FRED SCHMIDT Director, International Affairs
Fred Schmidt is an Austin, Texas based entrepreneur and consultant in the technology and creative industries through his firm Bullseye Business Development and other ventures. He also serves as a Mentor and Director of International at Capital Factory (CF), the largest incubator-accelerator-investment facility in the State of Texas and one of the largest in the USA with over 300 SaaS-based companies in various stages of growth and development. At CF he leads the international initiative, Touchdown Austin, which functions as a full-service soft-landing facility for global tech companies seeking to expand into the U.S. market through Austin, Texas as home base. The program also better prepares CF companies for success abroad as they launch and grow their ventures.
He also serves as Austin-side Co-Chair of the Sister Cities partnership between Austin and the London (U.K.) Borough of Hackney, home of “Tech City,” and has co-founded and co-leads the Austin Chapter of Tech London Advocates. Fred has nurtured the Austin-London relationship from founding five years ago into one of the most active in the world with over 400 companies, organizations, universities and professionals engaged between the two cities and with the assistance of the City Of Austin’s Economic Development Department, The London Borough of Hackney’s Regeneration Services, and UK Trade & Investment. In 2016 he was recognized for this work by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II who has awarded him the honor of Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE).
Fred’s recent and prior work in the technology field has been largely concentrated in the field of computer games where he has served as a C-level partner with MicroProse Software (ipo), ORIGIN Systems / Electronic Arts (m&a) and NCsoft North America & Europe (Seoul-based global expansion into North America and Europe). He is now a Co-Founder/Investor/Advisor (and was the founding CEO) at Portalarium, the venture backed ($7M Series A) and Kickstarter/crowdfunded ($10+M raise) games start up of Fred’s three-time business partner, Hall-of-Fame game designer and British-American cosmonaut-astronaut, Richard Garriott. He has overseen EU set up and expansions for all of these companies. Earlier in his career, Fred was a part of a consulting company that helped define and launch top cable satellite programming channels like HBO, MTV and CNN. He also worked as a marketing and operations executive with the cable television systems of Time Inc and others.
Fred is also very involved in the creative industries. Concurrently with his work in tech, he is Co-Founder/CEO of Austin Iconic Brands, a carefully curated collection of unique brick-and-mortar retail stores in the heart of Downtown Austin for over 20 years. The group includes: Wild About Music, a music-themed lifestyle store. Austin Rocks Texas, a fashion boutique. And Toy Joy, a nostalgic and niche toy store for all ages named one of the 10 Best Toy Stores In The World by USA Today in 2014.
He has served as a Board member of the Downtown Austin Alliance and the Downtown Austin Neighborhood Association, as vice chair of 6ixth Street Austin which oversees activities in the city’s National Register 6th Street Historic & Entertainment District, and on the advisory board of the School of Management & Business at St. Edward’s University in Austin.
Fred emigrated to the U.S. as a Cold War political refugee from Poland as a child. He grew up in Detroit where he worked his way out of factories and into a career in music, radio, television and market research. He graduated with high distinction from Wayne State University.