Oz Nazilli is our new Partner and Chief Product Officer on the Startup Services side of Thin Air Labs. He’ll be leading our Product Traction team to both support the growth of startups and the growth of the Alberta innovation ecosystem.
“The ‘rising tide lifts all boats’ notion is something I really believe in,” says Oz. “So if you build an ecosystem where others can flourish, you’re having an amplified impact on society and for the people you care about.“
Impact has been an outcome of Oz’s work for over a decade. He has been in product management for 12+ years, half of which he spent at TWG, a Toronto-based product consultancy that was acquired by Deloitte Digital last year, where he was most recently their VP of Product & Growth. TWG worked with big names in Canadian tech like Shopify, Freshbooks and Wealthsimple and together focused on building the tech community, valuing collaboration over competition.
Throughout his time in Toronto Oz has also focused on contributing to the ecosystem; as a mentor, as an angel investor, and as a product builder for various startups. He sees an opportunity to do the same kind of work in Calgary with Thin Air Labs.
“With Thin Air Labs we want to help build the ecosystem, as I’ve seen how impactful that innovation ecosystem can be for a city from my time in Toronto,” explains Oz. “It’s one of the main reasons I wanted to join the team. I see that something very special has been brewing in Calgary and Alberta over the last few years, and I want to see if I can support it in some small way.”
Oz and the Product Traction team work with startups to help them accelerate their growth, from the earliest stages, i.e. “an idea on a napkin”, all the way to well funded startups who just need to move faster.
This venture building support is focused in 3 areas:
- Product Discovery and Validation - Helping startups get clear on their strategy and avoid costly mistakes;
- Design and Build - Lean UI/UX design and software development to establish and test traction in the market;
- Product Growth - Improving user acquisition, activation and retention to grow revenue
Oz expects the Product Traction service to grow and serve the Calgary startup ecosystem in the same way TWG has been serving Toronto’s tech community for over 20 years.
“Thin Air Labs’ Product Traction team has already worked with some of the biggest names in the Calgary ecosystem, and we’ll be continuing to broaden our impact over the coming years,” explains Oz.
And it’s these big names, as well as the city’s potential, that is putting Calgary on the map.
“There’s huge potential here with talent and capital to make Calgary the next big tech hub in Canada and in North America,” says Oz. “A lot of the key components are here.”
And with Thin Air’s Product Traction service, Oz and the team will help more Calgary startups get to the next stage, startups that will create the massive human impact that is one of Thin Air Labs’ core values.
“I like the way the Thin Air Labs’ capital team chooses to invest in companies that will create human impact, as well as investment return. We, on the Startup Services side, think of impact too,” says Oz. “It’s about more than just dollar outcomes, it’s about human outcomes as well. Can the activities we do today create exponential positive human outcomes tomorrow?”
The answer is yes, when you’re #BuildingWhatsNext.