2024 Women of the Year Awards: Entrepreneurial leader – Runner-up Sarah Huggins

Sarah Huggins, co-founder of Hiive, is a runner-up of the Entrepreneurial leader category of the 2024 Women of the Year Awards


Sarah Huggins
Co-founder, COO and general counsel, Hiive

In 1998, when Sarah Huggins left Vancouver after high school for Montreal and McGill University, she assumed she’d be back in four years. “No one in my family had really left before—the idea of leaving town and going away to university was something my parents hadn’t contemplated me doing,” she recalls.

She returned 25 years later with both a bachelor’s and a law degree from McGill, along with three kids and several years’ experience at a top Toronto law firm. Oh, and she’d opened a Toronto restaurant called Mary Be Kitchen that she still oversees. After COVID, though, the call to come home became too pressing to ignore. In 2021, she, husband Sim Desai and two co-founders started Hiive, an online marketplace for trading private securities. They moved the business and its 10 employees to Vancouver in 2022. Two years later, Hiive has some 60 staff, a $5.7-million Series A funding round under its belt and plans to expand out of its Mount Pleasant office.

Although the market has been fraught with turbulence of late, Huggins argues that, in many ways, the timing wasn’t bad for starting a business. “It forced us to be disciplined in a way that we probably wouldn’t have been forced to be a couple of years earlier,” she says.