Haro Ventures Mini Series: An Interview with Bobbi Leach
Victoria native Bobbi Leach has a history of earning her stripes in the tech world. After working her way up from associate to VP at a sports marketing firm in Ottawa, Bobbi relocated back to Victoria where she eventually worked her way into the CEO role at RevenueWire helping to grow the company’s international reach and expand its e-commerce platform. Bobbi has also helped launched FuturePay, an alternative payment option for online shoppers that allows them to put their purchase on a tab to pay later. Bobbi’s efforts have been recognized consistently, being awarded the gold-level winner at the Stevie Awards in the Female Executive of the Year in Canada category, and the Executive of the Year award in 2015 by VIATEC.
- How did you come to start FuturePay?
FuturePay was started because we saw an opportunity in the growing industry of alternative payment options for enabling online transactions without a credit card. FuturePay provides shoppers with the ability to access instant financing as they’re making an online purchase.
- What’s the most satisfying part of your role there?
The most satisfying part of being CEO at FuturePay is seeing how happy people get when they have success. For example, our email marketing took a lot of testing before we got the message right, but when we did, the team was jazzed when they saw the growth in retailer sign-ups and new revenue. Likewise, it took some trial and error before we figured out the best sales strategy, but now the team is super pumped because they’re landing new clients every week.
- What did you want to be when you were a kid? Who were your childhood role models?
Other than wanting to be a belly dancer when I was six years old, I always wanted to go into business. I knew by grade 10 that I wanted to go to business school and by the time I was 25, I was a partner in a startup. The person who influenced me the most growing up and has always been my biggest supporter is my mom.
- With F@#% Up Nights becoming a popular community event, we’re witnessing a positive trend of being open about your failures and mistakes. What mistake have you made that you wouldn’t go back in time to change?
Never underestimate the need to stay focused in the early years of a startup. In a previous startup I was part of, we made the mistake of trying to build a cadillac-level product for multiple verticals of clients all at once. After two years, we ran out of money before we could scale up the sales and marketing effort to recruit enough clients to reach break-even. This was a huge lesson that I brought to FuturePay to launch the product quickly and iterate, while staying focused on a core client base. I believe it’s one of the primary reasons why we’ve been successful with attracting several hundred clients.
- What or who inspires you the most?
At the moment, entrepreneurs who cross over to vastly different industries inspire me the most. Elon Musk is one of those entrepreneurs. He went from digital payments and electric cars, to solar power and space exploration. Another one of those entrepreneurs is Martine Rothblatt, who started her career as a lawyer but then went on to launch several satellite companies including Sirius Satellite Radio and then founded United Therapeutics Corporation, a biotech company. And she’s also a pilot!
- What role do you think ‘diversity’ plays in growing a successful tech community?
I think diversity plays a huge role in the success of a tech community. Diversity brings different perspectives into the community, which make for a more informed view on issues and a more inclusive approach to building relevant programs. Ultimately I think this leads to a healthier and more productive tech community.