Crummer Alumna Pivots from Engineering to Entrepreneurship with BRITE Investments
Alexandra Kay `19MBA, Co-Founder and CEO of BRITE Investments, seeks to provide everyday investors access to opportunities previously only available to venture capitalists.
As a licensed engineer, Alexandra Kay didn’t have entrepreneurship on her mind when she entered the workforce fresh out of college as a construction engineer.
Highly proficient in her field, she quickly moved up, but realized she wanted to move away from the traditional 9-to-5 job route and have more flexibility in her life.
Entrepreneurial spirit runs in her family. Her parents are entrepreneurs and had a small business back in her home country of Russia. From an early age she saw what it was like to be your own boss.
At age 22, she founded a travel company after only two years of living in the United States. The business failed a couple of years later, but brought her a wealth of knowledge and experience.
This led to her starting her second business in 2013. Kay’s company was very small and targeted to just civil engineering professionals. Unfortunately, there would be struggles to get her business up and running. This was mostly due to a lack of funding to enable her to reach her very specialized target market.
Although her company had potential, searching for angel investors and private capital was very time consuming and didn’t produce any meaningful results. The regulation was not there, the funding platforms that could elevate her business preferred product-centric companies, and only a small percentage of investors participated. Ultimately, she was not able to secure an investment for her company as the maintainers behind these platforms felt that the idea did not align with what they wanted.
A BRITE Idea
Kay then decided to enroll in the Professional MBA at Crummer, where she would gain the necessary tools to help her pursue her next venture.
As she started getting more interested in the business side, she decided on the entrepreneur track. She graduated in May 2019 with the Crummer knowledge that would be the foundation for her next business, BRITE Investments.
Crummer helped her realize that previous problems could turn into successful businesses. Having had investment challenges with her own previous businesses, she quickly turned her attention to helping address the challenges faced by small business owners.
Raising money through institutional investors is not always a viable option for the small business owner, especially with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. There is not easy for a new business to take a loan, especially worrying about paying interest from day one on a loan that the owner will be locked into for at least two to three years.
Her new company, BRITE Investments, would help small businesses raise funds from both accredited and non-accredited investors from all over the globe. Until recently, an average small investor could not invest in private companies, and the business owners had to spend a lot of their time and resources on raising funds and reaching out to potential investors. However, the BRITE Investments approach would consider every entrepreneur and strive to be more fair.
Unlike the typical investor, BRITE Investments is an intermediary that would list a project and provide the platform for investors to start funding the company. Once the money is raised, the escrow disburses the funds directly to the company. The company is only charged a 5% commission if successful.
As the business continues to grow, there are always things that Kay wishes she could have changed during her journey. The licensing process has been tough, the financial rules and regulations are very strict and her legal counsel was not of great help as she ended up having to redo most of the paperwork herself.
However, after launching just a few months ago, she believes the future is bright for BRITE. Currently, BRITE has a small core team of five people, a few contractors and advisors. Alexandra is hoping to build a pipeline relationship to help as many entrepreneurs as possible. She enjoys working with unique projects involving travel, mobility, and the space industry that most investors might not give a chance.
Kay is hoping to bring awareness to the industry and that BRITE Investments is here and eager to help. The more people and investors hear about BRITE, the more access entrepreneurs will have to be able to fulfill their dream of starting a successful business.
“I believe that anyone can make their dreams come true if they work hard. And when you feel that everything goes wrong, never give up, learn from your mistakes and move on,” said Kay.
About the photo: Alex represented Crummer and BRITE Investments at a tabling event during her time as a student from 2018-2019.