By our Head of Story, Leah Sarich (June 2021)
Mitchell Gillespie is our Chief Growth Officer.
Say the words “outcome” and “data” and he’s happy. That’s because Mitchell is very passionate about igniting venture growth in the most strategic and efficient way possible.
Mitchell, or Mitch as most of us call him, started his career with our Managing/Capital Partner James Lochrie at Wave. In fact, it was Mitch’s first job out of school after completing a Computer Science degree and Masters in Artificial Intelligence & Knowledge Engineering from the University of Guelph.
As employee #18 at Wave, he began as a software engineer but quickly realized product management was his passion. One of Mitch's career highlights as a product manager was leading the Invoicing and Payments growth at Wave. He led the growth of pre-revenue user traction, followed by increased conversion of paid customers, followed by significant expansion of profit margins. It was where he and the team "really learned about traction.” Wave's payment product is still the top revenue product at Wave and was a significant contributor to the company being acquired in 2019 for $550 million dollars.
Mitch then furthered his product experience at StreetContxt, another fintech company, where he was Head of Product. There, he learned how different product responsibilities are when building an enterprise B2B product with an operationalized Sales team.
Then, when presented with the opportunity to return to Wave in 2017, Mitch couldn't refuse returning to serve small business owners as the Director of Product Management.
While leading teams in venture, Mitch just loved seeing light bulb moments with people. And as a product leader in his community, he always tried to extend his impact by teaching product management and speaking at public events. He's taught future product managers at BrainStation and mind the Product, while speaking at ProductTank and Product Hunt events.
In 2020, James Lochrie came calling once again and Mitch says it felt like those initial conversations about Wave. "There was a whole lot of bold ambition that I just couldn’t ignore.” Mitch also felt that working at Thin Air Labs would allow him to combine his two passions: building product traction for ventures and teaching founders about growth. And once he met the partners and diverse team at Thin Air Labs and understood the big vision and opportunity in Alberta, Mitch signed on as Chief Growth Officer.
"I have such a deep connection and empathy with the ventures because I've been there." ---Mitchell Gillespie, Chief Growth Officer
Mitch loves working with founders, helping them to ask the big questions that will take their venture to the next stage. "I have such a deep connection and empathy with founders and their ventures because I've been there. We can get to the heart of a problem super quickly and inspect some really tough challenges to overcome together. Having those moments where you get off a call and you feel that you’ve had this huge impact, that I just changed that founder’s perspective in one 30 minute call, it’s extremely rewarding."
And this is something Mitch wants to keep doing, but on a larger scale. He plans to build an even bigger team to impact more and more ventures to create a thriving innovation ecosystem, for Alberta and beyond.
“I want us to have a team of 50 to 100 people that are impacting 10-15 ventures a day because I believe in the Canadian tech ecosystem. I believe we can be a better version of what exists south of the border.”
And by carefully choosing the ventures to support, that align with the regenerative focus of Thin Air Labs’ vision, we’ll create enormous and meaningful impact.
“We’re really selective about the ventures we choose to work with, so if we can create more successful founders and ventures then we’re going to have a larger human impact.”
Mitch and his team have developed a Product Traction service to ignite venture growth. For more information on this service go here.
Or to connect directly with the Product Traction team fill out this form.
In the meantime, something you may not know about Mitch:
“I consider myself the second superstar of the family because my wife has survived and thrived through more than any startup grind I’ve ever experienced. She’s a public health physician and now the Associate Medical Officer of Health in Peel, Ontario. During this global pandemic, she has never wavered from her endless pursuit of helping the community overcome the largest public health crisis of our time.”
If you're interested in joining the Thin Air Labs team, keep an eye on our Careers page!