In 2007, Bryan walked away from a promising job in consulting to move back home with his parents. It may sound like a rookie mistake, but this was likely the best move in his career to date. He is Vice President of Product for bleacherreport.com, a popular open-source sports network that gives voice to everyday sports fans. In the past three years Bryan and team have raised $5 million of venture capital to build the website, formed partnerships with CBS and Fox Sports networks, and earned recognition as one of America’s top under-25 entrepreneurs by BusinessWeek. To use a favorite sports metaphor, Bryan’s Cinderella Story has encompassed not only the realization of his lifelong dream to become a successful Web entrepreneur, but the empowerment of an untapped community of passionate and talented sports journalists.
Growing up in Silicon Valley with a family legacy of entrepreneurship (his grandfather started a business coming out of the Great Depression; his cousin Jakob founded collegehumor.com), Bryan seems to have been destined to become a Web entrepreneur. Yet he did not immediately set out on that path. After studying economics at Middlebury College, he took a coveted job as a consultant for Deloitte. “I wanted to learn a lot at my first job,” he says. “Consulting allowed me to do a different job every few months.”
While cutting his orthodontics at Deloitte, Bryan started talking to three high-school friends about an idea for a fan-based online sports concerns, although understandable, proved unnecessary. The four founders did indeed see the business take off, thanks in large part to the passion of its millions of users and writers.