Subscribe to Entrepreneur for $5

This Culture-Tech Investor Made 200X on the Fastest-Growing Silicon Valley Startup Ever. Here's How to Pitch Him.

From JUUL Labs to Honcker, culture-tech investor Gregg Smith reveals his winning philosophy.


In the entrepreneurial world, the word "success" can mean a lot of different things.

Gregg Smith

It can mean getting paid to do something you love, it can mean having the ability to make your own hours and be your own boss, it can mean following your instincts down a path that leads to enormous, crazy financial rewards.

This week, my guest's career embodies all three of those definitions and then some. Gregg Smith is the founder and Chief Officer of Evolution VC Partners, a -based "culture-tech" venture investment firm focused on companies that, in his words, will change the way we smoke, shop, move, share, communicate, heal, listen to music and eat.

And he's done pretty well with that guiding philosophy.

Among his most successful investments is JUUL Labs, which he first invested in in 2015 when the was valued at $210 million. Smith purchased approximately 1.5% of the company back then and today, less than 3 years later, based on JUUL Labs' $38 billion valuation, those shares are now worth more than $400 million. Not too shabby!

Smith told me that he doesn't have an exact formula for picking a winning company, saying it's a lot like that famous quote about pornography, "You know it when you see it." He did, however, tell me what he likes to hear when he sits down with entrepreneurs whose companies he is considering. Smith also shared the lessons he's learned from the success and failures of startups and offered some amazing advice for people who just want to know how to get in front of an investor like him.

I think you'll learn a lot from Gregg; I know I did. Thanks for listening!

Listen to more episodes of How Success Happens here.

Entrepreneur Editors' Picks