Martin Smith

Martin Smith

PhD fellow


Martin Smith is an entrepreneur, investor, and advisor focused on sustainability, traceability, and shared ownership.

He is fascinated by business models that enable value-creating stakeholders to share in governance rights and earning-mechanisms while still being able to scale in competitive markets. Smith is the founder of CommonShare, a common protocol for sustainable, traceable, and resilient supply chains. CommonShare helps companies harness data science and robust partner networks to simplify sustainability compliance, optimize sourcing and drive authentic communication. To that end, the platform is working to solve a critical coordination and incentive alignment challenges that are prohibiting the mainstreaming of sustainable procurement.

Smith is also a founder and partner at the Ownership Economy, a thought-leadership platform advancing broad-based ownership and governance. The platform builds off of Smith’s work in a PhD fellowship exploring the potential wealth-creating effects of ownership and governance rights for value creating stakeholders (e.g. hosts for Airbnb, drivers for Uber) in digital platforms. Through this work he runs the Ownership Economy Podcast, and the Ownership Economy Summit, policy-makers, and entrepreneurs. Smith is an active investor in the Ownership Economy space into ventures such as Molecule, Forage, OnFrontiers, Popcorn, MintStars, and Denota.  

Prior to CommonShare, Smith founded Justmeans and orchestrated the merger between Justmeans and 3BLMedia. Post-merger, in his role as Chair and head of corporate development, he oversaw the subsequent roll up of the CSR and sustainability media and publishing landscape, including acquisitions such as CSRwire, Triple Pundit, Ethical Performance, and ReportAlert prior to the companies’ sale to private equity.

Smith was the first Chief Revenue Officer at Noodle Education, a partner in bringing leading universities online, and was a former COO at Le Souk, a vertical sourcing marketplace for the fashion industry.  While in university, Smith founded StartingBloc, a fellowship program for young leaders focused on sustainability. To scale the organization, he partnered with MIT Sloan, Columbia Business School, Wharton, NYU-Stern, and leading corporations such as General Electric and Starbucks.

He has spoken on sustainability and shared ownership in a variety of forums including at Harvard Business School, the World Bank, the Tremblant Forum, and the Bundestag.

Smith has lived and worked around the world, including in Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Spain, India, and Bangladesh. Smith holds an MBA from Harvard Business School. He is currently pursuing a PhD in Governance and Policy Analysis in a specialized joint-program between the schools of governance and business at Maastricht University and United Nations University – MERIT.