For over twenty years, Miles has distinguished himself as a creator of ideas, a builder of businesses, and a leader of organizations. His angel group, Vaux les Ventures, has interests in over a dozen companies where he helped form the original team, provided the original capital, or both. Capital events following his efforts have realized over a billion dollars of value for shareholders, including notable successes in digital media like Register.com, Operative, TrustCloud, Aptaris and Mojiva. He is also a mentor at Grand Central Tech.
How did you get into the tech industry?
Well, I fell into it. Since I was a college dropout, I was always trying to improve myself with better ways to do things. Then I had lunch with one Lisa Johnson from Modem Media who proclaimed "the inter webs are going to be huge" . That was 1995, and I never looked back. We invested in Register.com a few months later. It turned out well.
Tell us about Mojiva. What inspired the idea and what is your vision for the company
At the time, it was about the carriers failing to be in the entertainment and content business. We knew that there would be better screens someday, and better content on them. And no-one would pay for that (see dot.com 101). So, we built an adserving platform to optimize ad delivery and a mobile ad network to buy and sell them. The iPhone launch was good timing.
Your greatest success as founder of Mojiva?
The people we hired and the team we built were among the best in mobile technology. After we sold Mocean Mobile earlier this year, they have mostly moved to the buyer. Leading such a large group of clearly talented, driven people was and is humbling. I plan to do it again.
Most difficult moment-how did you overcome and what did you learn?
The sale of Mocean mobile left the ad network, Mojiva, on somewhat of an island strategically. We had put a significant amount of time, effort and capital into building it and it looked like it was going no-where. There were some dark days. And then I bought it back.
I have lead teams of several hundred before, and each time I learn so many things about leadership, governance, and integrity. Entrepreneurship is lumpy, and something no-one can control. We can only control how we handle ourselves in those situations. It took courage to remain focussed and professional.
What industry trends are you noticing and how do you capitalize on them?
Mobile has lead we on a wonderful path of discovery. What intrigues me now is that mobile devices have enabled and powered the Sharing Platforms like Task Rabbit, Angies, and AirBnB to million of users by squeezing waste out of systems and process. Which is great until humans get involved and five star ratings won't cut it for Trust, Safety and Quality issues.
What's next for Miles?
I worked with a small team to solve that very problem: TrustCloud does Trust, Safety and Quality for sharing platforms, and we can guarantee it with the backing off an A+ rated insurance carrier. I joined the team as Chief Exec this summer and we were selected for 500 Start Ups / Batch 10
We help sharing platforms scale by doing Trust, Saefy and Quality - better, faster and cheaper.
Live love learn. Leave a legacy.
Your advice to an aspiring entrepreneur?
Be prepared for one of the most exciting, terrorizing experiences of your life. But don't make it all of your life. Have a little balance: even skydivers chill out now and then.
Favorite travel destination?
My next one.
One food and drink left on earth, what would you choose?
Water. I can make Kool-Aid, Tea, Lemonade….
What literature is on your bed stand?
Well it's kindle so it's a lot. Current books are Looming Tower (basis Middle East conflict), Seven Pillars of Wisdom (TE Lawrence) and How Trust Works.
Role model - business and personal?
Robert E. Lee. Awesome loyalty, creativity, determination, flexibility, respect and personal morals guided him. Yet after Appomattox, he reinvented himself . Oh, and he could dance while wearing a sword.
Two wonderfully nutty kids. Trying to keep them alive until they are teenagers.
Most interesting headline you've read this week?
Everything is Awesome: Lego is #1