Patrick Crawford

Patrick Crawford

Co-founder and CEO

AGE: 24

COMPANY: Spire Aerobotics Inc.

The story: Patrick Crawford knew from childhood he wanted to be an entrepreneur, but it was a near-death experience on a climbing trip to Nepal in 2010 that gave him renewed perspective and resolve. Struck down by potentially fatal altitude sickness, he bought a donkey to rescue him when weather made a helicopter evacuation impossible. Now, when Spire Aerobotics—the drone and data-analytics company he started in 2014 with partner Mike Wilcox while studying engineering at UBC—runs into challenges, Crawford says he looks back and thinks, “As long as my heart is beating and my brain is intact, everything is OK.” Spire is focused on helping large forestry companies achieve greater efficiency, and while revenues have quickly soared, Crawford says his primary goal is to build great relationships and to advance technologically.

Markers of success: Spire Aerobotics was cash-flow positive in its first year, and its revenues grew 2,600 per cent in its second year. The company has added eight team members to join its two founders and has grown its client base from one to eight.