LAMP Alumnus Brian Schwartz – From Aspiring Lawyer to Successful Entrepreneurial Investor
Thursday, March 3, 2022
LAMP Alumnus Brian Schwartz (B.A. ’06, Political Science, LAMP Certificate) credits LAMP with exposing him to business. He started out majoring in Political Science, with plans to become a lawyer.
“When I was in college, I was naïve enough to think that business [only] meant things like owning a McDonald’s franchise,” he explains. He did not know all that business could entail, until taking LAMP courses. Yes, operating a McDonald’s franchise certainly is a form of business – often a lucrative one, at that. Through LAMP, he was also able to learn about areas such as investment banking, consulting, venture capital, and private equity.
He mentions “These areas became pivotal to what I do today as my world touches on all four of them. Needless to say, I quickly learned I did not want to be a lawyer!”
Schwartz instead spent many years in marketing leadership roles for organizations including Expedia Group and DreamWorks Animation. From there, he says “I turned my focus to advising, board work, meeting entrepreneurs. I also met with startups for investment opportunities, networked and helped companies and funds with their marketing, fundraising and investment strategies as I figured out what was ‘next’ with my life.”
This independent research led Schwartz to identify a “white space opportunity”—a hole in the market, where customers’ needs were not being met. He ultimately realized that growth-stage founders needed help scaling their businesses, which has now led him to be the Co-Founder of both SIZE and SIZE Capital.
Schwartz describes SIZE as a “full-service advisory group that works with growth-stage companies on everything from strategy, digital transformation and revenue acceleration to marketing, finance, culture, and more.”
“We advise consumer and enterprise technology companies that are backed by leading private equity and venture capital funds.” Some of these companies include Extend, quip, Omaze, Grove Collaborative, Pattern, RepairSmith, Quantum Metric, Rachio, Signifyd, and more. He notes that the role of SIZE Capital is to invest in promising SIZE companies. Schwartz is also currently on three boards, an advisor to more than 10 companies including Gopuff, and a scout investor for the VC fund Canaan Partners.
Schwartz first offers this advice to current LAMP students: “On the entrepreneurial front, the best time to start a company is out of college. You have the least amount of risk possible as you will only accumulate more risk (making real money, getting married, having a kid) as you get older. You’ll also probably learn more about business trying to start a company than you ever will getting an MBA.”
He adds, “The real world really breaks down into three things: being helpful to others, being humble, and who you know. As you progress in your early 20s, it’s all about learning as much as you can, being self-aware to know what you don’t know, and being humble.”
“With all this said, the most important thing in life is who you know. Don’t be the student that [only] submits 100s of resumes for jobs. Rather, reach out to alumni, learn about them and most importantly, build genuine relationships that will last you a lifetime. Start this while you’re still in school.” Schwartz adds, “Learn as much as you can in your 20s, start applying those learnings in your 30s, dominate in your 40s (or 30s if you’re super ambitious!).”
Schwartz also mentions how important the LAMP community was to him during his time at IU. During his Junior Year, a fellow LAMPer, Ashley Crouse, was killed in a car accident. He says that “While it was an awful and tragic situation, my favorite memory was seeing how much she impacted everyone’s life and the LAMP community coming out strong to make her memory a blessing.”
Thank you, Brian, for sharing your LAMP experience and career path with us! We always love hearing from our graduates and friends. We invite all LAMP alumni to fill out our “Stay in Touch” form on the LAMP website.
Feature compiled by LAMP intern Mary Kate Ausbrook; edited by LAMP Staff Laresa Lund.