Meet the Founders at Stratus Financial: Brandon Martini, COO
Meet Brandon Martini, the COO of Stratus Financial, a company that’s reshaping aviation financing. His journey from owning flight schools to pioneering solutions for aspiring pilots forms the cornerstone of Stratus Financial’s mission. Delve into this exclusive interview to discover how Martini’s expertise and leadership principles are driving innovation in the aviation industry.
1. What inspired you to start this company? Was there a specific problem or opportunity you saw in the market?
a. I came from the flight training industry founding NextGen Flight Academy Inc and Learn to Fly LLC, both part 141 flight schools; owning and running those flight schools, I kept getting the same objections regarding why people didn’t want to continue flight training… “Its expensive” and “I don’t have the money”. I then went seeking for solutions to solve this problem in the way of offering financing, there were a couple players in this marketplace but none did what I needed them to do and their procedures were archaic.
2. How has your background as a flight school owner and pilot influenced your decision making as it relates to Stratus Financial?
a. My background as a prior flight school owner, flight instructor, and commercially rated pilot has affected decisions at Stratus Financial immensely. Whenever we make decisions that affect flight schools or pilots in particular I am able to look back at my experience and determine if the action would be a positive one or negative one for each of those groups in particular.
3. What leadership principles or philosophies do you follow to guide your decisions and lead the team effectively?
a. Brutal Honesty is everything, be up front and don’t sugar coat things, set goals and hit them, keep people accountable. Expect greatness. Act like we are #1 until we are #1.
4. How do you build and nurture a strong team given its primarily remote nature? What qualities do you look for when hiring new team members?
a. We foster a family first culture at Stratus Financial, I believe that family comes before all work and that if you support our employees/contractors (Stratus Family members) they will always do what is best for the company as a whole. As a family we have ups and downs but we always take care of one another which is important to me and important to the families of our Stratus Family.
We look for self motived and driven individuals who want to make a difference in the world and in our company.
5. Scaling a start-up requires careful planning. How have you managed to maintain the company’s agility and innovate spirit while dealing with the challenges of growth.
a. We currently set a 5 year plan and a 1 year plan with monthly all hands meetings to ensure our Stratus Family is growing towards our goals. The C-Level meets once per week to ensure their team leaders are on track and to discuss matters in order to stay aligned in the company and ensure we are working towards our goals.
6. Can you share any key milestones that the company has reached since its inception?
a. 250k line of credit
b. First 1M in loans originated
c. 1M in loans in a Month
d. 2.6M in a month
e. Obtaining 10M credit facility
f. Obtaining 30M credit facility
g. 10 Stratus Family Members, 25, 50
h. Getting our 1 school, 5 schools, 25 schools, 50, 100, 125
7. Transparency and trust are crucial in the financial industry. How does Stratus Financial prioritize these aspects in its operation?
a. By open and honest communication with our partners and borrowers
8. How does Stratus Financials’ offerings differ from its competitors?
a. For Pilots, By Pilots
b. Free supplemental ground school for PPL and IFR
c. Free Sheppard Air test prep for all students
d. We speak pilot and flight school, no other financing companies in our industry do
9. How does Stratus Financial leverage technology to stay competitive and deliver innovative solutions to clients?
a. We are constantly innovating with state of the art software and will continuously improve our tech to keep up with trends and demands of our partners and borrowers.
10. The financial industry often requires adapting to rapid changes. How do you personally approach learning and staying up-to-date with industry trends?
a. I read industry news every day, keep up with flight training trends, keep up with FAA regulations, attend all aviation trade shows we can
In conclusion, Brandon Martini, the COO of Stratus Financial, has demonstrated a unique blend of passion, innovation, and leadership in his journey. From identifying a gap in the flight training industry to founding a company that addresses this need, Brandon’s story is a testament to the power of entrepreneurship. His commitment to honesty, accountability, and excellence has shaped the culture of Stratus Financial and has driven its growth and success. With a focus on continuous innovation and a deep understanding of the needs of pilots and flight schools, Stratus Financial is poised to make a significant impact in the financial industry.