SG Lansing: Immigrant to Serial Founder/Investor with Matt Roszak

Matthew Roszak has founded or been on the board of over 12 companies, managed over 20 businesses, runs a charity, produced a documentary, eats with Bill Clinton and hangs out with Richard Branson, has been interviewed by CNBC, and contributes to the Wall Street Journal and New York Times. This month he took some time out of his busy schedule to talk with grinders right here in Lansing. He shared where he came from and tips to accomplish as much as he has. 

Matt is a first generation Polish American, whose Mother grew up in Siberia which gave him a unique perspective on what a hard day is. Both his parents ran their own business so he also learned how important it is to be your own boss and solve problems on your own. 

His biggest tip to our Grinders was to be a "furious networker," insisting it becomes easier the more you do it. In business relationships, these warm relationships matter greatly. He spoke extensively about the lessons he gained from his own mentor. Many successful entrepreneurs and investors look forward to mentoring startups, Matt said, in order to help entrepreneurs without starting another company of their own. Do what it takes to get in front of those who will be a positive influence to your life and career: ask to work for free, even if it's in the mailroom - do what it takes just be in that environment - and you'll learn quickly.

As a venture capitalist, Matt spends a lot of time evaluating opportunities and putting capital to work. He said that most of his deals come from relationships, and that again, networking is the most important thing to appearing in front of the right investor. He said that he doesn't just look at the product or the question if he would buy the product himself, but focuses on the team presenting the concept. Matt added that to succeed you'll also need a dash of madness, as only the inexperienced or the crazy see brick walls as something to blow past. Once he does become involved with a business he builds a relationship with them that can last up to a decade, filling in as a mentor or advisor, and getting his hands dirty with whatever the company needs to help it succeed. 

His last message: innovation is global - it doesn't matter if you're from Singapore, New York, Silicon Valley, or Lansing. If you've got an innovative idea - go for it.