UVic honours tech innovator Stewart Butterfield

Source: Times Colonist

UVic honours tech innovator Stewart Butterfield

Victoria honoured one of its technology innovators on Friday at a soldout black-tie gala for Stewart Butterfield, a high-tech whiz kid who taught himself computer code at an early age and went on to create communication companies worth billions.

Butterfield was honoured as this year’s University of Victoria Peter B. Gustavson School of Business Distinguished Entrepreneur of the Year.

He joins a prestigious group of previous technology winners, including Don Mattrick, former president of Microsoft Interactive Entertainment; Sir Terrance Matthews of Mitel Corp.; and Jeff Mallett, former president of Yahoo!

Butterfield went to St. Michaels University School and graduated from UVic with a philosophy degree in 1996, earning a master’s degree from Cambridge University two years later.

He is co-founder and chief executive of Slack, an enterprise communications platform with more than nine million weekly active users around the world.

Slack is used by small and medium businesses, and about 40 per cent of Fortune 500 companies.

In addition to developing Slack, Butterfield co-founded Flickr. The image- and video-hosting website was acquired by Yahoo! in 2005.

“Stewart’s entrepreneurship is an inspiration to our students and our city,” said Saul Klein, dean of the business school. “It is wonderful to be able to celebrate a homegrown talent at our 15th annual gala.”

The Gustavson School celebrates entrepreneurial excellence with its Distinguished Entrepreneur Award. Each year, it recognizes an inspirational entrepreneur who has had a significant impact on the global community through business leadership.

In 2005, Butterfield was named one of Businessweek’s Top 50 leaders in the entrepreneur category. The same year, he was named to the TR35, a list created by MIT of top innovators in the world under age 35. In 2006, he was named to the Time 100, Time magazine’s list of the most influential people in the world, and also appeared on the cover of Newsweek magazine.

In November 2008, Butterfield received the Legacy Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Victoria.

In 2015, he was named the Wall Street Journal’s Technology Innovator.

PREVIOUS WINNERS

2017: Don Mattrick, Microsoft

2016: Linda Hasenfratz, Linamar Corp.

2015: David Foster, music producer

2014: Dennis Washington, industrialist

2013: Brandt C. Louie, London Drugs

2012: Dennis (Chip) Wilson, Lululemon

2011: JR Shaw, Shaw Communications

2010: Alex Campbell Sr., Thrifty Foods

2009: Sir Terence Matthews, Mitel Corp.

2008: Clive Beddoe, WestJet

2007: David Black, Black Press

2006: Gwyn Morgan, Encana

2005: Dave Ritchie, Ritchie Bros.

2004: Jeff Mallett, Yahoo!