Brian Paes-Braga is a Vancouver-based serial entrepreneur, investor and philanthropist with a background in the finance and natural resource sectors. Currently, Brian serves as a Partner and Managing Director at Fiore Group, a merchant bank which builds, invests, finances and advises firms in the natural resource, technology, food and beverage and entertainment sectors. He also serves as Principal, Head of Merchant Banking at Stream Asset Financial.
In 2015, Brian Paes-Braga formed Lithium X Energy Corp., a lithium resource company that helped pave the way for small-cap natural resource speculators to gain exposure to electric vehicles during the consumer electric battery boom. In just two and a half years, Brian and his team successfully raised approximately $53 million before he sold Lithium X to an international company for $265 million in March 2018.
Q: You successfully established, grew and sold your own company, Lithium X Energy Corp., raising approximately $53 million before selling it to NextView New Energy Lion Hong Kong Limited for $265 million. Can you tell us a little more about that experience?
Brian Paes-Braga: As a stock broker and then an investment banker, I helped resource companies raise money for various projects. It was this experience that in part guided me to venture out on my own, and lithium had the right supply/demand outlook for getting into business. I saw Lithium X as a way to fill a need in the resource market and I wanted the company to pave the way for small-cap natural resource speculators to gain exposure to electric vehicles during the consumer electric battery boom.
Q: What were some of the challenges you faced in leading your first company?
Brian Paes-Braga: As with any entrepreneur getting their start in business, it is extremely easy to get discouraged when something doesn’t go as planned, and that’s where self-doubt creeps in. I think it is how you overcome self-doubt that sets you apart from failure. Having a good support system will help: friends and business contacts who know your goals and support your ideas, as well as a mentor who can objectively contend to the direction of your business.
Q: You started your career as a stock broker at the age of 20 before transitioning to merchant banking and capital lending. As Managing Director at Fiore Group, explain the opportunities you look for in a potential deal, and also, what or who influenced you to become a leader?
Brian Paes-Braga: In our business we put capital to work. With that said, I am looking at the traits of the person or team behind the deal. I want to see someone with talent, vision and confidence, and also someone who has a winning attitude. Then, I look for how we are going to execute on that idea.
As for who influenced me in my early career — it was and still is my business mentor, Frank Giustra. Frank is a renowned Vancouver mining financier at Fiore Group who jumped in as the lead investor in Lithium X’s first round of financing.
Q: You co-founded Quiet Cove Foundation as a means to support charities and their visions for providing solutions to large scale social issues. Describe what you hope to achieve with the Foundation and also who will directly benefit from its work?
Brian Paes-Braga: My partner and I founded Quiet Cove Foundation as a way to find innovative solutions to large scale social issues. One of the organizations that is benefiting from the Foundation is The New Leaf Project, a non-profit that is piloting a socially innovative approach to homelessness. There is also the Backpack Buddies Program, which is dedicated to ending the weekend hunger gap faced by children who rely on school meal programs Monday-Friday in the Greater Vancouver area. We want to support as many non-profit organizations as we can.
Q: Although you are still in the early half of your career, have you given any thought as to what you want to be most known for when your career comes to a close?
Brian Paes-Braga: It’s my belief in life that everything comes down to hard work and resilience. When your hard work meets opportunity, your life shifts and true change is able to occur. I’m open about being someone who persevered despite the impending obstacles that were thrown in my course and who continued to work hard and diligently not just for myself, but more importantly, for the success of the people around him and for a better future for all.Activate Social Media: