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PLP-051 Brandyn Cottingham’s Road To Real Estate And Creating A Fund

PLP 51 | Creating A Fund

PLP 51 | Creating A Fund


Not many of us realize the things we are destined to do immediately in life. Sometimes, we have to take a couple of detours to get there. Sharing his own road to real estate and creating a fund is Brandyn Cottingham of Major Gainz Capital. He begins by talking about joining the Marine Corps band playing the podium. Later on, he got out of the military and was faced with trying to figure his way around after. Going from one odd job to another, he eventually ended up getting the taste of executive level management to creating his own fund. Brandyn talks to us about Major Gainz Capital, breaking down its structure as an opportunity fund while describing the great ways they do to legally get money. He also shares his philosophy that not everything is about money and how he applies that with his clients.

Listen to the podcast here:

Brandyn Cottingham’s Road To Real Estate And Creating A Fund

Lender Nation, I hope you’re ready for a very interesting conversation because I interviewed Brandyn Cottingham with Major Gainz Capital. He’s the principal partner. Brandyn, I want to thank you for coming on and welcome to the Private Lender Podcast.

Keith, thank you so much for having me here. It’s an honor. I’m very humbled to be asked about you to be on your show. I follow your podcast. There’s a lot of great content on there. To be a part of this conversation is an honor for me.

Thank you for that. You and I met at one of Steven Kaufman’s events. Steven was interviewed on episode number one. I was honored to have him. That’s how you and I started talking. Lo and behold, we keep running into each other at various industry events. Finally, here we are together. You have a very interesting background. I know you moved to Texas when you were young, grew up the south side of Houston, in Pearland. I’ll set that up and let you talk.

I appreciate it. Both my parents are from small towns in North Louisiana. They both went to Grambling State University up there. It’s an HBCU, very famous HBCU. A lot of strong football tradition up there. They graduated from college, moved to Houston with opportunities where. I was maybe about four or five when we moved here. I ended up in Pearland. We moved there. I think I was I third grade. This is back when it was a small town. There was a beltway. It was like one major highway. It was fifteen minutes to a grocery store. It’s a small town, very rural by today’s standards. My father was a musician. On my dad’s side, everybody was a musician. My uncle was a music major. He taught music. He was a jazz musician. He was a jazz teacher. Aunts, uncles, they all played instruments, orchestras and symphonies, things like that. Music’s in my blood.

I picked it up when he taught us how to read music at a young age. I was very blessed that in Pearland at that time, I found out the high school is going to stay competition again for a marching band in August. When I was there, we were third and fifth in the state in the marching band. Both years that we went, third my sophomore year, fifth my senior year. I was always in a leadership position there. We would go competitions to warm up the water. It was low acumen for the discipline that we had to have to perform at that level and compete at that level. I learned a lot from our band director, Mr. Jack Perez. I have a lot of respect for him. He taught us a lot.

A friend of mine dared me, bet me that she would make the Marine Corps band before I would. It was an interview process or audition. I’m super competitive. I was like, “No way, I’m going to beat you. There’s no way you’re going to beat me.” We ended up going to Lake Charles. There were eight people. I was the youngest person there. Everybody went. I went last. Nobody had made it the whole day and passed the audition. Everybody was coming in, “Nope, I’ll go and do my thing.” I remember putting the thing down and sitting in this room and said, “Congratulations.” I was like “Okay.” He was like, “You made it.” I was like, “Okay.” Here I was on track to go to college. That was a long conversation with my parents, with the recruiter coming to the house and all that. We went and long story short, I ended up in the Marine Corps band. I graduated high school in ‘95. I turned eighteen that September then October I was in a boot camp.

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I enjoyed the boot camp experience. It was freaking crazy, intense, but it’s one of those things I look back. I’m like, “If I can do that, it doesn’t matter to me anything is possible.” You have to push your body to those limits, your mind in those limits and keep going and understanding how far the human experience can go. I never reached anything on a SEAL level or Special Forces level. I know some of those highly intelligent men. What they do or how they do is amazing. I’m not on that level. I’m very fortunate I never saw any combat. I have a lot of respect for combat veterans. I respect minor combat veterans. From that, I had a cool experience at the Marine Corps. I got to do a lot of cool stuff and met some cool people. I was part of pomp and circumstance at the Marine Corps and the military part being a musician. I ended up in San Diego down there for a while.

Did you go to MCRD in San Diego or Parris Island, where did you go?

I’m a Hollywood Marine. I’m scared of Hollywood Marine. Everybody west of the Mississippi goes to San Diego, everybody east goes to Parris Island. On the west, we got those mountains. We have to hump those mountains up there. It was a cool experience in San Diego. I was stationed there too, MCRB San Diego. It was hard. For a young marine, it was a lot of distraction. I would put it to you that way.

I’ve heard the mountains and scenery are very nice down there. That’s all I know.

The scenery is nice and the mountains and the valleys.

I appreciate your honesty and your service. Thank you for that. A Marine Corps band, what did you play?

I played the euphonium. It’s like a mixture of trombone and a tuba. I found a close instrument to the human voice. It was a great experience. Like I said a lot of marches. I did Rose Bowl Parade a couple of times. I’ve still got some great relationships from that time period.

I graduated in Sugar Land a few years before you did so I’m sure that we saw each other at UIL competitions, Road Stadium in Katy and all that fun stuff. Once you get out of the Marine Corps, I know you were flushed with cash and you decided to open up a fund or what happened?

I was out bankrolling me. I got out of the military. I didn’t know what I was going to do with my life. I was married at that time. I wasn’t playing the instrument anymore. I didn’t have a tracking plan. I did odd jobs trying to figure it out in life. I didn’t know where I was going to go. Eventually, I got divorced, ran out of money in Southern California. It’s in the ‘90s. It’s so expensive. I run out of money. I was like, “Let me go back and get my life together and see what’s up.” I came back home. I started going to school trying to figure my way around. I did sell cars. I ended up waiting tables for a pretty long time. I’ve got introduced to network marketing. It was a great experience for me. The people that I was introduced into that business, they were very big on education and knowledge of self-understanding, self-improvement.

I started reading a lot of books. The first book I ever read on that subject was The Master-Key to Riches by Napoleon Hill. A lot of people know his book, Think and Grow Rich but to me, I like The Master-Key to Riches better because it is more of a holistic approach. It’s not about money. A lot of people gravitate to that because they’re on the money, which is a part of it. That’s why I love more The Master-Key because it talks about all the twelve riches and what they are. It tells you why finances have the most importance. He explains it as, “Finance is the most important because it’s only one of the twelve riches you can measure.” You can’t measure integrity. You can’t measure love. You can’t measure honesty, but you can measure whatever denomination that we have agreed upon is our means of understanding.

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It’s the only reason why most people put so much perceived importance on it. I started reading books like that Built to Last, Good to Great, I read all the Robert Kiyosaki books. Literally every single book he’s ever written, I’ve read. I started reading. My parents aren’t business owners. They’re good at what they do. They’re great at earning a living but I knew I wanted more. After that Marine Corps experience, I knew there was more you have, the more you could be. I didn’t know what that looked like. Finally, it was like I got to do something different. I went back to school. I was like, “Let me go to school for a look.” I went to school for audio engineering. I went to HCC here in Houston. I got an Associate degree. That was an amazing experience. It helped me ground myself and found myself again in where I was trying to go.

From there, I ended up going to Texas Southern and try getting a four-year degree. I was supposed to get an audio engineer degree with a minor in business. I knew I wanted to own my own studio. I wanted to have the business acumen as well with the knowledge of the actual operations also. From there, I ended up getting a Finance degree with a focus on risk management, which is probably one of the best experiences and decisions I’ve made. A buddy of mine was like, “Why are you doing management?” It’s nothing against management, but he was like, “You’re smart enough. You need to do this finance thing.” I was like, “Why?” He was like, “Finance is like being an engineer in science. You leave with hard skills that you can then go, and you can apply. You can apply across many different aspects in business.” Accounting is the language of business. Finance is the sister to that, which is the projection of business and the manipulation of those currencies. Accounting is what has happened because of the basis of finance. When I understood that, I fell in love with it. I ran off of that and it’s been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

Were you part of the Ocean of Soul at TSU?

No, I wasn’t. It’s funny that you asked that. I thought about going back and play the instrument almost a decade when I was at TSU because I was 32 or 33 when I got to TSU. One summer, I’ve got this window. I want to join the band. If I can get in, I can practice, and I’ll be able to get my chops up. By the time the marching band starts, I’ll get in. It never worked out. It’s one of those things the universe, God works in mysterious ways. It was wasn’t meant for me to do that anymore. I shot my shot and it got shot down by the universe. I have a lot of respect for all those fans. My dad was a musician like that in the marching band at Greenland. I love those shows and performances and I’ll show my son the YouTube videos. “Check this out. They’re so entertaining.”

You have to push your body and mind to the limits to understand how far the human experience can go.
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I want to have my parents check this episode because back in the ‘80s we go to the Astrodome for Oiler games and nine times out of ten, TSU Ocean of Soul would play the halftime show. It was so funny because they would come out almost the drum and bugle corps they’d march out. They’d get there very rigid and then that big bop and bass would boom. My parents were tapping their feet. It was always an experience and my mom would always say, “Who’s playing halftime? Is it TSU?” My parents went to Sam Houston State and we’d watch Sam play and it’s like, “This is boring.” There was so much energy. I know we went down a rabbit hole that’s my fault, but I was curious about it. After TSU, what happened then?

While I was at TSU, I was a non-traditional student. I was in my 30s and technically a freshman there because I got this audio degree. I was trying to get this business degree now so I’m certainly a freshman. I’m a non-traditional student. I was like, “Let me take real advantage of this college experience while I’m here.” I joined organizations. I networked with the faculty and staff who were there. I’ve talked to a lot of the younger people who were there trying to help them. One young guy and from there, he became as one of my good friends. We had an accounting class together. He was struggling with it. I helped him out. I was in this group and I wanted to do some good while I was there. I saw that there were needs.

I come from a family of giving, service. I was raised in the church and we did roadside clean up. We took communion to the people and the elders and old folks’ home. We went to house visit sick and study and all that stuff. My mom has always been into politics. My grandpa was into politics in North Louisiana. I knew when I was there, I wanted to make some social impact. I didn’t know what it was. I ran across this opportunity of urban gardening. We had times when I had to go see this guy at this farm in Fifth Ward, this urban farm. I was like, “Urban farm, what is that?” I went there and I met this guy. His name is Joe Isaac. If you’re interested in that stuff, look him up on Instagram or Facebook, Joe Isaac, he’s doing a lot of great stuff around the city of Houston.

He had developed this urban farm at his old rice mill. You’re there and he’s growing like okra, tomatoes, kale, lettuce, and corn. I was like, “What is this?” He told me it was on top of what used to be a parking lot. What is this? It is crazy. It’s a holistic, cool place. They turn the loading dock into a big aquaponics farm. They had had tilapia and blue crab in there. They were siphoning that off to feed plants hydroponically. It was amazing. They had chickens and all the stuff. The place is still there but Joe now moved around the city doing other things. From that experience, I ended up getting this knowledge and getting this bug in my life about I can do that here in the Third Ward. My buddy was like, “I’m interested in connecting with the university to make this happen.” They had torn down an old dorm. It was two acres. It was the exact same size as what this place was at the Fifth Ward.

We were like, “We can do the same thing.” Basically, me and my buddy, we went, and we lobbied with the university for them to give us the servership of the two acres in the middle of a city, which is amazing. We turned it into an urban farm. The best part about it was we have social impact aspect where we engaged directly with the university. We engaged with the faculty and the staff and the students at the university. We engaged with the community itself. We have a program called the Icarus International Green Program. He and I were founders of that. That’s how I got my first taste of executive level management and running an organization. This was all totally conceptual. He and I came up with the concept. I learned about understanding your personal growth as a person and how you as a leader have to grow because a lot of time it’s not about the people in your organization, mostly it’s you.

When you fix you, the right people will be attracted to you. Those things will work themselves out. We went through like three iterations of a board. It was bad like I didn’t know if we were going to make it. It was one of those things. It was my first entrepreneur taste of things. We were out here trying to raise money. We were putting out this program. It ended up being in a great situation. I ended up being on the sustainability board of the university. We worked projects for Earth Day, Sustainability Day. We were the student representatives on our undergrad standpoint for the university and that voice of what we wanted to see and how we wanted to see the growth of the university. I was privileged and honored to be a part of that conversation. From there, I learned a lot about politics and how the government side of things worked. We worked with a lot of other small organizations, branched out across the city of Houston. It was cool.

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I find that highly interesting because you jumped straight into development not like, “I’m going to go buy a house and rent it out and then move.” You’re a non-traditional student, but that is quite an interesting story.

I didn’t even know what I was doing. Our advisor was an architect by trade. He was a Census State Building director there. He was like, “You’re doing urban development.” I was like, “Urban development, what are you talking about?” He was like, “You’re taking a piece of land. You’re repurposing it for the purpose of this or whatever it is you’re creating a product. You’re creating a social impact,” but it was some cool stuff that I wanted to do to help people. From that, it was the spark for me. People to do that. I started going on that rabbit hole. What is this urban development thing? How does that work? How can I get into that? I don’t swing a hammer. I can’t build you a house. I’m not a realtor. How do I leverage and get inside this industry? That was my first entrance understanding of I can do this real estate thing. My mom is a realtor and I always know about real estate, but I never understood what an investor was, how those things worked, and all the mechanisms in place that made that happen. From that experience, it opened the door for me to be like, “This is how you make it. This is one way to make those happen to get into real estate.”

You are the principal partner of Major Gainz Capital. This is where I love your story that’s why I wanted to hear you say it and let the audience hear it. I have always said an easy way to get into private lending is to go to loan to a hard money lender or put your money into a fund or crowdfunding or whatever. It’s a great way if I made up a private mortgage loan and went through the whole process. To me, that was a leap of faith, but once I got to the other side, I realized that I stepped over a line. There was no wide abyss or anything like that. You look back and it’s like it was such a small step. It was a huge effort to get through it. That’s one of the reasons why I wanted to bring you on because I find your fund interesting.

I’ll talk more about how I got to this point. Once I started doing this development thing, I’m reading these books. I’ve read all these business books. I’ve read books I’ve forgotten that I read. The synopsis I got was I realized this is America. The beauty of America is you can come here, and you can create your own economy. I didn’t know how that worked. When I got in this financing thing, insurance risk management, insurance was my minor. From that, I got to see how people were using life insurance as vehicles to create arbitrage. Arbitrage is how banks make money. They take it. They pool money here that they loan to these people at a high rate of interest and then they pay the people who put the money in a low rate of interest out and then they spread there, and they keep that.

They’re charging 10% to the business owner or to the entity that borrows money. They’re giving the person who put the money a 2%. Where does the 8% spread? The bank keeps that. When I realized that you could do that as an individual, I was like, “I need to figure out how I can do that.” I’m a big believer in alignment. A lot of people call it faith, walking with God, whatever you want to call it, spirituality. I met some people that were like, “You’ve got to meet this guy. He teaches people how to put together funds.” I went, and I met this guy. He was like, “Call this dude.” I called him on the phone. We talked. Normally he only works with people who have a long real estate history, but because I had finance knowledge, I understood the business side, the money side of it. The guy’s name is Joel Block. He is one of my mentors. He’s out on Southern California. He teaches people how to set up these syndicated funds.

Joel always says, “The money is in the money.” When you understand that and as a finance guy, I got it. I was like, “The money is in the money.” It wasn’t just about the vehicle itself, but it still wraps with the money is in the money. How do you make the money work? How do you make the money work for you and understand the other mechanism for grants you can get into that leverage that money? From there which is great because my best friend at the time, we talked about two weeks before I came up there. I called him, and I was like, “I’m going to be in Austin a couple weeks for this and I want to connect with you while I was there.” He was like, “Good. What are you coming up here for?” I said, “I’m going to this symposium thing for real estate funds.” He was like, “I’m going to that thing.” I was like, “Are you serious?” He was like, “Yes.” Neither of us knew because he moved to Austin, so we hadn’t talked about it. Two weeks beforehand we found out. Fast forward from there, he and I decided to do this. About a few years ago, we decided to partner up. He is the other principal partner in Major Gainz Capital. I get to work with one of my best friends and we have another on our team as well. He’s going to become one of our best friends also. It’s been a cool experience. I divest from that so that’s how we got into the capital markets into owning a fund and all that stuff.

What does your fund specialize in and what type of projects are you looking at?

We are basically an opportunity fund. We’re pretty open into what we do. As a capital group, we specialize in more capital stack management. We can go in and we do deal formulation. We’re going to figure out what that deal looks like.

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You are an opportunity fund.

We’re pretty much opportunity fund. I guess there are two parts to our business. There’s the fund and then there’s our LLC, the actual capital group that manages the fund. People don’t understand that part of it. There’s a front and back end. The fund works like a bank. We can go in and work with them. We have a relationship with those group of investors. There’s a set up that we have with them that pays to make sure they get paid first and we get paid second. It’s a great set up. I like that way. I tell people, “If you don’t make money, I don’t make money.” It creates that trust there.

Unlike Wall Street, who even in down market some people lose, and they still get bonuses. I liked that a lot. You align your best interests with theirs.

We recognize that for someone to lend us their hard-earned money and trust it with us because we’re going to hold your money for a period of time. It’s real estate. It’s not very liquid, but we’re going to go in. There needs to be a level of trust there. I want my investors to understand that I’m not going to run off with your money. A lot of people wonder about that sometimes and like, “This dude is going to take my money and be gone. I’m never going to see him again.” It’s not like that. I said, “If you don’t get paid, I don’t get paid.” It’s in my best interest to make the maximum return that I can make.

Break down your structure. You said you had the front and the back end. How does that work? Do you have an LLC that manages?

Major Gainz Capital LLC is the fund manager. What we do is the fund manager goes out and finds projects and properties. We can do everything from a single-family flip up to skyscraper if we wanted to because we focus on the capital stack management. I don’t know if people are familiar with capital stacks.

Go ahead and break it down to us.

Capital stack basically is the percentages of risk that investment groups take in taking down an asset. Let’s say you have a skyscraper. There’s going to be an equity piece or a debt piece, which will be known where traditionally that’s a large investor. A traditional institutional investor takes that down. It’s normally about a 40%, 50% or about 60% of the value of that skyscraper that you’re going to have because some people call a mezzanine, which is basically that equity portion of the LTC. You get up to a percentage of the LTV or ARV. You’ll be able to go in and get 85% LTV, loan to value. You’ve got to come up that 15%. That mezzanine is the 15% or 10% you might come up with. As the investor on the deal, you’ve got to come up with 5% your skin in the game, which would be 5% of the equity portion that you put in. That’s what they’ll call a waterfall. Based upon that schedule will be depending upon how people get paid out when the assets cash become profitable.

Think of it as a big single-family home. From a private lending perspective, I want to see that investor have some skin in the game. Don’t ask me to roll your closing costs into the note. Have some money right there. You mentioned loan to value and also mentioned LTC, is that your loan-to-cost I assume?

Yes, loan-to-cost. We do a lot of development stuff. We can do a single-family flip, but we focus more on the development side. If the ROI is correct, if the right rate of return for that investment is there, we’ll go into that. We have very high due diligence standards that we use, the professionals that we interface with when we hire or hire to work with us have very high due diligence standards. If you make it past that and that project creates the right ROI, we’ll invest with you in that project. On the construction side, you get what’s called loan to cost. That’s the cost to create this asset. We’re asked maybe a finished product would be loan-to-value. If you’re building a house from the ground up, you’re going to have extra cost to build that and you’ll get a percentage of that cost. Once that asset is created then it has a value to it. As the end user, I would use the LTV to go in and buy that. That will be the way I would be rated as an end user.

From my understanding, Major Gainz, you come in with the initial equity, the 5% and then have institutional funding come in for the major part as a bank or insurance company. Do you fill in the mezzanine or that gap?

It all depends upon the cap. In some aspects we will go in and be a two-portion capital stack. In other set times, we have guarantor base that we work with who are high net worth individuals or other entities where there is a family trust or whatever the entity is that has the ability to cover that mezzanine depending upon the size of the deal. If you’ve got $15 million deal, we might come in and pay a portion of that. We’ll have a guarantor come in and pay the partner with us on that mezzanine and depending upon the relationship, we’ll represent the money. We’ll come in. There’s still be a two-portion capital stack, but we’ll represent all of that mezzanine, equity financing so basically that 15% for that loan to cost worth 15% to 20% we’ll also represent that and have the institutional investor represent the other 8%.

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You mentioned capital quick. Run us through the cap.

Cap is basically the capitalization, the maximum amount of money that we’ll put into a deal. We work anywhere from $10 million to $50 million cap. We’ll cap out at $50 million. It’s the level projects. We know as a group we can control that risk. We can mitigate that risk per project. That’s how we operate. We have some secret sauce that I can’t talk too much about, but we have a way that we go in and we can create leverage and create high ROIs for our investors and for ourselves as well.

Since you are a fund, do I have to be accredited to participate?

I’m going to give basic information about that structure.

I don’t want you to get in trouble. Don’t break any SCC rules.

We got to be very careful about that. The way general syndicated funds work is in 2009, the JOBS Act came out. That’s when the crowdfunding rules came out. You see these platforms where you can go online as a non-credit investor get in. An accredited investor is an individual or entity that has $1 million of net worth not including their homestead or they make $200,000 a year for two years in a row as a single person or $300,000 as a married couple. There are some other caveats. Let’s say you are a doctor or an attorney, you don’t make the full $300,000. You might make $220,000 as a family, but because you’re sophisticated enough, you own your own business or you’re a tax guy or a CPA, you could technically qualify as an accredited investor. I tell people don’t look at not having the asset as a way of disqualification because there are other ways that you can get into these qualifying as sophisticated.

You have business acumen and you’ve been a flipper, you understand the real estate industry, or you trade. You work in some form of capital market and you can prove that. It’s a way that you might also get into the accredited. I was talking with a parent. Our son goes in this Montessori. He asked what I did. He was like, “I always see you on the phone. I always see you dropping kids off. What do you do?” I was like, “I’m in capital.” He was like, “That’s awesome. We’ve been always trying to get into investments, but we’re not accredited, and we can’t ever get any.” I was explaining to him a little bit the game and you can learn some stuff or create this. I’m not a CPA. I’m not a lawyer. Give my disclaimer there.

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I tell people definitely go talk to your financial professional. Find out where you’re at. I guess it comes back to being an entrepreneur or business person and especially if you’re going to be a private lender, find out what your number is, not what your value is. Have that goal of where do you want to be. How do I get to this next level? How do I create more passive investments, so I can get into these investments that are bringing out these private equity investors, bringing up these huge returns without having to go in and physically do the work myself? I love doing what I’m doing. I tell people there’s a business aspect of real estate. You know this. A lot of people don’t take into consideration like, “I want to invest in real estate.” I was like, “Do you want to do real estate or do you want to benefit from the gains and the mechanisms that real estate offers because if you can’t understand that business aspect or that business portion of real estate, you can set yourself up for a lot of risks and have too big losses.”

That’s a great point that you bring up because that was one thing that I learned very quickly. I said, “I want to be a real estate investor.” What I meant was I think I want to get into the real estate business of investing. It hit me in the face very quickly. I’ve done all this work to try to find a property and I can’t put it in cruise control now. I have to go to work with everything going and that’s what private lending became very appealing to me because of my schedule and with my work. I have a job that I like that I don’t hate coming to work. It pays me well, but I realize that it’s not going to take me to where I want to get retirement wise and everything else. I’m going to have to pay for two weddings. I’ve got to make some coin. You’ve described what an accredited investor is, but you also described ways you legally you can get money.

Everything is a shade of gray. I think a lot of people look at things black and white. Let’s look at where were the shades of gray are and do you qualify. I’m not saying get around something, but if you’re in a position where or at least until you have that goal. That was one of the things I had to learn. I learned it in TSU, having that specific goal. Knowing also where your number is, what number you’re shooting for, what purpose are you doing this for. “I want to make money.” You won’t because what does that mean? $1, $1,000? Is that $1 a day, $1,000 a year? You need to know specifically what your goal is and where you want to be. Not only that, know your number. What is the purpose you’re doing it? You can figure that out. You can reverse engineer back to go maybe you don’t need to be an accredited investor or reach the goal that you want to reach. Maybe you do.

I’m not saying that either way is wrong or right, but for somebody who has done the work and they want to now sit back so much, and they don’t want to do that business side of things. Like I said, I love my job. I’m good at what I do. I create great income. I’ve been prudent with my money. I’ve saved and have put it in the right instruments and now I’m ready to ramp that up a little bit more. Figure out where you’re at and what your plan is and sit down and take some real thought. It’s not rocket science. You just got to sit down and do. That’s one of the biggest things I tell people, sit down and do. When I finally sat down and did it for myself, I realized I’m not that far off. You talked about crossing that line of being you thinking it’s a huge chasm and it’s just this line you cross.

One of my business partners, when we got this thing going, he was like, “You’re doing it.” I’ve been so in his prep mode of getting all this knowledge together and business plans and going through this, all the stuff and fine tuning everything and making sure all this is right. When we got to the point it was happening, it was happening. He was like, “You thought it was going to be like some big fanfare and this grand opening. No, you walk into it and you’re there.” A lot of time it’s not as far off is what we think it is.

PLP 51 | Creating A Fund

Creating A Fund: The earth is the house that we rent. If we don’t leave it in as good the condition as when we got into it, then we are going to get hit.


Can you tell us a little bit more about the way you work or perhaps maybe some of your projects?

Yes and no. Since we’re private, I can’t talk too much about specifically the deals that we’re in right now, but we are working a couple of deals. We have two deals here in Houston. We interfaced with a group out of Memphis that is doing some great social impact stuff. I’m a National Wildlife Federation fellow class of 2014 for the work that I was doing in the sustainable spaces and things like that. If that would work also in TSU. I have a heart for sustainability and social impact. I love doing that. We’re looking at our developments that we do cramming as much green technology as we can that our ROI will allow us to put in. You can’t go full bore sometimes, but when the opportunity presents itself, we put that in. We have a methodology of how the types of houses and quality homes we want to build on. I was working with a company that started in 2017 in Austin and they worked in container homes. I’ve always had this want to do alternative housing or things like that in different ways and the technologies we were using were very unique because of the zero energy, zero carbon footprint homes. We have a philosophy, the triple-bottom line philosophy, people, planet, profits. It’s got to be good for profits then it’s got to be good for people and got to be good for the planet. That’s our philosophy and how we look at things.

I want to backup with the container homes. Are they Conex containers that come on ships, those big metal things?

Like the metal shipping containers that people you see. We have joined forces with this company and they were doing some good things on Austin. A lot of people now entered that space and figured that space out. I think it’s a good space to be into a degree, but you’ve got to understand it and know the market. A lot of people are disillusioned and watch some of these shows like, “I can build this house for $1,000.” You can, but can you get a CO? Is it up to code? We’re a capital group so we also have to take in consideration. This has got to be a resell. A lot of people look at what I do by myself. Maybe as an individual, it’s one thing, but as a company, we have to look at what does that look like for the whole market. We don’t want to start putting in these $100,000 homes in a neighborhood that has comps at $160,000, $170,000, $200,000. That’s going to bring down value.

It’s going to mess up the economics of things. It’s a balance that you’ve got to find of being able to create these things. A lot of people were shocked that it costs the same amount of money to build this as it does. There are a lot more that goes into it. As far as being appraisal but what I tell people is when you do that it creates more wealth for you because you’re capturing that price will rise when you build that captures more on that back end. You’re paying us an amount, but you have more value created than you would possibly in a traditional home.

The beauty of America is that you can come here and create your own economy.
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For the record, a CO is a certificate of occupancy. You got to get that. There were some of the comments that come in on the podcast. It was like, “I know exactly what you’re saying, but all the acronyms.” People are like, “Can you break it down?” If you built in a city of Austin, Houston, Boston, New York, you’ve got to get a certificate of occupancy after the building is erected. They come in and say, “Yes, it’s safe for people to either live, dwell, work or whatever the use of the space is going to be.” How can people find out more about Major Gainz Capitol and Brandyn Cottingham?

You can go check us out. Our website is You can also find me at Brandyn@MajorGainzCapital or Info@MajorGainzCapital or if you go to our website, we’re there and you’ll be able to get an interface with us. We love to hear from you guys. We love working with developers, other builders, anybody that’s got projects. We have hydrogeologist standards. A lot of developers they love working with us because we help them look at their business in a more sophisticated way.

You’ve got any social handles or are you out on social media?

Instagram and you can find me @SublimeWhealth and/or Facebook, Brandyn Cottingham. You can find us on Major Gainz Capital Facebook, Major Gainz Capital on IG as well. My Twitter is @SublimeWhealth also.

Brandyn, thank you for coming on the show, telling us about the fund, your background especially and your philosophy about it’s not about money. It took me a very long time to figure out that if you do it for a goal for the passion or for a reason then usually the money will follow. I like how you have your triple bottom line. No matter what side of the global warming debate you’re on, I look at it very simply and I don’t take sides. I look at it as the earth is the house that I rent. If I don’t leave it in as good or the same condition when I got into it then I’m going to get hit. I’m going to have to pay my deposits lost. That’s always the way I looked at it. I’m smack dab in the middle of my family. I’ve got people on both sides.

A lot of the business entrepreneurs are sitting in that space.

Thanks again. You can find out more. I wish you a happy and prosperous investing, Brandyn. Thanks again.

Thank you so much. It’s been an honor to share my story. I appreciate it.

Thank you.

I hope everyone enjoyed the interview with Brandyn Cottingham. I know I had a great time doing the interview with him. I want to thank him again for coming on. You can get all the information that Brandyn spoke about his contact how to get in touch with him, get more information about what he does, his fund, but also the books that he mentioned. I want to thank you for sharing your time with me. If you haven’t yet, please go to and get on the waiting list. I am working as hard as I can to get something out in the New Year or the first quarter. I was hoping for January but that’s probably not going to happen or it won’t happen. I’m busting tail to try to get some things done and get it up and running. I appreciate all the support and everybody that’s been reaching out and giving feedback. I really do appreciate it and please keep it coming.

Please rate and review on iTunes or whatever platform you use. I would greatly appreciate that because that’s the best way to organically reach people like you, like-minded people like us who want to learn more about this and give the podcast a little more exposure. Also, please connect with my social media. I want to say thanks again for sharing your time with me. I wish you a healthy, happy and prosperous private lending and investing. I’ll see on the next episode.

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About Brandyn Cottingham

PLP 51 | Creating A FundBrandyn Cottingham, also a veteran of the United States Marine Corps, started his entrepreneurial journey in 2011 as the Co-creator/President of the Icarus International Green Program at Texas Southern University (TSU), where he studied finance. During his tenure, Brandyn managed donor/sponsor relations, coordinated with local community leaders, schools, civic organizations and TSU to battle the issues around food deserts, and food insecurity, in the Houston, Texas area.

He, and his team were responsible for the development and management of raw land for agricultural and educational use. During this time, Brandyn held a position on TSU’s Sustainability Board upon which he helped create, organize and execute beautification projects across the campus. For these efforts, Mr. Cottingham was selected and recognized as a National Wildlife Federation Fellow class of 2014.

With an extensive network of real estate professionals, real estate vendors, and a foundation in finance, Mr. Cottingham brings a comprehensive approach to real estate investing. Brandyn holds an A.A.S. in Audio Engineering, is a CPCU Presidential Scholarship recipient and volunteers throughout the city of Houston helping a variety of organizations. Brandyn, 40, is a loving husband and father of two wonderful boys, enjoys spending time with extended family and close friends, and collaborating in the creation of music whenever possible.

About the author, Keith Baker

My ultimate goal is to create an economy for Real Estate (and other) Investors where banks are no longer needed. An economy where every day people look to each other for leverage and support. During the day I am an insurance adjuster for the oil field, where I handle millions of dollars of other people's money (OPM), and by night I invest in Real Estate and host this podcast. I hope you have an excellent experience and find real value within this website and the Private Lender Podcast. Please leave comments or submit your questions on the Contact Page.

I wish you prosperous, safe and happy lending and investing!

Thanks for listening


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