Start-up Stories with Ali Asaria and John Baker

The Spring 2010 Bootcamp program is fast approaching its final farewell. This past Monday students had the opportunity to listen to the stories of Ali Asaria, CEO Well.ca and John Baker, CEO Desire2Learn. The information and experiences shared by these two Waterloo graduates was invaluable and very much appreciated by all of the young entrepreneurs who had the opportunity to learn from their stories.

Ali started off the session with his experiences and lessons learned from building Canada’s first online pharmacy, Well.ca. Ali posed questions that every young entrepreneur should think about when looking to build a successful business:

  • How do you get people to listen before you have any traction?
  • What kind of culture do you need to build to succeed at a 2 person, 20 person, 200 person company?
  • What is your long term vision and how do you build it?

The answers to these questions will help guide you along the path of building and maintaining a successful business that lives and breathes a strong corporate culture. Ali is motivated by people and is working hard to build a 2000 person company that shares the same kind of culture, friendship and unity that a small 20 person company holds.

Investors care about culture, so be sure to find what your company stands for and help spread that message throughout your partnership, start-up or organization!

John Baker then went on to talk about the trials and lessons learned thus far while building his company, Desire2Learn. John spoke about his desire to tackle big problems while transforming the learning and teaching experience for students and teachers around the world. John has built his business on the platform of meeting the various needs and desires of students:

  • Meeting unrecognized needs
  • Meeting learner desires through personalizations
  • Meeting standards, competencies and expectations

The Bootcamp session finale is taking place next week with more “Start-up Stories” from Jim Estill, CEO at Large and Mate Prgin, President and CEO Avvasi. The following Monday July 19th we will be hosting a fond farewell to our Bootcamp teams, as well as a project exhibition of our current VeloCity student projects held at the Accelerator Centre. This event is open to all UW students and will run from 4-8 pm. Food and drinks will be provided so be sure to come check out what has been happening this term in VeloCity! 🙂