Doing things differently: Portland startup Brave Care balances tradition and innovation… on a variety of fronts

It’s no secret that I’m a fan of Darius Monsef. And a lot of that is because I’ve been lucky to watch his efforts and growth over a dozen years or so. And with him now on the third Portland startup that he’s cofounded, I continue to be impressed with the maturity and perspective his significant startup experience — both within Portland and beyond — has wrought.

His latest effort is Brave Care, following on the success of previous efforts and exits at COLOURlovers/Creative Market and Sightbox. And while Brave Care is definitely a venture fundable effort — with Sesame Street among their investors, no less — Darius, his cofounders, and team are executing a careful balancing act between the worlds of “move fast and break things” and developing a reasonable, sustainable, and impactful business in Portland.

I hear you. What’s so interesting about building a sustainable business? Well, for me, it’s the influences at play. Especially in the world of venture funded startups. Influences that aren’t always healthy for founders or their businesses. It’s interesting because Brave Care is resisting the typical VC-fueled influences and sticking to their values. While still growing something meaningful.

I mean, they recently completed the latest cohort of Y Combinator (Darius’ second time through), arguably the most prestigious and VC fueled accelerator in the world. And yet they skipped the YC Demo Day.

That was because they’d already secured a second round of funding. But they didn’t make a big deal of it. Because they’re more concerned with building an unrivaled company culture.

Second, they’re building a consumer facing tech powered startup with a big vision, here in Portland. Which comes with its own unique challenges. But that doesn’t seem to be stopping the team. Or even slowing them down.

And perhaps the most challenging of balancing acts, they’re pushing innovation in healthcare which — and I speak from painful experience — is a Sisyphean effort to say the least. But they’re also working intentionally to retool an existing clinic for the better. For staff. For parents. And most importantly for kids.

They’re not breaking things. They’re fixing things.

So yes, they raised an impressive round of funding. And yes, Darius is among the few two-time YC alums, anywhere in the world. But to me, it’s the stuff outside of the echo chamber of startups that seems far more interesting. And impactful.

I can’t wait to see where this goes.

For more information, visit Brave Care.

[Full disclosure: Brave Care is a PIE alum and I am an advisor to the company.]


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