Have you ever wondered how to attack investors to buy your franchise? Or how to provide an operating partner for a well-qualified investor? Today’s guest, JB Bedasse talks about how his firm helps answer these questions. JB is the CEO and Founder of Corlex Capital. You can learn more about Corlex at the company website: www.CorlexCapital.com.
Corlex is a minority-owned private equity and consulting firm that invests in and serves the franchising industry by leveraging its specialized in-house operations team to create significant value for clients, investors, brand owners, developers, and the communities they serve.
In his previous career as an investment banker, JB led sales and trading desks and M&A business in Canada, the U.S. and Caribbean. JB guided businesses from whiteboard to initial public offerings and secondary placements for micro-cap stocks on Bay Street and Wall Street, with 200 plus transactions, 85 IPO’s and 8 billion dollars in capital raised. JB saw an opportunity to help other entrepreneurs scale with access to institutional investors and brings a broad range of business experience and acumen to Corlex.
He started Corlex with the vision to support early-stage growth companies through a hybrid model private equity principal investment firm fused with an operational advisory business. He anchored the company sourcing its first principal deal, Belief Brands, in 2016, and has built a successful operational consulting business in both the food and non-food franchise industries. With an office in Atlanta, GA, Corlex serves clients both domestically and abroad. JB is also the resident DJ in the office, spinning Thursday evenings when he’s not on the road.
Born in Kingston, Jamaica, raised in Montreal, Canada, and now based in Atlanta, Georgia JB has traveled to every continent except Antarctica. He speaks English, French, Patois, and dabbles in Spanish. He spends Saturday mornings street cooking and counseling with Feed the Homeless Project, where he’s served on the Board of Directors for the past 2 years, earning the “Volunteer of the Year” award in 2018. JB joined the Young President’s Organization in 2020.
When you ask JB what motivates him these days, he is likely to say “being thoughtful and impactful” in his business dealings, in his service and community investment, and with his family and legacy. Introspective and focused, JB will tell you he’s just getting started.
JB holds a Bachelor of Arts degree with a double major in sociology and economics from the University of Western Ontario, Canada.
If you are ready to talk about franchising your business you can schedule your free, no-obligation, franchise consultation online at: https://bigskyfranchiseteam.com/ or by calling Big Sky Franchise Team at: 855-824-4759.
Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (00:02):
You’ve worked hard to build your business and now it’s time to grow. Welcome to The Multiply your Success Podcast. I’m your host, Tom DuFore, CEO of Big Sky Franchise Team and a serial entrepreneur. As we get going today, we always like to open with a question, but this one’s pretty interesting for our topic today, which is all about the idea of finding absentee ownership, passive investment opportunities. These things are frequently coming up, whether it’s a large investor that’s looking to purchase several franchises, that says, well, I’d love to buy a bunch, but I don’t have anyone to operate those, or a partner to come in, or a franchisor that’s maybe saying, boy, I’d love to find an organization or some specialists to come in and help operate some of my franchisees that are maybe underperforming or could be performing better than what they are.
Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (00:59):
Our guest today is JB Bedasse, and he’s the CEO and founder of Corlex Capital. JB started the company after just a brilliant background working on Bay Street and Wall Street. He’s guided businesses from the whiteboard, to IPO’s and secondary placements, and Bay Street and Wall Street with over 200 transactions, 85 IPO’s, and more than $8 billion in capital raised during that time. He’s born in Kingston, Jamaica, raised in Montreal, and now he’s based out of Atlanta. He’s traveled to every continent except Antarctica. He speaks multiple languages, and he spends a Saturday morning street cooking and counseling with Feed the Homeless Project, where he served on the board of directors for the past two years. He’s actually earned the Volunteer of the Year Award in 2018. He joined the young president’s organization, also known as YPO, in 2020. When you ask JB what motivates him these days, he’s likely to say, being thoughtful and impactful. We talk about that at the tail end of the interview. You’re going to want to hear, at the end of the interview, what he says about being thoughtful and impactful. With that being said, I’d love to jump right into my interview with JB Bedasse.
Jason “JB” Bedasse, Corlex Capital (02:23):
I’m JB Bedasse, and I’m the CEO and founder of Corlex Capital here in Atlanta, Georgia, a minority owned private equity firm focused on investing in franchise businesses, food and non-food, focused on growth capital. But what makes us a little different, is that we have a focus on operations. We also operate franchises on behalf of investors to make it truly a passive investment for them.
Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (02:50):
Wow, that’s really interesting. JB, a lot of our audience are in the franchise business or thinking about getting into franchising as an emerging franchise or brand, would you maybe talk a little bit about your work, do you work directly with the franchise? Or I saw a recent, it looked like acquisition of several, I think it was Wingstop franchises that you recently acquired, so would you maybe talk through how that all works?
Jason “JB” Bedasse, Corlex Capital (03:22):
Yeah, sure. We are here to help with not only the franchise or side, but for the franchisees trying to manage growth. Sometimes franchisees get ahead of their skis when they grow a little quickly, and that’s always predicated on the back of success. We like to say that it’s a different skill set to go from five stores, to 15, to 50, to 500. Those could be different animals and different people that know how to tackle those animals. So, we try to be there to help out with growth. We’re happy to do it with several brands, but most recently we’re now a brand partner of Wingstop and we’re happy to be with them.
Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (04:06):
Great, great. I’m always curious, just out of curiosity, how do you identify potential partners, investments, acquisitions, how do you identify that? I’m not asking for the trade secrets, but just curious if someone’s listening in saying, hey, JB, this sounds interesting, maybe you’d be interested in what we’re doing.
Jason “JB” Bedasse, Corlex Capital (04:29):
Sure. Yeah, I mean, there’s some disciplines around the types of franchisors that we like. Again, it varies from whether it’s food or non-food, but if we’re to stay on the food side, which is probably 75% of our business, we like to see high off premise business, for one. We like to see 85% to 90% off premise, especially in the current environment. So, we like to see brands that have the strategy to stay around and stay open during things like COVID. So, you’ve got a lot of delivery business, catering, take out, that type of thing, we love it. The ability to order on an app and then it shows up at your place at door dash, love that all day long, very defensible in these types of markets. Then of course, things that have a price point where you can feed a family if you have to make it stretch a bit in these times, we get that. So, there are a lot of different brands that have those qualities that we’re very interested in and we stay focused in that area.
Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (05:35):
Okay, interesting, interesting. I’d love to get a little backstory on you. We’re talking about your company right now and your investment company, but how do you get that started? What are some of your beginnings? I’d love to sh for you to share your story.
Jason “JB” Bedasse, Corlex Capital (05:52):
Sure. It’s an unconventional story, but a story nonetheless. But born in Jamaica, raised in Montreal, Quebec, Canada in the middle of Mennonite farm town. So, humble beginnings that way. Began my career in investment banking, and was always focused in growth companies, and when I was on the public side as a trader, focused on micro cap stocks. There was always an affinity for growing businesses. When I left that for a while, I tried to start my own business when I was really young. Believe it or not, the biggest thing I struggled with was growth. I never thought that you could grow too quickly and that become a problem. That always stayed with me, and I wished that I had had that support when I was coming up.
Jason “JB” Bedasse, Corlex Capital (06:41):
Hence, why I really liked the franchise model. It’s a great way to transition those who don’t have the necessary operational experience in a prior life, that want to be able to transition into that world with some support. So, I just had an affinity for that. But if you spend a lot of time in the growth capital sector of it, the earlier stages of that growth platform, the emphasis on operations are very, very strong and they’re very, very serious. So, to identify other operators that have that experience of franchise growth, I think is so valuable. So, that’s what is the Genesis of Corlex, it’s matching up strong operators with those who can help out with growing franchise systems from franchisee sides.
Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (07:33):
Interesting. I appreciate you sharing that, thank you. Going from Jamaica, Montreal, and now here in the states, and you’re based in Atlanta, is that correct?
Jason “JB” Bedasse, Corlex Capital (07:45):
Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (07:49):
As you and your team are now starting to look and grow your business, where do you see your company going? What’s your vision?
Jason “JB” Bedasse, Corlex Capital (07:59):
Wow, well, listen, our vision is to continue in helping the management of growth. There are a lot of different brands out there that stay in our lane as far as what our disciplines are with off premise business, and also not to mention, that have a strong social sensibility of their surroundings, and supporting minority businesses. That’s a big thing to us here too, we are an MBE, minority business enterprise. So, there are great opportunities that check all those boxes. Five years from now, we’d like to be involved with several brands, growing with them, becoming good brand partners, good stewards of the brands, as well as providing investment opportunities for those who really want to invest and own assets where they can truly be a passive investor without having to run these things. So, we can do it on their behalf. I think it’s an exciting runway for us in the next three to five years.
Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (09:00):
Interesting. By a passive investor, I’m interested in this, if someone in our audience is listening and saying, oh, okay, JB, so passive investor, okay, this sounds like every potential investors dream. Okay, so I’m interested in, let’s say buying a handful of food franchises, and I want to invest in it, but I really don’t want to run it. I don’t want to operate it, I don’t have that expertise. Is that where you and your company could come in to manage daily operations? How does that work?
Jason “JB” Bedasse, Corlex Capital (09:33):
Absolutely, absolutely. In some cases it’s even a bigger issue than that for potential investors that want to come in these spaces. So, it is the franchise owners responsibility to protect their brand. To do so, they have to have operators that can run their businesses at an optimum level to show a good brand and show a good experience to the customer. I understand and empathize the desire to keep that from a franchisor perspective or standpoint, but if you’re somebody who’s trying to get into a business where you’re getting stonewalled by that because you haven’t done it before, that can be very frustrating. This is a way to get around that by piggybacking on the third party management services that Corlex provides. It’s a way to also create that track record, with some of the ways we structure some of these deals, that allow you to start that button on building a track record for yourself, so that perhaps in a few years, you’re in a position to go out on your own and actually have a track record with an existing brand that you’ve been affiliated with by ownership for the past few years or so. That’s the way that we tackle that to offer that service for those that don’t necessarily qualify to have a franchise out the gates on their own.
Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (10:56):
Interesting. When you’re going through this, our listeners are franchisors in many cases, do you partner with franchisors, I should say maybe more of a strategic partnership, where you can help support franchisees in a system, or how does that relationship work?
Jason “JB” Bedasse, Corlex Capital (11:18):
Yeah, we’re here to help, first and foremost. If there is an opportunity to get involved in a system that has the opportunities to acquire existing restaurants, where there is some space for growth, we welcome those opportunities. That’s typically the first step in how we’re shown opportunities from the franchisor side, but we typically also get calls in from would be investors, that are like, hey, I tried to get into this system and I just didn’t have the background that [inaudible 00:11:51], but I really want one, do you have any interest in going on that direction JB? Are you guys looking to invest in those any time soon? Those types of conversations are starting to come up and those are exciting for us too.
Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (12:02):
Interesting, interesting. Well, as part of this, I’d love for you to share your contact information website.
Jason “JB” Bedasse, Corlex Capital (12:10):
Absolutely. You can go to www.corlexcapital.com, our website, and you can click on the info at and reach out to us anytime you can.
Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (12:22):
Great, great. Thank you. Well, JB, I’d love to get into the little format for the show here. So, we have this interview process, we ask every guest the same few questions before they go. I’d love for you to answer this idea of misses makes a multiplier. We’ll start first with the misses, and maybe a miss that happened along the way that you could share something you learned from it.
Jason “JB” Bedasse, Corlex Capital (12:47):
Yeah, as I was mentioning earlier, one of the first businesses I started was a miss. I had a T-shirt company that I was growing. It grew fast and I wasn’t anticipating for that to happen. It was an online platform, e-commerce was fairly new. This is back in 2002. I was building the plane while I was flying it, then all of a sudden it got crazy. What did I learn from that? Take your time. Don’t be in such a rush for the growth to come, it’ll come on its own. It’s really good to try and get that platform and that foundation laid and set. That will allow you to really manage the scalability much more comfortable than I did.
Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (13:33):
Great, great advice. Great advice. Thank you for sharing that. Well, the fun part is talking about the makes, that’s always the fun part to talk about that. Your career’s just decorated. If you were a soldier, you’d have just all the brass long and just all the pins and so on. Share with us some of the makes along the way that you had.
Jason “JB” Bedasse, Corlex Capital (13:57):
First of all, thank you for saying that. I enjoy building things for one, that’s just something that’s a passion of mine. Believe it or not, I even build Lego. I’m a huge Lego fan, and I’ll build Lego sets for hours and hours all night. Then when it’s done, I’ll go buy a new Lego set because I just like to build things. So, over my span of my career, I’ve had the good fortune and I’m humbled to be able to have worked on projects that we started from the beginning. I’m on my fourth startup business. We started a few investment banks back in Canada. It was a great experience. Here, same again, we launched Corlex about three years ago in a great place, growing, and it’s a great time to put all of those life experiences together to show what you can do and hopefully perform.
Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (14:52):
Great, great. Well, thank you for sharing that. How about the idea of the multiplier? Some guests have shared some things they’ve done personally or professionally. When you think about a multiplier in your business, or in your career, or personal life, would you mind sharing something that you found helpful?
Jason “JB” Bedasse, Corlex Capital (15:11):
Yeah, believe it or not, I really believe in vision boards. I think everything that’s real and tangible starts with the vision. So, it’s important to visualize it and speak into it and live it. I think that absorbs in your subconscious, and then you start working towards this even passively. I’m a big fan of those, I think people should have multiple vision boards. They should be very specific things, they should be very personal things. The last thing I will say about a vision board, whatever’s on there, if you can achieve and obtain it on your own in a relatively short period of time, it’s not big enough to be on your vision board. Reach higher, try and challenge yourself to have a little faith and believe in what you have to believe to do what you have to be able to do, because that’s really what entrepreneurship is about. You got to stretch yourself out there, don’t be afraid to fail, dream big, dreams come true, dream big, vision big.
Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (16:19):
Great. I love that. Thank you for sharing that. JB, before we go here, the last question we ask everyone is, what does success mean to you?
Jason “JB” Bedasse, Corlex Capital (16:31):
In its simplest form, success is the completion of a task. It’s just a series of that over, and over, and over again. If anybody wants to experience what success is, just start something, commit to finishing it, and finish it. That’s success to me.
Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (16:51):
I like that, I like that. Simple and yet so difficult.
Jason “JB” Bedasse, Corlex Capital (16:57):
Like all things in life.
Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (16:58):
Yeah. Simple, not easy.
Jason “JB” Bedasse, Corlex Capital (17:00):
That’s right. That’s exactly right. That to me is the definition of success. You know something? It’s something that everybody can experience at their own leisure, at their own level, at their own time.
Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (17:15):
Well, JB, one of the questions I forgot to ask you is about your company values, about being thoughtful and impactful, if I recall correctly. I would love for you just to talk a little bit about that, and where that comes from, and how that applies to your business.
Jason “JB” Bedasse, Corlex Capital (17:33):
Yeah, thank you for that opportunity. Those are big buzzwords in this company, and they’re big buzzwords in my life. Let’s start with thoughtful. When you’re a thoughtful, you haven’t got to be the smartest guy in the room if you put in the time. Being thoughtful is another way of showing your respect and your time that you’ve devoted to something. So, when you’re really, really thoughtful, then you have the option, and the chance of being impactful are much higher. I like the word impactful, because you haven’t got to be large to make a big difference, and that’s why I like the word about impactful. Everybody in our firm is impactful on all levels. I come from a place that’s very small, it’s very impactful. Jamaica is this big, and yet, it gave us reggae music, it gave us Usain Bolt, it gave us Bob Marley. It’s just very impactful. That’s just something that’s resonated with me in my entire life. Never afraid or intimidated to be small, to think that that means that we can’t make a big difference. Corlex is starting small, we’re trying very hard to be impactful by being very thoughtful.
Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (18:45):
Well, I appreciate that. Thank you for sharing that. When I read that, it really resonated with me. I just wanted to hear your interpretation of what those words mean. JB, just before we go here, is there anything you’d like to make sure you share with the audience that you haven’t had a chance to say yet?
Jason “JB” Bedasse, Corlex Capital (19:07):
No. Other than I’m very, very honored to be a part of the franchise community here in Atlanta and across the states. We’re excited to get out there and be as thoughtful, impactful, and helpful as we can in this industry. We think there’s a good runway and a real need that we can serve by offering operations for franchises, food, and non-food. So, we’re happy to be here, and if we can be helpful, please reach out.
Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (19:39):
JB, thank you for your time and for a fantastic interview. I really appreciate it. Let’s go ahead and jump into today’s three key takeaways. The first key takeaway with JB that I really liked, is that it’s a different skill set to grow from five units, 15 units, 50 units, to 500 units. I would say that applies for whether you’re a multiunit operator as a franchisee, company owned operator as a large company owned enterprise, or third, as a franchisor, as you grow from five, 15, 50 to 500. JB has some fantastic experience and great solutions to offer if you’re in that boat or looking for some support there.
Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (20:28):
Number two, I thought this was really interesting. He talked about take your time for growth, build that solid foundation. I liked how he shared how he actually loves building things, including building Lego and putting together different Lego puzzles and pieces. That was really neat.
Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (20:49):
Number three, for the third key takeaway today, is the use of vision boards. He says, use them, create a vision board. Do you have one? Do you know what one is? If you don’t, check it out. I know I use one. I loved how he said, if you can complete it in a short time period, three months, six months, it probably should not be on your vision board. These should be big, big visions and goals. Like all of you on here saying how can I multiply my success and what I’m doing and growing my business?
Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (21:19):
Now it’s time for today’s win, win. Today’s win-win is be thoughtful and be impactful, be thoughtful and impactful. This is all part of JB’s core values and really a driver for him personally that I really learned about interviewing him that we have on the podcast here, and when we spoke offline as well. Be thoughtful and impactful. When you’re thoughtful and impactful, a lot of things can happen. It doesn’t have to be in large, world changing things. It could happen, but you can be thoughtful with your spouse, you can be thoughtful with your children. You can be thoughtful with your coworkers or your clients. You can be thoughtful with those that are closest with you. Most likely, you are able to be most impactful with those people that are also closest to you. Then that will multiply beyond that. So, today’s win-win is be thoughtful and be impactful. That’s our episode today. Thank you for tuning in. JB, this was a fantastic interview. Please make sure you subscribe. Please leave us a review and we look forward to having you back next week.