After building and exiting his first company, Andrew Smith has now raised over $50 million to bring important change to one of our most important industries.
During our time together on the DealMakers podcast, Smith shared some fascinating insights on the journey to building and scaling a company. We talked about what the best founders spend most of their time doing, uncommon places to find and launch great startup ideas, protecting your progress, smart fundraising moves, and how his latest venture is helping avoid supply chain issues during crises like COVID-19.
From The Wild To Wild Rides & Mentors: What Inspires Entrepreneurs
Andrew Smith grew up in the Northeast. Living in Massachusetts, but spending a lot of time out exploring the wild natural surroundings the region offers too.
He was also fascinated by exotic cars. He loved getting his hands on car magazines and decorated his bedroom with posters of Porsches, Lambos and Ferraris.
The final piece of the puzzle which really shaped what type of companies he would end up building was a conversation with his seventh-grade science teacher. Someone who pointed out the terrible fuel economy his dream vehicles were notorious for. He vowed to dedicate his life to more environmentally friendly technologies.
Despite a lot of incremental progress in many parts of this, we’ve still got billions of people on the planet relying on highly polluting vehicles. While his companies have made amazing progress in these efforts, he still sees the biggest opportunities for entrepreneurs being related to making great strides in sustainability. Whether that is in the food chain, shipping, personal cars, or something else.
Learning, Envisioning The New Normal & Staking Your Claim
Early on Andrew Smith not only recognized that there were amazing things that could be built but also, and perhaps even more importantly, that there was plenty to learn about why some of these technologies weren’t already in the marketplace.
So, he went to college to study physics but also learned that the how to build it was just a part of the equation to creating change.
He experienced this first hand on his first job and summer internships. Even then, you could switch out an existing car engine with a battery pack and charge it, instead of relying on gas and gas stations.
There are so many great technologies and feats which are already possible. Yet, without the skill to package them as products and get them bought by consumers, they weren’t going to be adopted. Real change comes from the blending of science and business.
So, following in the footsteps of many other successful entrepreneurs, Andrew started working in consulting. He explains that one of the reasons it is such a great building block for startup founders is that it teaches you that you can really learn an immense amount about a new industry in just a few weeks.
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