"Brainbase is using technology to create tools that empower licensing professionals to manage and grow their business in new and innovative ways." - Andrea Adelson
From preparing the launch of Marketplace to grabbing brunch at The Rose Cafe in Venice, get to know the people revolutionizing the licensing industry.
We interviewed both Ted Larkins, Head of Business Development, and Andrea Adelson, Head of Growth, to learn more about their passions and find out what the future holds for Brainbase within the next few years.
Give a brief history of your previous experience and what made you decide to be a part of Brainbase.
Andrea: As a licensor at Fremantle and FOX, and licensing agent at Brand Central LLC, I’ve had the privilege of building and activating licensing programs and strategic partnerships for some of the most beloved pop culture brands. I really enjoy connecting brands with consumers, and my affinity for consumer brands makes my career all the more rewarding.
In this profession it’s important to keep a pulse on changes in consumer behavior and adapt to the way people discover, buy and connect with brands and products. The current landscape makes digital technology a strategic imperative. Retailers, manufacturers and brands are embracing tech in numerous ways and yet many licensing professionals are using antiquated systems to manage their business. I joined Brainbase because of their commitment to innovation and their passion for creating modern tools for professionals managing and monetizing IP.
Ted: I started my licensing career in Osaka, Japan, in 1989, when I was asked to negotiate the rights for James Dean on T-shirts for a Japanese firm. That small, $100,000 in T-shirt sales turned into an $80 million program with over 50 James Dean branded items. From there, we started selling Pepsi Cola branded items and went on to represent Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures, MGM, 21st Century Fox, and others. We became the most significant entertainment licensing company in Japan. In 2014 I became SVP of DHX/CPLG North America. I represented and did license deals for Space Invaders, Teletubbies, Inspector Gadget, and Mega Man.
Through the years, I worked with many licensing management platforms -- most were ineffective. When I met Nate in 2017, and he showed me Brainbase, I was impressed. It was such a great tool, nothing like I’d ever seen, and I wanted to work with him.
Any upcoming projects you’re excited about?
Andrea: I’m excited to launch Marketplace, a platform that re-imagines the way brands attract and source brand collaborations, strategic partnerships, and licensing opportunities.
Ted: The expansion of the Assist platform is super exciting. There are so many potential clients that I know would love this product that I can’t wait to share it with them all.
How do you think Brainbase is changing the licensing industry?
Andrea: Brainbase is using technology to create tools that empower licensing professionals to manage and grow their business in new and innovative ways. Early adopters of Brainbase Assist see the value in automating aspects of their workflow and benefit greatly from the inherent efficiencies. Marketplace will offer a compelling way for Licensors and Licensees to showcase, discover and attract new partnerships.
Ted: The licensing industry is stuck in old routines and has not yet embraced new technology. Brainbase brings all of the latest technology to the forefront and allows companies to drive their businesses forward more quickly and effectively than ever before.
What motivates you?
Andrea: I enjoy developing ideas into marketable realities. There is a lot of creative collaboration that goes into bringing new ideas and products to market and I find it very motivating and rewarding.
Ted: I like reaching out to my network of contacts, connecting with all kinds of people. The best part of the licensing industry is the people. I love sharing Brainbase and seeing people get excited about it.
How do you measure success (with Brainbase or yourself)?
Andrea: Regardless of the governing goal or objective, I use both qualitative and quantitative success metrics. When you are creating, innovating or trying new things, the intrinsic value gained from engaging in the activity itself must be factored in when measuring success.
Ted: I feel success when I’m feeling happy and confident in what I am doing. When others are excited, and we’re having successful talks and completing deals, I feel I have been successful.
Where do you want the company to be at in 3 years?
Andrea: In three years time, I’d like to see Brainbase incubating new innovative products and reaping the rewards of a sustainable and scalable business model.
Ted: I want to be known as the go-to licensing management company. We have a wait list to work with us, and the most prominent brands are effectively using Assist and Marketplace.
What makes you passionate about Brainbase?
Andrea: Brainbase’s purpose, passion and products really resonate with me and I believe we will make an important contribution to the industry.
Ted: I like that it is new and growing and evolving at such a fast pace. I’ve been in licensing for many years, but to be part of a technology start-up that is moving at lightning speed is very exciting.
What does a typical workday look like for you?
Andrea: A typical workday consists of connecting with licensors, licensees and industry execs to learn more about their business needs, workflow, pain points and frustrations and sharing insights and opportunities with our product and business team. Engaging with clients and prospects and participating in sales calls, product demos and trade events are all key aspects of my role as Head of Growth.
Ted: Emails and phone calls. I do research on potential clients and companies and then email or call. I do a lot of follow calls and online demos. It’s non-stop!
Favorite place to eat in LA?
Andrea: The answer to this question depends on my mood and what vibe I’m going for but it’s safe to say The Rose Cafe in Venice is a favorite all-day eatery.
Of all the places you’ve traveled to, which one is your favorite? Any notable experiences while being there?
Ted: I lived in Japan for nine years and had an apartment there for another 20 years, so I was back and forth frequently. From there, I traveled much of Asia. My favorite place was Calcutta, India. I worked in Mother Teresa’s orphanage and even met Mother. It was pretty incredible.
Do you have any after-work hobbies/activities?
Andrea: I enjoy hiking, traveling and hiking while I’m traveling. I once hiked Skeleton Gorge, a 5 hour trail that takes you to the top of Table Mountain in South Africa. When I reached the summit, I was informed the cable car station was not operating due to high winds and the only way back to the car was to hike down the mountain.
Ted: I am a writer and published a book called Get To Be Happy. The follow-up book, The Get To Principle, is being published by Sourcebooks, the largest woman-lead publisher in the US. It will launch in March 2020. I will be doing marketing for the book and, as Head of Business Development, will bring high awareness to Brainbase.
I speak fluent Japanese but have become obsessed with learning the language at a deeper level. I also play guitar, golf and spend a lot of time with my 11-year-old girl and a 14-year-old boy. Being a father is the most rewarding and fulfilling thing I do.
Any favorite office memories?
Andrea: Brainbase team and client outings are fun, especially when it includes a round of My Little Ponies or Milk Punch.
Ted: I knew I was with a cool Internet technology company when, during a team lunch at the office, the show playing on the office monitor was a replay of Tim Cook and the launch of the new Apple products.