YEDaily: Wade Batiuk

Wade Batiuk is the CEO and founder of Neutrino Enterprises Inc., the firm responsible for the recently launched Sommelier Wine Menus app. Wade has always been entrepreneurial – in 2007 he won the University of Toronto Business Competition – and a large part of his success is his ability to find innovative answers to seemingly unsolvable problems. Find out more about this 24-year-old U of T and Sheridan College grad in today’s YEDaily.

Elevator Pitch: Describe your business in a nutshell.
We created Sommelier Wine Menus to bring our customers’ wine list to the fingertips of their clientele in an interactive manner. Sommelier provides the means to access any information regarding our clients’ entire beverage selection, learning about the history of each selection, viewing photos, and knowing which food group it will pair with perfectly based off their menu. Each version is custom designed to suit any restaurant’s branding, but what is important is the customizations can occur on-the-fly at any point in time by editing their program in their client portal using our custom-designed software.

Not only do we specialize in the digitization of Wine Menus, we also provide with our solution inventory management services and dynamic marketing tools. Our inventory management allows our clients to take better control of their beverage selection thereby drastically reducing their time to manage their beverage inventory. In addition, Sommelier Wine provides a profile of our clients on the SommelierApp on the iPad AppStore (previously #1 in the Lifestyles Category), which is available to all iPad users for free!

Why did you start your business, what was the inspiration?
Just over a year ago, I was sitting in a restaurant and was handed a ‘Wine Bible’ – a 30-page book listing all the wines they carried. What I realized was I had absolutely no clue what I was looking at as most of the names were unrecognizable, but after five failed attempts of trying to order a bottle of wine that they continued to have out of stock, I realized something needed to change. I have always had a history of finding solutions to problems that seemed too costly or problematic to solve, and this one seemed like an easy win.

What is the best part of what you do on a day-to-day basis? The most challenging part?
The best part: Dealing with clients. The most challenging part: Dealing with clients.

What keeps me going on a day-to-day basis, however, is working with the most incredible team I could have ever imagined. I can’t emphasize enough how valuable it is to know that we all support one another immensely and thereby realize that nothing is impossible.

Where do you see your business going in 5 years?
Five years is a very long outlook for a technology-driven business, so that’s a very tough question to answer. As a team we are in the development process of other applications and are also starting to begin the move into hardware devices. We are soon going to be expanding into other industries as we’ve got the expertise within our team to do so, but regardless of what industry we are in we’ve somehow along the way adopted a policy of “If it’s something that has been done before or it isn’t fun and exciting to create, we’re not going to waste our time.”

What does success look like to you?
The entrepreneurial side of me would answer that with ‘returning an exponentially-large profit’ on our ventures, but in retrospect that is not what success truly means to me. I’m a strong believer in the old adage “If you do something you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.” So far I’ve worked many, many days in my life, but our newest venture is looking to change that. Once that occurs, I’ll feel truly successful.

What is the most memorable milestone in your career?
Taking the chance on an idea and turning it into a sustainable business. The idea, opportunity, and team just all came naturally and it’s been the best thing to happen so far.

Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
We’ve adopted a culture of ‘fear of failure’: It is worse to try and only result in failure than to even try at all. It seems that under the watchful eye of our peers it makes us more hesitant to even attempt great things, yet we can’t let that be a barrier. Great achievers have been in similar situations to you and I, but what separates those great individuals from us? Nothing. They all didn’t possess something out of this world, so instead of thinking those individuals are better than us, realize that they’re our equal and we have just as much capability within ourselves as they did.

Do you support any charities? If so, which one(s) and why is that important to you?
I currently support local charities as well as the Heart and Stroke Foundation, but that is just on a personal level. All of us at our company are more than enthusiastic in having our firm become an active supporter of various charities, and we look forward to soon being able to do so.

What is Notable to you?
What’s notable is an individual’s ability to learn and be open-minded. A common misconception is that the qualifier for any industry is years of experience, but this generation is turning that notion on its head. Your ability to be open-minded, learn a new concept, and apply that knowledge quickly is what makes you highly competitive. I will gladly hire an individual with this set of skills over an individual with years of experience, because for all I know the highly experienced individual could have been doing their job incorrectly for years.

Blackberry, iPhone, Android, or Other?
iPhone (iOS platform)…And if you think otherwise, I will gladly debate you.

How do you keep active, energetic, and vibrant?
By always laughing and keeping a positive outlook. Also, realizing that nothing is permanent – if I am currently frustrated beyond all belief – and that if I don’t maintain an active lifestyle that it will come back to bite me in the ass tenfold (can I say that?)*

*From Notable: Yes, Wade, you can…