Brian Fox, Vice President of Strategic Partnerships, Thomson Reuters; President and Founder, Confirmation; Venture Partner, Caduceus Capital Partners
You have earned great success as a Fintech entrepreneur. Tell me how your career has led to investing, and what made you want to get involved with Caduceus Capital Partners in particular?
I always appreciated the people who invested in Confirmation.com and the other entrepreneurs who provided counsel and advice during my entrepreneurial adventure. I want to give back by investing my time and resources to the next generation of great entrepreneurs who are working hard to make a positive change in the world.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
“Never give up!” – Germain Boer, who was my entrepreneurship professor at Vanderbilt business school. He was also one of my investors.
What have you learned from your mentors over the years and how has it helped you to achieve success in your endeavors?
My business partner Chris Schellhorn has been my mentor and friend for the entire 20-year adventure. I could and probably should write a book on his advice and mentorship. One of the things I learned through the life of Confirmation.com was how the role of the Founder changes and grows as the company matures. It is a lot like the different stages in the life of raising a child and watching them grow. Early on you do everything for them, then you proactively provide guidance and direction but allow them to make some of their own decisions and then later you are there as a sounding board to provide your thoughts when they come to you with things they are struggling with.
For those who are interested in becoming entrepreneurs, what are the three most important things they should consider before launching a company?
- Is there a real problem you are trying to solve?
- Do the customers care about solving the problem and place a priority on doing so?
- Will they pay you to help them solve the problem?
When you are not working, what are your favorite things to do in Nashville?
Anything adventurous and outdoors. Hike Percy Warner Park, go camping, spend time at our farm, train for my next challenge. Right now, my son, brother-in-law, one of my best friends and I are training for a Half-Ironman.
What is your favorite local cause or nonprofit to support and how did you get involved?
Corner-to-Corner. Will and Tiffany Acuff have an incredible mission to positively impact our community through supporting and encouraging entrepreneurship in a Christ-like manner. Will has an amazing energy and passion for helping budding entrepreneurs find their passion and C2C gives them the tools they need to be successful. It is an incredible organization that is creating value and bringing it out in others.
Tell me something about yourself that isn’t on your resume.
I take each of my kids to climb Kilimanjaro when they turn 15.
What is your favorite restaurant in Nashville?
Loveless Cafe. I’ve been going there from when I was in a highchair and recall so many family meals and get-togethers with friends over my life.
What books made a difference in your business thinking?
- Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
- Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time by Jeff Sutherland
- Rise and Grind by Daymond John
- The Second Mountain by David Brooks
If someone is looking to invest in a venture capital fund, what advice would you give them?
Talk to the Founders and CEOs that they have invested in. Learn about their experience with the partners in the fund and get their recommendation on the type of people they are and if they’d do business with them again. Businesses they are looking to invest in will be doing that and that will determine a lot of the deal flow opportunities for that fund.