Torontonians who are shaking up the tech sector

Torontonians who are shaking up the tech sector

Emma Harris founded Healthy Pets, an app that connects pet owners with vets through on-demand video chats

Company HQ: Liberty Village
Founded: 2016
Employees: 4

How it works: “Pet owners can link up with a local vet by video so that the vet can determine if the animal’s issue requires a visit to a clinic or can be resolved at home. It’s great for the vets, as they can extend their work hours, if desired, through telemedicine.”

Eureka moment: “My dog had a rare lung infection, and it was a challenging time for me and my fiancé, because we were commuting to Toronto for work from Burlington, and by the time we got home, the local clinics were already closed. The only online veterinarian service providers I could find were for the U.S. So I decided to bring this to Canada.”

How much you spent initially: “I took out a line of credit for $20,000, and then extended that to $30,000. I was able to pay that off entirely by winning pitch competitions.”

Your turning point: “Appearing on Dragons’ Den. Almost all the Dragons were interested. On air, Michele Romanow and Arlene Dickinson did the deal together for $125,000, but ultimately it was Arlene who did the deal with us in real life, on very different terms that were much better for my company.”

Your big-time backers: “We’ve raised $500,000 in funding through Arlene’s venture fund.”

Tech jargon you use too much: “ ‘CAC versus LTV’—customer acquisition cost versus lifetime value. In the tech business, potential clients aren’t walking into a store to buy your product. We have to spend to reach them.”

Tech jargon you hate: “Ridiculous titles like ‘chief product evangelist.’ They’re everywhere now.”

The best advice you’ve received: “Be more aggressive.”

The worst advice you’ve received: “Smile more during your presentations to be more likable.”

If you weren’t running a start-up: “If money were no question, I would buy a bunch of horses and ride them all day.”

App you can’t live without: “UberEats, because I order sushi for lunch three times a week.”

The coolest thing in your office: “Absolutely nothing. It’s very basic, and very affordable!”

In your past life: “I tutored math for high school kids and waited tables at a restaurant in Oakville.”

Your tech role model: “Michele Romanow. She’s professional and articulate, and she’s become her own brand, which I admire.