Cool New Companies

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DSC_0024When you are out and about a lot you get to meet a lot of amazing people and some really cool companies. I’m blessed to be doing what I’m doing. Periodically I’ll review some of the companies and the people I am meeting and eventually I’ll create a directory of companies that are making money by doing good. In this post I would like to take a few moments to highlight three different initiatives that I was introduced to just this week. Two of them are companies (Benefunder & Intently) and the third is a young ex-F18 fighter pilot who is doing some amazing work.

The first company, Benefunder, I heard about over a month ago but just held a meeting with them this week. The company was started by a wealth manager who’s family had a nephew who was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. The family wanted to donate money to one of the best researchers in the world working to combat that disease. When they asked how they could donate money directly to the researcher he said you can’t. The family was told not to donate to the university because the researcher would never see the money. They were told to donate the money to the Cancer Society because that is where this researcher got all of his grant money. That seemed crazy to the family.

So, Christian Braemer and a team of professionals got to work. How do you set up a company with a for-profit and a non-profit arm that can help people donate money directly to the researcher of their choice and get reports regularly on their progress? Well, Benefunder now has 700 of the top researchers under contract and has developed a business model that can get money directly to the researchers. In addition, Benefunder now has access to the technology developed by these researchers that can be commercialized. This is a company designed to use business and capitalism as a vehicle for change!

The second company, Intently, is a new company focused on disrupting the online advertising industry. Micha Mikailian is the founder of Intently and the company started by helping people replace all the ads they see online with positive messages, motivational information and things they want to see. In the end, Intently is looking to give the user the ability to customize their advertising experience. He wants to help people see only the ads that pertain to them with a personal filtering system. I believe that Micha is on to something that will allow us to avoid the bombardment of unwanted information online.

Finally, there is Luke Shaffer. Over the past week I’ve met two difference US Marine F-18 pilots and have another friend that I met last year that is the same. Each of these individuals has amazing skill and discipline and they are all leaving the military to pursue their entrepreneurial vision. I believe that the military could be an amazing source of opportunity for Success Redefined. As for Luke, he is a young, 35 year old, who was part of 5 deployments and recently exited the marines. He was a star athlete in high school and college, playing D1 football and lacrosse. He is motivated beyond motivated, but the magic is his approach to the world. Luke was a philosophy major in college and he looks at the world through a very unique lens, one not typical of an F-18 pilot or anyone else for that matter.

Before this school year started Luke was hired by Torre Pines High School to deliver a 3 day boot-camp for their varsity football team. Luke brought in a few of his bad-ass marine buddies and put the kids through a killer 3 days, but that wasn’t the amazing part. The real amazing part was the concept behind the training, the focus on brotherhood and standing by your teammates. But more importantly, the concept of love, yes love. How many football teams learn about love in a 3 day fitness program? I’ve said it many times, in the end we all want love and we all want to be part of something greater than ourselves. Luke embodies this concept and I look forward to working with him moving forward.

So, this is my first report from the field and I look forward to many more in the future.

To a life well lived!



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