Co-Founder of Wavy
Shawn and her co-founder, Pete Kotzeff founded Wavy. Wavy is an app that helps people discover and plan group outings, dates, whether they're exploring their own city or traveling abroad. They provide users with on-the-go recommendations tailored to their preferences and criteria in the moment. With a database curated from experts in the arts, outdoors, and restaurant industry, they recommend activities that are off the beaten path - helping people find adventures they’ll love. Join Wavy's beta today!
A creator at heart, Shawn began her career in influence marketing, digital advertising, and leading marketing at Nudge Rewards for three years. Shawn started Wavy on a mission of encouraging people to explore more often, whether that’s in their own backyard, a quick road trip, or a flight away. Outside of Wavy, she can be found adventuring outdoors or on the hunt for the latest craft beer.
Peter started his career in marketing and hospitality, working at an advertising agency and with the Fogo Island Inn, one of Canada’s top hotels. He has a passion for the travel and outdoors space and when he’s not building Wavy, can be found biking or barbecuing with friends.
How did you get started?
The idea for Wavy came about while having a beer. Peter and I had both gone traveling and were frustrated by the amount of energy that goes into discovery and planning. Think: you have 45 tabs open, 100’s of lists existing in different places, 1000’s of review read, and still no idea of what to do.
We wanted to build something that could help people find hidden gems (what locals love to do) on the go. Soon after coming up with the idea, we were accepted into Startup Boost, a pre-accelerator program, so were lucky to build the foundation of our company with some help from amazing mentors!
What's the most exciting thing that’s happened since launching your company?
The most exciting thing has been hearing feedback from test users - especially from people that have gone on a new adventure because of a recommendation from Wavy. One special moment was having someone run up to our booth at Dundas West Fest who already had the app on her phone - she had found us on Instagram a couple weeks before the event!
It’s also been exciting to see the support and encouragement from the Canadian tech industry. We’ve been lucky to take part in Startup Boost in Toronto, Accellerate in San Francisco, and Fierce Founders Bootcamp in Kitchener/Waterloo. Fierce Founders was a real highlight - we were one of 24 startups chosen to take part and ended up placing second in the final pitch competition!
What's the biggest roadblock you’ve faced running your company?
There have been a couple ‘speed bumps’ along the way. First, that there is never enough time in the day. That’s been a big learning - things will happen slower than you’d like them to. Second, access to capital is difficult at an early-stage! There isn't a ton of government funding, pitch prizes or investment money available for companies who are just getting started. Hopefully, we’ll have some exciting news on that front soon.
What do you wish you knew at the beginning?
Hmm. The beginning really feels like yesterday. I wish we’d gotten into a good flow of goal setting and prioritization earlier. That took a bit of time to figure out - which structure to use, tools, etc. Today we’re using a lovely combination of OKRs for strategy, Trello for to-do’s, and Air Table for product roadmap.
What is your favourite spot in Toronto?
I’ve been loving the Stackt Market recently. It’s right behind my house and has everything from a beer garden to a coffee shop, plant store, boutiques, and even a place to get fake tattoos. I’m happy to see places like this popping up around the city.
For Peter, it’s definitely Pinky’s Ca Phe, which is an amazing Vietnamese restaurant. It’s a hole in the wall - you could walk right past it. Would recommend putting your name down for a table and grabbing a drink at Birreria Volo while you wait.