Team Spotlight - Product Traction's Software Development Team

by our Head of Story, Leah Sarich (November 2021)


We like to say we’re working with unicorns that just aren’t there yet. Of course the unicorns we’re referring to are companies valued at over 1 billion dollars, not the mystical horse with the horn.


We work with these future unicorns in several ways to help them grow and scale, by supporting them with capital through our venture arm, by connecting them to critical ecosystem partners or by supporting them with our service lines like Funding Catalyst or Product Traction.


And it’s Product Traction’s Software Development team in the spotlight today.


Our Software Development team is currently made up of Rosemary Sanchez, the Software Development Lead and Developers William Lee, Minkyo (MK) Kim and Katie Underwood.


It’s about setting up the ventures we partner with to be successful, which means engagements vary depending on the venture’s needs. --- Rosemary Sanchez, Software Development Lead

The team supports the Product Traction service line in various ways, explains Rosemary. It’s about setting up the ventures we partner with to be successful, which means engagements vary depending on the venture’s needs.


Sometimes we “help a venture get to the next stage of features for their product so they can apply for funding,” explains Rosemary, “in other cases a venture may already have a dev team but things are really heating up and they need some support to help build the things they don’t quite have the capacity to do, and in other instances, a venture may have an idea and we build the first iteration for them, so they have something they can take to their customers and they can get some learning from that.”


“We jump in wherever we’re needed to build that next feature, or to set up their infrastructure in the right way to allow the venture to get to the next step,” says William, “to get the users moving in, spending money, purchasing products, whatever the case may be. “


The team is focused on paving the venture’s way to independence. MK has a useful analogy.


“Let’s say you have a really heavy cart and you want to push it, it takes more energy to push it, that’s where Thin Air comes in, we want to help the venture push their cart. But once the cart starts moving, the venture can handle the cart by themselves.“


And the software development team will work with the venture at the pace they need at the time.


With Fillip Fleet for example, a digital fuel card designed for small businesses, our Development Team became an extension of the venture’s own dev team. “We really embraced their culture of showing work in progress to get early feedback which was the right pace for the work they were doing,” says Rosemary. “We were doing standups with them twice a day.”


Othertimes, founders have come to the team with just the start of an idea. “We can go from a vague idea,” explains Katie, “to 10 things we could build, to the 3 most important things, to what’s the thinnest slice that we can put together so that the venture can have something they can validate with their customer.”


Katie particularly likes this type of scenario. With some companies, the business and Product teams do the planning and then bring in the development team. At Thin Air Labs, the dev team can be in at the beginning of the engagement, something Katie was drawn to. She was looking for a role where she could straddle both the technical and product worlds. “We can help the founder decide what’s possible, not possible, possible but may take longer to build, we have the knowledge of existing technologies that might help the venture get to market faster.”


“It means a lot to me to work for a company that’s forward thinking and trying to make positive changes in the city, and beyond.” --- Katie Underwood, Software Developer

Katie also enjoys building ventures that will contribute to the diversification of the local economy. As a born and bred Calgarian she was worried about the future of the city.

“It means a lot to me to work for a company that’s forward thinking and trying to make positive changes in the city, and beyond.”


Contributing to the diversification of the local economy also appealed to MK. He chose Thin Air over another offer because he liked the idea of “working for many ventures, not just one company, to help those ventures push their own cart, create more jobs and build the new economy.”


For William, he chose to join the team at Thin Air because he can see the impact Thin Air will have not only locally, but globally. “You just don’t often get that opportunity to have such an outsized impact on the world, just from a single opportunity.”


But that’s what happens when you’re working with unicorns at the earliest stages.

At Thin Air, each venture we partner with has the potential to become the next globally competitive company. That means each team member at Thin Air Labs has the opportunity to be a part of #BuildingWhatsNext for Calgary and beyond.


Read more about the Product Traction service in our blog.


Or to contact the Product Traction team directly go here.


And if you're interested in joining the Product Traction Dev Team, apply here.