Propel CEO Barry Bisson has announced he will retire in the fall of this year, so the Atlantic Canadian tech accelerator has begun its search for his replacement.
The pan-regional organization issued a statement Monday evening, saying its board of directors has formed a search committee to lead the effort in partnership with the executive search firm Chapman Group.
Propel said it hopes to attract a diverse group of applicants, with the ideal candidate being someone who can lead growth, guide day-to-day operations and continue to build Propel’s capacity and reputation as the leading virtual accelerator in Canada.
“We have been exceptionally lucky to have Barry lead our team over the past three years,” said Propel Chair Jeff White in the statement. “His knowledge in scaling tech companies and managing our stakeholder relationships has helped Propel become a leading virtual accelerator for ICT ventures. We have a significant opportunity to grow our impact on the economy and much-needed economic recovery as we engage and support more companies than ever before.”
This will actually be Bisson’s second attempt at retirement. In 2016, he retired as the head of Shad, the national science and entrepreneurship program for gifted high school students. Before that, he was the head of the Technology, Management and Entrepreneurship program at University of New Brunswick.
After he joined Propel in 2017, he launched the Incite program, a virtual accelerator brought in to solve the problem of vast distances between the cities in the region. Incite comprises two phases – Phase I helps companies find their product-market fit, and Phase II teaches them how to scale. And he extended the period of time companies spent within the Propel programs.
“Our commitment to the founders that we work with is that we will walk beside them for about 12 months,” said Bisson at the organization’s virtual demo day last week.
Last month, Bisson announced Propel would abandon the traditional cohort model to offer continuous intake to the companies it supports.
Propel said Monday it hopes to announce Bisson’s successor this summer. Bisson will conclude his term by Oct. 31.
On Friday, Propel held its first virtual demo day, due to the COVID-19 lockdown, and nine companies presented at the event. It concluded with St. John's-based Oliver POS receiving the Gerry Pond Sales Award (another of Bisson’s initiatives), which features a $25,000 cash prize and the opportunity to receive $30,000 in investment from New Brunswick Innovation Foundation and Innovacorp.