From Startup to Success: The Story of Greg Smith and Thinkific


In today’s fast-paced world, the demand for accessible and flexible education is at an all-time high. That’s where online learning platforms like Thinkific provide a comprehensive and customizable platform for anyone looking to create and sell their courses. 

Behind the success of Thinkific is the story of its co-founder and CEO, Greg Smith. With a passion for entrepreneurship and ed-tech, Smith’s journey from humble beginnings to the forefront of the e-learning industry is nothing short of inspiring. 

In this article, we’ll delve into the life and background of Greg Smith and explore how his vision and leadership have helped propel Thinkific to its current position as a leading online learning platform.


Early Life and Career

Greg Smith was born and raised in Canada, and his passion for entrepreneurship and ed-tech can be traced back to his early years. After completing his Bachelor of Commerce in Finance from the University of British Columbia in 2000, Smith pursued a Bachelor of Laws degree from the same university, which he completed in 2006.

After graduation, Smith briefly worked as a securities and capital markets lawyer from 2006 to 2009. However, he soon found his true calling in tech startups. In 2009, Smith co-founded a tech startup and was responsible for driving sales and business development for a year.

From there, Smith became the CEO of Alpha Score Seminars, a company that provides student test preparation services. In this role, Smith gained valuable experience in education technology, which ultimately paved the way for his founding of Thinkific.

Although Smith’s early career path may seem varied, his experiences in law, sales, and education technology contributed to his eventual success as an entrepreneur in online learning. 


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Founding of Thinkific

In April 2012, Greg Smith founded Thinkific along with his associates. The vision behind the company was to provide a user-friendly platform allowing anyone to create and sell their own online courses. At the time, few e-learning platforms provided this level of customization and control, and Smith saw an opportunity to fill this gap in the market.

Smith and his team faced several obstacles as the company began to take shape. One of the biggest challenges was gaining traction in a crowded and competitive marketplace. To overcome this, the team focused on building an easy-to-use, flexible, and customizable platform with a strong emphasis on customer support.

Another significant obstacle was securing funding to help grow the business. To address this, Smith and his team turned to crowdfund, launching a successful Kickstarter campaign in 2013 that raised over $100,000. This funding helped fuel the company’s growth, allowing it to expand its offerings and attract more customers.

Despite the challenges, Thinkific continued to grow and thrive under Smith’s leadership. Today, the company has helped thousands of course creators and educators share their knowledge with the world, and it continues to be a leading platform in e-learning.


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Growth and Success

Since its founding in 2012, Thinkific has experienced remarkable growth and success under the leadership of Greg Smith. The platform has evolved significantly over time, with numerous updates and improvements designed to better serve the needs of course creators and learners alike.

One of the company’s most significant achievements was the launch of its App Store in 2018, which allowed course creators to easily integrate their courses with various third-party tools and services. This move was seen as a major milestone for the company, as it helped to solidify Thinkific’s position as a leading platform in the e-learning space.

Another major milestone for Thinkific was its inclusion on the 2019 Deloitte Technology Fast 50 list, which recognizes the fastest-growing technology companies in Canada. This honor was a testament to the company’s strong growth and performance.

Greg Smith has remained a driving force behind Thinkific’s vision and mission throughout this growth and success. He has worked tirelessly to lead the company through its various stages of development, constantly pushing the team to innovate and improve. 

His commitment to customer support, user experience, and education technology has helped to establish Thinkific as a leading platform in the online learning space.


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Philanthropy and Social Responsibility

Greg Smith and Thinkific have made philanthropy and social responsibility a key part of their company culture. The company has donated to several charitable organizations, including the Vancouver Food Bank and the Canadian Mental Health Association

Additionally, Thinkific has implemented various sustainability initiatives, such as reducing its carbon footprint through green energy usage and waste reduction efforts.

Smith has spoken about the importance of using business as a force for good and companies’ responsibility to positively impact their communities. He has been vocal about the need for more socially responsible business practices and has encouraged other entrepreneurs to prioritize philanthropy and sustainability in their own companies.

By prioritizing philanthropy and social responsibility, Greg Smith and Thinkific set an example for other companies. They recognize the importance of giving back to the community and making a positive impact and are taking concrete steps to do so. 

As the company continues to grow and succeed, it is clear that its commitment to social responsibility will remain a fundamental aspect of its culture and values.


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Future Plans and Outlook

As one of the leading online learning platforms, Thinkific is poised for continued growth and success in the coming years. The company plans to expand its offerings and reach, focusing on providing even more comprehensive and customizable learning experiences for its users. Additionally, Thinkific is exploring new partnerships and collaborations with other ed-tech companies and institutions.

Greg Smith has spoken about his vision for the future of online learning, emphasizing the importance of personalized, engaging, and accessible education. He believes that technology can revolutionize how we learn and teach and that online learning platforms like Thinkific are key in making education more accessible and effective.

Looking ahead, the outlook for online learning and ed-tech is bright. As more and more individuals and organizations recognize the value of online education, the demand for innovative and high-quality learning platforms like Thinkific is likely to continue to grow. With its commitment to excellence, innovation, and social responsibility, Thinkific is well-positioned to continue leading the way in the online learning industry for years.


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In summary, Greg Smith’s journey from a securities and capital markets lawyer to co-founder and CEO of Thinkific is an inspiring tale of determination, vision, and entrepreneurship. With its innovative approach to online learning, Thinkific has become one of the world’s most successful and influential ed-tech companies, empowering educators and learners alike to achieve their full potential.

Smith’s leadership and commitment to excellence have been instrumental in the company’s success, driving its growth and expansion while maintaining a strong focus on social responsibility and philanthropy. Thinkific’s success is a testament to the transformative power of technology and the importance of education in today’s fast-paced and ever-changing world.

As we look to the future of ed-tech and online learning, we can be confident that companies like Thinkific, under the guidance of visionary leaders like Greg Smith, will continue to pave the way for transforming the educational tech industry for the better.

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