Dave Lukas Chats with Mike Smerklo
312: The Critical Importance of Self-Awareness and Principles of Building a Billion Dollar Business with Mike Smerklo
This week’s Misfit Entrepreneur is Mike Smerklo. Mike is a serial entrepreneur, investor, and founder of Next Coast Ventures, a unique venture capital firm that focuses on emerging companies heling them in the critical stage to hyper growth. After working in investment banking at Morgan Stanley, Mike was then recruited by Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz to one of their new startups. In 2003, Mike purchased ServiceSource, a 30-person tech services startup and over the next 12 years grew it to a 3000 person publicly traded company with over $300 million in revenue and a market value of $1 billion.
After exiting the company, he founded Next Coast, investing in over 40 startups to date and recently wrote the best-seller, Mr. Monkey and Me.
Needless to say, Mike has a wealth of experience as an owner/operator and investor, and I am excited for him to share it with you.
Mike grew in a rough part of Toledo, Ohio. He was raised by a single mom and had a simple goal which was to just get out. His mom focused him on education as no one had to gone to college in the family. He listened and ended up going to Miami of Ohio. After college, he went to E&Y as an auditor and found quickly he hated it. He then went to Lehman Brothers in investment banking. It sucked the life out of him, but he learned a lot before going to business school and then eventually out to Silicon Valley. He worked for Andreessen Horowitz, bought and ran ServiceSource until he sold it and the “retired” to Austin, Texas. Retirement didn’t last long before he started Next Coast.
What makes a great business?
You wrote Mr. Monkey and Me as a story of your journey with ServiceSource and lessons learned. Take us through the different lessons you learned.
Take us through each element of the shape formula and define them.
At the 14 min mark, we talk more about SHAPE and persistence more in depth.
Lessons from working with Andreessen Horowitz that have really helped in your success?
40+ investments at Next Coast. Talk to us about your model and what you look for when investing a company.
What are market trends and things that are upcoming that entrepreneurs should be focused on?
Where do you see the future of work and the changes that will happen?
Another big trend is monetizing data.
What is software 3.0 and how it is changing growth models…
What do you think is most important for entrepreneurs to focus on in their business?
Best advice for entrepreneurs just starting out?
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Misfits, you’ve heard me talk about my trading and investing many times. I’ve been in the game for almost 20 years and have taught thousands of students all over the world my strategies. One thing I have always looked for are trends that are a good opportunity for investors.
Recently, I was introduced to an opportunity that may be positioned very well for the times we are in, especially in a rising rate environment with talk of recession making stock and bond markets more volatile. The company is called Starr Peak Mining (Ticker Symbol TSX:STE.V as trades on the TSX Venture Exchange).
You may or may not have heard of VMS deposits before. They are rare since they host a number of valuable elements. It is not a one-commodity play like most junior explorers; Starr Peak Mining has staggering grades and intercepts of zinc, copper, gold and silver! In Canada, only 350 VMS deposits have ever been discovered (because they’re extremely rare)!
They account for 27% of all copper production, 49% of all zinc production, and 40% of all silver production. In other words, VMS deposits are massive and have long lives, which makes them a top priority for a major producer to purchase and add to their portfolio.
With the future be set toward electric vehicles and other alternative sources of energy, VMS deposits will be in huge demand and Starr Peak may be a way for investors to invest early into the future. While no one can guarantee that will happen with Starr Peak and I am not giving you financial advice (you should consult with your financial adviser), I do see great opportunity for the company and the fact that the trend is their friend. In fact, JPMorgan also forecasts that the total copper demand for the clean energy transition will increase from 1.8 million metric tons this year to more than 3 million metric tons by 2025.
To learn more about Starr Peak Mining and stay up to date with the company’s success, go www.StarrPeakMiningLtd.com. Consult your financial adviser and check out Starr Peak today!