Linking Ideas and Capital
August 1, 2008
Some people spend their lives trying to “find themselves.” Then there’s the type who can tell you who they are without hesitation—like Brock Blake. “Five things describe me,” says the 25-year-old CEO of FundingUniverse, “Church and family, which tie for first, business, sports and travel.” And he seems to find passion and time for them all—fitting for a man with a superhero-like name.
FundingUniverse is an American Fork-based company that connects entrepreneurs with financing sources across the U.S. “We prepare the entrepreneur to connect with investors and lenders,” Blake says. The company offers video and audio pitches, sample business plans, a 13-lesson boot camp, online “webinars” and other tools its users need to woo angel investors. More than 800 investors are registered with FundingUniverse.com, and it’s also a hub for dozens of other funding sites.
“We started this out of BYU,” Blake says, where he majored in Entrepreneurial Finance and loved a class called “Financing New Ventures.” But it was his participation in the program called Junto Partners that boosted Blake’s career and propelled him into Funding Universe. As he describes on his blog, “It was three years ago…I decided to throw my hat in the ring to be selected as one of five entrepreneurs that would receive a $50,000 investment to start a company. The program lasted eight weeks; it was filled with Trump/Apprentice-like activities and the awesome experience of learning at the feet of venture capitalist and entrepreneur mastermind Greg Warnock….I ended up investing my $50,000 into FundingUniverse (which had started several months earlier) and was off and running.”
Balancing FundingUniverse and his love of business with his personal life is always on Blake’s mind. As a young husband and father of two, a prolific blogger, and an active member in his church, the executive has his plate full. While studying at BYU, Blake also played soccer and remains a huge soccer fan. He founded a camp for kids and is a regular at REAL games. When he finds time to travel, Lake Powell is the preferred destination, although he says, “Hawaii would give Lake Powell a run for its money.”
Blog entries as recent as November 2007 discuss the strain that being an entrepreneur puts on the family—financially and emotionally. In one entry, Blake says, “My wife sure loves me a lot. She must because she has invested a lot of money in me over the past couple of years….usually the spouse of the entrepreneur is the one that is making most of the sacrifices…. Despite it all, I love what I do. I wouldn’t trade it for the world… and I’m indeed grateful to my wife for her patience and encouragement…. and MONEY!” At blog’s end, Blake gives a word of advice: “Entrepreneurs: if you are planning to become an entrepreneur…make sure that you have a supportive spouse.”
The youngest of six children, Blake has been steered by some advice he received early on from his grandfather, Loy F. Blake. “‘Remember who you are! Knowing who you are changes what you do,’” he recalls. “This phrase means more to me than most will ever know. My grandpa is my hero for many reasons, but mostly because he understood who he was and the principles that he stood by.”