Each week in the New Tech Newsletter we feature a Spotlight Q&A with founders, angels, New Tech alumni presenters, and other people or companies in our community we believe you’d like to learn about. Reach out if you’d like to recommend a startup, founder, angel, accelerator, or New Tech alumni presenter for us to spotlight for the PNW tech community!
This week we spoke with Tony Schmidt, CEO of Greektrack.
Why do you do what you do for a living?
Building a business is a wild ride full of interesting challenges to solve. And at the end of the day, there are thousands of people out there enjoying your work every day. Additionally, through our software we empower fraternity and sorority organizations that make large-scale positive impact on local communities and global initiatives through their philanthropic efforts.
Why did you start your company?
I built GreekTrack to solve my own problem. As a chapter officer of my co-ed community service fraternity Alpha Phi Omega, it was chaos trying to track each member’s service hours and dues payment status. I set my sights on developing a streamlined website to make running a chapter as simple as possible. Years later my mission is the same but on a much larger scale, supporting very large operations for international fraternities and sororities.
What is one of the greatest lessons you’ve learned from being a founder/CEO?
There’s not a single way to build a business. My business is completely bootstrapped and many have called it a lifestyle business. My goals aren’t to grow it to a billion dollar business and sell it for huge profits, but rather to enjoy the journey and to support my family and our employees’ families. And that’s OK.
What is the one piece of advice you would share today with your younger self before you started your company?
Show your authentic self. As a very young founder, during the first few years of my business I would try to hide myself behind my logo. I feared that once prospects saw my young age or my small team they would turn away. But in reality, once I started turning my camera on during video calls and sharing the reason why I started building this business, prospects felt more confident – not less – to partner with me. Prospects talk, and it’s great to hear that our current clients speak highly of not only the software, but also of me and how they get a personal touch to their services we provide.
What is something interesting and unexpected that people would be surprised to learn about you?
I know nothing about funding or startup investing at all. Seed rounds? Cap table? I’ve been building my business for 10 years, won several pitch competitions, and am very involved in the local startup community, but I’ve never ventured into the world of venture capital. Building a great service and reinvesting profits has been the plan since the beginning and thus far it’s going great! Four years ago I left my role at Microsoft to focus on GreekTrack fulltime and we’ve doubled annual profit each of the last three years!