Brian Payne

Prior to enrolling at Chicago Booth, Brian Payne enjoyed a career as a professional golfer for seven years. Brian retired from the links in 2007 and transitioned into the wealth management industry, believing he had left golf behind for good. But after a chance encounter during his first week of school, Brian’s career changed radically.

During a speed networking event at orientation, Brian met fellow Booth student Alex Pedenko. Alex explained how he was utilizing aerial drone componentry to develop a free app for a mobile device that would track and analyze a user’s golf swing. The two began to collaborate on the idea, becoming fast friends as they watched the concept morph from an academic exercise into a full-time business partnership.

The company, which came to be known as Swingbyte, became fully developed and fleshed out over the course of their time at Chicago Booth. The two men eventually brought on a third student to join the company, Nathan Wojtkiewicz, and took their business plan through the New Venture Challenge, Chicago Booth’s renowned entrepreneurial competition. Due to rigorous scrutiny their plan received, they were able to successfully bring their product to the market and turn it into a viable, moneymaking business.

Looking back, Brian says, “Obviously I wouldn’t be involved in Swingbyte without coming to Chicago Booth, and the way it happened, when it happened—looking back even now—I struggle to believe it.”


Chicago, Illinois

Undergraduate Degree

Northwestern University – Communications

Before Booth

Professional Golfer, Bernstein Global Wealth Management

After Booth

Swingbyte, Inc. – Cofounder


Entrepreneurship, Marketing, Strategy

Brian Payne
The effect that the New Venture Challenge had on Brian’s start-up company, Swingbyte
Brian Payne
How the classes draw from and reinforce the skillsets taught in the LEAD Program
Brian Payne
How Brian applied his coursework to his start-up company, Swingbyte
Brian Payne
In a Booth classroom, there are many paths to finding a solution