About

New Clue #: 102 Yeah, the Internet hasn't solved all the world's problems.  That's why the Almighty hath given us asses: that we might getoff of them.
— New Clues

Thanks for visiting Lucky7.  From 2012 to 2015, I was dedicated to doing my part to teach Austin's entrepreneurs how to lead the way, creating a lot of jobs and economic ripples in the process. I measured that phase of my life based on impact, and this blog was initially a reflection of my dedication to Austin's success.  My goal was to get Lucky7 to be an "encyclopedic resource" of what I had learned in founding five companies (now six!, read on) and investing in and mentoring many others in the hopes that it helps you.  I've been a lifelong student of leadership and entrepreneurship since I began my career, and I will always be learning.

I recently started and launched my sixth company alongside three amazing co-founders (Bryon Jacob, Jon Loyens, and Matt Laessig).  It is named data.world - and I believe it is our biggest business idea to date (I wrote a post about why).  You can read about what we are up to in the Austin American-Statesman or Fast Company or watch the two-minute video.  I'm also particularly pleased with this Forbes interview, which was a precursor to us being named to the "Best for the World" 2017 list by B Lab.  Bazaarvoice spawned over 30 startups due to its success and, most importantly, the amazing people that worked there who were very entrepreneurial and mission oriented in their core nature.  We'll see how well data.world does (and it really is off to a great start), but one thing is for sure - the world needs what we are building and we are creating a lot of positive change.

The most important people in my life are my family.  I'm a proud father, a lucky husband, and we also have two dogs.

Below is my bio and you can also read about my entrepreneurial roots in my return to The Wharton School as an Entrepreneur-in-Residence post or my keynote to the entering 2015 MBA class at McCombs School of Business in the University of Texas at Austin post.  Oh, and if you are wondering why "Lucky7", you can read about that here - this blog is named after an incredible woman (my mother).

Brett is the CEO and Co-founder of data.world, which is building the most meaningful, collaborative, and abundant data resource in the world as a Public Benefit Corporation (Certified B Corporation®).  In 2017, data.world was honored on the “Best for the World” list by B Lab.  He is also a seed-stage investor at Hurt Family Investments (HFI) in partnership with his wife, Debra. HFI are involved in 53 startups and counting.  HFI has made 42 startup investments, 21 of which are Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) companies.  Brett has also joined the Advisory Board of eleven additional companies, nine of which are SaaS.  Out of the 53 startups HFI are involved in, 37 are headquartered in Austin and 28 are SaaS.  HFI are also investors in twelve venture funds - one with Next Coast Ventures, one with Capital Factory, one with Rothenberg Ventures, three in Silicon Valley that are very high profile and confidential (per their request), two with CAVU Venture Partners, and four with Lead Edge Capital - and these funds hold investments across many startups.  You can see a partial list of portfolio companies at Lucky7.io.  To support entrepreneurship through philanthropy, HFI are donors to various causes at the University of Texas at Austin and also The Wharton School's Entrepreneur Fund, which supports Wharton student entrepreneurs. HFI were one of the top donors to the Entrepreneurs Foundation of Central Texas, which supports communities through entrepreneurship, and the founding donors to establish the Bazaarvoice Foundation, which catalyzes the next generation of highly-educated, entrepreneurial youth.

Prior to his own family office alongside his wife, Brett co-founded Hurt+Harbach with Jeff Harbach.  But he ultimately decided that running a venture capital fund and raising money from other people was not his calling in life (read "listening to your soul" for more on that).  Brett also tried his hand at a big venture capital firm and worked at Austin Ventures from November of 2012 to August of 2013 but decided he enjoyed investing alongside his wife, with their own money, more than being a part of a large fund (Brett and Debra were active angel investors the entire time Brett was at Austin Ventures).  Prior to Austin Ventures, Brett co-founded Bazaarvoice (NASDAQ: BV) and served as CEO and President for seven and half years, leading the company from bootstrapped concept to almost 2,000 clients worldwide and through its successful IPO (named one of the top five IPOs of 2012 by the WSJ).  He subsequently guided the company through a successful follow-on offering, and two acquisitions, PowerReviews and Longboard Media.  Prior to Bazaarvoice, Brett founded Coremetrics and helped grow the company into a global, leading marketing analytics solution for the eCommerce industry before its acquisition by IBM.

Brett has been pioneering eCommerce innovations since 1998 and online communities since 1982.  He started programming at age 7. Brett was entrepreneur empowerment group RISE's Serial Entrepreneur of the year for 2012.  He was named by E&Y as Entrepreneur of the Year for Austin in 2009 and is a member of the Austin chapter of the international Young Presidents' Organization (YPO) Gold.  He was named CEO of the Year for large companies by the Austin Business Journal in 2012 and given the Best CEO Legacy Award by the same publication in 2017.

Brett holds an MBA in High-Tech Entrepreneurship from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and a BBA in Management Information Systems from the University of Texas at Austin.  He served three terms on the Board of Directors of Shop.org, the leading non-profit industry association for retailers online and a division of the National Retail Federation, the largest trade organization for retailers.  He also serves as an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at the Wharton School. Brett established the Bazaarvoice Foundation and is very active in the philanthropic arena.  He received the Austin Entrepreneurs Foundation's Community Leadership Award in 2012.  In 2013, Brett received the Joseph Wharton Award for Young Leadership.  In 2014, Brett and Debra received the LBJ Humanitarian Award for their dedication to public service, philanthropy, and the Austin community.  In 2015, Brett was awarded the Henry Crown Fellowship from The Aspen Institute and joined the XIX class, named "Dare, Greatly".

Brett serves as a Partner at Capital Factory, Mentor at Techstars Austin, and blogs at Lucky7.io to help mentor Austin's entrepreneurs.  Brett serves on the non-profit Boards of Data Coalition and Data Foundation, both of which are dedicated to advancing the open-data movement in government.  Brett recently served on the Board of Directors of the Entrepreneurs Foundation of Central Texas as well as Conscious Capitalism, both of which are non-profits designed to bring out the best in business in the way it can serve society at large.  Brett was the Herb Kelleher Center for Entrepreneurship - Entrepreneur-in-Residence at the McCombs School of Business in the University of Texas at Austin for the academic 2013-2014 year.  He can be followed on Twitter at @databrett.

If you are looking for a shorter bio to include in a website or presentation, please use this one:

Brett is the CEO and Co-founder of data.world, which is building the most meaningful, collaborative, and abundant data resource in the world as a Certified B Corporation®.  He is also a seed-stage investor at Hurt Family Investments (HFI) in partnership with his wife, Debra.  HFI are involved in 53 startups and 12 VC funds.  HFI has directly made 42 startup investments, and Brett has also joined the Advisory Board of 11 additional companies.  Prior to HFI, Brett founded Bazaarvoice (NASDAQ: BV) and served as CEO and President for 7½ years, leading the company from bootstrapped concept to almost 2,000 clients worldwide and through its successful IPO.  He subsequently guided the company through a successful follow-on offering and two acquisitions, PowerReviews and Longboard Media.  Prior to Bazaarvoice, Brett founded Coremetrics and helped grow the company into a global, leading marketing analytics solution for the eCommerce industry before its acquisition by IBM.

Brett holds an MBA in High-Tech Entrepreneurship from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and a BBA in Management Information Systems from the University of Texas at Austin.  He serves as an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at the Wharton School.  Brett previously served as an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at the McCombs School of Business and also served on the Board of Directors of Shop.org for six years.  Brett established the Bazaarvoice Foundation and is very active in the philanthropic arena.  He received the Austin Entrepreneurs Foundation’s Community Leadership Award in 2012.  Brett was entrepreneur empowerment group RISE’s Serial Entrepreneur of the year for 2012.  He was named by E&Y as Entrepreneur of the Year for Austin in 2009 and is a member of the Austin chapter of the international Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO) Gold.  Brett was named CEO of the Year for large companies by the Austin Business Journal in 2012 and received the Joseph Wharton Award for Young Leadership in 2013.  Brett and Debra received the LBJ Humanitarian Award in 2014 for their dedication to public service, philanthropy, and the Austin community.  Brett was awarded the Henry Crown Fellowship from The Aspen Institute and joined the 2015 XIX class, named "Dare, Greatly".  In 2017, Brett was given the Best CEO Legacy Award by the Austin Business Journal.

To help support Austin's entrepreneurs, Brett serves as a Partner at Capital Factory and Mentor at Techstars Austin; invests in early-stage companies, funds, and philanthropic endeavors with Hurt Family Investments; and blogs at Lucky7.io.  He serves on the non-profit Boards of Data Coalition and Data Foundation, both of which are dedicated to advancing the open-data movement in government.  He recently served on the Board of Directors of the Entrepreneurs Foundation of Central Texas as well as Conscious Capitalism, both of which are non-profits designed to bring out the best in business in the way it can serve society at large.  Brett can be followed on Twitter at @databrett.