What It’s Really Like to Launch a Successful Tech Start-Up

Written for FLARE‘s 9-5 series.

On Dragon’s Den, you get to help finance and support other entrepreneurs. What do you like about that role? Every time I see a pitcher, I see a lot of myself in them. I was on that other side of the table really recently and still am building businesses so I have a lot of empathy for people coming in. A lot of the other Dragons are about the economics, but I think, “How is this person like me and how can I help them?”

When you’re judging, what grabs you about a pitch? To me, it’s always the personality—someone who is passionate and has gone through some level of adversity and figured out how to build something from scratch.

Who is an entrepreneur you admire? Guy Laliberté, the founder of Cirque du Soleil. He was a fire-breather that figured out that if he got a troupe of people together and made a more artistic circus, he could create something amazing. He did not come out of business school he came out of a school of getting things done, and I think it’s just an incredible Canadian success story.

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