Diogo MyrrhaEarlier this semester, Jon Bradshaw of TinyTorch introduced me via email to Diogo Myrrha of Stoneway Capital. Diogo was kind enough to take time out of his busy schedule to sit down with me for breakfast this morning.

Diogo has always been an entrepreneur. Growing up in Brazil, he started turning a profit by selling goods he had acquired or imported at a price below Brazil’s market value. When given the opportunity to go to Brigham Young University, Diogo made the jump from Brazil to Provo, Utah. Initially studying business, Diogo switched his major to Economics and never looked back. While a student, he started volunteering as an executive secretary and met Warren Osborn. Warren quickly came to recognize Diogo’s work ethic and potential and invited him join a company he was just starting called BRAVEN. While still a student, Diogo became the 5th person to join the team at BRAVEN. The company experienced explosive growth and in a short time began talks with a potential buyer about acquisition. In a three month period just before Diogo’s graduation, he worked on 700 pages of documents and details that were critical to closing the deal with Incipio.

“If you want to be successful you have to segment the market.”

After parting ways with Braven and Incipio, Warren invited Diogo to continue working with him on new investments at Stoneway Capital. “Stoneway is a multi-disciplinary investment company, but we focus on consumer products. Warren has had success with many companies. Our most recent focus was on Luvaire, a company producing aromatherapy oil diffusers. With Luvaire we realized that the market was full of cheap oil diffusers. We believe if you want to be successful you have to segment the market, so we decided to pursue an underserved market and introduce a premium diffuser. People are willing to pay a premium for high end products. Look at Toyota and Lexus. Many of the models have nearly identical frames, but Lexus sells for a premium.”

“I really believe that venture capital is broken. Many ideas are being evaluated at a million dollars for unproven concepts. Many entrepreneurs say “I have an idea,” but they have no clue how to make prototypes, get them in customers’ hands, manufacture final products, etc. There are too many people willing to throw money at untested ideas. At Stoneway, we take the “traction route” and are more interested in companies that have taken an idea, made something at a small scale, and have customers. That is a working idea. We can invest in that kind of idea and scale it with our experience.”

“I think the most important thing is establishing trust with those you deal with.”

“First and foremost, we are entrepreneurs. Warren and I are interested in bringing more than just money to the table when we invest. We want our skills and experience to be an asset to those we are working with in addition to the financial investment. Above all, I think the most important thing is establishing trust with those you deal with. Real trust is invaluable. Most people feel like you have to step on those around you in order to get to the top, but that won’t get you anywhere. By establishing trust and helping those around you, you will find your business is much more successful.”

Diogo is a clear communicator, young, experienced, and genuine. I left impressed and excited to hear updates on his future pursuits.

Spencer Reynolds