The road to becoming an entrepreneur is often uniquely defined by each individual

Though their stories may be different, their drive to create impact, change, and opportunity are linked by a shared motivation and mindset

Entrepreneurs embrace innovation; question the status quo; take calculated risks; and, above all else, are driven by passion and purpose.

For me, this entrepreneurial spirit has not only allowed me to achieve success in my businesses and projects, but in my ability to support others in doing the same.

HEXO CORP

In 2013, under my leadership as Chief Brand Officer, HEXO Corp., the company which I co-founded

HEXO emerged as one of Canada’s most innovative medical cannabis producers – with award winning products ranging from the Decarb edible cannabis powder and Elixir sublingual peppermint oil cannabis spray. As of 2019, HEXO Corp. was worth $2.9 billion dollars, allowing me to retire at the age of 35.

Retirement, however, has not slowed my entrepreneurial drive to continue to grow great ideas and build great businesses

I continue to play a leadership role in HEXO Corp. in addition to serving as Chairman and investor in the Canadian fintech company Brane Inc.,  which equips financial institutions with an enterprise-grade custody solution to securely manage digital assets.

Outside of these roles, I remain passionate about the start-up journey and how it can shape others and even our communities. While many believe that startups begin with an idea, in truth they begin with a willingness to try – try and perhaps even fail. However, where those of you choose to not give up, to work hard, and pursue your ideas, I am excited to work with you to take your ideas and help make them profitable. 

No. 2 Mission Row

I am interested in working with high-risk, early-stage startups, where I can play a supporting role in your growth and success. A good investor knows not only a good business model when he sees it, but how important the timing of their support can be.

Having travelled this road on both sides of a business, I know how valuable investments, both monetary and advisory, can be to any company at the right time in their business. 

 

To date, I’ve invested in a number of different areas, from micro-financing to furniture; movies and music; blockchain and literature; and, media and fashion

 I’ve also been successful in helping these products and brands appear with A-list celebrities across a number of media platforms, including Good Morning America and Jimmy Kimmel.

Having successfully led a number of national marketing campaigns in my past life, including launching the $15 million-dollar Never Jaded Tour, creating and launching online news services in 14 countries; and, co-creating iPolitics – Canada’s largest independent newspaper which sold to the Toronto Star in 2019, I know how important developing and sharing your brand’s message can be in order to scale your growth, expand your audiences, and create engagement that will lead to successful, continuous, sales.

Working with faculty and students

In 2019, to further support my work in the business community, I accepted the position of Entrepreneur in Residence at Thompson Rivers University – one of the largest business schools in Western Canada, which I had the privilege to attend. As the Entrepreneur in Residence, I am able to work with faculty and students through the University’s incubator, Startup Hub, as well directly with entrepreneurs in the community looking to turn their ideas into reality.

Inspired by my work in the community and the many entrepreneurs I’ve had the privilege of working with to date

 I set out to capture the lessons learned from my own entrepreneurial journey with HEXO Corp. in my first published book, Billion Dollar Start-up

If there’s one thing that I’ve learned throughout this incredible journey, it’s that any road you may find yourself on, whether in business or otherwise, has the ability to teach, inspire, and offer growth. My hope for this book is that our own journey, learnings, and reflections can inspire your entrepreneurial journey ahead.

SHARING MY STORY

In 2013, under my leadership as Chief Brand Officer, HEXO Corp., the company which I co-founded

Whether it’s on stage or through this book, has allowed me to connect with people all around the world. These connections remind us how important community can be at any stage of a business. Whether you are just starting out, scaling up, or shifting roles, never lose sight of the people who have, can and will support you.

If you’re ready to take that next step, who knows … I may just be that next person in your corner.

When I am not wearing my entrepreneurial hat, I am a loving husband and father to three beautiful daughters

Born in Alberta, lived in Edmonton, Two Hills and McBride, British Columbia

I eventually made my way to Ottawa, Ontario to pursue a career in federal politics – though at heart I was always an entrepreneur. I knew I needed to build a strong network to be effective in my business endeavours, and working in politics taught me how to do that. I told myself I’d “take a job” for two years to grow and learn and, true to my word, two weeks before that two year deadline, I stepped down from my job and started my next business.  

2020 Favourites

Favourite book

Of the 63 books I read in 2020, my favourite books include A Man of the Open Spaces, which I read on a flight back from Australia, Moon of the Crusted Snow by fellow ECW author Waub Rice, The Golden Spruce which tied for first along with Snow Crash. Of course, I can’t help but plug my own book here especially as I had to read it at least five times to review changes.

Favourite song /playlist

  • Khruangbin The Universe Smiles Upon You
  • Keith Jarret The Koln Concert 
  • The Roots Tipping Point 
  • Alexandra Streliski Painoscop 
  • Bahamas Barchords

Q&A

Biggest motivation/inspiration?

I’ve been lucky to have a number of key mentors throughout my life, but I’ve always been inspired by Bill Campbell and  Chuck Feeney. If I could, I’d give my time like Bill and give my money like Chuck. 

If you could offer one piece of advice, what would it be?

Don’t stop working. Pulling eight hours a day is not enough to build a business. While you aren’t working, someone else is. 

What inspired your love of music?

We had this really beautiful shelf in our house on Spruce St (where we started HEXO Corp.). It was beside the kitchen table and filled with alcohol, decanters, mixers, etc. When I decided to quit drinking in 2018, we mostly emptied the shelf. Looking lonely and bare I remembered this old audiotronic record player I had in the basement along with a dozen records. I brought them up and they looked great – they sound good too. Records essentially replaced alcohol for me; a ritual that can be appreciated.   

Entrepreneur & Builder