Reporter with Silicon Hills News
Austin entrepreneurs Joseph Kopser and Bret Boyd have launched Grayline, a corporate consulting firm.
Kopser previously worked as global president of moovel, a subsidiary of Diamler AG. Moovel recently announced plans to consolidate operations to Portland.
Kopser cofounded RideScout and sold it in 2014 to Car2Go, an Austin-based subsidiary of Diamler. He has roots in Austin and has become deeply involved in its entrepreneurial ecosystem. With Grayline, he saw an opportunity to build something special with Boyd, who previously worked as a vice president for Stratfor, a geopolitical analysis and consulting firm. Boyd built and ran Austin-based Stratfor’s enterprise business. Both men graduated from the U.S. Military Academy and served in the U.S. Army. They met in Austin four years ago and they thought the timing was right now to partner.
Grayline provides strategy and corporate development support for companies, public institutions and investment groups. It is focused on the energy industry, manufacturing, smart cities, transportation and more.
“We’re not going to try to boil the ocean,” Kopser said.
The new company focuses on bringing together experts, data and solutions to help companies and public institutions manage disruptive change in areas like national security, energy security, strategy and leadership development, Kopser said.
Grayline will focus on helping senior executives plan around trends that impact their businesses, Boyd said.
“We are at a point and time right now when the global economy is more connected than ever before,” Boyd said. “It’s an engine of growth. But it’s also an engine of risk.”
One idea in an unrelated industry has ripple effects through other industries, Boyd said. Disruptive technologies like autonomous vehicles, 3D Printing and artificial intelligence are going to have a huge impact on a lot of industries, he said.
“These are issues everyone has to think about and prepare their organizations for,” he said. “Yet it’s difficult for them to cultivate the expertise to do that.”
That’s where Grayline comes in, Boyd said.
Grayline recently completed a project for the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada. They hired Kopser as the facilitator and lunchtime speaker for a large transportation technology summit at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
In addition to Grayline, Kopser said he plans to continue working closely with The Bunker Labs Austin and he is going to become an entrepreneur in residence at the University of Texas at Austin and work with Professor of Innovation Bob Metcalfe at the Innovation Center. He also volunteers as chairman of NSTXL working to improve U.S. Energy Security policy.
Grayline works virtually right now but will most likely get an office at WeWork on Congress, Boyd said.
Grayline will also be contributing as investors in a fund that Joshua Baer, director of Capital Factory, is putting together, Kopser said.
Grayline also plans to develop its website as a resource for companies with articles by subject matter experts that understand the industries and speak the language of senior leaders.
“We built the site to be something between a blog and a publishing platform,” Boyd said. “We want to create a platform around these big issues. Trends of how people are living. Look at some of the emerging technologies within cities. That body of expertise is a very cross disciplinary look. It matters to consumer products companies. It matters to defense companies. We are really trying to stake out a deep body of expertise in these catalysts that are changing these systems.”