From Consulting to Cybersecurity: Mike Kim’s Path to Entrepreneurship

Meet Mike Kim, a visionary who has navigated a fascinating career path from finance to technology and, ultimately, to founding his own ventures. 

Diya Sharma

Venture Capital Analyst
June 13, 2024
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From Consulting to Cybersecurity: Mike Kim’s Path to Entrepreneurship

At Antler, we pride ourselves on partnering with visionary founders who bring unique experiences and perspectives to the table. Today, we had the pleasure of speaking with a dynamic entrepreneur who has navigated a fascinating career path from finance to technology and, ultimately, to founding his own ventures. 

Mike Kim | Co-Founder at MyCroft

Hello Mike! Thank you for joining us today. Can you tell us about yourself and your background?

Certainly, I immigrated from Korea at the age of 10 and grew up in Vancouver. I pursued my education at UBC and began my career in finance, working in investment banking, private equity, and sales and trading. With my initial interest in banking, I soon shifted my interest towards IT. Upon graduation, I joined KPMG's IT Advisory Practice, then moved to Ernst & Young (EY), which took me to the San Francisco Bay Area, exposing me to numerous Fortune 500 tech companies. This experience laid the foundation for my career in consulting and, soon, entrepreneurship.

What inspired you to venture into entrepreneurship?

After my stint in consulting, I decided to try my hand at entrepreneurship. I initially developed a mobile app while working a government job, but it didn’t gain the traction I had hoped for; I learned tons about market validation and foundational elements, though. Despite this initial setback, I remained undeterred. In 2018, I had the opportunity to relocate to Toronto to join a cybersecurity company specializing in risk advisory services. This role allowed me to work with some of the brightest minds in the industry and deepen my expertise. I was interested in gaining more exposure to startups, and as a result, I later worked at Freshbooks (Toronto-based unicorn) and Partner Stack, leading various functions.

“My experience in consulting, entrepreneurship, and working with startups allowed me to identify a critical issue in cybersecurity. Coupled with an entrepreneurial mindset, it led me to Toronto, where I could address these challenges and deepen my expertise.”

How did your experience at Freshbooks/Partnerstack help you transition towards establishing your own startup? 

At FreshBooks, I helped them scale their payment compliance systems as they grew to unicorn status. I then moved to Partner Stack, a fast-growing tech startup, where I played a crucial role in scaling the company from 60 to 350 employees and navigating through Series A and B funding rounds. This experience solidified my operational and entrepreneurial skills.

My experience with Partner Stack led to an opportunity to co-found a managed services company with a hedge fund. This was my first experience scaling a company from zero to one. Today, at Antler, I am focused on building a product company, leveraging my extensive background in technology risk, consulting, and entrepreneurship.

Balancing a corporate job with entrepreneurial ambitions can be challenging. How did you manage that?

Balancing both was definitely challenging. I set strict work hours for my entrepreneurial projects and utilized weekends for customer research and product development. Committing fully and managing your time wisely is crucial, which is why I think the Antler model works. I recommend setting time blocks and sticking to them to avoid spreading yourself too thin.

How did you find out about Antler’s Residency Program?

Antler had reached out a few times through Linkedin. I was aware of their presence, but I was not in the right place to join at the time. Down the road, the timings aligned where I understood their vision and looked into previous companies they had invested in.

Can you talk more about your experience at Antler?

The number of founders and talent they brought in was phenomenal, leading me to find the perfect co-founder who I trust fully. Everyone in the cohort effectively masters their craft, and learning from them is exciting. The other aspect is the network that Antler can bring, as well as Antler’s unique insights into certain problems because of its extensive experience. I couldn’t have found a co-founder without Antler's support. My initial approach was to go through my network, but it may have turned into a side gig. Antler itself is a forcing function that allows you to move fast, so it has been a great learning experience.

“I would not have been able to find the perfect co-founder without Antler. I learned something new from everyone in the cohort.”

What advice would you give to new founders based on your journey?

My advice is to commit fully, manage your time wisely, and never stop learning and adapting. It's important to stay focused and give your best to whatever you're working on. Balancing multiple roles is tough, but it's achievable with dedication and proper time management. Remember, no idea is valuable until you have the right team to execute it.

Mike Kim’s journey from finance to IT consulting and finally to entrepreneurship highlights the importance of resilience and continuous learning. His advice for aspiring founders is invaluable: commit fully, manage your time wisely, and never stop learning and adapting.

Thank you for reading.

#Antler #AntlerCanada #Founderinterview #Foundersuccess #Entrepreneur #Entrepreneurialjourney #Entrepreneurship

Diya Sharma

Venture Capital Analyst

Diya is an Honors BBA Candidate at Schulich School of Business, specializing in Finance and Marketing with over four years of experience in financial/data analysis, project management and market research. Diya manages the marketing department by developing and leading strategic marketing initiatives, demonstrating analytical skills and innovative thinking. Passionate about entrepreneurship, she brings a collaborative mindset, eager to make an impact in the venture capital sector.

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