Courtney Reum is the co-founder of VEEV Spirits, which was the best-selling independent liquor brand in the U.S. before being acquired by Luxco. He is also co-founder of M13. He co-authored the new bestselling book Shortcut Your Startup: Speed Up Success with Unconventional Advice from the Trenches.

Podcast Highlights

Who is Courtney Reum?

Courtney believes entrepreneurs are made, not born. He grew up in between the country and the big city and got the best of both worlds. Adaptability has always been one of Courtney’s superpowers.

Building VEEV

After going to Columbia in New York City for school, Courtney ended up at Goldman Sachs and saw a number of excellent entrepreneurs take some big chances and win big. He decided to leave the firm and start his own alcohol business, turns out people drink in good times and bad.

Courtney felt that the spirit space is known for innovation and a new, unique product like VEEV had a shot.

Today there is so much information that we can be paralyzed and avoid taking action. Early on with VEEV, Courtney was forced to hustle and build relationships because there just wasn’t that much info available, he had to figure it out for himself.

Shortcut Your Startup

The next decade is going to be the golden age for new consumer products and brands. The cost of time to create something has gone down massively and now nearly anyone can start a business and competition has become fierce. Every industry is going to be disrupted in the near future.

You can start a product and prototype it, and get it online pretty easily. It’s not that hard to get your first thousand customers, it’s the next level that will separate the wheat from the chaff.

Five years ago, it was hard to find your first 10 customers. Today it’s extremely easy to find at least 10 people who would be interested in becoming customers, converting them is the hard part.

Part of being an entrepreneur is failing fast and learning along the way. Put your product in danger of being purchased. The first step to getting VEEV on the shelves was distribution since the social media and e-commerce structure wasn’t available in 2007.

Giving Back

People are drowning in information and a lack of ways to capture that information, that’s why Courtney wanted to create the playbook to help entrepreneurs put the pieces of the puzzle together.


Early on, entrepreneurs try to make the perfect decision at every point. It’s more like Black Jack, you have to make the best decision you can with the information you have at the timeTime is the new money. Speed and fast decision making will give you an edge over your competitors.

There are ways to find money that didn’t exist ten years ago, you have more tools and accessibility than ever.

Adaptability is the major difference in success today. Look for the one or two key insights and build your business around that but be ready to adapt and change quickly. The future is here, it’s just not evenly distributed yet.

Reference: Shortcut Your Startup: Speed Up Success with Unconventional Advice from the Trenches, Courtney Reum

Courtney’s Takeaway

You can never go wrong by moving forward and doing something. No one should be able to steal your confidence, love an idea, put something out there and see what happens.

[email protected]

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