Ben Smith

Ben Smith

I invest in, advise and found media and technology companies

Los Gatos, California, United States
Accredited investor
Member since June 07, 2007
I advise, invest in and start technology and media companies Quote_down
  • About
Investor interests
Type of investor Angel
Typical investment size $25,000 - $50,000
Typical investments in a year 8
Investments partners DCM, Partech, Mayfield, USVP, Sequoia, Norwest, MDV
Categories of interest
Credentials Accredited Investor, Qualified Purchaser
Investments made Tapulous, Inc., LongTail Video, MerchantCircle, DoubleDutch, Influitive, Mesmo
1993 Carnegie Mellon University's Tepper Graduate School of Industrial Administration , MBA
1991 University of California, Davis , BS , Mechancal Engineering

I am a(n):


Companies I've founded or co-founded:
MerchantCircle, Spoke
Companies I work or worked for:
MerchantCircle, Spoke
If you're an entrepreneur or corporate innovator, why?

I want to invent something cool.

My favorite startups:

facebook, tapulous

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

people who are not as focused as you

What's the No. 1 mistake entrepreneurs/innovators make?

Not staying focused

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

Go for high velocity models, don't let investors decide direction, play to win.

Full bio

Ben T. Smith, IV, is the CEO of ShopCo Holdings, a local discovery media company financed by 12 of the largest American media companies.

Ben was the Chairman and Co-Founder of MerchantCircle, the largest online network of local business owners in the nation. Ben is a serial entrepreneur, investor and business advisor in the social networking space with a deep understanding and appreciation for small, family-owned businesses until he sold it to Reply Media for $60MM. He was the President of Reply Media for a short time before exiting.

Ben is one of the pioneers of the social networking category as the co-founder and current board member of Spoke Software, where he helped architect the business, establish a patent portfolio in social networking, guide the company to its initial customers and through its establishment as the largest public database of business professionals. He has served in advisory and interim executive roles for more than 10 businesses, and serves on the board of directors for a number of early stage companies and public companies including Glu Mobile and is an investor advisor in over 25 internet companies including two recent social gaming exits, Mesmo and Tapulous to Game Show Network and Disney.

Ben began his career as a management consultant at A.T. Kearney, where he was one of the youngest partners in the firm's history, selected as one of the most influential consultants in the world in 2002 by Consulting News and helped spearhead EDS and Kearney's venture development efforts. Ben also served the Bush Administration as the Senior Advisor for Strategy and Planning to the Secretary of Transportation from 2001 to 2002. Ben was the SVP, Corporate Development at Borland Software and lead spin off and then managed the $75MM a year development tools and community spin off, CodeGear.

A native of Fairhope, Alabama, Ben spent the majority of his younger years learning the ins and outs of a number of family businesses - from his first job at Daphne Pharmacy, the locally-owned pharmacy, to learning from his family’s experiences running Original Bens Jr., a famous BBQ pit founded by his grandfather that is still one of the best BBQ places in the south.

Ben holds a Master’s from Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business and a Bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California at Davis.

Angel investments and exits:

Coveroo (funded)        
LikeIt     (funded)        
Rockbot (funded)        
Tapulous (acquired by The Walt Disney)
SocialWire (funded)        
DoubleDutch (funded)        
Influitive (funded)        
Curebit (funded)        
Freestyle Capital (accelerator)        
Hangtime (funded)        
ChoicePass (acquired by    Salesforce)
Indextank (acquiredby LinkedIn)
SoftTech VC (accelerator) (funded)        
MyTime     (funded)        
Wallop     (funded)        
DealSquare (funded)        
Tubular Labs (funded)        
MerchantCircle (acquired by Reply!; $60M) (funded)        
RateitAll (funded)        
Glu Mobile (IPO)    
Trovix     (acquired by Monster $72.5M)
Trigo Technologies (acquired by IBM)
Granite Global Ventures (accelerator)        
Cenda(accelerator) Capital (accelerator)        
Mohr Davidow Ventures (accelerator)        
Pivotnorth Capital (funded)        
Long Tail Video (funded)        
Instavite (funded)        
Spoke     (funded)        
QP Park (funded)        
Melian Labs (funded)        
LikeDeals (funded)        
Timebridge (acquired by    Reply!)
FairLoan Fi(accelerator)
Thump Games (funded)