Bradley Roofner

Finance senior Bradley Roofner, left, and rhetoric and writing senior Logan Brown have launched a hedge fund and venture capital group to invest in companies around Austin.
Photo Credit: Griffin Smith | Daily Texan Staff

Running a business requires maintaining a tight schedule, but most business owners aren’t concerned with making an 8 a.m. economics class. But finance senior Bradley Roofner and rhetoric and writing senior Logan Brown don’t mind attending classes if it means they can still do what they love.

“We’ve found a way to skip all the stuff in the middle and jump to the stuff we enjoy,” Brown said.

Two years ago, Roofner and Brown launched their own hedge fund and venture capital group called, respectively, Davenforth Investments and Davenforth Ventures. They use clients’ money to invest in companies around Austin. 

When Roofner and Brown were freshmen, they met at an event for their Christian fraternity, Beta Upsilon Chi. One week later, they created their business HatTee. Roofner said the premise behind the company is to make the game of golf easier by providing a place to put golf tees on a hat. Their experience working on HatTee gave them contacts and a starting point for their more recent endeavors.  

Business honors junior Kade Thomas, an investor in Davenforth, said he has no doubt the company will succeed.

“Davenforth Ventures is a relatively new company, but the people running it are far beyond their years,” Thomas said. “I feel honored to have gotten involved in the early stages.” 

Despite his age, Brown said he thrives under the variation each week brings and the competitiveness of the investment industry.

“It’s one of the most competitive industries there is, so we really like to challenge ourselves and compete,” Brown said. “Everything else just seems really boring compared to competing on that kind of level.”

Roofner said they want to make money, so they can give it away to charity to set an example for others.

“A big mission of ours with the hedge fund is to kind of show a different way of living to the people in the financial services community,” Roofner said. “It’s an industry that’s got a big problem with greed and opulence.” 

The two said they are driven by their faith and see their work as part of a greater calling.

“Bradley and I believe we were put together for a purpose,” Brown said. “It’s beyond just making money and even beyond giving it away.”

Since their freshman year, the two have bonded over the common goal of charity for a greater purpose. Brown said they have become extremely good friends and spend most of their time together. 

“I’ve never seen or read about any partnership in the world quite like Bradley and I’s,” Brown said. “It’s really unique that we have a kind of selflessness when it comes to each other that we’ve aimed for. We are always willing to sacrifice for one another.” 

After graduation, the two plan to remain in Austin and build upon Davenforth Investments and Davenforth Ventures. They plan to invest in startups to help generate jobs in the Austin area, Roofner said.

“I plan on working with Bradley until I die, until one of us buries the other,” Brown said.

Sophomores Logan Brown and Bradley Roofner are the founding CEOS of HatTee, a company that produces golf hats that hold tees on the side. 

Photo Credit: Pu Ying Huang | Daily Texan Staff

Logan Brown and Bradley Roofner are fellow sophomores, fraternity brothers, roommates, close friends and the two founding CEOs of a student entrepreneurship company that makes accessorized hats for golfers.

Brown, a computer science sophomore, and Roofner, business honors sophomore, officially registered their company, HatTee, in February and have since been selling golf hats that can hold tees on the side. The goal of the hat is to rid the inconvenience of carrying golf tees in pockets, where they can scratch cell phones. Roofner, who golfs on a consistent basis, said he used to leave his tees behind before making HatTee.

In September, HatTee launched its website, and in the past month, the company has moved away from pushing individual sales and is now focusing on larger sales. The hats are still available for online individual sales, but Brown said the focus of HatTee was moving to retail.

It was over dinner at the UT Club in the Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium in October 2011 that the idea of HatTee started. Roofner mentioned the idea for hats with tees, and Brown was instantly interested.

“We didn’t know quite what we would do with it at that point,” Brown said. “But I thought [Roofner] was a genius, and he also had this cool idea for a hat, so I thought I better snatch him up quick.”

After dinner they shook hands and agreed to start a business together. In the following semester, Brown and Roofner went in for a meeting with John Butler, director of the Herb Kelleher Center for Entrepreneurship. Brown said that was a big moment for their business, because Butler gave them advice and inspiration.

Butler set up phone conferences for Brown and Roofner. They spoke to Carl Paul, former CEO and founder of Golfsmith and Joe Beck, agent of two-time Masters Golf champion Ben Crenshaw. Butler said they had entrepreneurship originality that would make them successful.

Roofner said the encouragement from that meeting helped push them forward.

“There is no greater feeling than when someone attaches value to our idea,” Roofner said. “When someone buys a hat and we get to have a conversation with someone and they say they like this ... it is unmatched.”

The two met in fall 2011 as freshmen when they were pledging for fraternity Beta Upsilon Chi. Since then Brown and Roofner have become close friends and moved together into a West Campus apartment this fall. They said while running a company and going to school can be difficult, it is manageable.

Brown said he takes on the strategic planning and vision for the company, and Roofner said he focuses on the financial backing of the company.

“We live together now and we sleep in the same room and do just about everything together,” Brown said. “We mesh just about as good as we possibly can get. I’m the loud and boisterous one, and [Roofner] is there to keep me in check.”

Brown said living together has its advantages while running a company.

“We can talk about things from midnight to 4 a.m. if we need to, and it does happen sometimes,” Brown said. “We have pillow talk, but it’s not about girls but the finances of the company, which is equally exciting stuff.”

Printed on Friday, November 9, 2012 as: Student CEOs on par