With the help of the Innovator Skills Initiative (ISI) Grant, Eyexpo Technology Corporation was able to hire a student who uncovered new business insights for the company, by building an online community of content creators across North America. Interview with Vivian Chan, COO of Eyexpo, and her student Logan Kardash, Marketing Specialist.
Q: Tell me a bit about Eyexpo.
Vivian: Eyexpo is an immersive content creation and analytics platform, that helps company’s driver stronger engagement with their consumers. Our software is used to create 3D/360 content, which allows people to interact with places and products realistically on digital platforms. Currently, we are helping Tourism Burnaby create an immersive marketing experience that promotes conference and events spaces, allowing event organizers to digitally experience venues before booking.
Q: What was work experience prior to working at Eyexpo? What are you studying?
Logan: I am studying Business with a concentrating in Management Information Systems and Marketing at SFU. Prior to becoming a Marketing Specialist at Eyexpo, I held a position on the SFU Student Marketing Association where I managed corporate relations for one of the associations’ pillar events. I also worked as a lifeguard for a couple of municipalities across the province.
Q: Why did you apply for an ISI Grant?
Vivian: The grant makes a huge difference. Although we have scaled quickly, we are still a 20-person company that needs a lot of horsepower to obtain the results we want. This grant and the work that Logan has done, has not only helped us achieve those results but exceed them.
Q: How did you find your student?
Vivian: Logan recruited me as a speaker for an SFU Student Marketing Association event where he was the Corporate Relations Coordinator. I was very impressed with how well executed and professional this event was. Logan and I stayed in touch and a few months later we had a marketing project where we needed additional support and I thought he would be a good fit.
Q: How has hiring a student helped your tech startup?
Vivian: Logan contributions have helped many areas of Eyexpo grow. In two months, Logan was able to recruit and form genuine relationships with over 700 content creators across North America. This community Logan built is so invaluable to our company. Logan’s impactful contributions lead us to hire him on for a part-time basis the following semester, while he completes his degree.
Q: What is the best thing about working at a tech company?
Logan: Being exposed to the fast-paced tech industry has allowed me to gain exposure and diversify my skill set. It’s so interesting to see how my passion for marketing is highly influenced by new and innovative technologies. At Eyexpo it has been such great experience to see how our solutions with 360 and 3D content can help companies strengthen their marketing.
Q: What was it like to work with a student?
Vivian: Working with Logan has been a two-way mentorship experience. Logan has allowed me to gain new perspectives, by teaching me things I did not know about. He has also given me an inside glimpse into the view of a different demographic, which I have used to gain a new understanding of a customer subset.
Q: Did you receive a lot of mentorship and support?
Logan: Yes, Vivian and the team of Eyexpo created a supportive learning environment, where I gained skills that I will carry with me into my professional and personal life. The trusting environment that Vivian cultivated, allowed me to work on things outside of my comfort zone, where I had the opportunity to potentially “fail” and receive feedback.
Q: Anything you worked on that you are really proud of?
Logan: I was proud the data analysis I was able to conduct from the online community I created. The analysis allowed us to narrow in on the support content we needed to create, and it provided very useful customer, competitor and product insights that Eyexpo will integrate into their business moving forward.
Q: Would you recommend the ISI Grant Program?
Vivian: Yes 200%, there is no reason why any BC tech company looking for project-based support should not hire a student and make use of the ISI grant. For student’s, this program is an awesome way for them to gain well-rounded work experience in tech, that compliments their education.
Q: Why would you recommend that other students do an internship in tech?
Logan: Working at tech company is such a rewarding experience. No two days are the same and there is so much to learn when you are working in a small team. It is a great way to build your network before graduation. Using the ISI Grant is a great leveraging tool for students to use when they want tech companies to hire them.
Interested in applying to the ISI grant program? Applications are open. Your BC-based tech company or startup could receive up to $10,000 a year to hire a post-secondary student.