Today’s Notable Young Entrepreneur is serial business starter Alex Lamothe, whose expertise lies in identifying promising startups and bringing them to market in a major way. We caught up with him to find out how failure fuelled his passion and what advice he would share with other young professionals…
1. Elevator Pitch: Describe your job in a nutshell.
In short, my expertise is business development, specifically within the context of promising start-ups.
I currently serve as Canadian Director of Business Development at Slapsee, an New Zealand-based innovative eyewear company. Also, I am director/shareholder at iWin inc. (I Want It Now app), a mobile app based in Los Angeles.
2. Why did you start working at your company? What was the inspiration for this career route?
After an earnest yet painful experience as a restaurant owner/operator in 2014, I sought to define in concrete terms the elements that fuelled my passion. I came to realize that I was excellent at networking and developing start-ups.
After selling my restaurant, a friend approached me about an upstart in Los Angeles that was in need of service consultation for a mobile app in production. I quickly dropped everything, moved to Beverly Hills, and my role within the company quickly grew as the hierarchy was very shallow and resources were limited. We launched a successful beta in 2015 and are now in the process of fundraising for expansion into numerous markets.
While living in LA, I became close friends with a neighbour named Julian Tocker who worked on Dancing With The Stars. Noticing he wore an unusual wristband, I asked about it. He unwrapped and unfolded the band and it converted into sunglasses. He went on to tell me that it was a family-owned business from New Zealand still in the process of establishing distribution internationally.
I decided to move back to Montreal shortly after the successful launch of the iWin App to focus on bringing Slapsee sunglasses to Canada. A recent exciting development has been seeing our Slapsee sunnies on the Ellen Show and The Fab Life.
3. What is the best part of what you do on a day-to-day basis? The most challenging part?
The best part is creating something where there was nothing. I find it enormously rewarding to chisel away a piece of the marketplace to create an image of a product or service where there was none before.
The most challenging part is of course the intermittent financial burden of living without a steady paycheck. But this is easily alleviated by one’s determination to succeed in their endeavours.
4. What is one sign that you’ve seen over the years to suggest that your work/life balance is off?
I’ve noticed that at times my work ethic takes a physical toll. Sleepless nights, and the fact that I never really leave work at the office but rather take it wherever I go – constantly promoting, networking and seeking out opportunities – can leave me feeling physically exhausted on occasion. The solution: exercise and healthy eating.
5. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Ideally, I would like to find a woman with a kindred spirit, raise children, and travel the world. Moreover, my goal is to be able to offer financial freedom to my family and close friends.
6. What is one major challenge that you’ve had to overcome in your career? How did you overcome it?
Finding my true purpose and overcoming the fear of failure, which as any other fear, is overcome by facing it head on
7. What does success look like to you? Does Money = Happiness?
Many erroneously base successes upon warped moral standards and material possessions. Although I’m a capitalist and believe in accumulating wealth, I don’t equate money with happiness.
8. What is the most memorable milestone in your career?
It’s an anti-milestone. I believe the pivotal point in my career was also my lowest: selling my restaurant despite my best efforts to make it succeed. I believe you learn the most about yourself when really left aching from a brutal professional experience.
9. Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
Don’t settle for mediocrity! If you feel you are stuck in a rut, and not doing what you were meant to do on this planet, proactively seek to change your situation.
10. Where is your favourite place to wine/dine in your city and why?
Inferno, Lucca, Lemeac, Milos, Provisions 1268, Artiggiani, Da Emma, DaVinci. As for coffee, Caffe San Simeon and San Gennaro. Amazing food, great service, all unique.
11. When you’re not working how do you love to spend your “Me” time?
I love to read, box, lift weights, go boating, or hike to reconnect with nature.
12. Where is your favourite place to travel? Why?
I love California. It’s very difficult to get bored in LA.
13. If you had to choose a theme song, what would it be?
Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down” or “I’m Not Afraid” by Eminem
14. If you weren’t doing what you’re doing, what would you be doing?
I can’t Imagine I would be doing anything other than applying my knowledge to another similar endeavour.
15. Do you support any charities? If so, which one(s) and why is that important to you?
As a lover of wildlife from a very young age, I feel a special affinity to charities such as the Animal Welfare Institute and Wildlife Conservation Society.
16. Blackberry, iPhone, Android, or Other?
iPhone for compatibility with my Mac. I’m eager to see what the new developments in VR and Augmented Reality will bring to the smartphone game.