30 Under 30: Marc Apduhan is planting seeds of change with Flash Forest and Renovo Creative

UBC alumni Apduhan is looking to make a lasting impact using environment, diversity and technology.

Marc Apduhan, 29

CEO, Renovo Creative Inc.; innovation and business development manager, Flash Forest Inc.

Life Story: Marc Apduhan was working at an environmental consulting firm as a UBC grad when a higher-up told him that he shouldn’t try so hard because the environmental industry only existed to help natural extraction companies pass regulations. “It was then that I wanted to do my own thing,” he says.

In 2019, Apduhan joined drone reforestation company Flash Forest as its innovation and business development manager. The Ontario-based company’s goal is clear: to plant one billion trees by 2028. By leveraging drones, AI, geographic information systems and plant-science technology, it aims to reforest unsafe areas like steep slopes and post-wildfire land. Apduhan was one of its first employees.

“We started essentially in the kitchen and in the barn, and now we have pharmaceutical-grade seed pod production and sophisticated drones spanning [the length of] 13 people,” he says.

Although he was already deeply involved with Flash Forest, it was Renovo Creative’s mission to make positive environmental and social change that prompted Apduhan to add to his plate and jump on board as acting CEO in 2020. I am able to basically use my methodical engineering brain for my creative, social impactful side, he says.

Aimed at helping companies make a lasting impact, Renovo is a Vancouver-based impact agency that supports businesses with website design, corporate strategy, UX/UI design and more—all through the lenses of environment, diversity and technology.

Bottom Line: With technology supported by IRAP, Innovate BC, Sustainable Development Technology Canada and others, Flash Forest is scaling fast. In 2019, it was planting 100 pods per day. Now it’s planting 500,000. “That’s something that I’m quite proud of,” says Apduhan.

At Renovo, he’s pushing for social change through initiatives like starting a Toronto-based 2SLGBTQ+ co-ed senior and junior rugby team that forwards the right of trans people to be able to compete in professional sports, and assisting in the Mosaic Accelerator to help marginalized and BIPOC women build sustainable tech-enabled businesses.