March 11 2014

Michael J. Gilbert

Michael J GilbertMichael J Gilbert is a serial entrepreneur, having started 17 businesses over a 29 year span. He’s an investor and a consultant on startups and small businesses primarily around fund raising, sales, and business development.

Mr. Gilbert started his first business, Global Signs, a billboard printing business, at age 19 and by age 27 had built one of the largest billboard printing companies in the South with revenue’s topping $37 million. In 1995 he sold the company.

In 1998 he began studying software programming and developed an online ordering platform for the printing industry, eventually selling the software to Kinko’s.

In 2002 he acquired NexLink (renamed to BookDock Broadband), a Fixed Wireless Broadband business out of Springfield, Missouri and worked alongside Motorola Labs to launch the first Wireless Broadband system in the Republic, Missouri. Boondock launched in rural markets in Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Islamabad, Pakistan, and Vera Cruz, Mexico before selling to SouthWestern Bell.

In 2007, Michael started FreeEnergyBid.com, an energy brokerage firm with 1,600 independent reps in 26 states. The company was sold in 2009.

In 2009, Michael opened Element6 Group and entered the Carbon Trading and Carbon Emissions Accounting Software and Environmental Consulting space, acquiring Carbon-View.com.

In March of 2012 he started what is now THE GARAGE, a coworking and collaboration platform to connect mentors (experts) to business owners.

Michael has had businesses in manufacturing, software, construction, real estate, art, printing, GPS Tracking, and Cellular and sits on boards of businesses and startups, giving him a broad and diverse understanding of business needs, primarily in capital formation, business development, sales, and marketing. .

Michael has worn all the hats in multiple businesses and understands the number one need for sustainability in any business is funding and more importantly execution. He’s been involved in the funding markets for startups and small business since 2003 and has assisted over 150 companies raise funds from $5,000 to $100 million.

Michael is Co-Founder at The Garage and a Funding Expert for Businesses and Startups.  He is an author and speaker and the son of a Hells Angels Biker. He once fought off a horde of fireants with a plastic spoon.

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