Entrepreneur of the Year 2023: Mehar Pratap Singh predicts the future with ProCogia

ProCogia uses data science to help companies make business decisions

The Kickoff: “I come from a family of third- or fourth-generation teachers,” says Mehar Pratap Singh, “and my wife comes from a business family. One of the reasons she chose to marry me was, Oh, you’re never going to be a businessman. And then here we are.”

Singh left Punjab at 21 years of age to first pursue a bachelor’s in engineering from the University of Wisconsin and then an MBA from the University of Washington. He started working at telecommunications company T-Mobile as a consultant and eventually ended up as an engineer in a startup—a job from which he was laid off.

“That was a wake-up call,” he says, “because I wanted to know why the businesspeople made those decisions… The way they were treating their employees, the way they were treating their clients, left a lot of room for improvement.”

It was the push Singh needed to start his own company, ProCogia, in 2013. “The sexy definition of ProCogia is based on the creatures in the movie Minority Report,” he explains. “They are called precogs and they can predict the future. Tom Cruise engages with them and is able to fight crime because they can see where the crime is going to happen. [At ProCogia], we use data to predict business decisions.”

Action Plan: Singh’s company offers end-to-end data solutions including consultancy, engineering, analytics and more. It recently helped a media company increase the number of images that show up when people search for keywords like “Vancouver buildings”; after optimization, results expanded from 100 images to thousands.

“Higher results mean more images for people to choose from, which in turn means more revenue that gets generated for the client,” says Singh.

The CEO, who calls his employees ProCogians, refers to another movie when describing his approach to leadership. Like in Life of Pi, he says, “You’re that kid on the raft with the tiger… We let you be on that raft; you’re going to fight that tiger on your own, but we’re going to be watching and nudging the raft so that you get to your destination.”

“We don’t have a commodity,” he adds. “Our people—our IP—go home every day, or in this environment, they’re already working from home.” But discipline, he adds, is like hygiene. It requires maintenance. So even though Singh provides his teams with end goals and gives them the freedom to achieve them their own way, he makes sure to keep the conversation flowing.

He’s particularly proud of ProCogia’s certification from Great Places to Work, a title the company has held for the last two years. It ties back to his experience at the startup that laid him off: he always wanted to build a company that promotes happy people because that, in his opinion, translates to business growth.

Closing Statement: Singh reports around 100 percent year-over-year growth for the last three years. It’s slowed down this year because ProCogia, like any company, is not immune to the economic winds. “Our target is to go in and do the next cool thing, the next good project, and the money is a byproduct of working toward that excellence,” says the founder. With headquarters in Vancouver and 110 employees on board, ProCogia has additional offices in Seattle, New York, Toronto, Calgary, India and Ireland, and the company has partnered with Amazon Web Services, Microsoft, Snowflake and other tech leaders to deliver its solutions. It serves industries like telecommunications, life sciences, retail, financial services, technology and media.


Describe your dream employee in three words:

Balanced, risk-taking and happy.

After work, we can find you…

Trying to make my daughters laugh—and struggling at it.

Your proudest moment in business:

When I started ProCogia, I was actually shamelessly emulating another consulting firm, [Seattle-based] Point B. At our 10-year anniversary, I was sitting down having dinner with the CEO of that company. It was a very proud moment.