Holly Brailsford is the Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of Brancher, a mentoring platform that connects people on a deep level so they can create a powerful connection to share and learn from each other.
After experiencing positive and negative experiences with mentors, Holly was determined to create a better way of finding compatible mentors. She then met her business partner, Jake, who had a similar vision and Brancher was born.
Brancher is a B2B (business-to-business) SaaS (software as a service) platform for large businesses, universities and government for the purpose of scaling and reducing the administration burden associated with running mentoring programs.
They help companies to improve employee attraction and retention with mentoring.
We recently spoke to Holly about Brancher and her journey as a Queensland female founder.
What inspired you to start your business?
I had both amazing and terrible experiences with mentors. It made me think – there has to be a better way of finding a mentor who I really click with, someone who can help me with my goals but also someone who aligns with my personal values. With my background in organisational psychology, I’m very passionate about empowering others to reach their potential and creating a mentoring solution is something that deeply aligns with my own personal mission and purpose. When I met my business partner Jake, he had a similar vision and complementary skill sets (software engineering), so Brancher was born.
What milestones have you reached?
This year we were incredibly grateful to be an Ignite Ideas Fund recipient receiving $100,000 from Advance Queensland. This has allowed us to further commercialise and expand into new markets, including working with government. We have also recently hired a Head of Sales person to join our team – our first employee!
What business achievements are you most proud of to date?
Bootstrapping our business – developing a new technology product from scratch with $0 external investment and less than $6,000 personal investment into the business. We are at a very exciting tipping point of growth with product market fit and paying customers across various sectors, including not-for-profit, enterprise and the public sector.
Have you participated in any Advance Queensland programs, or received any support from Advance Queensland to date?
In addition to being an Ignite Ideas Fund recipient, I am also an active member of the ACE Network.
What’s your advice for other female entrepreneurs and businesses starting out on their entrepreneurship journey?
You can do it! There will be many challenges and times when you feel like giving up but keep persisting because one of the biggest predictors of success is grit. Listen to your customers and don’t be afraid to pivot/build things around them. Build a strong network around you. I constantly call on others for advice and support. Building a business is hard but you’re not alone – there’s an amazing network and startup ecosystem in Queensland ready to support you.