Brothers in business

rich brothers
Left to right: Accord founders Ryan Rich, Ross Rich and Wayne Pan. Photo courtesy of Accord

UVic grads Ross and Ryan Rich recently landed $6 million to boost their start-up tech firm, Accord. They kindly answered our questions about their new venture—and their hip-hop past.


In November 2019, brothers and UVic business grads Ross (BCom ’14) and Ryan Rich (BCom ’15) teamed up to do the unthinkable. They left their stable, well-paying jobs at Google and Stripe to take a leap of faith by launching their own tech start-up, Accord, based in San Francisco.

Armed with an eclectic background in marketing and web development, music promotion and artist management, the Rich brothers hope to bring order to the unruly world of Business to Business (B2B) sales. Proving the old adage that with great risk often comes great reward, Accord’s founders recently announced a $6-million round of funding thanks to former employer Stripe and start-up accelerator YCombinator.

In simple terms, what’s the concept behind Accord?

Ross: Buying mission critical technology is complex, can take 12 to 24 months to complete, and involves dozens of people (lawyers, finance teams, engineers, etc.). In other words, it’s expensive and inefficient.

Accord is a common system for cross-company collaboration so the buying and selling team can work together on deals. The sales team closes business faster and the buying team solves their problem in less time.

For those who don’t know, could you explain what B2B means?

Ryan: B2B stands for Business to Business. This means a business sells its services to other businesses. Slack, for example, is a B2B business. This differs from B2C, which is business to consumer. This is when a business sells its services to consumers. Think of Fitbit, where they cater directly to you, the individual user.

How would you describe your time at UVic? What were your aspirations?

Ryan: Our time at UVic was a blast, and we were lucky to experience it together. We always had something on the go. During first year, we started organizing concerts, fundraisers and club events, which we continued throughout university. Intramural teams were a great way to stay active and make friends. We also spent a lot of time producing and performing as a hip-hop duo, alongside a few other local artists.

We were also both lucky enough to do a semester abroad. (Ryan to Madrid, Spain, and Ross to Prague in the Czech Republic). Highly recommend a semester abroad if you have the opportunity!

University is a great time for following your heart and seeing where it takes you. During our time at UVic, we didn’t know exactly where we wanted to end up, but we did know that we enjoyed the creative and artistic side of business. For example, Ross spent time managing local artists in Victoria before going on to intern and later work full-time at Columbia Records. And I started a marketing and web development company, landing a job at Google after graduation.

rich brothers hip hop

Ross and Ryan Rich opening for Bones Thugs-N-Harmony in 2012. Photo courtesy of Accord.

Speaking of performing as a hip-hop duo, in 2012 you opened for Bones Thugs-N-Harmony. What’s the story behind that?

Ross: We were lucky enough to perform at a number of Victoria’s venues, like Upstairs, Sugar Nightclub, Vertigo, the Victoria Event Centre and District Nightclub. And even luckier that our friends continued to come out to support us on our often late, weekday sets. YouTube, Soundcloud, and music blogs were really taking off at that time and our music happened to speak to that audience.

We started to get a reputation for our energetic sets and supportive fans and happened to do a live radio show with the local DJ hosting the Bone Thugs event. He decided to take a chance on us and asked us to open the show. It’s still the highlight of my university experience. 

Is there anything you learned from hip-hop that you apply to your life today?

Ryan: All the extracurricular hobbies we took part in were passion projects and quite creative. We learned the value of creating a vision, using multimedia to bring it to life, and the basics of business.

People think of the tech industry as code and computers, but it all starts with a vision. I really think these projects led to our corporate and entrepreneurial success later in life.

Learn more about Accord at

— Michael Kissinger, BEd ’94