Trevor Bernard has a habit of joining companies that make successful exits, and his most recent venture may be his greatest success so far.

Bernard was the chief technology officer of Fredericton-based UserEvents, which sold out to LiveOps of Redwood City, Calif., earlier this year for an undisclosed sum. Though he’d been with two other companies that exited, it was the first time Bernard headed the development team of a successful company.

It’s not a bad track record for a guy who never intended to go into computer science.

“I’ve been pretty fortunate,” Bernard said. “If not for the computer science department at the University of New Brunswick, I wouldn’t be as successful as I am.”

Bernard grew up on Gesga-pegiag First Nation in Quebec and fell into computer science by accident after coming to Fredericton in 2001 to play baseball at Fredericton High School.

But Bernard, then aged 17, had already graduated high school in Quebec, so he was unable to pursue high school sports. He applied to study engineering at UNB, but the program was full so he enrolled in computer science, intending to change to engineering in Year 2.

Ironically perhaps, he never graduated computer science as he began working for Chalk Media while studying. He is still a semester short of obtaining his undergraduate degree.

Chalk Media was eventually acquired by Research in Motion (now BlackBerry). Then he joined Radian6, which was sold to Salesforce for $326 million in 2011.

Serendipity also played a role in his involvement with UserEvents, which began after he was introduced to co-founder and serial entrepreneur, Jeff Thompson.

“UserEvents was Jeff’s idea. Jeff was probably irked by me at first; I’m quiet when I’m listening and processing,” said Bernard. “Still, he sold me on the idea fast. And we had complementary skills.”

The UserEvents product analyzes a corporation’s data to detect when a customer is having problems with a website or other communications channel. It then notifies the company’s call centre so the problem can be sorted out.

“Being a CTO was no different to being a developer,” Bernard said. “I had a leadership role but my colleagues were top-notch. We collaborated. It was super fun.”

Creating the product was technically challenging.

“Robin Bate Boerop and I created the product, with my focus being writing code. We worked out of Robin’s living room for our first six months,” Bernard said.

Although studying computer science and meeting Thompson was good luck, the team deliberately developed their product so that it would be easy to acquire.

“It was a lot of work, but we’d planned for that from the start. We made the company business friendly; we used safe open-source licences. We made the tech as clean as possible so that it would be easy for someone to acquire.”

Now, Bernard would like to replicate the experience of working with a good team and developing a product from scratch.

“I need autonomy, a sense of purpose, people I respect. If I have those, I’m in,” he said.

“If you’re on the ground in a startup, you actually matter.”

The sale has allowed Bernard to take a break from the stress of startup life and consider his options.

“The last three years have been manic,” he said, as he relaxed in a Fredericton coffee shop. “Starting a company is stressful, although I need to be stressed to function. Without some stress, I get restless and put things off.”

Bernard said he is doing some independent consulting, mentoring new grads and getting a lot of offers, which is not surprising, given his track record. As well as the three companies that have been sold, he also co-founded Maritime Poker, a company run by his dad, who develops software for First Nations communities.