Alexander Bremin certainly recognises that what he does isn’t usual for a guy in his twenties. Born and raised in Luxembourg, the son of two Swedish parents saw himself in a lot of trouble in the conventional public school system. “I always had problems accepting the authority of the teachers. It’s not that I reject authority by nature, but I failed to see the usefulness of what they were teaching”, says Alex.
At a young age, Alex had developed a fascination for night vision-goggles: “I found the idea that you’d be able to considerably enhance one of your senses, absolutely stunning!”. At age 14, he stumbles upon a “do-it-yourself” blogpost online and begins making his own device, successfully. As he begins to get customers who are interested in his products, Alex knows that he can take it further.
Aged 18, the young entrepreneur founds his own company, together with a friend of his. The first customers of ACTinBLACK are mostly hunters as well as paintball and airsoft players, who use the goggles merely recreationally.
The turning point for Alex only came when he began attending university. Three months into his mechanical studies at the University of Luxembourg, Alex asked himself the question if he should prefer the experience he would get through a diploma or the entrepreneurial knowledge he’d acquire through running his company full time. “Even if ACTinBlack would have been a failure, I would still have learned an awful lot. That is why I chose the company.”
The responsibilities of an entrepreneur
The appeal of Alex’s company is the scale. ACTinBlack produces in low quantities and can, more flexibly than its large competitors, meet the customer’s special wishes specifically. With the professionalization of the work, the customer base also shifted more towards larger orders: ACTinBlack now sells to law enforcement, including police, border patrols or special forces.
Asked the question if there would be people or groups he wouldn’t sell to, Alex Bremin says “of course! We do rigorous background checks on our customers. It is essential for us to know that we don’t sell to people who use our products for malicious purposes.” The 23 year-old insists that that is the moral obligation of someone who runs a company.
Regarding government regulation, Alex slightly sighs: “The difficulty wasn’t setting up the company, put paying for the advisory company that helps us doing it.” He suggests that if the state really were to support small business-owners, it should allow them to go VAT-free if the money is reinvested into infrastructure. “That would really help us out, instead of just seeing 17 per cent disappear on every sale.”
“Crypto-currencies give me more possibilities to practically apply my philosophy”
Alexander Bremin is also involved in a crypto-hedge fund with four other partners, which attempts to identify market evolutions in the incredibly volatile market that are Bitcoin, Ethereum aso. Despite pointing out that about 95 per cent of investors in BTC have no idea what they are doing, Alex believes in the long-term stability of the most-used crypto-currency. “It might be that Bitcoin only makes up 5 per cent of the market share in a few years, but the emotional value attached to it will never make it worthless, especially considering that it remains the most useful crypto for those who want to use it as a currency, and not just as an investment.”
Alex himself describes himself as a libertarian. “With ACTinBlack I have to play according to the rules, but through my work with crypto-currencies I see a manifestation of my libertarian ideas.”