Fast 15: Blake Puryear

by Talk Business & Politics ([email protected]) 178 views 

Blake Puryear never says, “That’s not in my wheelhouse.” He rises to the challenge when faced with a problem or task in unfamiliar territory. He will get the job done — by staying up late, asking experts, whatever it takes to find a solution.

This can-do attitude is a boon to Puryear’s position as technology and project management lead at Hayseed Ventures, founded in March by Acumen Brands founder and former CEO, John James. 

Hayseed Ventures is a venture capital production studio, Puryear said. In addition to monetary investment, the team of experienced entrepreneurs and developers works directly with companies to improve operations. 

It’s modeled after California-based Science Media LLC, “but we put our own spin on it,” he said.

And it’s setting its sights on some promising businesses:  Menguin Inc., an online tuxedo rental company out of Atlanta, counts ABC’s “Shark Tank” star Mark Cuban as an investor, and Puryear said the team will also work with several participants from California-based seed accelerator Y Combinator.

In 2013, the Springdale native started at Acumen Brands, where he served as lead project manager, acting as liaison between the software engineering team and a dozen business leaders.

Although his background was in development — he graduated with a computer science degree from the University of Arkansas in 2012 — he was able to fluently discuss business needs and translate them to the software team.

Puryear said he has a knack for business, but the self-described voracious reader also gained a handle on the subject by reading a lot of books.

In February 2014, he managed the launch of e-commerce brand Country Outfitter’s third-party marketplace, now one of Acumen’s top growth initiatives.

Later that year, he left Acumen and co-founded online content-publishing company Phactual LLC with James. When that project worked well, gaining almost 130,000 Facebook fans, Puryear said James wanted to repeat the process over and over. Hayseed Ventures was born.

“I like helping others succeed, so Hayseed is the perfect place for me,” he said.

Puryear’s interests outside of work include mid-century modern architecture. He also likes collecting the latest tech gadgets, fishing and canoeing.