Techvibes CONNECTs with Optemo's Jan Ulrich

by Rob Lewis

On October 12th BCIC is hosting the CONNECT Conference at the Vancouver Convention Centre and the lineup of speakers is strong.

Techvibes has been highlighting a handful of the CONNECT speakers over the past month. So far we've profiled Steve Wandler of Metabridge, Ben Sparrow of Saltworks Technologies, Jeanette Jackson of Light-Based Technologies, and Darrelll MacMullin of PayPal Canada. Today we learn a little more about Jan Ulrich of Optemo Techologies.

Jan will be participating in the Get Fundable case study at CONNECT along with NRC-IRAP Industrial Technology Advisor Rizwan Kheraj and shed light on the sources of funding available to tech startups in BC.

Techvibes conducted an email interview with Jan and here is what he had to say.

1) Who are you and what does your company do?

I'm Jan Ulrich co-founder of Optemo. My company provides intelligent e-commerce solutions to large retailers. Our patent-pending technology improves the navigation experience for shoppers by providing three different browsing options: keyword search, faceted search, and example-based navigation. Our proven products have increased customer satisfaction, loyalty, and conversion rates.

2) Why are you participating as a speaker in CONNECT?

I would like to tell other companies and would-be entrepreneurs about the funding opportunities available in this province. By sharing some of my experiences, I can help grow the startup ecosystem in Vancouver.

3) What was the biggest challenge you faced as an entrepreneur?

The biggest challenge is finding ways to deal with all the various types of uncertainty. Uncertainty inherently comes with entrepreneurism. Mostly it allows entrepreneurs to take more risks and aim higher, which leads to success in the long run.

4) What’s the best piece of advice you can offer to a startup in today’s economic climate?

Get in contact with your customers as soon as possible. By talking with them you will see which features of your product are the most important. Knowing your essential features lets you get your product out the door as soon as possible, and getting early traction is key.

5) How do you feel about BC's startup ecosystem? What needs work/improvement?

I think Vancouver has a really good startup ecosystem. There are several networking events and a number of funding options available. Especially for first-time entrepreneurs, startup incubators such as the SFU Time Ventures program, are a great way to get a startup off the ground and get mentorship and connections along the way. I think having more incubator options available would create more opportunities for growing the startup ecosystem in Vancouver.

If you're interested in hearing more of Jan's story, be sure to select the Get Fundable session when registering for CONNECT online. Early-bird tickets are available until 5pm today and a steal at $40.

Need another reason to buy your CONNECT ticket before 5pm today? You'll be entered to win an iPhone 4 courtesy of PayPal Canada.

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

BCIC encourages the development and application of advanced or innovative technologies to meet the needs of industry in BC. We accelerate technology commercialization by supporting startups and developing entrepreneurs. With our partners, BCIC delivers programs and initiatives that promote company growth, resulting in jobs, increased revenue and economic development in BC. BCIC is a Crown... more

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Optemo is a leader in providing adaptive search and navigation technologies for omni-channel retailers. Optemo's patent-pending adaptive engine continually and automatically learns from retailers' big data to optimize and adapt ecommerce search and browsing experiences. The cloud-based API empowers multiple platforms and devices. Optemo's one-of-a-kind Merchant Resource Center fully integrates... more

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Rob Lewis

Rob Lewis

Rob is the President of Techvibes Media and Editor-in-Chief of  His diverse background includes stints in International Trade Finance, Web Development, and Enterprise Software and he is a graduate of the University of British Columbia, British Columbia Institute of Technology, and Simon Fraser University. When not running Canada's leading technology media property, Rob can be... more

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