RICK SMITH

CO-FOUNDER & MANAGING DIRECTOR

I learned entrepreneurship at an early age by watching my dad run his plumbing repair business, A&A Plumbing, in a small town in central Illinois. I learned the value of hard work by watching my dad, a World War II vet, get up at 2 am to fix someone’s clogged toilet--he did that a lot since the company’s initials stood for “Anytime Anywhere” and he was the only plumber willing to do that. I learned how to deliver an honest day’s work by helping him for several summers and during breaks from school. He was fair and honest with everyone he met. We would take the leftover metal from our jobs to Sol Tick’s scrap yard because every penny counted. His hard work and savings put me through the University of Illinois and Harvard Law School. As hard as he had to work and save, he was one of the most content men I have met--he loved helping people.

I’d like to think that CrossCut is merely an evolved form of that plumbing business. We work hard. We are scrappy. We deal with people in a straight-forward way. We view entrepreneurs as our customers, and we know that the best marketing we can ever do is having positive word of mouth from our founders. Like the plumbing business, we are not afraid to roll up our sleeves and put our hands in the crap.

I’ve been investing in venture capital since 1997. I worked (too hard) as a Wall Street attorney for several years to start my career. I bought some great companies, like Steinway Piano Company, before I started to learn the venture business and get back to my roots of working with small companies. I love--truly love--what we do at CrossCut. It’s a different challenge every day, and all we’re striving to do is find some fantastic entrepreneurs to jump into the foxhole with us and battle to build great companies.