In the beginning of 2017 Monty Schmidt and his wife Pamela packed up their home and drove with their 17 year old cat, Misty, to start their new life in Ottawa, Ontario.
It was over 25 years earlier in 1991 that he started the public company, Sonic Foundry in his apartment in Madison, Wisconsin. It wasn’t long after he wrote the popular audio editor Sound Forge that Curtis Palmer from Microsoft joined forces with him. The company grew quickly and seven years later Monty would be lucky enough to ring the opening bell for the American Stock Exchange celebrating the first day of the company’s trading.
In 2000 the company grew to over 400 people and a billion dollars in value. Unfortunately when the internet bubble burst the company was forced to downsize and recreate itself. Three years later the company sold its media products to Sony and found itself left with 30 people and little revenue.
Over the next eight years Schmidt led the company’s development as CTO to create Mediasite™, the industry leading lecture capture system generating over $20 million annually. In 2011 after over 20 years at Sonic Foundry he decided it was time to start something new.
Although introduced to Bitcoin in 2011 while at Sonic Foundry it wasn’t until 2013 that he began research into Bitcoin communication protocols creating software to map the Bitcoin network. In 2014 he ran a Bitcoin hackathon encouraging local entrepreneurs to create Bitcoin related solutions and was the first person in Wisconsin to donate to a state political camping using Bitcoin. Unfortunately the donation had to be returned due to government accountability rules.
In 2015 he was contacted for help by a company where production had been shut down due to crypto ransomware. After helping to restore the servers he began to work on forensic tools to track bitcoin transactions.
Over the past 5 years he has continued to build his expertise in cryptography and crypto-currency and both consults with and give talks on block chain technology and issues to university groups and companies.
Monty has always been heavily embedded in the entrepreneurial community. He was a strong supporter of both Capital Entrepreneurs and the premier makerspace, Sector 67, where he maintained an office prior to opening a small incubator in downtown Madison. One of the incubator’s companies, Maydm, continues to help students of color to pursue STEM opportunities in Madison.
He has been an angel investor, seed investor, board member, and investor in companies from incubators such as Gener8tor and TechStars. Comfortable in front of crowds he’s done speeches for TechStars, Startup Weekend, and been a judge for numerous startup competitions. He serves as mentor to a variety of small companies and startups.
Prior to starting Sonic Foundry Monty worked for a variety of companies where he did both hardware and software design on a variety of projects including tracking astronaut motion in Zero G, and an ultrasonic bone densitometer. He received a BS in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Wisconsin, Madison and found his love for computers in high school when he got to play the original text adventure on a mainframe while visiting West Point Military Academy.
He is a continued supporter of a variety of causes including reducing hunger in schools, and encouraging diversity in the high tech start up community.