January 24th, 2023
How do you go from being literally dirt poor to becoming a serial entrepreneur responsible for founding, investing in, or serving on the board of over 100 companies? How can an eagerness to learn and serve shape your life in a way that influences local and global communities for the better?
Listen as our guest shares his path from a subsistence farm life to one filled with “FinTech” and “Impact investing,” the importance of knowing what you are good at and creating a dream team to handle the rest, and how a willingness to serve can open doors to amazing opportunities for growth.
Bio: Wade T. Myers, a serial entrepreneur, advisor, investor, author, and speaker, has turned a lifetime of learning into a multi-faceted career that impacts local and global communities. Growing up on a subsistence farm in North Dakota, Wade worked his way through intermediate grades, high school, and college while also enlisting in the Army Reserves. After graduating, Wade went active duty in the Army Corps of Engineers before volunteering for Ranger School, ultimately completing Airborne training and then commanding a special weapons unit. Ever in pursuit of knowledge, Wade decided to get a graduate degree in Computer Information Systems while on active duty. When he left active duty, he was recruited to work at Mobil Corporation in their plastics division until he was called up to serve in the Gulf War, where he was awarded a Bronze Star. Upon returning home, Wade knew that he wanted to buy or start a company so to learn how to do so he attended Harvard Business School and graduated with an MBA as a Baker Scholar. Following a post-graduate stint with the prestigious Boston Consulting Group, Wade started his career as a serial entrepreneur. Since then, Wade has founded, invested in, or served on the board of over 100 companies. In addition to his own entrepreneurship, Wade has an advisory focus to help startup entrepreneurs achieve their vision. Wade is also a featured speaker at conferences and has taught seminars at business schools. He earned a Bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Economics from North Dakota State University, a Master’s degree in Computer Information Systems from Texas A&M University Central Texas, and an MBA as a Baker Scholar at Harvard. He has five children and currently lives with his wife, Lisa, in Westover Hills, Texas.
The list of endeavors Wade Myers has brought to fruition stretches the imagination:
All of these conform to Wade’s “Impact Investing” mandate: that each deliver significant impact AND significant returns.
So how does the son of a North Dakota subsistence farmer earning just $1,000/year accomplish such feats?
The trajectory of Wade’s life stems from both an eagerness to learn and also serve in the military.
“In grade school I read the entire library bookshelves on military history and I really, really wanted to serve. But I was also poor and hungry to succeed so I just wanted to get out and make money. I was intent on NOT going to college because it’s so expensive and takes so long.”
Before he could leave for work on the Alaska pipeline project, his sister in Fargo convinced him to at least consider college. “She walked me over to Old Main where I stood in one line and got a check for a student loan and a grant. Then I stood in another line and signed the check back over, and I was enrolled!”
Instead of going to Alaska, Wade roomed with his sister and quickly realized that graduating from college was mostly about passing tests, which he was good at. Rather than spending all his time studying, he began working numerous jobs and enrolled in ROTC and the Army Reserves to make money.
“I learned a ton about leadership, and so then when I graduated, I went on active duty, and then all these weird things started to happen.”
Most of the ‘weird things’ were the result of Wade’s eagerness to volunteer for a variety of training, including engineering, atomic demolitions, slurry explosives, liquid explosives, nuclear assurity, air assault, SCUBA, and many more. When an officer suggested his military career ambitions would be enhanced by a Masters in Computer Information Systems at Texas A&M, Wade didn’t question it and just enrolled, studying nights and weekends.
After active duty he then earned an MBA at Harvard and was recruited by the Boston Consulting Group, paving his way into the world of Fin-Tech.
“My intention of going to Harvard for the MBA program was so that I could acquire or start a business and run it. So, from day one at BCG, I started working on my fund and put together a plan to buy a business.”
That same plan, unknowingly shared by a friend with a venture capitalist who had already backed 100 other software startups, opened the doors to business ownership and the whole trajectory of Wade’s life.
How did that first deal come together and lead to the many others that followed? They are just a part of Wade’s amazing story of hard work leading to what looks like ‘luck’ from the outside.
In our conversation Wade shares:
Listen in, and I know you will be as intrigued as I was!