It was a frank chat with his wife that helped a pioneering tech entrepreneur and the founder of several million-dollar global startups find his true calling.
Wil Schroter has founded seven companies since 1995, including the world’s largest business crowdfunding platform Fundable and giant startup launchpad startups.co.
But it was in 2010 when confronted by his wife that Schroter finally discovered the area he was most passionate about.
“She said, ‘you keep doing things because you can, not because you should. You’re not as happy as you used to be’,” Schroter tells StartupSmart.
A new direction
He says this was a life-changing moment, one that led Schroter to step back and really consider what he was working for and where he wants to go.
“I wrote down everything that I ever cared about – the simple things,” he says.
“I wish everyone had someone who could force them through this catharsis as early as possible.”
After this lengthy exercise, Schroter finally discovered what he wanted to do: He wanted to focus all his energy on helping to empower, educate and guide fellow startup founders in their journeys.
“I literally felt like I retired that day,” Schroter says.
“I realised I never want to work with people I don’t like.”
Using his knowledge across more than 15 years of building successful startups, he launched startups.co, a platform that now boasts more than 900,000 registered startups, and Schroter says one is backed, followed or invested in every nine seconds.
The platform, which is the world’s biggest startup launchpad, has now facilitated more than $200 million in funding for its startups.
From the dawn of the web
Schroter began his own entrepreneurial journey when he founded web development company Blue Diesel in 1995 when he was only 19.
While most at the time were still asking what the internet was, Schroter was already building businesses on it.
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“We’re talking about literally the dawn of the web,” he says.
But he says his age often played against him in the corporate world, especially in boardrooms.
“You could only say something important if you had grey hair,” Schroter says.
“And I looked like I was 12.”
He was often laughed at when he walked into potential clients’ offices, and some even joked that they had letterheads older than him.
But everything changed when “teenage whiz kid” Marc Andreessen was featured on the front cover of TIME Magainze.
“I watched it change my career in real-time,” Schroter says.
Several global successes
Schroter successfully navigated the dot com crash and turned Blue Diesel into a $700 million company before achieving an exit.
The company is now called inventive Health and is a $2 billion global organisation.
Following on from that, he went on to work on several more high growth ventures through self-created incubator Virtucon Ventures, founded initially for his own ideas ranging from financial services to entertainment software.
In-line with his newfound desire to pass on his wisdom and assist budding entrepreneurs, Schroter went on to found crowdfunding site Fundable and customer acquisition generator Launchrock.
He has also acquired entrepreneur university Zana and is planning to launch an online magazine for founders.
“The entrepreneurial path is very broken,” Schroter says.
“Nobody just took the time to define how you do it.”
All of Schroter’s recent projects have a common theme: A push to educate, connect, celebrate and inform startup communities around the world.
Currently touring Austrlaia with the Investors Org, Schroter says he wants to share the lessons he has learnt with investors as well.
“I want to help people on that journey,” he says.