By: Eric Elliot
The Robert G. Hisaoka Speaker Series continues with a Young Founders Panel on Tuesday, February 13 from 5:00-6:45 p.m. Panelists Ali von Paris ’12, Evan Lutz ’14 and Brandon and Bradley Deyo are all successful entrepreneurs who started their businesses as students. In a panel moderated by Robert Hisaoka, students, staff, faculty and alumni will hear about the experiences and challenges each founder faced while turning their dorm room startups into lucrative businesses.
Mars Reel – Brandon and Bradley Deyo
Mars Reel started eight years ago in February, 2010, when Brandon and Bradley Deyo were sophomores playing basketball at Richard Montgomery High School. They dreamed of being recruited by a college basketball program and landing a scholarship; however, they were just like everybody else. Teammates and other high school athletes were also vying for the same limited media attention. In an attempt to get noticed by recruiters, Brandon and Bradley began recording highlights of their games and sent them to recruiters. Word quickly began to spread about the brothers who brought cameras to every game, and soon, friends, teammates, and players from other teams began asking for help. The brothers served as contractual cameramen and taught themselves how to edit videos. Mars Reel quickly became a small production studio for high school basketball athletes looking to get noticed, and the highlight clips on Mars Reel grew exponentially. Within a year, Brandon and Bradley Deyo received the 2011 Ernst & Young “Youth Entrepreneur” of the Year Award.
With Mars Reel enjoying success, Brandon and Bradley’s focus shifted from playing basketball in college to making the most of this opportunity. The brothers took a leave of absence from UMD in 2013 and turned their attention to Mars Reel full time. They knew it would be difficult for them to scale their operations themselves as it took time to travel to games, edit videos and secure additional business. To rectify this problem, the Deyos began hiring freelance contractors who knew the best local basketball scenes to shoot videos of the best players they could find. With these local freelancers, Mars Reel continued to grow and secure popular footage of talented young players. In 2016, Mars Reel joined 500 Startups Batch 16, a seed fund and accelerator founded by Google and PayPal alums, in San Francisco and relocated their headquarters to Los Angeles.
Today, Mars Reel reaches around 25 million millennial views a month and has drawn more than $2,500,000 in funding from investors such as CustomInk CEO Mark Katz, LeBron James and Rev Software founder Jerry Hall. With their focus on short highlight clips, Mars Reel looks to capture additional millennial viewership from sites such as ESPN, and Brandon and Bradley are looking forward to the future.