AngelytiX Consulting, Los Angeles, CA

Business Coaching and Consulting for Entrepreneurs  


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How to Reward your Beta Testers

Posted on December 4, 2018 at 10:25 PM Comments comments (0)

Choosing the right incentive for your beta testers can be quite stressful given the many factors to consider. But before we dive into the “who” and “how”, let’s spend a few lines in the “why” and “when”.


At this point your entire development team has tested your product, from design to engineering. Now you are pretty much ready to ship it, so to speak. But wait a minute—you have no real feedback yet. You have no way of validating user satisfaction; you haven’t assessed the entire customer experience with real people, in real environments.


Who are these “real people” we’re talking about? They are your beta testers.


The quality of the feedback you’ll receive depends on your ability to recruit and incentivize the perfect group of testers— you’re looking for a complete view of your ideal customer’s experience, so you want to do it early enough that you can actually incorporate their feedback into your final product, but late enough that they are testing a legitimate 80%-90% launch ready version of it.


Now, after you’ve spent the time recruiting and qualifying beta testers, it is really important that you keep them engaged and interested, considering that on average, only a fifth of the beta testers will actually follow-through. The first step, although obvious, is to understand your testers’ initial motivation for joining the test. E.g. they absolutely love your product, they want to learn something new, they want to see something improve, etc.


Once you are clear on what motivates them, tailor your approach accordingly— and most importantly, be fair. And remember, incentives should remain secret until the test is over. You do not want to affect your testing quality.


Here are 3 good options:


1. Other Products or Product Discounts

Consider giving your beta testers something from your product line or something that compliments the product they are testing (e.g. high-end headsets for a multiplayer videogame).


2. Gift Cards

Gift cards are a nice way of showing appreciation. Amazon, Apple, Target, etc. are always a good choice. One thing to keep in mind: make sure it’s fair; you do not want to give a $20 card to someone who has consistently tested your product for 10 weeks.


3. Personalized Gifts

Everybody loves feeling special. Any particular incentive can include personalized coffee mugs, bags, t-shirts, etc. Your beta testers will not only be reminded of the experience, but they will also act as brand ambassadors when using/wearing the gifts. Again, make sure it fairly reflects the time and energy they have put into your project.


Don’t be shy to ask and understand what motivates them and what they would expect in return, but try be generous – I have a philosophy that I try to stay true to: make sure anyone that helps you, happy that they did.



Lawrence Brown

Managing Consultant | AngelytiX Consulting

5 Start-ups on the Rise for 2019

Posted on October 11, 2018 at 2:05 AM Comments comments (0)

Internally, we have seen a high demand for help in the virtual reality and cannabis industries, and we expect 2019 to be a great year for these two spaces. The crypto world which we have chosen to not get inolved in for the time being could also be of interest - or more so how start-ups will use blockchain technology in various ways.

There are also a few interesting players that have caught our eye over the past year for their own unique reasons – partly because these are adapting existing industries in a way that is making services more accessible to the end users. There is always room in the market for innovative convenience.


Company Name: Tilr


Funding: $5 million

Tilr matches applicants with companies based solely on skills, their goal is to remove all unconscious bias from the hiring process. It started 2 years ago and is available in 4 markets, but is expanding to 12-15 within the year.


Not only are they aiming to remove bias, but they’re also interested in providing healthcare benefits to their workers— in a market that resists hiring full-time employees. On that note, they have partnered with Anthem to help them “uncover the opportunities and behaviors associated with the intermittent workforce.”


Company Name: Zume Pizza


Funding: $48 million 

Zume Pizza is a company where humans and robots work together to prepare and deliver pizzas. They currently employ 150 humans and 8 robots. According to CEO Julia Collins, they “wanted to identify places where humans were overtaxed physically, bored, or whether the job they were doing was not safe, like sticking their hand into a 600 degree oven for six hours a day,”


Company Name: Skuid 


Funding: $31.6 million 

Scalable Kit for User Interface Design — Skuid wants to make the process of building enterprise apps easier and quicker. The secret is a “codeless” interface: users can easily drag and drop pieces from multiple sources.


Company Name: MoveWith


Funding: $3.8 million 

MoveWith is bringing fitness directly to users allowing instant access to audio workouts from instructors worldwide. It also focuses on mental and spiritual well-being offering yoga, guided meditation, and motivational talks. It feels like hand selecting your own personal team of instructors from your favorite high-end boutique studios, but at a fraction of the cost and on your terms.


Company Name: Wag


Funding: $361.5 million

Wag is a dog-walking app. It instantly connects dog owners with certified dog walkers. Wag has been expanding across the country over the last 4 years and raised $300M in the beginning of this year.

Let’s also take a look at the expected trends for 2019 that could affect your short-term and long-term plans:



Marketing will continue to become more and more personalized, the advantages of speaking directly to specific consumers, with messages that are relevant to them based on their tastes and interests, are endless. Now, based on recent privacy scandals and new legislations— both in Europe and America— businesses that collect personal data have to be extra careful about leveraging that information. Consumer expectations and trust are key. You have to provide value every step of the way.



The trend is clear, start-ups that fail to “move with the times”, i.e. leverage technology, are more likely to fail. On the other hand, businesses that do leverage technology such as remote working, using the cloud, gathering data to obtain detailed performance metrics, etc. are achieving much better results than businesses which choose not to, unless they have a very particular and strong point of difference that will help them remain relevant.


The Evolution of the Workplace

The physical workspace as we know it today is going to significantly change. Companies are looking to use spaces to drive productivity and adapt to new technologies, but they are also interested in reducing expenses and move to more flexible options by offering home-based positions— which employees find more and more appealing as they can now work from any place with a good internet connectivity.



Lawrence Brown

Managing Consultant | AngelytiX Consulting

4 Tips for Approaching Friends and Family for Funds

Posted on September 12, 2018 at 1:40 PM Comments comments (0)

Entrepreneurs face a number of challenges when starting a business, no matter how passionate they are about their new idea. Whether we like it or not, money plays a huge role in the start-up world.

Money can come from a variety of places: bank loans, angel investors, crowdfunding, personal funds, etc. In this post, we’ll focus on one of the most common sources of start-up funding: family and friends.

When you’re looking for that first tier of investors, getting banks or independent investors to risk money on you is hard, so your best chance to get your business off the ground is securing money from your friends and family.

Of course, ultimately you’ll need more money to be able to scale your business, but that first contribution from the people closest to you is often a must to get professional investors to consider investing in you or your business.

The logic is simple, if your friends and family won’t invest in you, why should they?

When approaching friends or family, it is more about selling yourself than the product/service you’re offering: they will likely base their decision on trust. Be honest about the risks, let them know what the money is going towards, and set yourself up for mutual expectations down the road. Here are some tips that will help you be seen as the right person to invest in:

1. Be the first one to invest

This sounds a little bit obvious, but if people don’t see you risk anything then why should they consider investing in you? Your investment and commitment to your idea will not only give you credibility, but it will show leadership as well.


2. Present a formal business plan and agreement

This shows respect and professionalism, you probably won’t need to present charts and a lot of materials, but do let them know you’re not asking for donations or charity. Whatever the payback method is, make sure the terms are fair for both parties.


3. Communicate your plan as well as the risks

As mentioned above, investments are not gifts, so you need to be clear about your plans for their money. The truth is more than 50% of start-ups fail, so make sure they are aware of the risks to avoid problems is the future.


4. Ask for specific amounts to reach a milestone

Your business plan must have objectives, so that you can present different milestones to your potential investors. Do your homework; having a target will definitely make a difference in their minds, plus it will show how much confidence you have on your business.

Friends and family are often seen as the last funding resort, but they’re actually a great resource. Of course, you have to make sure you do it the right way. The tips above will get you started, however sometimes bringing in a professional to liaise with all parties will provide a further sense of comfort for all.


Lawrence Brown

Managing Consultant | AngelytiX Consulting

Keeping Organized as an Entrepreneur

Posted on August 9, 2018 at 12:45 AM Comments comments (0)

As entrepreneurs, we are bound to wear many hats— often at the same time. Having to balance several responsibilities efficiently and effectively can be overwhelming at times, which is why organizational skills are extremely important.

If your systems are not properly organized, you are setting yourself up for a difficult ride: tasks will start piling up, you’ll feel like you’re running towards something that you never quite get, you’ll find yourself working in your business rather than on it, and so many other unnecessary issues. Bottom line is you are going to waste valuable time putting out fires that could have been prevented.

How often does life as an entrepreneur feel chaotic to you?

I know.

It does not really have to be that way. Have you ever seen a person that seems really organized and asked yourself, how? Well, it is not rocket science, but like any other good thing in life, it requires focus and consistency.

“We are what we consistently do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” —Aristotle

Some degree of chaos is inevitable, but there are certain things that can keep you organized. Here are 4:

1. Keep your eye on the prize

Your goals are your guiding lights. Your vision will keep you centered, so make sure you review it frequently; this will help you differentiate between what is important and what just seems to be important. The key is to learn how to become a no person: With all the opportunities that arise always ask whether this will help you reach your core vision or is “just another interesting distraction”. If it is not core, say no. When you are the size of a Google you can operate an R&D department to explore other opportunities, but as an entrepreneur you must stay focused on one goal so that you can give it your all.

2. Delegate

Seriously. Delegate. It can be the difference between success and failure. It may not be the easiest thing to do, especially if you’re used to doing things your way, but freeing up your time from administrative tasks will help you take your business to the next level. First determine how much your own time is worth – for any tasks that can get done effectively for less should be done for less so that you can maximize output. Here are a few things you can start delegating today:

• Anything that requires skills you don’t currently have

• Anything you don’t enjoy doing

• Anything that will bring in more revenue

• Anything that is easy to do, but time-consuming

3. Focus

When you’re doing something, do it. I’ll give you a really simple example: when you’re having a conversation, be in the conversation. Don’t get distracted by your phone or whatever you have to do next. Stay on task. Start with the little things and you will make it a habit that will translate into a much more efficient and fulfilling way of getting things done.


4. Block out times

Using a calendar to schedule blocks for the different thing you have to do throughout the day keeps you accountable. It helps a lot if you choose different days to accomplish tasks that require you to be on different mindsets. “Batching” tasks together will definitely help you become more productive.

By working with a to-do list assigned by days, it also makes the complete list of things that you have to do more concrete and is thus a stress reliever in and of itself.


As you can see, being consistently organized as an entrepreneur will not only help your business, but it will have a deep impact on virtually all areas of your life. Organization breeds success.


Lawrence Brown

Managing Consultant | AngelytiX Consulting

Recent Start-up Trends

Posted on July 5, 2018 at 4:40 PM Comments comments (0)
The start-up world is ever-changing. As an entrepreneur, looking at the different trends and stats before making your next move can give you an advantage over your competitors and help you focus on immediate and long-term goals.

Specifically, it is not just about following trends but having insight about the world implications of these trends three to five years down the road. This is because it will take a few years to establish yourself in that area and so you need to predict where you need to be then instead of where you need to be now.

Most Popular Start-Up Categories

In order to understand the different trends when it comes to successful start-ups, Kempler Industries analyzed the top 200 around the world and segmented them into 19 categories based on what they allow us to accomplish. Here are the top 5:

1. Find: 21% of these start-ups focus on helping users find things. Content, activities, people, places to go, to rent, etc.

2. Buy: 11% offer some type of commerce platform.

3. Organize: 9% help users optimize processes.

4. Read: 7% offer users a variety of news and special interest sites.

5. Create: 7% help users build/create digital assets by designing/coding.

3 of the Biggest Trends in the Start-Up World:

1. Disruptive Innovation/Technology

This term refers to any innovation that makes a huge impact in an industry. It usually helps smaller companies with fewer resources compete and even beat industry giants. Airbnb is one of the best examples here. Founded in 2008, it is bringing in more revenue than global hotel chains that have been around for a lot longer. We can think of it as making things easier for the end user by cutting out the middle man which at the same time cuts down costs. You might not disrupt entire industries, but by using disruptive technology, you can create new markets and start all sorts of different businesses.

2. Remote Teams

Remote work has become extremely popular. In almost every single industry, the percentage of people in the United States who reported working from home has increased dramatically over the past few years. Management, business, financial services, sales, education, etc. you name it. A lot of start-ups are leveraging the power of having a remote team; some are even going 100% virtual. What is not to like when you can hire skilled workers from all around the world and be as or even more productive than teams on site. 30% of workers accomplish more in less time, 23% are willing to work longer hours and 52% are less likely to take time off, even when they are sick.

3. Automation

Artificial intelligence and chat bots are coming stronger than ever, and 87% of small business owners believe that this will have a positive impact on their business over the next few years. Customer service/support is one of the areas that will be impacted the most. When you can deliver helpful, personalized, 24/7 assistance using a bot, why not do it?

These are just some of the trends/stats that we can expect to see over the next few months. Is your business model designed with these in mind? How can you leverage this to make your business better?

If you make a move before your competitors do, you can become more efficient, get more sales, deliver better results, and create a better experience for your clients, turning them into loyal customers.

All the best!

Lawrence Brown, MBA, CFA, FSA

Managing Consultant | AngelytiX Consulting

5 Reliable Ways to Get Your Start-up off the Ground

Posted on June 4, 2018 at 12:10 AM Comments comments (0)
So you have this amazing idea. You know what you want to deliver, but you are not completely sure of how you are going to make it happen. How am I going to fund this, you have probably asked yourself. Well, you are not the first and you certainly will not be the last. It is sort of a rite of passage for entrepreneurs.

Whether we like it or not, money plays a huge role in the start-up world.

This is definitely not a one size fits all kind of situation. So here are 5 down-to-earth, reliable ways to fund your business.

1. Angels

No, not divine intervention. Angel investors. Most cities have groups of high net-worth individuals who are usually interested in investing up to a million dollars in small businesses and start-ups. You can use online platforms like Gust to find them. Joining local networking groups is also a good way to find investors that share your ideas and are interested in what you have to offer.

2. Self-fund your Start-up

Did you know that over 90% of start-ups these days are self-funded? Yes, the launch date might get pushed a little, but the advantage is that you own 100% of your business and thus do not give up control. Finding innovative ways to do this that are feasible for the business and feasible for you as an individual, is generally my favorite challenge to help entrepreneurs solve.

3. Crowdfunding

This is a very effective way to fund your start-up, and in the long-run it is also a pretty amazing way to get exposure. There are a lot of different platforms you can join; Kickstarter is definitely the most successful one so far. The way it works is you put up your business idea and you set a target ($), after that, people can start making pledges to either pre-order your product, get a discount, donate, or qualify for a reward. Try not get carried away here as it can be high-risk: companies that prove to do well here often spend a large amount of effort and cash on the campaign between creating videos and other content, driving traffic to the campaign, and the amount of time put in while success is far from guaranteed. It has certainly worked for many, but heed advice as to structuring the campaign before relying on it and putting money into it.

4. Small-Business Grants

These are government funds; the process tends to be long, but it is worth it as you maintain ownership. If you are in the education, medicine, or technology industries, for instance, this might be a good option for you.

5. Friends and Family

This may not be your favorite option, but it is actually one of the primary sources of funds in the early stages (other than personal). The value here is that at the early stages your family and friends are not likely to demand as hefty of a portion of your company as an institutional investor.

The other thing to strategize on this topic, is planning the rounds of funding carefully. The purpose of your first round of funding (referred to as seed stage) is to get you off the ground and ideally prove your business concept. Any of the above options are great for this and it is important to start small at this stage because it is the highest risk stage. Once you have proven your concept, you may be ready to go to VCs. The reason you do not usually first go to VCs is that proving the concept first takes a large amount of risk out of it for your potential investor. This makes it easier to get larger sums from VCs and because it makes it easier, the valuation you are likely to get is going to be better. Optimizing your valuation, amount of capital received, and amount of time that you spend on raising capital can make or break your start-up: seek guidance if you are not familiar with the territory.

Lawrence Brown, MBA, CFA, FSA

Managing Consultant | AngelytiX Consulting

Business Coaching, is it the right move?

Posted on May 7, 2018 at 4:35 PM Comments comments (0)
What are the chances of your business actually succeeding? The entrepreneurial journey is often filled with uncertainty, but the numbers are pretty clear and have been consistent, after 5 years, the failure rate of U.S. companies is at over 50% - 70% over 10 years.

Well, let's look at the bright side; good news is you have a 50% chance of making it.

Being crystal clear about your vision is the most important thing. You are the expert in your field and that's what sets you apart, but are you an expert on running a business. See, a lot of small business owners fail because they try to wear way too many hats at the same time. Realizing this at an early stage could make a world of difference. Enter business coach.

One of the reasons more and more business owners are hiring business coaches is that they want to follow a proven way to excel. They are looking to supplement their skills, and knowledge of their field with strategic guidance.

If you've been thinking about hiring one but are not quite sold on the idea, here are 4 powerful reasons why it's a great investment:

1. One-on-one Guidance

100% dedicated attention to you and your business. Having a business expert alongside you during your journey will help you get from where you are to where you want to be.

2. Total Awareness

A business coach is not afraid of correcting you because they have a proven method to success. They have been there, done that. They will give you their unbiased opinion backed with strategic guidance to correct any mistakes and take your business to the next level.

3. Accountability

How easy is it to break promises we make to ourselves? Exactly. A business coach is an accountability partner, they will keep you focus, help you strategize and develop the mental tools you need to align your goals with your actions.

4. Increase in Revenue

A lot of entrepreneurs have the misconception that hiring a business coach signifies spending money they need to save. The truth is that investing in their business by hiring an expert will lead to both saving money and increasing profits in the long-term.

To end off, it is also important to note that choosing the right business coach can also make all the difference.

Make sure that they have the experience that they are guiding you on. Now days there are too many life coaches who are targeting corporate clients by calling themselves business coaches. Not that there is no value here, but these are psychological benefits and is different to a real business coach that understands how to get funding, understands business strategy, understands finance, and understands how all the other pieces within a business fit together.

Choose wisely!

Lawrence Brown, MBA, CFA, FSA

Managing Consultant | AngelytiX Consulting

Data Can Be The Best Competitive Advantage That You Have

Posted on April 18, 2018 at 2:25 AM Comments comments (0)

As a first mover in an industry as so many start-ups are, it is really critical to build your business in a way that limits the ability for others to copy it. One way to do this which most are aware of is to try and patent certain products, processes, or formulas. However, one of the more important, less costly, and more sustainable ways to do this is through building company data.

Your tracking of data and ability to turn your data into optimized decisions is something that no second mover can copy. Even if they enter your market, you would have created a situation synonymous to a car race in which your competitor has obscured vision and no GPS.

As long as you stay on top of it, you can permanently be ahead of your competitors as your ability to translate data into decisions only becomes stronger with time - ensuring that they never really catch-up.

While decisions can be made with best guess assumptions and we often use this as a useful starting point, it will be a substandard decision making process. It is well advised to always understand what learnings you would like from anything you do and ensure the data that you are tracking matches up to this. Too many times, this gets done too late as companies don't build systems with this type of foresight.

As markets become more and more saturated and computing power/techniques become more and more advanced, data interpretation is truly the way of the future. This ability will only make the value of your data go up, increasing the value of your company. At the same time, it will decrease the value of your company if you lack the data to use in the first place.

In summary, organize and track data at each level - at the customer level, the internal operational level, the supplier level, the financial level, and the human resource level - but also design your systems with the foresight to be able to collect the data that you need in order to learn the lessons that you want to learn. AND lastly create that necessary feedback loop in a formal manner to capture the value.



Lawrence Brown

Managing Consultant | AngelytiX Consulting

Optimize on your Spending

Posted on March 7, 2018 at 5:00 PM Comments comments (0)

At AngelytiX Consulting, we are huge fans of helping start-ups build their business without outside funding and we do this by helping clients optimize on every cent spent. A business without funding should always have multiple game plans: two or three assuming they get different amounts of capital and one more assuming that they have to bootstrap it. You can achieve greatness when you are pushed to doing so.

It all comes down to building and optimizing a budget which should not be taken lightly - it is something we do for our clients as soon as their finances are in order. Without this proper planning, it is very difficult to have a roadmap, a benchmark, or discipline. A budget should be split into three categories:


1) Costs of goods/services sold: If you are selling a product, this is the cost to produce the product and get it into the hands of your customer. You can typically never eliminate this cost and often in the early stages of business struggle to keep these down. Your goal here is to ensure that you at least have a pathway to minimizing them and that you have a proper cash-flow management strategy in place. A strategy takes into account payment terms across the complete path of money out, to money in, and ensures constant liquidity to remain in a comfortable position. It is a balance between not growing too quickly that it creates cash-flow constraints (or finding a way to do so) and growing fast enough on a sustainable trajectory. These costs will increase in relation to your sales increasing, therefore is important to track at every stage of your business.

2) Fixed non-discretionary costs to be in business: These are inevitable costs that are needed such as salaries, utilities, rent, etc. Often it takes innovation to minimize and sometimes avoid these, such as partnership deals, utilizing consultants as opposed to employees, etc. While you are in the early stages of your business and concerned about meeting expenses these are important to keep low. Later on, it matters less and less as these expenses do not increase at the same rate as revenue increases (they increase only at certain jumps in revenue as you need to expand office space or hire new administrators for example), and, therefore, it becomes less impactful on a relative basis at the later stages of your business.

3) Fixed discretionary costs to be in business: These are costs that are more growth orientated costs to get you to scale as opposed to just keeping your lights on. This includes marketing costs, consulting support, networking expenses, etc. Often getting these right is the difference between success and failure. While controlling these is important, this is often the area that start-ups hold back on and thus make errors. A growth strategy is vital to any business - if you are just meeting necessary expenses, you are operating more from a space of urgency and reactiveness as opposed to importance and proactiveness. Not investing here means that it is unlikely that you will improve the business since you are doing nothing more than surviving. Again, having the right budget strategy here is important as there are many companies that will take your money before assessing the fit. At AngelytiX we like to always find the way that we can charge you the least by only doing what is adding value and not charging for anything else, so that your growth is not compromised. Try finding the support from people that have this same attitude and keep them for the long-term to really maximize value.

Having said all the above, it is also important to realize that focusing all one's energy on minimizing costs is not healthy either. There are a limited amount of costs that can be saved and so only a limited amount to be gained by focusing efforts here. On the other hand, focusing efforts on increasing current and developing additional revenue streams can have unlimited benefit and thus is often more rewarding to spend one's time and energy on (even though this is often an unnatural way to think).



Lawrence Brown

Managing Consultant | AngelytiX Consulting

How to Price your Product

Posted on February 6, 2018 at 12:00 AM Comments comments (0)

Pricing is extremely important – it can define your success in many aspects. From heavily influencing the first impression it gives the consumer, to being one of the main drivers of your bottom line profits, pricing is surely one of the biggest decisions you will make.

AngelytiX has a formal way of working through both the quantitative and qualitative aspects of pricing which we see as the three factor exercise that covers:

1. "Cost-plus Pricing"

The cost of the product plus the required margin you need to cover overhead and profit. This would be called "Cost-plus Pricing", and unless making a loss to buy market share (which should be part of the discussion), it is usually the minimum price.

2. "Competitive Pricing"

The closest prices (in a positioning map explained below) of competing products. This is called "Competitive Pricing". You can be lower or higher, but there must be strategic reasoning behind it.

To develop a position map first define the characteristics that matter for your product(s)/service(s) to help identify who your competitors are. For example, in the beverage industry, key defining characteristics could include the type of product (alcohol, fruit juice, water derivatives, energy products, sports products, etc), size of beverage, premium/standard/quality perception of product, etc. You want to outline the different characteristics, and identify how your product exactly fits into this market. You also want to determine the purpose or frequency of purchasing (as this may impact consumer's monthly budget and thus the ability to purchase).

You will then want to make sure you are not in an illogical place in the market - i.e both lower quality and higher price than another main player in the market. Compare your product to others and determine if it is positioned within the marketplace where it should be. Adjust as necessary based on logic as well as any important strategic decisions.

Once you have a good understanding of positioning, you are ready to have a better sense of where you should be competitively priced.

3. "Value Added Pricing"

The value you are providing your customer quantified in some logical way. This would be called "Value Added Pricing".

For example, a new drug may measure its value add by adding how much it would cost to undergo any alternative surgery needed without the drug. As another example, consider a pick-up dry cleaning service: here the service would save people time in dropping off and picking up their own dry cleaning. Therefore, one way to price this would be to understand what this value of time is for the services target market.

Once you understand all three of the above, you are ready to consider all pricing considerations from each different angle. Neither on their own are correct. Each should be considered together to really be able to understand the impact on the pricing decision. Use your team to have the strategic discussion around the best price, taking into account the quantitative and qualitative concerns above.

This is a process that AngelytiX regularly undertakes in partnership with our clients. Contact us if you would like to discuss this process and have a better understanding of your positioning and pricing strategies.



Lawrence Brown

Managing Consultant | AngelytiX Consulting