Torontonians who are shaking up the tech sector

Torontonians who are shaking up the tech sector

Caitlyn Ngu founded HireUp, an online platform that simplifies the interview process and eliminates the need for traditional resumés

Company HQ: Workhaus on King West
Founded: 2015
Employees: 6

How it works: “HireUp is like a video version of LinkedIn. Users set up profiles with video resumés, which can only be accessed by verified employers. It streamlines the hiring process by giving employers the chance to get introduced to candidates without organizing a face-to-face meetup.”

Eureka moment: “I hated my old job, and having a nine-to-five schedule made it hard to look for a new one. If I was trying to set up interviews, I’d have to call in sick or take a vacation day, which got me thinking about how much easier it would be if I could lay low and answer questions on my lunch break.”

How much you spent initially: “I spent $50,000, which came from savings and work bonuses. I was able to hire front- and back-end developers, an illustrator, a designer and a project manager to build a functional product.”

Your turning point: “I auditioned for Dragons’ Den last year and made a $250,000 deal with Michele Romanow and Lane Merrifield. After the show aired, we had 100 companies that wanted to sign up.”

Your big-time backers: “Futurpreneur and RIC Centre.”

Tech Jargon you use too much: “Strategy and optimization. Strategy is nothing without execution.”

Tech Jargon you hate: “Hacking. People spend more time taking shortcuts than coming up with actual solutions.”

The best advice you’ve received: “Sweat more in training and bleed less in war.”

The worst advice you’ve received: “Someone told me to jump on the first
deal I got offered, but I’d rather be strategic about who I take money from.”

Past life: “I used to do sales for 1-800-GOT-JUNK, I had a waitressing gig and I’ve worked as a French interpreter for victims of human trafficking.”

If you weren’t running a start-up: “I’d work as a human rights activist.”

Your go-to office attire: “I don’t like to think about what to wear. I own four pairs of the same pants and three of the same shirts, all in different colours.”

Your tech role model: “Idas Levato. She does a lot of work with female founders in Toronto. I call her my start-up godmother.”

App you can’t live without: “Todoist. I love lists.”