A strong community can promote new ideas and ensure accountability. It can also act as motivation, support, and even provide a little friendly competition. The power of community is undeniable and the Okanagan tech community is no exception.
Our community is strong and growing with record speed and maintaining connection through a period of growth like this can be a challenge. Nobody panic, we've got a plan.
Introducing, The Faces of #OKGNtech. A showcase of Okanagan tech entrepreneurs, partners, supporters, and cheerleaders designed to fuel more connection, more growth, and more excitement. Follow along (on the blog and on Instagram @OKGNtech) to learn more about our growing community and what makes them awesome.
Meet Dan. Dan Rondeau is the founder of 925, an on-demand staffing platform connecting businesses to people looking for temporary, flexible work. When Dan isn’t helping people find jobs at the touch of a button, you will find him throwing a football at the beach with his girlfriend or riding around on his electric scooter.
We recently caught up with Dan to learn more about his business as well as his experience in the OKGN Angel Summit.
Where are you from? How did you end up here in the Okanagan?
“I grew up in a little pulp and paper town in Ontario called Thunder Bay. I hopped on an airplane at the young age of 19 and ended up in Fort McMurray for eight years. I spent one year in Calgary and then I came to Kelowna because I had fallen in love with the place five years earlier and I couldn’t wait to come back. I had come through here for one day and one day only, and I walked the boardwalk downtown and fell absolutely in love with it! I promised myself I would come back and I would either retire here or live here permanently and a short five years later I made the jump!”
What inspired you to start your own business?
“To be absolutely honest, I used to think entrepreneurs were crazy. Why would you risk it all? I was a career guy, like steak and potatoes, blue-collar career guy and my family was always the same way. I decided to start this business because I saw a chance to build a legacy and I quickly realized I wouldn’t be able to do that by just punching the clock every day.”
Why did you choose to join an Accelerate Okanagan program?
“I had read the Airbnb story of how they started their business, and in there they talk about the accelerator they worked with, Ycombinator. So when I wanted to get my business up and rolling I was like, where can I find an accelerator? That's where Accelerate Okanagan (AO) came up! AO has inspired me a lot. I came here with a dream, I had the idea for 925 in my head, and it was this place that really made it come alive.”
What advice would you give to someone interested in starting their own business?
“Swallow your pride, kick your ego to the curb, and ask for help. That's the only way you’ll get anywhere if you’re starting a business. It’s realizing you can’t do it all and that it takes a team to get it all done. I encourage people to do it but do it with friends and people that believe in you. That's the biggest piece of advice I could ever give to anybody wanting to be an entrepreneur!”
What is here in the Okanagan for an entrepreneur to take advantage of?
“The number one place I would send an entrepreneur would be Accelerate Okanagan! Then number two would be sending them to the Okanagan College to meet with the professors of the business school. I have found that really helpful! And then finally my number three would be the library because you learn more by reading books than you ever will out in the world.”
[Editor’s note: When we asked Dan what his favourite books were he mentioned: The Airbnb Story to learn about entrepreneurship, Extreme Ownership to learn how to push yourself, Sealing Fire to learn about teamwork, and Meditations to learn about how to run a business.]
Was participating in the OKGN Angel Summit a positive learning experience?
“The OKGN Angel Summit was one of the most exciting things I have ever done! It just pushed me as a person to become better, and it pushed me as a business owner to learn FAST about what it means to go through an investment cycle. It really allowed me to see my business through lenses I didn’t even think of before. It has opened up a world of possibilities on top of all of that. The people I met through the OKGN Angel Summit are some of the greatest people I’ve met to date.”
[Editor’s Note: Dan and the 925 team made it to the top 5 of the inaugural OKGN Angel Summit and won the People’s Choice Award]
The best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
“The best piece of advice I can share would actually be from Ted, my mentor at Accelerate Okanagan. Ted gave me some advice when and I first started, and that is that in all of our lives we have five pillars of health: Financial health, physical health, physiological health, social health and your emotional and relationship health and if they all aren't strong they will all crumble. It’s so important that you’re conscious of all your pillars and that you take care of them all as you are growing a business.”
What is one word that describes you and why?
“Excited! I see the good in everything and I always try and see the possibility around me. I haven’t always been this way. Positivity is like a muscle; you always have to work on it. There is always going to be something that's not going right but you have the choice to choose your perception. I’ve decided to make my reality a positive one.”