The Up­start A look at who’s shak­ing up the Toronto tech sec­tor

Toronto’s bold­est in­no­va­tors on what they’re mak­ing and how it works

Toronto Life - - Contents -

ILYA SPEKHOV

Founder and CEO of En­counter, an app that lets users shop for home fur­nish­ings in Toronto’s trendi­est bars, ho­tels, restau­rants and cafés. COM­PANY HQ: sher­bourne and dun­das fOuNded: 2017 eM­PlOY­ees: 4

how much you spenT ini­Tially:

“Airbnb has in­di­rectly fi­nanced my en­tire project. I’ve in­vested $200,000, all of which I made off my four list­ings.”

your Turn­ing poinT:

“When I started in­volv­ing in­te­rior de­sign­ers. I wanted to make sure that I was in­clud­ing the most high-qual­ity prod­ucts on the app, so I flew to trade shows in Lon­don, Paris and New York to make those con­nec­tions.”

your big-Time back­ers:

“It’s just me. I know a lot of start-ups go to ven­ture cap­i­tal­ists for in­vest­ments, but I want to do as much as I can on my own first.”

Tech jar­gon you haTe:

“Ev­ery­one who runs a busi­ness these days is called an ‘en­tre­pre­neur,’ but the real en­trepreneurs go all-in.”

pasT life:

“There was a point when I was a full-time Airbnb host. Other than that, I spent half a decade work­ing in tech and a bit of time in hos­pi­tal­ity.”

how iT works:

“When a user vis­its a bar or ho­tel, the app gives them a list of the venue’s decor. If they see some­thing they like—whether it’s a glass, lamp or chair—they can or­der it straight to their door. That way, peo­ple can try things in real life be­fore mak­ing a pur­chase.”

eureka mo­menT:

“I’m a long-time Airbnb host. A few years ago, a Ger­man cou­ple stayed in one of my apart­ments. They fell in love with my oven mitts, so I gave the pair to them as a gift. That got me think­ing about how prac­ti­cal it would be if peo­ple could buy what they see wher­ever they go. I up­dated my list­ings to say that ev­ery­thing in the apart­ments was for sale and guests bought all sorts of things.”

The besT ad­vice you’ve re­ceived:

“Don’t spend too much time seek­ing other peo­ple’s ad­vice. That knowl­edge comes from their ex­pe­ri­ences, and you should fo­cus on your own.”

The worsT ad­vice you’ve re­ceived:

“Money is the most im­por­tant part of run­ning a busi­ness.”

if you weren’T run­ning a sTarT-up:

“I’d be trav­el­ling the world.”

your Tech role model:

“Elon Musk. He’s ba­si­cally Su­per­man when it comes to get­ting shit done.”

app you can’T live wiTh­ouT:

“HotelTonight. I travel a lot and use it for last-minute book­ings.”

your go-To of­fice aT­Tire:

“My rock and roll out­fit: vel­vet boots, ripped jeans, a leather jacket and a cus­tom-made hat.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.