Just a few years ago, Brian Paes-Braga let his instinct and insight steer him towards major success. Still in his 20s, he had heard from a friend whose father worked in the mining industry that there was a large quantity of lithium that hadn’t yet been mined. The timing was perfect. Electric cars were starting to get major buzz and lithium was used in the manufacturing of their batteries. After zoning in on the potential of the lithium market, Brian joined with Vancouver mining tycoon Frank Giustra to establish Lithium X Energy Corp., a lithium resource company. Two years later, in March 2018, they sold the company to an overseas corporation for $265 million.
Today, Brian Paes-Braga serves as principal and head of merchant banking at SAF Group, where he advises and finances high-growth companies, providing long-term capital solutions to leading public and private corporations. In addition, he co-founded and helps lead Quiet Cove Foundation, a private family foundation that supports innovative solutions to large scale social issues. In addition, he serves on the board of Thunderbird Entertainment Group, a Vancouver-based content production and distribution studio that creates award winning original scripted, factual and animation-based entertainment.
Brian also holds a seat on the board of DeepGreen Metals, a company that is taking an innovative approach to finding efficient sources of alternative energy. The company mines the ocean floor for metal deposits, extracts them and used them to make batteries. He believes that the company is leading the way to a cleaner, greener and more energy-efficient future.
What led you to become involved with DeepGreen Metals?
Brian Paes-Braga: There are a few things that initially attracted me to the company. Leading Lithium X gave me more experience in the metals mining industry, so I was able to know the lay of the land. DeepGreen is an opportunity to gain more experience and success in this arena. I’m also a passionate supporter of the current exploration for alternative energy sources and a big believer in putting more cars on the road that are powered by electricity. It’s the right move for our planet. When the opportunity to join the board of DeepGreen Metals came along, I was excited.
What is it about Deep Green that makes it stand apart, in your mind? You’ve often spoken about why innovation is a key part of everything you do. Is that the case here?
Brian Paes-Braga: Absolutely. We’ve been mining the earth for decades, but DeepGreen is taking an innovative approach to creating alternative energy by showing the world that it’s time to turn our attention to the ocean, where these metals are just waiting to be collected. Many people may not realize that there are vast, high-grade deposits on the ocean floor that contain nickel, manganese, copper, and cobalt. With its patented technology already in place to process these base metals and use them to make batteries, DeepGreen has positioned itself to become a leading producer of a number of base and strategic metals extracted from the ocean. By doing this, the company is leading the way to a cleaner, more environmentally friendly future powered by battery metals. This will help us reduce our current dependency on fossil fuels and better conserve our natural resources.
You have a talent for identifying opportunities and capitalizing on them. You achieved this with LithiumX. You’re in the right place at the right time with Thunderbird Entertainment. And now with DeepGreen, you’re part of a venture that’s addressing a problem that’s existed for decades. How do you know when a venture is worth pursuing?
Brian Paes-Braga: With DeepGreen, I’m drawn to their very realistic projections that in the not-too-distant future, there could be more than a billion electric cars on the road and effective, efficient storage facilities for solar and wind power. This is something I tell aspiring entrepreneurs. Be aware of the world around you. If you look at things from the point of view of business potential, you might be able to spot and capitalize on new ideas or trends when they’re still relatively new. I’m always on the lookout for the next big thing, so to speak, and that’s why I was eager to join the DeepGreen board. The alternative energy industry is still in its relative infancy.
How does your involvement with DeepGreen tie in with your other ventures?
Brian Paes-Braga: In every venture in which I’ve gotten involved, I’ve looked for opportunities to benefit humanity in some important way. That sounds ambitious, but it’s true. Lithium X helped support alternative energies. My organization, Quiet Cove Foundation, is supporting innovative solutions to social problems that exist worldwide. Thunderbird Entertainment is revolutionizing how people consume media. And at DeepGreen, we’re leading the world to what will be the next way to create energy that anyone can access. It keeps me very busy, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.