Michele Romanow, Serial Tech Entrepreneur

Michele Romanow’s interview with CareerMash

Co-founder, Buytopia.ca

  • Co-founder of Buytopia.ca – one of Canada’s top daily deal sites that has saved its two million subscribers over $100 million on the best restaurants, spas, activities, events and hotels in the last two and a half years. - The Huffington Post
  • An engineer and a serial entrepreneur who started three companies before her 28th birthday. - Forbes

Snapshot

Michele is a serial entrepreneur and a huge advocate for how technology enriches our lives. She leads by example and encourages youth to pursue a tech entrepreneurship career.

Michele is a co-founder of Buytopia.ca - a daily deal site that brings discounts to its two million subscribers. Buytopia offers deals on activities, restaurants, travel and many other products or services from big name companies like Cirque Du Soleil, Porter Airlines, Staples and many more.

Having built businesses in different industries – from coffee shops to the luxury export market – Michele is now tackling the online world with Buytopia.ca. She also actively encourages more youth - especially women - to become tech entrepreneurs.

”Find an industry you love and then figure out how to transform it with technology – whether it’s the fashion industry or an old mining business,” she says.

Michele is the only Canadian entrepreneur to be featured in a recent Forbes story Millenials on a Mission, that highlights 20 young women who are out to make a difference in the world. Her succuesses have led her to be invited to be a new Dragon on CBC's "Next Gen Den" that is due to air this winter 2014.

By combining a degree in civil engineering with a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from Queen’s University, Michele mashed up hot skills in both business and technology for a booming career at the age of 27.

Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world,” she says.

Michele’s Tech Drive

Together with her team at Buytopia, Michele loves to help great business ideas grow. They have already started two additional digital tech companies  – SnapSaves and Cleverfox - which are both seeing incredible traction. SnapSaves was acquired by Groupon and recently launched in the United States!

“I love creating something from nothing, pushing the status quo and finding untapped problems I can solve along with a talented team,” Michele says.

Michele is also on the board of directors of Shad Valley – a not-for-profit organization that provides a transformational summer program for the Canadian youth. “The program's mission is to unleash the potential of youth and inspire the next generation of tech entrepreneurs,” Michele says.

Shad Valley brings high school students to university campuses across the country for a month of workshops and lectures that focus on science, engineering, technology and entrepreneurship – the necessary skills for successful leaders of tomorrow.

Michele is a great role model for all young girls and women, leading by example through her talent for starting companies and incubating great tech ideas. She thinks it’s critical to support female entrepreneurship.

“It [female entrepreneurship] is an untapped source of economic opportunity that needs to be fostered to add large amounts of money to the Canadian economy,” Michele says.

Michele’s Success Milestones

  • In 2006, Michele founded The Tea Room – North America’s first zero consumer waste coffee shop.
  • From 2009 to 2011, she worked as the director of corporate strategy and business improvement at Sears Canada.
  • In 2011, Michele founded Buytopia.ca along with two of her partners.
  • Six months after Buytopia was established, Cirque du Soleil signed as a client.
  • In the last two years, Buytopia has saved Canadians over 100 million dollars on a variety of products and services.
  • In January 2013, Michele founded SnapSaves.com - a mobile couponing app for the grocery space.
  • In May 2013, Buytopia acquired six daily deal competitors – PriceDodger.com, Bargoonz.com, GoBabu.com, IndulgeLiving.com, GaddleUp.com, Dealivery.com.
  • In November 2013, Michele wins Chatelaine's "Young Entreprenuer Award" at only 28 years old!
  • In June 2014, Groupon acquired SnapSaves.com
  • In October 2014, Groupon launches SnapSaves in the United States.
  • This Winter 2014/15 Michele will be a Dragon on CBC's "Next Gen Den."

Michele’s Career Advice

  • Get those extracurriculars: “While you’re still in school, you have the perfect chance to take initiatives outside of class and find what you really like doing.”
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