Saturday, 21 September 2019

Her tech firm aims to help people without Internet access communicate electronically

Life Story: Returning to her hometown of Langley after completing a BBA at SFU’s Beedie School of Business in 2015, Melissa Quinn took a maternity leave HR contract that turned into a much bigger job.
At Maple Ridge–based Left, she quickly moved into corporate development with the tech outfit, which had worked in the web domain name business but was turning its attention to blockchain and cryptocurrency.

The company’s RightMesh division has built a software-based mesh networking platform that lets people communicate with electronic devices even if they aren’t connected to the Internet. The spark for this technology: while working with its team in Bangladesh, RightMesh saw “the need to connect the 3.9 billion people who lack the human right to connectivity,” Quinn says.

RightMesh, whose initial focus is on remote regions and developing countries, is incorporated in Switzerland. As Quinn explains, that nation was a friendlier host than Canada for its 2018 initial coin offering, which raised US$30 million. “My long-term hope is that they’ll come to us and we can be an example for how other companies can do it right,” she says of Canadian and global securities regulators.

Bottom Line: Since Quinn arrived, Left has expanded from 15 to about 50 employees in Maple Ridge, with another 100 in Bangladesh. Last year, the company finished 16th in Deloitte’s annual ranking of the 50 fastest-growing Canadian tech firms and 101st in its Technology Fast 500 list for North America. In 2017, Left won B Corporation certification, which recognizes high social, environmental, transparency and legal accountability standards.

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