Entrepreneur of the Year 2023: Wishpond Technologies just keeps swimming with Ali Tajskandar at the helm

Vancouver-based Wishpond is an all-in-one marketing platform

The Kickoff: “I sold my first piece of software to one of my classmates when I was 11 or 12,” recalls Ali Tajskandar with a chuckle. Tajskandar grew up in Iran, where his friend’s dad had a manufacturing plant. “He asked if I could build an inventory management software. So I wrote it and threw it on a CD-ROM. It probably wasn’t very good, in hindsight.”

Action Plan: When Tajskandar moved to Vancouver with his family at the age of 16, he used those technical roots to forge his path. After graduating from SFU with a degree in computer science, Tajskandar worked at a number of different startups under serial entrepreneur Hossein Malek. Tajskandar eventually got an MBA from UBC and started his own venture in 2009—an all-in-one marketing platform for businesses called Wishpond Technologies. Malek was the firm’s first investor and still sits on its board. “It’s been interesting; I was programmer No. 1 at our company,” he says. “To let go of that and focus on things only I can do as opposed to things other people can help with has been important. I should have done it sooner—the company does better when I focus on the business side.”

Closing Statement: Vancouver-based Wishpond is publicly listed on the TSX Venture exchange and has close to 300 employees across the globe. The company is operating at an annual recurring revenue of about $23 million and serves more than 4,000 business across the world, including brands like ESPN and Lululemon. “The fastest way to run your business into the ground is by doing all the good things,” he says. “There’s a limited amount of time and resources you have. You have to pick the most impactful things and let a whole bunch of good things go… in a startup, it’s always wartime, never peacetime.”


What does success look like to you?

It means my family is happy and healthy, that’s a big part of it. That our team members are growing, making money, doing well. And that the impact we’re having on our customers is great.

Do you have any embarrassing obsessions?

I’m kinda geeky in that if I ever have free time I like to build things. One of those things recently was automating irrigation in my backyard.