Anthony started a CRM app in Australia that became the No. 1 on the Google App Store. VCs started calling. Anthony moved to San Francisco and has built a robust company with funding from Emergence Capital. Very cool story!
Sramana Mitra: Let’s start at the very beginning of your personal journey. Where are you from? Where were you born, raised, and in what kind of background?
Anthony Smith: I was born in a very small town of Hamilton in the northern part of New Zealand. It’s famous for its cows and
milk production. It’s a small town of around about 100,000 people. My father is an engineer and my mother is a nurse. That was where I grew up until about 14. Then my family moved to Perth in Western Australia. I lived there throughout the remainder of my education before taking a little bit of a tour around Southeast Asia.
Sramana Mitra: What did you study?
Anthony Smith: I studied Computer Science and Information Systems at a local university in Perth.
Sramana Mitra: What happened after college?
Anthony Smith: Perth has a very large mining industry. I went and worked for a very large global consulting company and started off in their technology section. We built software to enable mining companies to be a little bit more productive in the way they go about pulling the ore out of the ground and refining it. That was a great job that took me to some remote locations around the world.
Sramana Mitra: It sounds like a great job.
Anthony Smith: Yes.
Sramana Mitra: There are very few jobs that will give you an excuse to travel to those kinds of places.
Anthony Smith: Exactly. I had lots of adventures in tiny airplanes in the middle of nowhere and meeting some colorful people that work within that industry. It was a great global education.
Sramana Mitra: How long did that continue? When did you start working for this consulting firm?
Anthony Smith: That was from 1999 to about 2004. Then I moved on and did some work with IBM Global Consulting Services in their Australian office. I still work in the mining industry as a subject matter expert for IBM by working with the major mining companies of the world and helping them implement new systems. That was also a good exposure for me. It got me a little bit of exposure to some pretty high up people in the C-suite. It was a good education in what real corporate consulting looks like at a very high level.
Sramana Mitra: How long did you work for IBM?
Anthony Smith: I was there for a couple of years for their consulting.
Sramana Mitra: This is bringing us up to 2006?
Anthony Smith: Yes, then I did some work as a consultant myself in my own company working with some people I met in my journey. I did that for a couple of years as a solo consultant working with some local Perth companies before I went back into the mining industry and started a small technology company. I rolled up my sleeves and started coding and doing some work there to build a computer system for one of the big mining companies. I did that for around about 18 months.