Speaker: Fred Schmidt
Organizers: Guy Suter and Joe Malcoun
Host: Duo Security
Fred Schmidt grew up in Detroit as a political refugee from Poland, was a roadie for the MC5 and the Stooges, and was one of John Sinclair's lieutenants in the White Panthers, before his entrepreneurial career in retail, music, and tech. This was his first time back to Ann Arbor in 30 years!
Through the lens of the Austin, Texas experience, we'll take a whirlwind ride through 60 years of community evolution - from sleepy southern college town and good-old-boy state capital... to becoming a top global brand and destination for Millennials and the Young-At-Heart.
Fred Schmidt is an Austin, Texas based entrepreneur and consultant in the technology and creative industries through his firm Bullseye Business Development and other ventures. He also serves as a Partner/Mentor and Director of International at Capital Factory (CF), the largest incubator-accelerator-investment facility in the State of Texas and one of the largest in the USA with over 300 SaaS-based companies in various stages of growth and development. At CF he is building a new international initiative, Touchdown Austin, for activation in mid-2015 which will function as a full-service soft-landing facility for global tech companies seeking to expand into the U.S. market through Austin, Texas as home base. The program will also better prepare CF companies for success abroad as they launch and grow their ventures.
He also serves as Austin-side Chair of the Sister Cities partnership between Austin and the London (U.K.) Borough of Hackney, home of “Tech City.” Branded as Austin Hackney United, he has nurtured this relationship from founding three years ago into one of the most active in the world with over 400 companies, organizations, universities and professionals engaged between the two cities and with the assistance of the City Of Austin’s Economic Development Department, The London Borough of Hackney’s Regeneration Services, and UK Trade & Investment.
Fred’s recent and prior work in the technology field has been largely concentrated in the field of computer games where he has served as a C-level partner with MicroProse Software (ipo), ORIGIN Systems / Electronic Arts (m&a) and NCsoft North America & Europe (Seoul-headquartered global expansion into NA and EU). He is now a Co-Founder/Investor/Advisor (and was the founding CEO) at Portalarium, the venture backed ($7M Series A) and Kickstarter/crowdfunded ($6.2M raise from 53,000 backers) games start up of Fred’s three-time business partner, Hall-of-Fame game designer and British-American cosmonaut-astronaut, Richard Garriott. He has overseen EU set up and expansions for all of these companies.
Fred is also very involved in the creative industries. Concurrently with his work in tech, he is Co-Founder/CEO of Austin Iconic Brands, a carefully curated collection of unique brick-and-mortar retail stores in the heart of Downtown Austin for over 20 years. The group includes: Wild About Music, a music-themed lifestyle store. Austin Rocks Texas, a fashion boutique. And Toy Joy, a nostalgic and niche toy store for all ages (named one of the 10 Best Toy Stores In The World by USA Today in 2014).
He also serves as a Board member of the Downtown Austin Alliance, the Downtown Austin Neighborhood Association, and is a past vice chair of 6ixth Street Austin which oversees activities in the city’s National Register 6th Street Historic & Entertainment District. He also serves on the advisory board of the School of Management & Business at St. Edward’s University in Austin.
Fred came to the USA as a Cold War political refugee child from Poland with his mother. He grew up in blue collar Detroit where he worked in factories, landscaping, radio and rock 'n roll.
After graduating from Wayne State University, he headed to the East Coast to advance his real career. Some years later he returned to Central Michigan to build cable television systems. He holds much fondness for the Great Lakes State and has spent a lot of time in cabins “up north” drinking beer, enjoying nature and hanging out with friends.
Fred's LinkedIn profile: https://www.linkedin.com/pub/fred-schmidt/8/b83/402
Capital Factory: http://capitalfactory.com/