Co.Labs began 2021 with a new Executive Director, Matt Stefan. Bringing his wealth of experience, knowledge, and leadership to the role, Matt is excited to return to the Prairies where he was born and raised, to help grow Saskatchewan’s tech community.
Matt’s entrepreneurial journey started in his hometown of Regina. For his high school entrepreneurship class, he wrote a business plan for a custom t-shirt ecommerce store. The project took off and he and his partner marketed the shirts, attended trade shows, and connected with people in the industry. From there, Matt became passionate about technology and business coming together and set out to pave his way as an influential entrepreneur.
Since then, Matt has built strong networks in Kelowna, Vancouver, and most recently Toronto. From his initial startup experience creating a festival-focused social networking app called Festfeed, his most recent adventure in the startup sector was serving as Chief Mar-Tech Officer at FrontRunner Technologies.
“I was so impressed with Nathan Elliot as a founder,” Matt said about FrontRunner Technologies. “I pitched him for a part-time job but got so invested that I moved to Toronto where we raised investor cash, formed great partnerships, and took the startup to that next stage.”
Throughout Matt’s university and professional career, he has also been involved with Accelerate Okanagan, League of Innovators, C100, and The Next Big Thing. He’s held many diverse roles—ranging from business development, marketing, leadership, and finance—that make him well-versed in the entrepreneurial journey and equipped to support companies in the startup stages.
“Co.Labs came up as something I wish I had growing up, and I felt there had never been a better opportunity to share everything I’ve learned across Canada,” Matt says about the opportunity to take on the role of Executive Director. “The incubator is burgeoning and primed for incredible amounts of growth.” With his knowledge and experience working in major hubs across Canada, mixed with Saskatchewan's grit, he’s confident that our province will support founders and inspire them to build their tech here.
“I have so much praise for [former co-founders] Jordan and Alex for having a vision that was much bigger than what the public sees,” Matt says. His goal is to continue the momentum and learn from the hardworking, high-energy Co.Labs team. He is aiming to expand Saskatchewan’s influence and connect with other hubs in places such as the West Coast and Toronto to add even greater value to Co.Labs companies.
With great confidence in the existing funnel of programming, Matt is hinting at an upcoming brand refresh to signal the next chapter in Co.Labs history.
With continued support from key funders and partners such as Western Economic Diversification Canada and Innovation Saskatchewan, Matt enthusiastically shares that, “I’m supported by people who have been with the organization from the very beginning; I don’t have to do this alone.” With that kind of backing, Matt looks forward to focusing on founders and having the freedom to help them in whatever way they need.
Matt is happy to be back home in the prairies and sharing his strategic problem-solving expertise with founders. “I’ve been thrust into an amazing group, and everyone involved deserves a ton of credit!”