When it comes to entrepreneurship and innovation, Daniel Debow knows what’s up. He’s been on the founding team of three companies, two of which have now been acquired. His current venture, Helpful, is a video messenger service for professionals, and given Debow’s track record, will likely be highly successful.
So when someone like Debow says that there has never been a better time to start a technology-centred business in Canada, you listen.
Debow backs up his claim by being fully committed to helping new Canadian entrepreneurs and start-ups gain traction. Debow has made over 50 angel investments and is a founding partner of the Creative Destruction Lab — a pre-seed stage accelerator located at the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto.
For Debow, a crucial piece of creating a successful business is being open to innovation.
“The history of business has been that the ones who figure out how to adopt new technology, how to change their businesses, are the ones that survive,” he says. “Things are changing. We can’t always be doing what we used to do.”
Much the same thing can be said about science and research. Sometimes it’s hard to understand why your tax dollars should go to someone who is doing something solely based on curiosity — something where it’s not immediately obvious where the application lies or how you can make money from this. But Debow believes this type of research is crucial. Just like in business, researchers must be open to new ideas, or we will stagnate.
“This approach to science, which is really discovery, is what leads to some of the most important and breakthrough insights that we can have as a society.”