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Jim Robeson grew up watching his family build their own business, and had always dreamed of starting his own— so when he learned about the opportunity to launch a company while completing the Master of Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology (MBET) program, he decided that it was time to make a career change. Jim left his role at the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities, where he was creating policies and advocating on behalf of student groups, to pursue an entrepreneurial career.
Jim took home more than a degree when he graduated from MBET in 2013. Throughout the program, Jim fine-tuned his concept for PiinPoint— an online platform that enables businesses to find the best location for expansion— and officially launched the company before graduation.
Since founding PiinPoint (with fellow Waterloo alumnus Adam Saunders), the company has grown into one of Canada's most innovative companies, serving some of the world's largest retailers and real estate firms. Every day, Jim builds something that he loves, and solves a real problem for other business owners.
[MBET] opened my eyes to the size of the Waterloo startup community, which in the end helped me get into Y Combinator and secure one of our flagship customers.
Impact of MBET
The 10-month MBET program allowed Jim to build his business without having to spend too much more time in school. The courses in the MBET program appealed to Jim, and played a significant role in shaping PiinPoint. In particular, Jim points to BET 604: New Technology-based Venture Creation as a course that gave him an opportunity to focus on PiinPoint. In BET 604, Jim discovered what it's like to build a team and collaborate on a meaningful project, and was able to perfect his pitch.
No day is the same when building a company from the ground up, as Jim has done with PiinPoint. MBET allowed Jim to transform his career, leaving behind a 9-5 job to pursue his passion.
MBET helped mold me into the type of entrepreneur I am right now.
Success to date
- In their founding year, PiinPoint was accepted into the Creative Destruction Lab and won the Velocity Fund Finals;
- In 2014, they joined the Y Combinator;
- Following that, they grew the PiinPoint team from two to nine full time employees in one year and expanded product to serve all of North America;
- Featured in INC, Entrepreneur Magazine, and TechCrunch;
- In 2015, Jim pitched PiinPoint and won $25,000 at the REV Centre Stage pitch competition, judged by Steve Blank;
- In 2015, PiinPoint was named one of Canada’s most innovative companies by CIX;
- In 2016, PiinPoint moved to new offices with their team of twelve and was named Product Hunt TO’s Product of the Year.
> More about the MBET program.