It takes knowledge, intuition, and drive to build a business. As an entrepreneur and the founder of eighteen businesses, Nick Matzorkis has those qualities in spades.
Matzorkis knew he wanted to be an entrepreneur from a young age, finding ways to launch businesses as early as his high school years. As an adult, he founded the online people search industry with U.S. Search and found continued success in other industries. Matzorkis is also known for popularizing the sport of paddle boarding through his company SUP ATX and has since founded a number of businesses in the tech and media industries.
Matzorkis also co-founded Global Agora, a venture capital company and Union Square Media, a digital advertising agency, with Joshua Keller. Global Agora has also launched a number of proprietary technologies, including Maximus, a media buying software that combines human control with the scope of automatic buying. Here, Nick discusses the qualities necessary for a successful business and how he grew from one business to eighteen using his own capital.
How would you describe your journey as an entrepreneur?
I’ve always thought that if you’re an entrepreneur, you’re born an entrepreneur. I didn’t cross a threshold and think I wanted to try “entrepreneuring.” It’s a sense I had even before I had started my first businesses. I was always figuring out some way to create a cash flow, even as early as elementary school, though my first businesses with cash flow were in high school. It’s really something that is just second nature to me. I think something that’s really indicative of that is that I’ve never had a job. In high school and after college I’ve always worked for myself.
Almost all of the businesses I started to date have been stealth capitalized. In other words, I start the business with whatever cash I have in my pocket and build the company from there. That’s one of the reasons I’ve been fortunate to start so many companies yet have never had a failure; a personal bankruptcy or in business.
If you’re not getting movement, you can’t really fail because it requires movement in the business and cash flow to keep going. You need to have proof of concept to make money. And if you’re able to prove you can get movement, it usually means there’s viability with the business.
Why did you found Global Agora? Why choose to work with seed-stage startups instead of more established ones?
We decided to work with seed-stage startups because my partner Joshua Keller and I are bootstrap-type entrepreneurs. We see the world from that perspective, as seed-up. Those are the kinds of businesses we’ve started and have the most experience with.
The most important factor is just that you pursue the kinds of things you’re most familiar with. This is something each of us have spent most of our lives doing, building businesses from the ground up from zero into something. To parlay that into other businesses that we haven’t started, that’s where we have the most experience and the most to offer besides capital.
In Ancient Greek, ‘agora’ means a type of marketplace. The idea of the Agora name is to facilitate an environment in the age of the Internet and 21st Century technology, and bring our businesses and other businesses into that communal space.