I’m the co-founder of SkyWatch Space Applications. SkyWatch develops software to create a real-time feed of everything captured in the Universe. The intention is for this data to be analyzed by SkyWatch and distributed for use by professionals in various capacities (e.g. astrophysicists, astronomers, engineers). Our mission is to become the world’s number one source for all data originating from outside our planet.
How did you decide which initial career to pursue?
I initially (beginning at the age of 13) worked with my Dad in his machine shop developing assembly line automation systems for products such as Tic Tac and Nutella. I learned alot andd loved it!
What helped you to begin your career?
In my second year at Humber College I worked with a business incubator advising new start-ups how to become successful by giving advice in different areas such as effective marketing strategies. Through this I got connected with the technology industry in Toronto which provided valuable learning opportunities for me.
I then worked with a friend for two months learning how to build our own software. We ultimately built Sproutr, an online platform for entrepreneurs, which was utilized by hundreds of users all over the world. We then found out about a NASA competition for which we built SkyWatch (the winner of the 2014 NASA International Space Apps Challenge). From this experience we decided there was a business application for SkyWatch which we decided to further explore and develop.
Who provided the most support to you as you were getting started?
Family members have been extremely supportive. NASA provided support in terms of mentioning SkyWatch on their social media feeds. As well, some astrophysicists have been early users of the product and have provided valuable feedback. In August 2014 we were the successful applicants’ to Google’s six month incubation program which has provided excellent mentorship as we develop our company.
What is the best advice you can give to others?
Don’t let a lack of encouragement from others discourage you from pursuing your passion. Life principles (e.g. money management, how to connect and work well with others, respecting people) are as important to understand and implement as career advice in order to be successful.