Entrepreneur, Explorer, Angel.

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11TH August 2017

Angel Investor - Creative problem Solving - Entrepreneur - Family Office - Platforms - Portfolio - The Way - Timeless - Uncategorized

Vaux Founder Profiles: Brandon DuFour of The Way

(Watertown, CT) Today I am talking with Brandon DuFour of The Way, fka Next Street, a tech platform for in-person learning driven by personal improvement and curiosity. He also invented the verb “decal-ing”… This is part of an ongoing series of rambling interviews loosely with Founders in the Vaux portfolio structured as five questions. Don’t miss Lilly B. from Fashion Snoops and Tom O’Reilly of Aptaris. Question #1; The Entrepreneur’s DNA Miles: So Brandon, I’m really interested in how you grew up as a kid in your formative years, and what DNA you had in your family or in your neighborhood that contributed to you wanting to be an entrepreneur. Brandon:  So it’s in my blood and in my DNA on both sides of my family. So on my father’s […]

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07TH August 2017

Angel Investor - AppTaris - Creative problem Solving - Family Office - Good Story - Leadership - Legends and tales - Portfolio - Timeless - Timely

Founder Profile #3 – Tom O’Reilly of Aptaris

(Tampa, FL) My sit-down with Lilly from Fashion Snoops was so much fun I decided to continue with more; it’s one of the most rewarding parts of my work because I believe the talent is in there, somewhere, and it’s just my job to ask questions that bring it to the surface. In the case of Tom O’Reilly, we have an epic story of a scrappy entrepreneur just figuring out how to literally rebuild an airplane while he was flying it. Literally, another story of “Hold my beer, I got this”. So how did it happen? Well, he stuck to the values he learned as a little boy; use the tools of the day to stay in close contact with your customers. Here are Tom’s 5 Questions Question #1; Where’s the DNA from? Miles: Tom, […]

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23TH June 2017

Creative problem Solving - Entrepreneur - Fashion Snoops - Timely - Uncategorized

Founder Profiles- Lilly B.- Fashion Snoops

As an angel/operator (new nomenclature, old practice) I (happily) spend a LOT of my time mentoring CEO’s in the Vaux portfolio; it is truly one of the most rewarding parts of my work. I often say the talent is in there, somewhere, and it’s just my job to ask questions that bring it to the surface. With Lilly Berelovich, the talent doesn’t hide much. I sat down with her recently to talk about the mega-trend in our industry, a/k/a “the retail apocalypse”. Because even as creative destruction wreaks havoc, it builds new leaders. Fashion Snoops is emerging as one of them. Here’s a great video of Lilly to explain all that, and here are my five questions for Lilly: Question #1: Is the educated consumer is now the scary-educated consumer? Miles: […]

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16TH June 2017

Explorer - Good Story - Sport - Timely - Uncategorized

Hold my beer, #2. Free Solo of El Cap.

Here is my second crack at writing about someone that inspired me, and maybe some others. They are moments so utterly manly I call them “Hold my Beer”. Alex Honnold climbed the route known as Freerider on El Capitan free solo. That’s no ropes, no partner. It involves a complex system of cracks and a notoriously hard section about two-thirds of the way up with holds the width of a pencil.  Guides say to allow four days to do the climb. Mr. Honnold did it under four hours. (See photographs of his ascent.) One more time: Guides say to allow four days to do the climb. Mr. Honnold did it under four hours. You talk about a state of FLOW, this guy had it. If one could possibly set aside the fear, the […]

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16TH May 2017

Creative problem Solving - Fashion Snoops - Timely - Uncategorized

Opportunity and the Retail Apocalypse

Alexa- I need to reorder my shirts. Make it so. No more chilling words could be spoken to an outdated- one might say outmoded- industry. It might as well be a eulogy to Fashion Avenue. Vaya con Dios, Garmentos. You had flair. There have been nine retail bankruptcies in 2017—as many as all of 2016. J.C. Penney, RadioShack, Macy’s, and Sears have each announced more than 100 store closures. Sports Authority has liquidated, and Payless has filed for bankruptcy. Last week, several apparel companies’ stocks hit new multi-year lows, including Lululemon, Urban Outfitters, and American Eagle, and Ralph Lauren announced that it is closing its flagship Polo store on Fifth Avenue, one of the several brands to abandon that iconic thoroughfare. From what I see, it happened in five subtle steps. Here […]

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09TH May 2017

Cuba - Geopolitical - Havana Culture - Incubator - Innovadores - Innovadores Foundation - Uncategorized - Venture Capital - Vision

Innovadores and Family Office Association White Paper on Investing in Cuba

I’m proud to say that, two short years after Family Office Association put us together, John, Jono and I produced this sweeping historical overview and going-forward plan for investing in Cuba, which we called “Ready Set Go: Cuba!” . Anyone headed to Havana to discover business opportunities should read it. Those are Innovadores Interns Raynel Gonzalez (GCT Intern Class 2016) and Gabriel Garcia (GCT Intern Class 2015) on the cover. Enjoy the read, and hope to see you in Havana soon! Download the report here.      

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09TH May 2017

Cuba - Culture - Fashion Snoops - Geopolitical - Grand Central Tech - Havana Culture - Incubator - Innovadores - Innovadores Foundation - Interns - Timely - Uncategorized

Three Big Indicators Cuba will Ignite soon… (and that’s a good thing)

I’ve just returned from hosting another delegation of entrepreneurs and investors in Havana, and this trip was particularly enlightening. On previous trips, I’ve lamented the fact that things seemed to move slowly, while one of my co-founders John often reminds me “this is fassssst”. In any event, we’ve held a view that Cuba is 2-5 years from kicking in to growth mode, and one of those years has passed. We also hold the view that once it begins, it will be too late to catch some of the big opportunities as it will move very fast. (The Innovadores/ Family Office Association White Paper has more on the actual opportunities themselves.) So, what indicators does one look for? At an embassy briefing, I heard the first time about Control and Change. Cuba […]

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30TH April 2017

Family and Friends - Legends and tales - Parenting - Timeless - Uncategorized

Oh Father, my Father… this is your success.

I looked through some family pictures on my Birthday, and this one made me think of what my father has given me. He’s given me something more permanent than good hair, and more powerful than money. He’s given me values and meaning, though it took me years to discover that. And when I did, I was drawn to the story of what his father gave him. And the father before him, and the father before him, all the way back as far as Spencer legend will go. This is quite far when you are a Spencer, and you don’t let too many facts ruin a good story, which is the what is about to happen here… It is was actually deSpenser to start, which means the steward or butler in French. […]

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