Victor Brown, the founder/CEO of Xcellent Life, is a seasoned leader with extensive experience within both large global and start-up companies that deploy enterprise class software and sensor-based applications. Victor has driven business success as a leader and as a hands-on practitioner of best-practice approaches.
Victor started his career with Schneider Electric ($35B company operating in 120 different countries) as an engineer and after 5 years transitioned into a marketing role. More recently, Victor has served in various VP roles where he's driven business growth at both Tendril Networks & GridEdge Networks.
Over the course of his career, Victor has spoken at both national and international events where he delivered thought leadership and market insights on developing technology trends and the implications of those trends.
In this interview, Victor shares a bit of the story behind his company, what makes it unique and how they go about funding/raising capital for Xcellent Life. Enjoy!
So, Victor what’s your favorite part of being an entrepreneur and why?My favorite part of being an entrepreneur is the ability to get 100% out of everything I put into getting something accomplished. It's a real feeling of empowerment.
I believe that when a person is passionate about something that there is nothing more rewarding than seeing how their efforts directly contribute to progress. That said, I don’t know of any other role that could personally offer me such an invigorating feeling of empowerment.
How did you get started? Was there an ‘aha moment’?My transition to becoming an entrepreneur was literally a 20-year process. I have always had an entrepreneurial mindset, but I allowed myself to be held hostage by the expectations of “normal”.
Essentially, I started my career with a great company called Schneider Electric, where I spent 11 years developing expertise in the energy space, I then transitioned to working for a number of start-ups in the energy space taking on greater and greater responsibility.
As I was growing in my professional career, my dad’s health was starting to decline mostly due to type II diabetes. I became more involved in helping my dad by learning about type II diabetes. As I learned more about that condition, inherently, I was also learning about other preventable illnesses as well.
I became very alarmed at how much suffering as a society we endure due to these illnesses considering the approach to healthcare, which was completely backwards to my training in the energy space. In the energy space, we manage what we call critical assets in a proactive way, but in healthcare, where we have the most critical assets, we're always reactive.
Given that understanding, coupled with the emotions of watching my dad deal with declining health, I decided to act and founded Xcellent Life as a healthcare technology company dedicated to protecting wellness in a proactive way.
My aha moment as an entrepreneur, was when I realized I'd never been poorer in my life, but never in my life felt more empowered. I knew at that point, I found my purpose.
How did Xcellent Life get off the ground? Did you bootstrap it?I consider Xcellent Life to be in the first-phase of launch, so while we might be off the ground so to speak, we're not yet among the stars. That said, our goals make Xcellent Life a moonshot project, where we're extraordinarily comfortable and confident in our goals.
We believe that as we continue to progress in the face of barriers that the right partners will join with us in achieving something great. We've been bootstrapped for 2 years now, but I'm actively looking to raise seed capital to help accelerate our growth.
What roadblocks did Xcellent Life face initially and how did you overcome them?The biggest roadblock to date has been trying to open the doors of partners that can contribute to our growth. This has been difficult because we're early-stage which most potential partners view as higher risk. In addition to that perceived higher risk, our ambitious goals usually lead potential partners down the road of believing lower probability of success. This reality makes it very difficult to solicit the support of partners in the early stages.
The way Xcellent Life has progressed past this reality is a change in mindset, so that my focus is squarely on doing everything that I can do and that we can do to move forward toward our vision and not look to seek the assistance in the same way. Now, I progress and provide updates to targeted partners.
As we move forward, our persistence, tenacity, and ability to execute provides more leverage to bring those desired partners to the table. Those partners generally recognize the underlying attitudes and company attributes that lend to success, in particular in the absence of having plentiful resources or capital. In short, control what you can and move forward with an unnatural tenacity and don’t worry about not getting the help you think you need. Just worry about what you can control and everything else works itself out.
What’s been your most epic moment so far as an entrepreneur?My most epic moment so far was seeing my 401K transform into a mobile app and software platform. When I see our product, I can appreciate the functionality and get excited about what's to come, but the more moving emotion is driven by the knowledge of everything I know that went into getting to that point.
I know most people will see the product just like most people see the tip of the iceberg. It's impossible for me to see the product without feeling everything that went into the product similar to the massive amount of ice underneath the iceberg that's not visible. Therefore, seeing our product come to life is epic for me.
What makes Xcellent Life unique and how did you find your niche?Xcellent Life is unique because we're setting out on a path that isn't just ambitious but transformational to the healthcare industry. Our envisioned solution for Real-time Human Diagnostics (RtHD)™ would offer up something that doesn't currently exist.
Yes, there are others working towards this goal, but by the mere vision of our company being so ambitious, we essentially are part of a very exclusive niche.
This is a big one, how do you balance your personal/professional time?I still find this to be challenging but work very hard to improve in this area. My biggest challenge is being able to turn my brain's business channel off and switch to the family channel.
In essence, sometimes when with family I think about Xcellent Life too much. Today, I'm more conscious of that mistake and try to carve out a period in the day, where I block out every thought that's not related to loving my family. Additionally, I have found more time to get to the gym to work out, which has been a tremendous stress reliever.
Overall, I have come a long way in striking a better balance but still have strides to make.
What’s your greatest fear as a brand owner?My greatest fear is that the vibrant sound our instruments play will be drowned out by the noise of the market. In other words, I'm confident that we bring tremendous substance and value to the market but the need for capital makes it more difficult to hear and see that value in the midst of so many organizations supported by capital, which serves as a microphone for their business.
This fear in mind, I'm working very hard to help bring our own microphone to the table or without the metaphor, raise capital.
Can you explain how your personal mindset influences your life and business?My personal mindset permeates every facet of my life and business. I'm incredibly competitive, ambitious and driven. I am only happy, if I can look in the mirror and honestly tell myself that I have done everything within my power to be my best. Those attributes drive an inherent desire to be better tomorrow than what I am today in both my personal life and in business.
What are your top 3 bits of advice for starting a business in Tennessee?My three bits of advice for starting a business in Tennessee are likely very applicable to any state but I do feel they are incredibly important.
- Build relationships within your targeted industry and especially with key stakeholders.
- Do as much as you can with support from family or friends before looking for capital from other sources.
- Bring other people to the table that are passionate about your business-cause so that your business is empowered by multiple advocating voices.