CEO and Co-founder, data.world
Brett is the CEO and Co-founder of data.world, which is building the most meaningful, collaborative, and abundant data resource in the world. He is also a seed-stage investor at Hurt Family Investments (HFI) in partnership with his wife, Debra. HFI are involved in 45 startups and counting. HFI has made 35 startup investments, 18 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 45 startups HFI are involved in, 32 are headquartered in Austin and 25 are SaaS. HFI are also investors in eleven 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), one 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 (one of the top five IPOs of 2012 according to 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). He was named CEO of the Year for large companies by the Austin Business Journal in 2012.
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. He serves as the Chairman of the Board at Edgecase (formerly named Compare Metrics), a very exciting early-stage company based in Austin. Brett serves 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. He 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. Brett can be followed on Twitter at @databrett.