Today's Entrepreneur


Today's Entrepreneur: Tom Heeter

No. 1 Mistake: Not willing to make the next mistake.

Innovation series by David McGee
April 29, 2011 | Comments
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Tom HeeterEntrepreneurs often choose the path of innovation, without realizing the kind of lifestyle that comes with it.
They will often live unstable lives. But as they courageously take risks, they'll make several mistakes which become valuable lessons for the rest of us.

They have their ups and downs. But at the end of the day, these creative daredevils are the ones who are changing the world.

Within our community you will find a number of talented innovators.

This year, we created new profiles for our Vator members to share their story. So if you are a first-time, serial, or even an aspiring entrepreneur, we'd like to hear from you.

Today's entrepreneur is Tom Heeter, founder & CEO of SmartPay, Inc. According to his VEQ (Vator's entrepreneur self-assessment test), he's a technology designer and is good at thought leadership and team motivation. Tom says he finds entrepreneurship to be "like an infection that you just can get over". 

Tom may have received the entrepreneurial infection for trying something new from his father, who was part of the team that put a man on the moon, a first in aerospace.  Tom started other companies in the real estate industry before he founded SmartPay, his first exclusively technological startup company.  He finds that are similarities in the motivational and leadership skills, and even some technical processes in real estate and computer application development.  

Tom's major motivation in founding SmartPay was to create an outlet for mentorship.  Without the team, he wouldn't be doing any of this.  The team has bought into learning from Tom's experiences, and the team's hard work and belief in the project mean more than anything to Tom.  Together their culture and ethical philosophy are strong, and Tom adds, "If we enjoy great financial success, we plan to re-invest in other startups because we believe that sustainable innovation is the key to survival of our planet."

You are a(n):


Name companies you've founded or co-founded:

Smartpay, Inc.; Luck Holdings, Inc.; Realty Retirement Fund, L.L.C.; Exchange Business Center, Inc.; Heeter & Associates, Inc.

Name companies you've invested in:

Blocker Energy Company outside. All the above named companies.

If you are an entrepreneur, why?

I'm bursting with ideas!

List your favorite startups:

I like the ones I have seen on Vator a LOT!

What's most frustrating and rewarding about entrepreneurship/innovation?

Where did I put my dang glasses!?!---I'm absent minded.

What's the No. 1 mistake entrepreneurs make?

To no longer be willing to make the next mistake.

What are the top three lessons you've learned as an entrepreneur?

1. For an idea that does not at first seem insane, there is no hope --Albert Einstein.

2. The man with a new idea is a crank--until the idea succeeds --Mark Twain

3. TIE: You gotta have faith! Don't give up! Don't underestimate yourself! Help often comes from the most unexpected places!

Related companies, investors and entrepreneurs

SmartPay, Inc.
Description: SmartPaySM is a mobile payment processing platform using optical code identification to facilitate merchant payments across multiple mobi...
Tom Heeter
Founder & CEO,
SmartPay, Inc
Bio: You can read about me at

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