Across Canada, many of us are astonished that summer (aka “construction season”) is quickly passing us by and the academic year will soon be in full swing! August is often a time to rest and recharge before jumping into the next exciting part of life’s journey. With travel becoming more accessible, we hope that you are enjoying a change of scenery within our own country and beyond.
Speaking of travel and global mobility, we dove deep into Kitchener-Waterloo’s tech hub for our Impact Story this month, featuring Accelerator Centre CEO, Jay Krishnan. From his global perspective, Krishan shared his goals to take the region and the Accelerator Centre global to generate demand and discoverability of tech developed in Waterloo.
I also sat down with “Canada’s tech supercharger,” Communitech. As a female founder, I was thrilled to talk about my experiences, how I was inspired to keep going instead of retiring, and what drove me to leave Silicon Valley and start Profound Impact in Canada instead. Read on to check out my interview and learn more about why Profound Impact was created, what it is today, and where we plan to take it in the future.
I’m excited to say we’ve received outstanding nominations for the Profound Impact™ Impactful Actions Award. We can’t wait to share the nominees with you! Save the dates – our finalists will be announced on August 15th, and we’ll share the winner on September 14th, our 3rd annual Profound Impact Day!
As always, we are thankful for your ongoing support and engagement.
An innovative thinker with a global mindset, Jay Krishnan believes that the time to invest in Waterloo Region’s ambitious tech entrepreneurs is now. Krishnan, who has more than 20 years of global experience working with businesses in the startup space, took over the role of CEO at the Accelerator Centre in March of 2021 and he’s determined to uncover entrepreneurs who have what it takes to be successful on the world’s stage. Before coming to Waterloo, Krishnan was a General Partner at Mantra Capital and the first CEO at T-Hub, India’s largest startup incubator. He was drawn to Waterloo Region because of the high potential tech talent that is relatively undiscovered on a global scale.
“Any ecosystem needs to have momentum, density, and diversity, and I think Waterloo has all these three,” Krishnan said. “It still remains untapped, as seen through the lens of the global perspective.”
Krishnan is at the centre of many moving pieces in Waterloo’s tech ecosystem. He believes the region has high-pedigree institutions, producing talented individuals who may not have the tools they need to commercialize their ideas. That’s where the Accelerator Centre comes in to help. “The Accelerator Centre, as an organization, is truly positioned to be in the centre of the track for these companies,” Krishnan said. The organization works closely with founders who may not have the business experience or support to find success on their own, offering support through various programs.
“Our goal is to take the region and the Accelerator Centre global to generate demand and discoverability of tech developed in Waterloo to the world,” Krishnan said. “We don’t need to confine ourselves to Canada. If anything, I think COVID demonstrated that we can go global by hanging out on the internet.”
Businesses coming to the Accelerator Centre can access a variety of programs, including incubation, story acceleration, and the recently announced AC:Studio program, which focuses on the entrepreneur first before the tech to build-up strong founders and teams. The Accelerator Centre offers in-person and virtual events, funding opportunities, product launch support and mentorship. Companies looking to enter Canada can also do so with support from the team of experts at the Accelerator Centre and by accessing Canada’s Start-Up Visa program. “It really depends on where you are as a company in your lifecycle,” Krishnan said. “We have structured programming that helps you along your journey,” Krishnan said. This structured programming includes high-touch mentorship to help companies with their business ideas and commercialization. The Accelerator Centre also helps generate demand and discoverability for science and tech clients in Waterloo Region.
The Accelerator Centre is working on a key initiative that will make it the most inclusive startup ecosystem in the world. The centre’s EDI plan, a two-year initiative, is fully available to the public and includes internal teams, board members, mentorship models, and entrepreneur programs. “You have to make yourself accountable and transparent,” Krishnan said.
Heading into the future, Krishnan believes Waterloo Region’s tech talent is poised to lead in the new post-pandemic reality. “If we have the capability, and we do, there should be no reason why we are not appealing to the world.” Jay’s unique entrepreneur-first approach and the raw talent within Waterloo Region make a perfect pairing for global impact.
The visualizations below show Krishnan’s career highlights, along with some of the businesses he’s worked with since joining the Accelerator Centre in 2021.
Do you have an impact story to share? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org for a chance to be featured in an upcoming newsletter!
Welcome to May’s edition of our Profound Connections newsletter. Over the last month, our team at Profound Impact™ has been busy with the release of our first Social Impact Report, participating in our yearly Earth Day activities, and championing important discussions about supporting women in STEM careers.
The release of our first annual Social Impact Report was an exciting feat for Profound Impact. As a startup, it can be a challenge to navigate commitment to corporate social responsibility while also acknowledging the financial constraints that come with being a smaller company. It was our goal to evade this limitation and find ways of making a social impact without having to invest immense amounts of money. Many of our activities required no cost whatsoever! The full report detailing the ways in which our team members contributed to social, economic and environmental causes throughout 2021 can be found below.
April 22, 2022 was Earth Day — and each member of the Profound Impact team used this as an opportunity to spend at least 30 minutes doing something to benefit the environment. From planting pollinator gardens to picking up litter at a local park, the highlights of our team’s pursuits are shared in this month’s newsletter.
Finally, I was honoured to be interviewed by the Accelerator Centre’s CEO Jay Krishnan on the inaugural Waterloo Grit podcast, where innovators are called upon to answer the question, “What does the global future of entrepreneurship look like?” Continue reading to learn more and listen to our conversation!
Stay connected with us on social media and through our upcoming Profound Connections newsletters for more information on upcoming events!
Thank you for your ongoing support and engagement,
Profound Impact’s CEO, Sherry Shannon-Vanstone, was the guest speaker for an inaugural podcast hosted by Jay Krishnan of Canada’s Accelerator Centre for a great conversation. Sherry shares her personal story and discusses the challenges facing female entrepreneurs in technology, and offers some great advice for meeting those challenges. A mathematician, entrepreneur, innovator, and philanthropist, Sherry defied the odds when it comes to women pursuing STEM careers and has been an advocate for women in STEM, pushing for them to assume a greater role in Canada’s post-pandemic economic recovery. Watch the podcast recording here or listen on Spotify here.