By our Head of Story, Leah Sarich (May 2021)
Andrew Browne is our Head of Business Development and our Funding Catalyst Lead.
And that can mean a lot of things.
In the early days of Thin Air Labs, he did venture building just for us... from establishing early processes and telling the story to team hires and culture creation.
Over the last six months, he’s become more involved in the Impact Service line, specifically focused on the service offering called Funding Catalyst. Now, Andrew heads up that Funding Catalyst team while continuing to stay involved in a number of projects and initiatives with Thin Air.
Andrew came to Thin Air Labs soon after wrapping up a venture of his own. Following a meeting with founding partners James Lochrie and Jim Gibson where they outlined the bold vision they had for the company, he was sold. Andrew loved the idea of supporting hundreds of high growth ventures in Calgary over the next couple of years.
“Naturally I was drawn to the impact that a company like Thin Air Labs would have on the innovation ecosystem, the size of the idea was really compelling to me." --- Andrew Browne, Funding Catalyst Lead
“Naturally I was drawn to the impact that a company like Thin Air Labs would have on the innovation ecosystem, the size of the idea was really compelling to me. I was also excited to do that with ‘been there, done that’ entrepreneurs. I wanted that kind of mentorship and to learn through osmosis from those who’ve had success already. “
Andrew’s previous work life included a summer position at a major bank where he quickly realized a traditional desk job wasn’t for him and working as a franchise manager for University First Class Painters where he learned a lot.
“It taught me everything about building a business from scratch, what break even was, how to stay focused on opportunities that move the business forward. And if you got the business running, it was well paying. Within 5 months, you could make enough to pay yourself through the school year.”
One of Andrew’s mentors from Mount Royal University, first got him connected to the innovation ecosystem through Startup Calgary which was a grassroots organization at the time, and he never looked back. He worked on his own venture for 5 years and also supported other entrepreneurs and the ecosystem itself. Andrew “liked the idea that entrepreneurs could be in charge of their own destiny and have impact.”
Creating meaningful impact is important to Andrew and Thin Air Labs. “We can have exponential impact because we’re trying to support hundreds of entrepreneurs. If we can find and support even 10 companies that have the ability to scale globally - the impact that will have on our ecosystem and the people their businesses serve - is tremendous.”
And that idea of support led to the development of the Funding Catalyst Impact Service.
When you’re trying to build an innovation based company in Canada, there are all kinds of funding support programs, says Andrew, but trying to find the right one that will have the most impact on your business is really challenging.
“I’ve experienced this as a founder, and I’ve been involved in the development of some of these programs in government organizations. So I have a good lens on the challenges the ventures face. And now we’ve built a Funding Catalyst team that can help break down complex business concepts into digestible narratives, help founders iterate through the early stages of their development, and then matchmake those ventures with the right funding program at the right time to move the business forward.”
Read more about the Funding Catalyst service in this blog.
Or to contact the Funding Catalyst team directly go here.
In the meantime, something you may not know about Andrew:
“I used to be a Trampoline and Tumbler. I can stand in one place and do a
backflip and most of the time land on my feet.”
If you’re interested in joining the Thin Air Labs team, keep an eye on our Careers page!