Growing up in Vancouver, Canada, Braeden Lichti was inspired by his late father who was a studious businessman. Lichti recalls being only 12 years of age when his dad taught him to screen and research public companies, checking morning newspapers daily to follow stock quotes. By 15, he was investing with a broker into a mix of bonds and Canadian listed stocks.
“I was always drawn to the capital markets, the hustle, and challenges of running a business and problem solving. I caught the entrepreneurship bug early on watching and learning from my father and hearing stories from his father who was also a small business owner in Ontario, Canada. Since I was young, I’ve had a strong sense of independence and like to challenge myself and do my own thing, not follow traditional pathways and trends,” said Lichti.
Now, as CEO of BWL Investments, Lichti is living that dream he had as a child. As a venture builder and manager, he comes in during the early stages of a company and invests his firm’s capital alongside the founders, at times leading the financing round. When investing in early-stage opportunities, Lichti acts and thinks like a founder – often preparing the company for the next larger financing, where his network of co-investors comes in. This preparation can be light or heavy and usually involves Lichti implementing corporate governance, recruiting key advisors or directors, and finding early partnerships or seeding future M&A deals. Ultimately, he finds a company or idea he believes in that may not have the capital or business acumen to get off the ground and he brings it to fruition. He does not consider this work; it is his passion, as he is motivated by seeing others succeed and companies grow
“Investing into and learning about companies that are publicly traded definitely grew my interests to take part in early-stage businesses. You spend a lot of time researching these companies and meeting management teams to learn their history and how the founders grew the company, made mistakes, and handled good and bad decisions alike,” he described. “When I came into the world of healthcare investing in 2014, I learned firsthand the importance and opportunity of investing early and building in this sector. I got to see how value is created from getting involved in technologies that are pre-clinical, sticking to the business and development plan and moving into the clinical. This development takes time but can change the value of the company dramatically.”
Lichti’s list of successes is extensive and impressive, helping many start-ups go from a mere idea to a vastly reputable company. In 2019, two biotech companies that he was the first investor in and worked with listed on the Nasdaq. It is a dream for most early-stage investors and entrepreneurs to have just one company get listed on a national US exchange, and he had two in one year. This year he is expecting a medical device company he invested into early and worked on in 2021 to also list on the Nasdaq. Such unprecedented success has allowed him to grow to a leader in his industry, and he is continuously sought-out for his expertise.
David Barthel, CEO of Marizyme Inc, worked with Lichti on the capitalization of an emerging medical device company, consisting of business, market and valuation strategy, strategic partnerships, product acquisitions, resource allocation and the identification and development of valuation drivers, which he describes as a wonderful working experience.
“Braden has a strong sense of purpose and urgency as well as tremendous market knowledge. Financially astute with strong investment domain experience, he works as a partner within a team and can formulate and articulate objectives, tactics, and metrics. He is a tremendous business partner who loves to be hands-on and over-communicate, with a strong work ethic. He is professional, knowledgeable, has a constant sense of urgency, gets things done and is able to execute and deliver on stated objectives. He is honest with integrity and is always working 24/7. I love working with Braeden and will always consider him a partner and trusted colleague,” said Barthel.
Lichti’s most recent endeavor is expected to soon dominate the medical grade skincare market: this exciting medical aesthetic biotech company ELEVAI Labs, which he is both a Co-Founder and Investor. In mid 2019 he was presented an opportunity to license a proprietary cGMP Mesenchymal stem cell (MSCs) technology from a biotech company he worked with as the basis of a new regenerative medicine company. Researching the market opportunities and the novel applications for these MSCs, Lichti went all across North America meeting scientists that had the expertise, know-how and experience using human derived stem cells. In California, he was introduced to world renewed stem cell expert and entrepreneur Dr. Jordan Plews, who greatly impressed Lichti with his extensive knowledge and expertise in stem cell research and had a long list of successful inventions to create new regenerative medical skincare products from, and together they formed ELEVAI with another co-founder Dr. Tim Sayed in 2021.
“Medical aesthetic skincare is a billion-dollar market that lacks products that have real efficacy and quantifiable data, and I think it is important for consumers to have the option to buy products that actually work based on real science and data developed by actual scientist instead of buying products based on good marketing gimmicks and short-term results,” he said.
Over the course of the pandemic starting in 2020, Lichti and his team kept their heads down and aggressively spent this time building a lab in California, perfecting manufacturing and the technology developing a data backed product line, and distribution channels. The company officially did a product launch in January 2022 and shortly after won the People’s Choice Award at the OC Octane conference, closed a global distribution deal with a leading microneedling company, and already have dozens of sales reps trained and starting to sell into medical dispense clinics nationwide. Lichti provided the growth funding, the structure and executive team building to get ELEVAI where it is today.
“I’m extremely proud knowing we have a safe, effective, and real products backed by scientific data that works. Even though we are just getting started, our ambitions to be global leaders in the regenerative medical skincare space looks very promising already” Lichti concluded.
For more information on ELEVAI, check out their website. And be sure to keep an eye out for more of Lichti’s projects, such as his upcoming venture fund called NorthStrive Companies that will focus on financing companies in the healthcare sector.