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Torontonians who are shaking up the tech sector

Kate Dickson co-founded Primped, an online service that lets customers book in-home beauty and self-care treatments

Torontonians who are shaking up the tech sector

Company HQ: King and Spadina Founded: 2018

How it works: “Customers browse a curated list of beauty professionals online. Then they can book an appointment, whether it’s hair, makeup, lash or brow, and a beautician will come to the location of their choosing.”

Eureka moment: “Sarah and I used to work in finance on Bay Street. We often found ourselves scrambling to book self-care appointments in the evening. So we surveyed 500 women in Toronto and found that they were tired of brick-and-mortar salons, and particularly fed up with working around the salon’s calendar. We decided to leave our jobs to find the solution.”

How much you spent initially: “We invested $4,000 to get our product running. But since then it’s been about $210,000 from family, friends and angel investors.”

Your turning point: “At first, we set our user cap at around 100 because of the manual work that went into our bookings. Then we developed new technology to increase the number of customers who could use it. Now, we’re at about 700.”

Your big-time backers: “Ex–Silicon Valley founders, angels and government grants.”

Corporate jargon you use too much: “Repeat booking.”

Tech jargon you hate: “ We were guilty of using ‘disrupt’ early on, but quickly dropped it.”

The best advice you’ve received: “If you have a good idea, just jump on it.”

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The worst advice you’ve received: “A lot of people said creating an online marketplace is too hard and that we should do something else.”

Your tech role model: “Whitney Wolfe Herd, founder and CEO of Bumble. She built something impressive, but she also does a lot offline to better the world.”

App you can’t live without: “Ritual. I hate waiting in line.”

Torontonians who are shaking up the tech sector

Coolest thing in your office: “Our pink neon Primped sign.”

Your go-to office attire: “I bike a lot, so I usually wear comfortable clothes—plenty of Lululemon and Kit and Ace. Anything where I can hop off a bike and still look acceptable in a meeting.”

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If you weren’t running a start-up: “I’d do more volunteering or go back to my roots in science. I studied genetics at university.”

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