January 3, 2022
Club Capital Leadership Podcast
Mike Smerklo is an experienced entrepreneur, investor and business leader driven by the desire to turn ideas into reality. Having bought and scaled a small business into a publicly traded company worth nearly a billion dollars in value, he has a deep understanding of the hard work, dedication and grit that truly powers successful entrepreneurship.
Today, as the co-founder and managing director of Next Coast Ventures, Mike is a champion for a new generation of entrepreneurs building disruptive companies in big markets. His new book, Mr. Monkey and Me, is a “real talk” guide for entrepreneurs who want to cut through the noise to cultivate a mindset that supports greatness.
Mike grew up in a blue-collar family in Ohio with dreams of achieving something more with his life. After working his way through college to earn an accounting degree and moving to Chicago to launch his CPA career, he eventually talked his way into a junior analyst gig with the Wall Street investment bank Lehman Brothers. He went on to earn an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and experienced the Silicon Valley dot-com boom as an investment banker at Morgan Stanley.
Mike was recruited by legendary entrepreneurs Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz as one of the first employees of their new startup, Loudcloud. Here, he learned from the very best about what it takes to grow a company from an idea through an initial public offering. He began his own entrepreneurship journey in 2003, purchasing ServiceSource, a 30-person technology services startup in San Francisco. As CEO over the next 12 years, he grew the business into a successful 3,000-person publicly-traded company with close to $300M in revenue.
He has developed a new perspective on entrepreneurship at the helm of the Austin-based firm Next Coast Ventures, which has backed more than 40 companies across two funds to help startup founders achieve their goals.
Listen to the full episode HERE.