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How Entrepreneur Austin Veith Balanced Big Business Aspirations With Personal Interests

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Image commercially licensed from: https://unsplash.com/photos/person-writing-on-brown-wooden-table-near-white-ceramic-mug-s9CC2SKySJM

Finding success in business is a delicate balance of unique and value-adding concepts, attainable growth plans, and the persistence and stamina required to see your idea through to completion. For more than 20 years, Denver-based entrepreneur Austin Veith has been perfecting that balancing act, trying his hand at a variety of industries and approaches.

Austin was bitten by the business bug early on. He started his first business in high school, selling donuts to students between morning classes, as part of a school project. He then discovered that the University of Colorado had launched one of the first accredited entrepreneurial programs in the country and quickly enrolled. Veith discovered that he had a natural knack for capitalizing on an unrecognized need, and he was willing to put in the work to bring his ideas to fruition. 

While in college he continued down the entrepreneurial path, creating a tour company for college students and opening a brick-and-mortar retail store which taught him some of his most valuable business lessons. In particular, he discovered that as his businesses grew he was spending less time on the things he enjoyed, like building partnerships or improving product offerings. Instead, he was spending the majority of his time managing and scheduling a couple dozen employees.

It wasn’t long before Veith saw the incredible advantages of tech-based businesses that can access a global customer base and large revenue streams by leveraging technology instead of manpower. He immediately started thinking big, and in 2005 he started his first tech company, TravelFli.com. Within his first two years, Veith was accepted into the first graduating class of TechStars Boulder, an accelerator for the founders of some of the best companies in the world.

During his time in TechStars, Veith received invaluable advice, hands-on education, mentorship, networking, fundraising, and business-building tools that are unique to the highly respected program. At a time when tech companies were exploding in popularity, Veith was getting involved with some of the most promising, and highly complex, concepts in the marketplace.

Thinking Big & Taking Risks

Veith’s first two tech companies swung for the fences, metaphorically speaking. TravelFli.com became UsingMiles.com, which sought to connect travelers’ multiple frequent flier programs into one common application. This endeavor required partnerships with some of the largest companies in the world, including airlines, hotel chains, and credit card companies. With loyalty programs that have values in the billions of dollars, these companies are also understandably protective of this very valuable information.

Undeterred by the complexities and regulations that he was up against, Veith later started UsedTunes.com, for reselling digital music the way that physical CDs and albums were previously sold and resold. Working with music labels was very similar to working with the travel companies he dealt with for UsingMiles.com, and it was a challenge that Veith enjoyed.

Both UsingMiles.com and UsedTunes.com drew a lot of attention and venture capital funding, thrusting Veith into both an enviable and a challenging position of being at the helm of startups in the national spotlight. Navigating uncharted territory, Veith encountered both setbacks and successes but remained steadfast in his determination to succeed.

Growing Up & Changing Gears

In the years since UsingMiles.com and UsedTunes.com, Austin Veith has done a tremendous amount of soul-searching and self-discovery and come out of it stronger than ever before. He has pinpointed his likes and dislikes, what kind of work inspires him, and what parts of life distract him from the bigger picture. He now runs the startup factory First Light, which works exclusively with founders who have unique ideas in complex or highly regulated industries – Veith’s specialty. First Light builds the technology in addition to building the entire company, often operating as an entire C-level team while the company gets off the ground.

Although much of Veith’s career has been spent solving problems that he himself has experienced, he’s enjoying tackling someone else’s problems for a change. First Light’s clients have already ventured into the pharmaceutical space and legal cannabis, both areas with tremendous upsides and interest, but also requiring a significant focus on compliance.

With so much relevant experience and knowledge to share with other first-time founders, Veith is in the perfect position to mentor while also remaining in a hands-on role bringing ideas to life. After charting the way for his current clients through his own course nearly 20 years ago, Veith is strategically carving out a niche that he can perfectly fill. 

He may not be making headlines as the venture capital darling du jour, but these days Austin Veith is truly living his dream. Helping others, growing tech companies, and maintaining the balancing act that Veith spent 20 years perfecting. Like his business at First Light, Veith’s level of personal satisfaction is at an all-time high in Denver.

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