Highlighting the change-makers in our ecosystem by Yusun Ingoshi
LAURENT MAISONNAVE— SCA 2021 Volunteer of the Year
“Laurent Maisonnave is a senior tech executive and serial startup entrepreneur. Awarded the SCA 2021 Volunteer of the Year Award, Techaide Ambassador and Board Member, Laurent’s contribution to the tech ecosystem dates back 15 years. He is the former founder & CEO at Seevibes, a 2011 FounderFuel Alumni, one of the top MarTech startups in Canada which received support from major VCs and business angels — acquired in 2017. His passion and ability to develop innovative and scalable products have given him the opportunity to collaborate with some of Montreal’s most promising startups as an entrepreneur, executive and advisor.”
- How many years have you been working in the ecosystem?
I landed in Montreal in December 2006 and I immediately embraced the Montreal tech ecosystem. First, it was by joining Ile sans fil as a volunteer and the Yulblog as a blogger. Then by participating in the Montreal Startup Breakfast, Startup Week-end, Demo Day, Webcom conference, WordCamp, PodCamp… so many cool tech events to participate in and so many awesome people to meet.
2. What are you most grateful for since you embarked on your career?
I love technology, but it’s the humans that fascinate me the most. I am especially grateful for the people I have met throughout my career. These people inspired me and allowed me to grow as an individual.
3. What are you looking forward to this year?
On a personal level, I hope to see less injustice and more solidarity. The last two years have been particularly difficult for the most vulnerable people, here and elsewhere. I’ll do my best to contribute to a better world.
On the professional front, I am very excited by the dynamism of the tech community in Montreal. And there too, I will do my best to contribute to its success.
4. What is one piece of advice you could give to anyone starting in the tech ecosystem post-pandemic?
In every crisis, there are new opportunities. Because they are lean and agile, tech startups are in the best position to seize these opportunities. But, it can only be done with the right resources on board. My main advice is to focus on building and growing the team. It also means adapting human resources policies in a remote-first world. It’s an opportunity to create a new experience of working in the office and remotely. This time is really exciting.
5. Why do you think you were nominated?
The people who nominated me can certainly answer this question better than I can. But if I should guess, I was probably nominated for volunteer of the year because of my involvement with Techaide.
6. What is a cause that you cherish?
Since its inception in 2016 by Alan MacIntosh and Alain Auclair, I’m happy to participate in Techaide, which seeks to empower Montreal’s tech community to become a force for good, to give back to those in need, to combat social exclusion & poverty, and to foster a generous culture. Techaide mission is so strong, but the people who are involved in this positive community are particularly inspiring.
7. What do you think is missing in our ecosystem to make us stand out in the world?
I’m looking at stronger startup entrepreneurs in Montreal. The Montreal tech ecosystem has already awesome talents who achieved spectacular company. We should be proud of other successes and talk about them louder, so the world can hear them.
8. What/Who are you most grateful for in our ecosystem and why?
The tech ecosystem is a reflection of Montreal culture, friendly and open-minded. This mindset is present in all the people I have met over the years. I am particularly grateful for the opportunities to collaborate with people like Alan, Sylvain and Dan, who have done so much for the community.
9. What is an important lesson you have learned from a setback you have faced in your journey?
Being well surrounded is key to facing any personal or professional challenges. I learn to be humble and not afraid to share with others and ask for help. I have found that if we ask, most people like to help.
10. Is there anyone that has made great impact in our ecosystem that you would like us to highlight and possibly reach out to for an interview?
I love to learn from podcasts. We are lucky to have in our community someone who publishes podcast interviews of key players of our startup ecosystem. I would strongly recommend listening to Point of No Return podcast by Nectar Economakis (Spotify and Apple). He does a great job to shine the people of our community.