KASTx Ventures is excited to announce Mike Smith is the latest addition to their team of experts as Director, Capital Partnerships. Smith has had a love for finance for most of his life, taking an interest in stocks at a young age, eventually leading him to pursue a degree in commerce at the University of Toronto. But after an unexpected house visit at the age of 17, his early career took a different turn.
“I played every sport while growing up in Kenora Ontario, but because of my size and speed, I thought I was going to play football,” Smith said. “But five days before my last year of high school started, the Canadian Olympic decathlon coach called my family and showed up at my house.”
He spoke with Smith and his parents, slowly selling him on the idea of becoming a decathlete – 10 events in the sport of track and field. To seal the deal, Smith recalled the coach scribbled a note on three napkins, detailing his predictions for his athletic career, including competing in the Olympic games as one of the top decathletes in the world.
“Five days later I moved to Toronto and lived with him and his wife, attended my last year of high school, and started training at the University of Toronto,” he explained, “and basically everything that he wrote down came true! So he was my mega mentor in the world of Olympic sport.”
Smith would end up representing Canada three Olympic games over the span of his 13-year athletic career. He would also go on to win and set the Canadian record at both the Commonwealth Games and the Hypo-meeting in Gotzis, Austria, an international decathlon and heptathlon competition.
“Being a full time Olympic athlete, it was just magic, it was a really cool existence,” he said. “All of that discipline and effort, travel, friends, and curiosity, that set me up well for my next career in finance.”
After he retired from his career as an athlete, Smith began what would become 20-year career in finance, working with public investment banks and private clients on national and international scales. He attributes most of his success, however, to the lottery of mentorship he said he has won over the course of his life.
“I’ve had a lot of great mentors as you can imagine through my sporting career, but it was great to have mentors in my business career as well,” he said. “But mentorship has always been an important part of me because of that, and a big reason why I’m excited to work with KASTx is the people.”
“Mike’s years of success in investments and finance is a huge asset to our team,” Gord Anderson said, KASTx Ventures co-founder. “He’s a great guy to get to know and work with, and he’ll be a huge benefit to helping grow our reach and the impact of our work and portfolio companies.”