Interview and article written by Charles Yu, @Jalin_Yu
I met Jesse a year ago at Vancouver Tech Co-Founders meetup, not sure where it was going to take me and who I’ll be meeting. What I did know was Jesse seemed to be well informed of who’s who within the Vancouver tech community and was sought after by various individuals for his advice and opinion at the gathering. Today we work together to bring the tech and business community Startup Weekend on the weekend of August 17th through the 19th. I could not have been happier about having Jesse as the event lead. He brings the rare combination of passionate enthusiasm, honesty, altruism and experience to the team, and here’s his story.
Two years ago, after working a year and half as a developer for a local startup, Jesse decided to quit his job on his 30th birthday and step into the entrepreneurial world. Bitten by the entrepreneurial bug, Jesse wanted to create an application that would challenge the likes of Workopolis and Monster.com by matching job seekers to companies using data gathered on the individuals personality traits and companys’ publicly available information. During the search to find answers to complete this monumental task, his friend introduced him to the computer language, Haskell. Impressed by Haskell’s elegance but wanting to find out more about the language itself, as well as recruit minds to the cause, Jesse created a meetup group catered towards Haskell users and those passionate about the language. This was the beginning of Jesse’s networking endeavors…..
Realizing aspiring entrepreneurs within the Vancouver tech startup scene were also at a loss on where to begin their entrepreneurial dreams, Jesse co-organized Vancouver Tech Co-Founders meetup group with John Chiu and Shawn Taylor. Vancouver Tech Co-Founders Meetup was created to provide networking opportunities, learning events where veteran tech entrepreneurs are invited to share their startup lessons, as well as information on the grassroot organizations such as Growlabs, Wavefront and Bootup Labs created to jumpstart startups. Two months after co-organizing Vancouver Tech Co-Founders meetup, Jesse became involved in co-organizing Lean Startup Vancouver. Lean Startup Vancouver was dedicated to organizing events and present content for aspiring entrepreneurs on lean product development concepts such as minimum viable product and test driven development found in the book, The Lean Startup, written by Eric Ries. Within a span of two years both meets grew substantially, Tech Co-Founders grew from 250 members to 1088. and Lean Startup Vancouver grew to 858 members
Working with the likes of Ray Walia, Roger Patterson and Mike Edwards, Jesse is also involved in the development of Launch Academy, which kicked off in April of this year. Launch Academy is a startup accelerator which provides startup founders with mentorship, progress metrics, speaker events, demo days as well as office space in gastown to work with other fellow entrepreneurs and share experiences.
Juggling 5 meetup groups, a startup accelerator, as well as being the event lead for the August Startup Weekend is a colossal amount of work. But Jesse relishes in connecting with people and finding like minded individuals to push him further in his goal of becoming a successful entrepreneur. His current project, Intro-up, was conceived during through his experiences within the world of networking and built with his tech co-founder, Tom Carchrae. Intro-up aims to introduce users with other individuals at meetups and match them using data on related connections and common interests, before meeting face to face. In short, it’s an app dedicated to mitigating awkward moments of silence and let you get down to the business of building your connections. Genius.
Charles’ previous work and volunteer experience include being a Venture Partner of SIFE BCIT helping recruit green businesses to join Spring Living Fair, a contributing writer for Leaders of Tomorrow quarterly Newspaper established by the Vancouver Board of Trade and an Upper Technician at Mr.Lube