Meet Sam: Founder and CEO of Vishion


Hello world! I’m Sam Smith (not the singer)

My background: I have been working in a startup atmosphere for the last five years, assisting with sales, marketing and customer experience for a FinTech in Charlotte. I have been lucky enough to have a seat at the table to see firsthand the million decisions necessary to create a business.

Where did you go to school and what did you think you would be doing after graduation? I attended Christopher Newport University in Newport News, Virginia with the intention of being a reporter. I was lucky enough to spend a year reporting after graduation. I discovered during that time period that I liked to make money a little bit more than reporting the news.

Fun fact about me: I’ve met the Queen of England! While working for the Foreign Press and Royal Commonwealth Society in London, I was fortunate enough to meet the Queen, Prime Minister Gordon Brown and the President of Rwanda. I met the Queen because I helped organized her annual event, Commonwealth Day.

About startup life

Thoughts on startup life so far? It’s crazy to experience startup life from this perspective. Its hard to describe all of the feelings that come from building a team and creating a company from scratch. While it’s incredibly hard work, I am extremely lucky to have the opportunity to chase my dream.

What is advice would you give to someone else considering startup life? Before you make the leap, do a trial run to see if startup life is for you. I spent four weeks immersing myself in the startup experience, testing my concept at networking events.

What is the biggest challenge? Time. There are never enough hours in the day to finish all of the work you have on your plate. I am slowly trying to figure out how I can squeeze exercise back into the equation.

About Vishion

Vishion is the only resource online that lets shoppers search for apparel or home decor across retailers in specific colors. Our mobile application collects the individuals’ preferences to provide the most relevant results, using our suggestion algorithms to complete the outfit or room like a personal shopper.

How did you come up with the idea? I was with my husband at Kindred, a restaurant in Davidson, when he commented that we should get nightstands in the same shade as the bar. After weeks of googling different names for various shades of green, I realized that color search was a problem that needed to be fix (and I had to be the person that fixed it).

Whats your role at Vishion? I am the CEO and Head of Business Development. My job is to build strategic partnerships and ensure the business is running smoothly by assisting my team.

Whats the most exciting part Vishion? Creating something from scratch is crazy, but I am most excited about going on this journey with the awesome team I’ve built. It’s exciting to build a culture and company the way we want.


The Vishion founders (from left to right): Sam Smith, CEO, Michael Benning, CTO, and Kayce Hunt, CFO.

Starting a company in Charlotte

How did you end up in Charlotte? My previous company had an office in both Washington, D.C. and  Charlotte. When my husband was looking for a new job, both cities were an option. I am from Northern Virginia so I loved the area, but my husband wasn’t as enchanted.

Why do you think Charlotte is the ideal location for Vishion?  I think it’s the ideal location because we could show the region how a progressive startup can succeed in the South. It’s an area where our company would standout and we can show how our culture can foster success.

What resource would you recommend for a new local startup to get its footing? I would recommend looking at Eventbrite or Meetup for local startup and entrepreneur events. Another good tool is the newsletter for StartCharlotte. Each weekly email shows upcoming events and local startup news.

Entrepreneur insight

Favorite Podcast: Angel or This Week in Startups by Jason Calacanis is a great podcast. I listen every week for insights into the investors’ mindset.

Favorite Book: Hooked by Nir Eyal is a great book about building a habit-forming product. And if you tweet him about his book, he will most definitely tweet back.

Favorite Quote:

“Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they’ve been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It’s an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It’s a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.” – Muhammad Ali

Connect with Smith on LinkedIn or email her at

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