Feature Founder: Yan Simard of Zaptap

By April 20, 2017Features

East Valley Ventures is profiling Founders of our Portfolio Companies to learn a little bit more about them. Today’s Q&A is with Yan Simard, Founder of Zaptap.

Where did you grow up?
Sainte-Marie de Beauce, Quebec (50km south of Quebec City)

Where did you go to school?
Université Laval

Tell us about your family.
I’m the father of 2 boys and 2 girls, ages ranging from 9 to 19. The oldest is studying at UNB in sciences. The other 3 are attending Ecole Ste-Anne and Ecole des Bâtisseurs in Fredericton.

What book are currently reading?
Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin

What do you do for fun?
Yoga to stay in shape. Always on the lookout for fun family stuff to do, especially if it’s outside.

When did you first get the idea to start Zaptap?
Around 2004-5, I was working on a research project that explored linking digital content to physical objects, a bit like today’s Augmented Reality. When smartphones and NFC came out, I thought that all ingredients were there to create the next stage of in-store retail product education.

What jobs did you have before Zaptap?
I worked in management at a global IT consulting company. Before that, I had various positions such as video game producer, project manager and business analyst in verticals such as video games and 3D animation, insurance, telcos, retail, oil & gas.

What advice would you give someone thinking of starting their own company?
Make sure that you know why you are doing this and that it matters. Startups can take over all aspects of your life (career, health, finances, family & friends, leisure…). You better do it for something that matters.

Who had the biggest influence on you and why?
I’m a big fan of intellectual honesty, integrity and humility. My parents taught me that from a young age. From a professional perspective, Pierre Prémont, my MBA research director at Université Laval, taught me how to put that in practice in my work.

Author Pam Beyea

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