It’s been an unusual time, and I still can’t shake the feeling that 2020 is different than any other year. When COVID-19 started taking shape, I decided to leave my senior role at a local tech company to focus on a few investment opportunities and advisory work. I spent 5 years working in San Francisco and built relationships with a few founders and startups that wanted to connect and discuss investment opportunities. The changes resulting from COVID were the right time to do this — I quickly set up a Zoom + socially distanced meeting space in my backyard gazebo and spent a series of unusual weeks in dozens of meetings with founders and entrepreneurs.
By summertime, I became more structured in the new workflow of what I described as an ‘Uber for Marketing’ for a few software companies (a Fractional CMO for companies that need an experienced exec to help them with the next stage of growth). It’s different from working inside an organization and having a team, but it was great work. Through the process, an interesting turning point occurred when I received a very generous offer by a US-based unicorn that was growing at lightspeed to be their full-time CMO. Despite enjoying my independence, I had become excited by the financial prospects, meeting the Private Equity partners involved in the business, and if I’m completely honest, being close to some amazing biking and skiing. My wife was not thrilled about the idea of uprooting the family so soon to move back to the US, but I’m extremely lucky to have an incredible partner and we agreed the experience, adventure, and opportunity would be worth it for the kids and us. We proceeded with the arduous process of tax planning and scouting kids schools for another international relocation.
As this was unfolding, I was introduced to a unique Canadian serial entrepreneur named Jody Glidden. He had already built multiple companies, exited three times, and is now building a fast-growth SaaS company in Atlantic Canada. Surprisingly, this modest guy from New Brunswick – a Harvard grad, a childhood math whiz, and technical founder that sold previous companies – built such an amazing business out of a region in Canada that isn’t known for tech startups.
While drudging through the complexities of an international move and contract, Jody hired my ‘Uber Marketing’ services and we began working together. Jody introduced me to his cofounder, Stewart Walchli, who also had two exits and runs the company. Seems they formed a bit of a dream team for repeat success?
As we spent more time together, I became increasingly excited by the vision and the innovative ways they were thinking about product and AI in a category never previously exposed to these tools. I also became inspired by many people inside the business – whether it’s the Maritimes culture instilled in their global teams or just great management; it was among the best I had encountered. I was increasingly engaged, and I felt a great deal of chemistry with Jody and the team – something that’s hard to know if you’ll experience when you join a new team.
I was already down the road of letting my family and friends know we were planning a move when Jody asked me to consider joining his team instead. At this stage, I didn’t think we would change plans, but I was charmed by many of the people I had been working with, the vision and gap in the market they identified, and the idea of helping grow a Canadian tech success story. It was clear that I was magnetically attracted to Introhive for strong intrinsic reasons, rather than the prospect of moving back to the US. Thankfully, my wife was yet again helpful in getting me to this understanding and supporting the decision of cancelling the move to join Introhive.
A portion of my career has been defined by fast-growth companies in marketplaces and fintech – I haven’t spent time in CRM and enterprise software. While I’ve worked in B2B sales environments at Square, the Autos vertical at eBay, and moving upmarket at Freshbooks, leading Marketing in an Enterprise Sales business will take a new approach. Like any new problem, I’ll use First Principles and a beginner’s mindset to help me understand how to expand the brand and bring the product to more industries, markets and users.
I love new, innovative, and fast-growth opportunities and I’m thrilled to have the chance to board this rocketship. So many things I’m looking forward to – working with visionary founders, an amazing culture, award-winning product, defining a new category, bringing new AI technology to market, and helping build a top Canadian company. Lots to be excited about, but also a big challenge. *Gulp.*
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Bart brings more than 15 years’ experience in marketing and brand strategy to his role at Introhive. A graduate of Ryerson University, Bart is a proponent of continuous improvement and lifelong learning. He lives in Toronto, ON, with his young family and enjoys getting outdoors at every opportunity. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.