The 2022 Women of the Year Awards: Entrepreneurial Leader – Runner-up

The runner-up for the entrepreneurial leader category of The 2022 Women of the Year Awards is Anna Sainsbury, co-founder and CEO of GeoComply Solutions.

Anna Sainsbury of GeoComply Solutions

Credit: Tanya Goehring

Anna Sainsbury
Co-founder and CEO, GeoComply Solutions

The war in Ukraine weighs on Anna Sainsbury. Before the Russian invasion, her Vancouver-based tech company had more than 100 employees in the northeastern city of Kharkiv, where it set up shop in 2012. GeoComply has been busy helping staff and their families get to safety. “We’ve moved many, many people over the border and set up an office in Poland,” Sainsbury says. “It’s been an amazing demonstration of human resilience.”

Meanwhile, GeoComply, founded by Sainsbury and David Briggs in 2011, keeps growing. For the global provider of geolocation anti-fraud and compliance services, whose team numbered 375 as of April, the biggest market is online gambling. GeoComply also works with fintech and cryptocurrency players and helps content streaming sites with digital rights management.

For businesses, it has a role to play in enforcing sanctions, too, Sainsbury notes. “That’s one of those key areas where our technology can actively help ensure operators stay on the right side and block nations.”

Sainsbury, whose company’s value topped $1 billion after U.S. private equity investors took a minority stake last year, describes her entrepreneurial journey as organic. Raised on the North Shore, she followed interior design, marketing and accounting studies at BCIT with stints in insurance and in technical testing for digital gaming. With GeoComply, Sainsbury saw a rich opportunity: the company was well ahead of the curve as online activity exploded.

“Kind and open to new ideas,” she says of how she wants people to perceive her as a leader. It’s also about solving problems that matter, Sainsbury adds. “If we can focus on the right things as an organization, it gives everybody a purpose and a sense of satisfaction.”