Millennials borrowing $500 from their fathers isn't unheard of. From an estranged parent? A little more unusual. Taking the $500, starting a business, and in four years creating a public company with a market cap of $624 million on the morning -- today -- of an announced acquisition? That is what you call out of the norm. But it doesn't have to be.
You can see lots of stories about companies targeting or giving up on millennials, or on whether millennials really are hard to manage. Maybe millennials really are different from older crowds. But could that really mean better?
In the case of 23-year-old Brandon Evertz, the speed of his success might bring back comparisons to the start of such famous American entrepreneurs as Steve Jobs, Michael Dell, or Bill Gates. But rather than dropping out of college as all three did, Evertz never attended.
Reading was tough because of dyslexia. During school, Brandon relied on video tutorials, so he knew how practically important the medium could be. At 17, he reconnected with Richard Evertz, his estranged father, who had an entrepreneurial background in finance, property, and telecommunications. Richard began teaching and mentoring his son.
When Brandon was 19, he knew that the traditional college route wasn't for him and decided, instead, to start a business. With a $500 loan from his father, he set out to build a social media platform for video reviews.
If you know anything about the traffic and programming dynamics of YouTube, you'll recognize that review videos are popular. Big Review TV, the current culmination of Brandon's idea, includes professionally produced reviews of businesses like hotels, bars, and restaurants, and also incorporates consumer-generated videos as well. (The parent corporate is Big Un Ltd -- read that as Big Unlimited.)
"There was a light bulb moment when I was reading a review on a text review site," Brandon said. "I'm like, 'There's got to be a site where you can go to and see professional videos of businesses instead of having to look at pictures.' And there was nothing in the market that resembled that model at all."
It wasn't easy going. Brandon and Richard started the business in a camper van. But the idea was attractive and the company eventually received AU $1.7 million ($1.3 million) in funding four years ago. That's been it, unlike the constant money needs of so many Silicon Valley startups.
Things have taken off, with the company going public in 2014. Today came the announcement of the acquisition of Tipsly, a hospitality industry app and platform, for AU$4.2 million (roughly $3.2 million). Big Un expects the move will add a minimum of $12 million in ad revenue.
"I'm completely in awe of what Brandon's done and what we've all done," said Richard Evertz, who is CEO of Big Un Ltd. According to Google Finance, Big Un currently has a $624 million market cap.
"When we started in the beginning, [my father] really helped to teach me that you can do anything if you want to," Brandon said. "What you set your mind to, you can achieve. Anything's possible."