Like many entrepreneurs, FreshBooks CEO and founder Mike McDerment started his company in his parents’ basement — and more than a decade later, he can now say that the platform has 10 million users, raised $30 million in its first funding round, and secured major partnerships with big names like the Bank of Montreal.
But speaking recently at TechToronto, McDerment wasn’t there to share his story. Instead, he wanted to talk about how others like him, working the daily grind of entrepreneurship, can help shape the entire Toronto startup ecosystem for the future.
“We didn’t know how to pitch ten years ago, and when I see the companies that are emerging and I see the quality of entrepreneurs, it is really stunning to me to see how far we’ve come, which gets me really excited about the next ten,” said McDerment.
McDerment stressed a few concrete ways that founders can give back to their community as they build their companies.
“We’re on a mission to build a global technology company headquartered in Toronto, that’s something that hit me four years ago and I really care about,” said McDerment, challenging others to do the same by choosing to build in Toronto and invest in their people. “You can choose to [build here] because there’s never been a better time and it will only get better. And invest in your people, this community, and the folks who work with you because that’s the thing that’s going to keep giving back.”
Watch McDerment speak: