My Story

I started my tech career in Lottery as a technology analyst, and moved up as Subject Matter Expert in both the offline and online gambling technologies. This is where I cut my teeth with multi-million dollar projects, government regulations, big deadlines and big mission critical troubleshooting. During this time I taught myself to code. I eventually left that industry to become a social entrepreneur with an idea I called ReasonTo.Be, to help people find their reason to be on this planet.

Here's my WHY articulated at StartupFest 2017 in Montreal, QC: "To give back and be more human. Whatever you do, if you're that type of person, as a product or service has to carry that heart. That's why I put myself in the company and what I do" Realizing I needed to make money to support my altruistic ambitions, I first created and privately launched an event management platform for large non-profit organizations in the US. I then moved on to build a web platform to help non-profits find volunteers along with my current business co-founders. We eventually needed to pivot our business model which meant dumping that platform and built a new one from scratch. We hired on a tech team and contracted out 3rd party consultants to build our mobile app. We grow our team to 12 people. Unfortunately we were not able to meet our sales targets, investors lost confidence and we had to let everyone go, including ourselves.

Through the years I learned what a CTO is the hard way. Not only the role but why they are so critical. During the formative years, we attended numerous bootcamps, accelerators and competitions. In every case, it astonished me to find that all of the focus was on CEOs, the pitch and the business model. There was no CTO training, it was all learn as you go. After laying myself off from Porpoise, I knew I wanted to help other CTOs avoid my mistakes and compress time in a way I wished I could’ve had early on.
Meghan Foreman Photo
"He leads by example and is always looking out for others success. Denis truly brings out the greatness in everyone!"
Meghan Foreman, Head of Customer Success,

My chance came when I was offered the opportunity to help a Tech Startup that had a CTO who lacked experience. Taking on the role of Tech Director, I put in place a development process, along with a Product Owner and Scrum Master roles. I crafted a near-term tech innovation project backed by a government funding program. I hired on a tech lead and put in place a spending budget that reigned in runaway costs. All while maintaining the role of executive to ensuring business objectives were aligned with technology objectives. This included managing the entire team. Unfortunately, 3 months later COVID-19 hit. The company was crippled and my contract was cut short. What this showed me was that I had a framework for success and could help CTOs reproduce what I had done and take control of their role and help lead their company.

So, I took my proven model and created The Start-up CTO's handbook ™ as an instruction manual for new CTOs. Although I've been unofficially helping CTOs for years, it was the push I needed to make it official.

As I mention in any conversation with CTOs, whether or not we engage in a formal coaching contract, I offer to be part of their extended network. It takes a village to raise a startup, and as a startup community, we need to support each other. That’s how we’ll help each other make the impact we are in a privileged role to do.

Hamed Al-Khabaz Photo
"Once onboarded, you will instantly get organization, clarity, and order. We owe it a lot to Denis on how our engineering culture has been defined today, an essential to any startup maturing into cross departmental collaboration."
Hamed Al-Khabaz, CTO,

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© 2021 Denis Daigle