Tony Schmidt, Founder of GreekTrack
Who are you?
Hi, I’m Tony Schmidt, founder and CEO of GreekTrack, a fraternity and sorority chapter management service providing tools to track membership, events, and finances.
Can you tell us the story of your business from idea to where you are now?
As a active brother of the Alpha Phi Omega co-ed community service fraternity, I watched as the officers of the chapter were spending huge amounts of time tracking the growing membership’s requirements, dues, service hours,etc. on paper or disconnected spreadsheets and I just couldn’t imagine that there wasn’t some sort of online system that could do this for us. After some searching around I didn’t find anything so as a computer science major, I started building my own. Fast forward a couple of years and our chapter is now completely run on GreekTrack and other nearby chapters are asking how we grew from 25 members to over 120 members in just a couple years. I showed them GreekTrack and how it allowed for our officers to save time tracking so they can focus on their actual goals, growing the chapter. It’s now spread to over 160 chapters within just my own fraternity.
What has been your biggest failure or struggle?
My biggest struggle is essentially working with enterprise customers and their slow processes and limited vision for innovation. Enterprise customers in my world would be the national fraternity and sorority boards. The amount of data that GreekTrack generates across their organizations would be critical to me if I were on their board, but sometimes they don’t see the opportunities that are available of every chapter is connected to the same system. And for those that do, the long arduous processes they must go through to move to such a system is often the largest struggle we face.
And what has been your biggest achievement or success?
Part of being a founder is that every day the lights are still on, it’s an achievement worth recognizing. I wouldn’t say we’ve had one milestone achievement but rather the fact that GreekTrack is spreading mostly through word of mouth is an achievement in itself showing that the service has value. It has enough value that students want to share it with others to help them grow their chapters too.
What’s your must read business book?
The Lean Startup by Eric Rice is the go to startup book to get the fundamentals under your feet and as you are starting to build your company I like to re-read Business Model Generation by Alexander Osterwalder every once in a while to see if the business model that I’ve chosen can be challenged or enhanced in any way. Start With Why by Simon Sinek is another fundamental book to read as you develop your pitch and brand identity.
Who’s your most inspirational CEO or founder?
My most inspiring founders are the ones you are surrounded by. Working in a co-working space or attending founder events is the best way to be inspired. Everyone around you is extremely passionate about their projects and are doing literally everything they can to be successful. The peak level of passion is what is most inspiring to me.
And can you tell us something weird or interesting about yourself?
Outside of the office I love exploring the world. I’ve traveled to over 40 countries, scuba diving in as many as I can. Swimming among sea turtles and manta rays is the most beautiful, peaceful, and relaxing experience that I absolutely enjoy!