About Kelly Smith

Axacraft founder biography

Mr. Smith has over 25 years of technology experience and has functioned as a digital leader, product designer, engineering team leader, entrepreneur, and investor. He oversees all aspects of digital transformation, including strategy development, team building, customer experience, engineering, design, and product management. Smith brings a unique perspective to executive committees and board rooms due to his hands-on experience. He has managed back-of-house IT teams and marketing technology teams. He has led teams that designed and developed cutting-edge consumer applications producing billions in revenue annually.

Mr. Smith founded Axacraft and functions as the interim Chief Digital Officer for Athletic Greens - the leading foundational nutrition company. Mr. Smith was previously Hagerty's Chief Strategy & Digital Officer, the world’s largest insurer of collectible cars and the most prominent automotive enthusiast membership organization.  In this role, he led  IT, Digital Products, Data, Martech & Security.

Previously, Mr. Smith was the Sr. Vice President and Chief Digital Officer at MGM Resorts International.  MGM Resorts is a global hospitality company of 80,000 employees, operating a portfolio of destination resort brands, including Bellagio, Aria, MGM Grand, Mandalay Bay, and The Mirage. The company offers hotel, dining, entertainment, gaming, retail, and other resort amenities. It owns and operates properties in Nevada, Mississippi, and Michigan and has investments in some properties in Nevada, Illinois, and Macau. Mr. Smith led the digital transformation, including the establishment of MGM Digital Ventures, which focuses exclusively on the customer experience.  New initiatives included self-check-in via an all-new mobile app and re-keying all hotel room doors with Bluetooth low-energy locks.  The mobile app now serves as the guest’s door key and the passport to shows, restaurant reservations, and more.

Before MGM, Mr. Smith was with Starbucks, where he served as Vice President, Global Digital Products, leading the teams responsible for the company’s popular mobile and web products which are world leaders in retail innovation, driving millions of daily transactions and billions in revenue.  The Starbucks app is the world’s 2nd largest digital payment platform behind Apple Pay. 30% of all orders in the United States come through the mobile app. Previously, he served as the Vice President, Digital for Starbucks China. He recruited and led the initial product management, design, and engineering teams developing groundbreaking consumer experiences such as digital payment and China’s most popular food & beverage loyalty program.  Kelly was eventually promoted to lead all international digital products until he was subsequently asked to lead the US digital organization.  

Smith has started and sold several venture-backed software companies and is known to design and develop his initial prototypes. He started his career in the internet's earliest days, marketing the first commercial version of the (Mosaic) web browser. The company was sold to CompuServe/America Online, and Smith went on to work for RealNetworks, where they pioneered the first audio and video streaming technology on the internet.  He has been a seed investor in startups sold to Amazon, Google, Priceline, Comcast, and others.  He continues to mentor young entrepreneurs via TechStars and other incubation programs.

In his spare time, Mr. Smith enjoys traveling with his wife Dasha and their four year old daughter Varvara. He enjoys painting and restoring air-cooled Porsches.