Computer Science alumnus and start-up founder Ian MacKinnon is visiting campus for an “Ask Me Anything” session on Monday, January 23, 2023 at 4:30 p.m., kicking off the first in a new Entrepreneurship and Impact Series from the Math Innovation Office.
Each month, the series will feature a speaker who has used their background in math or computer science to build an exciting career. While the different guests’ trajectories vary — some have founded start-ups, others have invented market-changing products, and others have revolutionized existing companies from the inside — they are united both by their innovation and their close ties to the University of Waterloo.
Ian, next week’s speaker, earned both his BMath and MMath in Computer Science from the University of Waterloo. He is also well-known as the founder and CTO of Later.com, a social media and visual marketing platform with more than five million of the world’s top brands and agencies as users. Ian has seen Later.com grow from an idea at a hackathon in 2014 to its 2022 purchase by Mavrck. Today, he continues to work as CTO, overseeing the engineering team in its software development efforts as well as spearheading its machine learning and data science initiatives.
Ian is the natural choice for the inaugural speaker of the Entrepreneurship and Impact Series because he made it possible: last fall, his generous gift to the Math Innovation Office helped establish the Math Entrepreneurship Fund, which will support student ventures and creativity. The speaker series is one such result of this fund.
The goal of the series, explains Lauren Hartman, Senior Development Officer, is to get students excited about their own career possibilities by empowering them to build connections not only with community innovators but also with their fellow students. With that in mind, each event will feature an opportunity for students to ask the invited speaker questions, followed by a networking reception. While future speakers have not yet been announced, Lauren notes that the Math Innovation Office has made a core commitment to “providing examples of diverse entrepreneurs so that our diverse student population could see themselves in them.”
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