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Community Advisor Feature: Andrew Browne

Published: Friday, December 18th, 2020

Social graphic Andrew Browne

Mentorship is an important part of the Junction program. For this Fall’s Junction cohort, the startup founders received invaluable mentorship from an expanded team of Community Advisors - a group of Calgary entrepreneurs and innovators who have the knowledge and experience to help guide our founders. This week’s feature is Andrew Browne!

Andrew’s entry point into tech and innovation came through a role at Startup Calgary right out of university. Since then, he’s had a hand in lots of different projects, focusing primarily on community and ecosystem development. 

After working with founders for a while, Andrew wanted to get a taste of the startup life himself and started his own, TikTiks, in 2014. Though the business is no longer running, through that experience — where he relied on the programming and resources Platform Calgary provided — he became even more embedded in the ecosystem. 

After working with Platform in various capacities, it was a natural fit to get involved with Junction, and he’s been an Advisor since the first cohort. 

“It’s fun because it's the other side. I can take a 10,000 foot view of a business and help founders focus on the things that are most important right now. Focus down the million things they think they need to do into the most important things right now to move [the business] forward.”

Outside of Platform Calgary, Andrew splits his time between directing the Calgary Innovation Coalition and as the Head of Business Development at Thin Air Labs

Since Andrew is involved in various roles within the ecosystem, he’s able to see it through a unique lens. He believes we’re at a critical point of growth, and the focus right now is on making sure the foundational pieces are in place. 

“If you coordinate things the right way and think about it strategically, you start to see some of these companies grow up, some of them have successes and big exit stories,” he says. 

He adds that the talent is then recycled back into new ventures, forming the next generation of founding teams. 

“I think that over the next one to three years, we’re going to see a lot of that type of activity take form,” he says. “If I were to read the headline in 10 years, it says: ‘Calgary is the destination for startup founders looking for a balance of lifestyle and environment to build their next scalable business.’”

He believes Calgary is a great place to do this. Calgary is ranked the most livable city in North America, with accessibility to an affordable lifestyle and a great connection to the outdoors, but he says it’s about the people who are willing to make things happen.

“The people, the energy, the kindness, the generosity with people's time, experience and networks — this is one of the key things that’s going to help us win in this startup world.”

On the rare occasion Andrew isn’t working, he’s likely to be found cooking, reading or spending time outdoors with friends and family. 

Andrew’s reading recommendations: The Lean Startup by Eric Ries, Venture Deals by Brad Feld and Jason Mendelson and Ash Maurya’s work.