News

Sarah Prevette

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Sarah Prevette, 29
Founder & CEO, Sprouter

Fail early, fail often: Canada’s startup scene has certainly bought into that Silicon Valley mantra. But the community was nonetheless dismayed when Sprouter boss Prevette announced last month that her company would shut down for want of capital. Founded under the name RedWire in 2008, Sprouter played a big role in creating that community, connecting entrepreneurs to each other to share expertise and resources, and giving them visibility in the marketplace. Along the way, the company became a media darling, as did Prevette; Sprouter earned reams of press, and its chief became a fixture on BNN’s entrepreneurial reality show The Pitch. But Sprouter’s business model required a long building process—too long for the cash on hand. “It’s gut-wrenching,” says Prevette, but adds, “When you can no longer see a way forward, that’s when you’ve got to call it.”

Though Sprouter may be down for the count—as this magazine went to press, Prevette was in last-minute talks with new potential investors—nobody expects her to be on the mat for long. A serial entrepreneur involved in tech startups since her teens, she’s held in high regard by the community Sprouter helped forge, including some of the country’s top investors. “I’ve been driven by wanting to support the startup ecosystem,” she says. “That desire and that passion have not diminished.” Still shell-shocked by Sprouter’s demise, Prevette isn’t ready to discuss next steps. “But I have no doubt at some point I will stumble upon another problem that I’m passionate about solving.”

On success: “It’s about feeling like you’re doing something meaningful. People are motivated by different things—money, fame—but I think fulfilment is the greatest one.”


 

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