction with this particular product. Okay, great. Can you elaborate on that? Can you tell me how you’re going to offset those expenses and what are the timeframes and who exactly is going to buy that product? Sometimes that’s easy to answer and it goes back to one of your very first questions was, you know, really the way I heard it was a new market that doesn’t exist, disruptive, or innovative of an existing product or market and working on that. And if it’s an innovative kind of thing of an existing market, it’s a little easier to find. But if it’s disruptive, new product, new application, something that’s not been done before, it’s very hard to substantiate to spend.

Aaron  31:42
Yeah, right. You’re answering this so gracefully. And I don’t want to get you in hot water either. But no, it’s very well – the way you articulated that was great. I think it helps a lot of us just kind of understanding that process. Because a lot of products that you’re using, I mean, you mentioned just a minute ago, you’re going into licensing agreements. There’s a lot of things that you’re going to be doing where you’re exposing the product, right? There’s a high risk in terms of someone trying to steal that product from you. And so by going out and securing the intellectual property, there was some kind of thought process around which of our products do we need to protect with patents and which ones don’t necessarily need that? Was there ever that thought? Does everything that you’re doing have to be covered by some type of patent or is that not necessarily for everything?

Bravis  32:47
I wouldn’t say it’s necessarily for everything, especially if you’re looking at more of a me-too or a commodity type product approach. Some of what we do is going to be being able to create a bundle or a package. You may want to only sell this one innovative or disruptive product, but a lot of what you may hear is, “Well, we buy these four products in a package. Can you offer these others?” And then we go back and we look at, can we bring on those me-too or commodity products? And we don’t bother with patent or protection associated to those and very little on the branding and marketing side of it. But we do want to be able to have those, if that’s what’s being requested by the customer, to be able to have the opportunity to introduce what we would consider the innovative or disruptive product.

Aaron  33:29
Well, you mentioned it earlier, I just want to make sure that I understood you correctly. But did you say that that performing some roll-ups in this journey, has that been a pretty substantial part of the business strategy, going out and grabbing other companies that already kind of in the space?

Bravis  33:48
No, we haven’t done that at this point. It’s definitely something that we’ve looked at. Kind of the M&A approach, what would be some opportunities and how would we accelerate? Well, we were looking at, especially in 2020, was to stabilizing the technology so that we could really communicate what we have. And then that effort, I think and we believe, is what’s leading to a lot of the licensing opportunities. And at that point, our strategy is to engage those funds that we generate through licensing and expanding. And like you said, the role of grabbing some other technology and/or maybe businesses that are in that same space to help us to grow in that segment sooner rather than later. But to date, that hasn’t been really the approach.

Aaron  34:41
Okay. That was great. And then you’d mentioned MTA. So again, for those of us that don’t understand what even that means, walk me through that. What is that? What are some opportunities that are associated with that?

Bravis  34:56
So material transfer agreement, essentially, the governing contract or document under intellectual properties. Or not really even just that, but research done with products and what’s discovered and then who has ownership. And a lot of what we do, I mean, of all shows, you would know, look at the universities around us, whether that’s TCU, SMU, UNT, UT Dallas, I mean, on and on and on. So there’s a lot of opportunities for us to work with universities and major players. For example, crop protection. If you just look at the top seven, there’s some of the largest in the world. So you look at BASF, you look at Bayer, you look at Syngenta, Corteva, et cetera. If you’re going to work with those organizations, you need to have a clear understanding of who has ownership of the technology, what efforts they’re going to put into maybe understanding the technology, and at what point that would provide them ownership or an opportunity to have joint ownership in that technology. And for us, it’s a way to control our ownership in the technology and we had to be very careful with this particular technology.

Aaron  36:03
Sure. And then it plays right back into the licensing agreements. So for those that are curious about license – and it doesn’t have to be necessarily in the chemical space. I know that’s like your focus, but there may be other folks listening that are thinking about the application of a licensing agreement as it relates to maybe their products. So walk me through what’s the decision making process like when it comes to, “Hey, we want to try to license this out rather than be responsible for a hundred percent of everything.” What does that process like and how did you weigh that?

Bravis  36:43
Okay. So there’s a lot of those discussions that have taken place over time. And when you think about how diversified we want to be in the industry segments and the applications inside those industries, you would be talking about a tremendous amount of cash, liquid cash, available to go and develop all of those things. So it goes back to your previous question. If you could acquire an existing company that’s in that space, that would be one option to maybe reduce the timeline or the amount of energy costs, et cetera.

But the other is work with somebody who’s already got all those channels and all those networks, and then show them what the validity is of the technology. And then once that’s validated, and like I said earlier, there’s several ways of doing it. You’ve got to first do it in-house. And once you’ve done it in-house, you have to take it to your external labs. And once you take into your external labs, they want to take it to their labs and then a field trial or a greenhouse trial, or maybe both.

But all of those things are kind of required to get that buy-in. Then once you have that buy-in, you have a few more options. Can we create a product together, a joint developed product, that would utilize your channels? We’ll manufacture the key technology piece and then we’ll get a portion of this tremendous volume that would take us years and years to really create the infrastructure for. Or the slow approach. We want to take over the world and own everything. And we don’t have that deep pockets. Even though we’re grateful for the depth of our pockets, they’re not to that level. And so we wanted to look at those opportunities maybe at some point. But at this point, it’s working with key players in all these different industries and segments and then trying to see how we can help them benefit from the technology.

Aaron  38:27
No, it’s cool. Because what you’re doing through a license agreement is you’re taking a large amount of risk off the table. You’re taking a large amount of capital expenditure. I mean, it’s not like you don’t have to go and drop millions or billions of dollars in assets and distribution channels and all sorts of equipment and property. I mean, there’s a million things go into that.

And so what licensing afford you the ability to do is then to kind of jump into that existing supply chain essentially and piggybacking off the brand equity of whoever it is that you’re partnering with and the partner is receiving obviously value-add. Otherwise they wouldn’t be engaging you, right? So they understand like, “Oh, my gosh, this company is developing this product. Here’s some of the data, here are some the results of what they’re doing. This is complimentary or supplementary to what we’re already working on. Maybe this is better. Maybe this is a new opportunity for us as well. Heck, yeah.”

And then again, not getting too deep in the weeds, but then there’s a percentage or a fee or some type of compensation plan there in place. And like you said, you’ve got the volume now to really help propel the business. Now you’re specialized, legit specialized. Because now you’re like, “Hey, look at who we’re working with. We got this company” and there’s a whole bunch of stuff that goes into it. I know I’m over possibly overgeneralizing that, but it’s a great approach. And I think there’s a lot of other business types out there, not just chemical, but there’s a lot of other businesses where you got to do that cost benefit analysis or that, you know, how much pain can I tolerate or how deep are my pockets. So kind of like what you said, do I want to take the risk global domination strategy or do I want to partner with people?

Bravis  40:28
Yeah. Now there’s a couple of funny lines you could add there, but I’ll stick to one from a professor.

Aaron  40:34
Do it.

Bravis  40:36
Well, yeah, all right. When I hear people start talking about how do we basically do it all, okay, it sounds to me like the Pinky and Brain thing, where they’re walking in and what are we doing today? Same thing we do every day – to take over the world. Well, that’s admirable, but let’s be realistic. And so I ended up leaning more towards a finance professor that I had in undergraduate actually. And one of the things that she said that kind of stuck with me is obviously different meanings at the time, but it was “pigs prosper, hogs go to slaughter”.

And there’s a great opportunity to be very successful without trying to take every opportunity away from everyone else and providing opportunities to other companies and giving them an opportunity to see the value propositions that we create and then be rewarded by partnering with us is one of those ways that I feel we kind of stay focused on that approach, which is there’s enough for everybody here, let’s work together and see how we can benefit both organizations.

Aaron  41:37
Yeah. No, that’s a great visual, especially in the agricultural chemicals space between hogs and pigs. It’s something that’ll stick with me, for sure. To put it in a lot more generic terms, how I’ve heard it explained also – I mean, that’s a tremendous visual, but I’ve heard this more used in the realm of conversation when it comes to investing and in the opportunities there. So it’s the “do I want to use a big slice of a small pie or the entire pie or do I want a small slice of a large pie?”

And there was something that you said a minute ago too or a while back that you’re causing me to kind of remember this, which was the control aspect. And so there’s a lot of entrepreneurs that can never quite get out of the “I got to keep my arms around everything. I’ve got to understand and control every single thing about this company” and very reluctant to give up any kind of control to somebody.

So two questions. I mean, if there’s anything you’ve gotten from me in the last 40 minutes or so is I love to dig. But how do you run a company or how do you get yourself out of the mentality of not wanting to control and micromanage everything and then also looking outwards and trusting the people to do their job? And I know that’s probably not a very well-articulated question, but I’m trying to think of what happens in people’s brains that – because I’ve see this clear divide of people that are super controlling of everything and then there’s other people that are like, “Hey, man, I’m going to bring you in because you’re better at this than I am. And let’s get you going.” How does that work?

Bravis  43:40
Well, I’ll ask you a question here. What’s your philosophy on managing your personal finances, your investments? Do you do that?

Aaron  43:48
That’s a great question. Yeah. So no, you want to have somebody who’s experienced and kind of has an eye and a talent for that, right?

Bravis  44:00
So it’s your day-to-day, whatever it is you’re looking at. And if it’s not, who is it? And are they better at it than you? And I say that because undergraduate was in finance and accounting, financial planning. And for a while, I did a lot of my own investments and managed that. And then I realized I spend so much time on my day-to-day responsibilities that I don’t spend enough time keeping up with tax strategies and investment strategies. And there’s got to be somebody that does do that daily and there got to be much better than I am.

That’s the same philosophy that I’ve carried into the business. There’s segments of the business that I’m going to spend more of my time focused on and those things I may not let go of as easily, but there’s a lot of the day-to-day that could be somebody else’s focus. And going back what I said, if you’re going to bring in talent and then not empower them, not give them the ability to give you direction and kind of tell you what the focus of the organization should be in their segment, then why are you bringing in talent? Bring in somebody that’s going to take orders and direction and then you continue to run it. And the latter is not really my choice.

I feel that we brought in tremendous talent. I’d be ashamed if I didn’t allow them to impact the business. And that’s kind of the way I see it. I brought in people that are better than me and there’s several of them. If we talk about ag, some of the first experiments in ag started in 2017 until we realized we had something but we didn’t know anything about it. So we can pause and bring in the infrastructure that can really create some value or we can go and have meetings with great companies because maybe we have a good network and then we can fall flat on our face because we don’t understand what bricks is.

And still to this day, I’ll tell you some explained story, you know, some explained definitions, but there is so much in some of these industries that require a technical expert, that if you try to take it on yourself and learn all these different industries, you’re going to be very thin as far as your ability to address them all. And then that’s kind of the uniqueness and the problem at the same time with our technology. It’s so applicable to so many different industries. And as a result, you’ve got to drive the focus of the organization. So here’s the three industries that we’re going to look at and who’s going to be responsible for looking at those. And then of course, that’s where the talent comes in and the infrastructure to support it.

So for me, that’s been a challenge. It’s still a challenge. There are certain things that you allow yourself every once in a while just to drop into the weeds and you’re like, “I wouldn’t do that.” And then you second guess and then you’re like, “Just stop. Stop.” These guys spent a significant amount of time reviewing the data. And as a result, they brought back these recommendations. Now, if you have questions, by all means, ask them. If it’s not clear, ask for clarity. But to then go in and kind of like you said, I’d use your term, micromanage their approach, to me, if you do that, that’s kind of what determines what kind of people you need to hire. And we want to stay focused on high quality, talented individuals. And if I don’t feel like they could grow to do whatever segment I’m bringing them in, to do better than me, then what’s the point? And most of them come on being able to do it a lot better than me.

Aaron  47:28
Wow.

Bravis  47:28
So pretty ignorant for me to try to tell them how to do something I brought them on for, right?

Aaron  47:33
Sure, sure. No, that’s great. Yeah, it’s a great perspective. And one thing you hit on, and we’ll start to start to wrap up here, just being cognizant of time. The decision go into one market versus a different market. I think that can be in an Achilles heel for a lot of organizations. And I think you’re probably navigating that to some extent, too, is, you know, we’ve had a product that can do everything for almost everybody. It’s got an application in so many different verticals. And so what does that like having to kind of hone in on your focus? Do you feel like the focus aspect of that is been what’s helps strengthen the company? Or do you foresee an opportunity in the future where you think you’d expand wider, but right now you think, hey, let’s focus on a couple of these markets specifically because the research has shown us that this is the biggest opportunity? Is that kind of what the thought processes there?

Bravis  48:40
Well, you triggered a thought for me. So focus is key part of the organization, especially with this type of opportunity when it comes to technology. So we created a process called the CIP or chemical integration planning, and we identify opportunities for the technology with different  – what we call – active ingredients or chemistries that are out there. And we’re working feverishly to kind of understand which ones we work best with. And when we, so to speak, put that in a hopper and then that stays out there until we feel like we’ve executed the ones that we’re currently doing – the business development, marketing, product development are in place, executed and starting down the path of commercial liability. So we’re keeping it very focused. And we do that through what we call the business development process and the product development process. So on our product development, yes.

So in each one of those three things, they have a specific set of people with a specific focus driving on the already approved business in cases that have been submitted for those applications. The only group here that’s looking broader than the active business segments that we have is the research and development group. And like I said, they’re doing the CIP, the chemical integration process, looking through all the active chemistries and then getting us prepared for if and when the additional licensing, cash, et cetera, comes in. And from that point, those three processes really are what we utilize to create that kind of cookie cutter, you know, rinse and repeat. And it it’s very much the same process, just a different industry.

Aaron  50:21
Wow. Well, that’s nuts. Because I’ve seen folks, I’ve seen companies struggle with – I’m not saying you guys have it all. You’ve got an incredible process. I’m just thinking if I’m listening to this and I’m experiencing a little bit of this trouble in my organization of focusing on different industries, kind of using some of the things that you just mentioned is a very useful tool, useful process on how to help navigate or at least steer the ship towards the initial heading of what we’re going to do. And then maybe over time, expand, or maybe we change directions at some point. But anyway, maybe that’s a talk for another day. But how can people get in touch with you? How can they learn more about BPS Technology?

Bravis  51:10
Well, certainly, well, you can go to bps.technology. That’s our website that has our portfolio and the link there to each one of the companies that is inside of our holding company. As far as our location, we’re kind of right in the heart of Argylle. 407-377. We got a new facility that we moved into. Happy to have interested partners, players. Visit us, come by and look what we’d like to see as our kind of showcase set up. So we’re real proud of that, obviously.

Aaron  51:42
Oh, that’s awesome.

Bravis  51:45
There are so many different segments and more to come over time, that going directly to the bps.technology is probably the best way and then click on those that are of interest. And then you’ll get an additional information. You’ll see the drivers of those businesses and those will be the primary contacts.

Aaron  52:02
Fantastic. Well, Bravis, I just want to thank you. Thank you so much for spending some time with me. Thanks for fielding my onslaught of different questions. It’s been a lot of fun. I really, really enjoyed hearing a little bit more about your journey.

Bravis  52:17
Thank you. I appreciate the opportunity. You might imagine how prepped I was for talking about BNSF and Union Pacific and how the logistics work so well in this organization. But again, going back to what I originally said, this area and your show is greatly needed to put more focus on what this area provides back to these businesses and organizations. And one of the things I didn’t throw out there, but that I would also recommend, you know, like yourself, other businesses that are kind of tied into this area and more broad in the area that you might want to look into and understand how to get network more quickly would be the Metroport Chamber. They’ve got seven different communities that are involved and they’ve been beneficial to us and they can help you understand all the benefits of being in this community. And I thank you for putting the show on and shedding light on the DFW area.

Aaron  53:07
For sure. For sure. Appreciate, Bravis. Thanks so much.

Bravis  52:10
Yes, sir. Thank you.

Aaron  53:14
Thanks for listening to America’s Entrepreneur. If you enjoyed the show, please leave a review or comment on your preferred social media platform. Share it out with friends, family, coworkers, others in your network. And of course you can write me directly at aaron@boldmedia.us. That’s aaron@boldmedia.us. Until next time.