Austin Veith is a highly successful entrepreneur with over 20 years of experience and a diverse background in business. His professional journey began in college when he founded a transport company that offered tours for college students in Colorado. This first venture gave him valuable insights into operating a brick-and-mortar business and managing staff.
However, he found that most of his time was dedicated to managing staff, and not as much time could be spent on growing his business. This made it difficult to scale the business without adding a lot more manpower, a realization that ultimately drew him to the tech industry. Veith was immediately attracted to the idea of leveraging technology to access a global customer base and huge revenue streams, with a comparably small staff.
In 2005, Veith started his first tech company, TravelFli.com, which later became UsingMiles.com. The company aimed to create an application where users could view all of their frequent flier programs in one place and learn how to maximize the value of their points. The company was accepted into TechStars and was part of the second-ever graduating class, a feat that Veith was incredibly proud of. However, he felt that he was unable to capitalize on that success due to inexperience and a series of poor business decisions that lead to him stepping down as CEO of his own company.
Despite this setback, Veith understands the role he played that led to this disappointing outcome and was able to take several valuable lessons from the experience. As Veith explained, “Unfortunately, due to a series of bad business decisions that I made as an immature, twenty-something CEO, I was removed from my own company not long after closing our Series-A.
UsingMiles turned out to be a nightmarish outcome for me, but it’s important to me to acknowledge my role in creating the circumstances that allowed for that outcome in the first place. It’s easier to understand how it unfolded now that I am older, but at the time my ego and my inexperience was pretty blinding. In the end I learned a lot, but it was a very expensive lesson and a path that I’m now dedicated to help other founders avoid”.
Undeterred, Veith started another tech project called UsedTunes.com in 2009. The idea behind this platform was to allow users to resell the music they bought from legal services and retain some of the value in the form of credits that they could then use to buy new music. Similar to how people would sell used records or CDs.
The challenge was that it required partnerships with every major music label, all of whom were still grappling with the challenges surrounding online piracy. Despite this, the concept created a lot of excitement in the industry, and Borders Bookstores had begun looking at UsedTunes as an acquisition target even before it had launched.
Veith realized that he has been drawn to projects that involve building digital marketplaces in highly regulated industries, and he has honed in on this as his specialty. Unlike many entrepreneurs, he is not put off by the challenges associated with these projects but rather is invigorated by them.
His most recent venture is First Light, a development company that acts as a small-scale startup factory. The company uses Veith’s specific experiences to help other founders with unique ideas in complex or highly regulated industries turn their concepts into successful businesses.
What sets Austin Veith apart as a successful entrepreneur is his ability to adapt and overcome obstacles. He has experience in both brick-and-mortar businesses and the tech industry, which has given him a well-rounded perspective and multiple skill sets. He has a proven track record of turning innovative ideas into successful businesses despite the challenges that come with operating in highly regulated industries.
He is also not afraid to admit his mistakes and take responsibility for his actions, using them as valuable learning experiences. His ventures, from TravelFli.com almost 20 years ago, to First Light today, have faced challenges but found success. Veith is not afraid to take risks and is determined to learn from his failures, making him a valuable asset to any business he is a part of.