Brian Ladin

Founder of Delos Shipping

Brian Ladin is an experienced investment professional, entrepreneur, and business owner in Dallas, Texas. Since 2008, Ladin has served as Founder and CEO at capital investment provider Delos Shipping and as a senior leader at Delos Investment Management.

Throughout his 16-year career in investing and business leadership, Ladin has continually demonstrated considerable aptitude in the areas of financial modeling, portfolio management, asset management, corporate finance, and mergers & acquisitions (M&A).

Ladin has received significant international recognition during his Delos tenure, particularly for executing a number of large-scale transactions and acquisitions. An experienced investment professional and senior leader at Delos Shipping, Brian Ladin oversees operations and directs investments in both public and private shipping companies. Established in 2008 and supported by extensive shipping industry experience, Delos Shipping functions as a ship-leasing enterprise that is focused mainly on distressed assets, cyclical asset plays, and long-term leases.

Prior to his work at Delos Shipping, Ladin served on the board of directors at several notable organizations. This includes a three-year tenure at Konig & Cie (2013-2016), two years at Affinity Media (2007-2009), and two years at currency management brand Points International (2006-2008). Ladin has also previously served as a partner at Talisman Capital and Bonanza Capital, where his work resulted in combined profits of over $100 million.

Before building a successful career in shipping-industry investing and acquisitions management, Ladin completed his Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Economy at Tulane University (2005). Currently, Ladin, his wife, Rachel, and his two children reside in the Dallas, Texas community.

Where did the idea for Delos Shipping come from?

Delos is a Greek island where Apollo was born. The name Delos came from Greek origins because the Greeks have historically been a nation of seafarers, and Delos’ focus is on marine finance.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

I am a very perseverant person who uses his resources to educate himself and, as a result, have become very knowledgeable on multiple topics, which helps me navigate everyday tasks. In order to attract customers and create publicity, I present on behalf of Delos at industry conferences and spend anywhere from 100-150 days a year on the road meeting with prospective clients. I focus on daily preparation for business tasks, and I believe that the consistency of preparation leads to success.

How do you bring ideas to life?

I focus on writing down ideas and then prioritizing these ideas based on the probability of success. Often I will speak to friends and advisors about new ideas to try and vet out potential winning ideas. Once my friends and advisors have helped me pick a winner, I then put in the work and create the idea bringing it to life.

What’s one trend that excites you?

I am very excited about the use of green fuel in the marine industry. This is such a huge achievement in the marine industry for them to be moving to green fuel! This excites me because it will help reduce shipping’s carbon footprint on our beautiful earth.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

I believe that hard work performed consistently over a long period of time is the best formula for productivity and success. In addition, I believe that voracious reading is an important ingredient for success.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Keep your head down and work hard. I say this because one can get easily distracted by many different things. Telling my younger self to keep my head down and work hard would be the best course for success. If you allow yourself to focus on your goals the way I did, you will be able to become sufficiently successful, just like me.

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

The uptake of electric cars is going to be much slower than most people anticipate today. I say this because a lot of people are afraid of change and moving to all-electric cars is definitely something that a lot of people are scared of. I also think that because we are still perfecting the technology behind these cars, people aren’t really willing to get in the driver’s seat.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

I believe that hard work performed consistently over a long period of time is the best formula for productivity and success. In addition, I believe that voracious reading is an important ingredient for success. There is no substitute for seeing someone in person, so business travel is an important ingredient for success.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

Delos Shipping has been committed to the shipping industry since 2007 and offers its investors unrivaled access to capital, a confident strategy, and strong guidance. Founded by myself, Brian Ladin, in 2008, the company allows clients to lease ships and also provides maritime assets and financing for end users. End-users of shipping assets enjoy well-priced capital via leases, bareboat charters, and time charters. Clients are empowered to leverage their capital base and expand their business by taking advantage of Delos’ ample balance sheet and industry knowledge. This broad platform means that Delos’ stakeholders experience superior returns. The company’s commitment to excellence creates an ocean of safe, high-quality investment experiences for clients. 

Delos also seeks to invest the capital of its principals and its partners into the shipping industry. It uses its extensive experience in the shipping industry, including building and selling a fleet of 52 vessels, to identify the appropriate acquisition candidates. 

Delos continually puts its clients’ interests first. They believe they have two clients in every transaction: their customers (the end-users) and their stakeholders (their lenders,  investors, and financial advisors). Their clients’ interests always supersede Delos’ interests. 

Delos’ primary asset is the company’s knowledge of the shipping industry. Because of the wealth of knowledge that every employee has, they are able to create value for clients. It is at the center of everything the company does. That knowledge comes in part from the company’s sole focus on the shipping vertical. They do not lease trains,  aircraft, or other rolling stock, so they are 100% immersed in shipping around the clock.  This gives Delos a unique edge. 

While Delos is interested in profits like any business, employees do not over-promise or under-deliver. The company’s values include being fully transparent, and they have a  full commitment to delivering what they tell their clients. Clients benefit from the employees’ work ethic, as they perform extensive due diligence for them and study shipping market cycles and the global economy to execute against projected returns.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

I would say that I did not have any failures, just great lessons. I say this because it’s not that I have ever failed. It’s that I have had things that didn’t work out the way I was hoping for. Instead, that became a great opportunity to learn from what went wrong and then take that lesson and apply it to future projects.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

There is going to be a major business opportunity in shipping to finance the transition from fossil fuels to green fuel solutions. I believe this may be the single most important opportunity in shipping for the next 20 years.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

Purchase a $70 pair of shoes for exercise. Keeping in good shape and exercising is very important for being able to maintain your work intensity over a long period of time. Staying in shape also keeps me focused on my work and keeps me feeling good during the day.

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?

I rely on my phone and iPad when I travel, and I consider these pieces of equipment critical for productivity. Technology has come a long way, and I now have all these things that I can use to get in contact with someone across the world in minutes! This is why I believe it is important to continue to further our technology.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. Probably the best book is ever written on capitalism and freedom, very timely topics in today’s America.

What is your favorite quote?

My favorite quote is, “You’ve got to crack a few eggs to make an omelet.”

Key Learnings:

  • The amount of time that the shipping industry has been around makes it scary to imagine creating a business from scratch and competing with all of the major corporations that have been established already.
    This type of business is hypersensitive and rigorous. They must make sure that each client is financially stable enough to maintain a long-term lease before agreeing to do business with them
  • The vision that I have for Delos Shipping is ambitious but I know that by being as productive everyday as possible, never letting any setbacks slow me down, and using my resources to keep me organized and educated I will be able to reach all the goals that I have created for myself.