Hi there, I'm Ken.
I'm a partner at Makespace, a global development company that gathers modern creators and consumers at the intersection of brand, culture and physical space. We develop space accelerator platforms like 1M and Factory, advancing the next wave of talent, retail growth and under-utilized real estate in modern cities and downtowns - one million square feet at a time.
I've dedicated much of my entrepreneurial career working with and investing in big dreamers and community builders. Here’s my story (so far).
I discovered entrepreneurship while I was studying education at the University of Alberta. With a focus on instructional technology and learning resources, I taught myself how to design interactive content for CD-ROMs and the web. I built games and sites for clients. This evolved into my first company, Hotrocket, an interactive studio that I grew to 15 people and earned multiple awards for our work.
I then co-founded Rocketfuel Games which started off focused on a multi-platform game adventure for tweens set in the world of a secret spy agency. We used mobile phones and real-world museums to send kids on missions that synced up with an online game. It was my first experience raising capital. We signed up companies like Discovery Kids to bring the game to market. While we had modest success with the spy game, the product lives on as a game-powered eLearning platform for industry training.
While I was working on Rocketfuel, I co-founded Startup Edmonton to help entrepreneurs in my hometown have a place to gather and connect as they started new ventures. It was what I wished was around when I started my first company just out of university. Startup Edmonton started with a “merry band of startup friends” who got together to organize hackathons, democamps (and drinks).
The initiative soon turned into a full-time venture as we set up a campus for the startup community in a hundred year old warehouse. In less than two years, we transformed the historic building into the city’s creative and entrepreneurial hub - launching over 70 startups and home to 10 creative studios, 5 restaurants, and 40 community meetups, and attracting hundreds of hackers, artists and entrepreneurs every year. At the same time, we established Flightpath Ventures, a tech seed fund, to invest in local startups.
We became a national model for grassroots startup community building, helping other communities grow as part of the Startup Canada Communities network. I then spent some time as Director of Entrepreneurship & Innovation at Edmonton Economic Development, after they acquired Startup Edmonton. It gave me a chance to work on broader ecosystem building, working with big companies, government, and universities. It was an interesting and insightful experience, further reinforcing my stance on entrepreneur-led ecosystem building.
By 2050, more than 2.5 billion people will be added to the global urban population, many of who belong to a rising “entrepreneur generation” of big dreamers and community builders. This generation is driving a shift toward more flexible, entrepreneurial and collaborative work styles – transforming the way we work, build and live together in our fast-growing cities.
My current venture Makespace, continues to explore this intersection of technology, entrepreneurship and urbanization. Through real estate and technology, we’re creating new spaces and platforms for modern creators and startup entrepreneurs in different cities.
What I love most about entrepreneurship is that it isn’t simply about building businesses and creating jobs. We get the opportunity to impact and build better communities as part of the process.
I speak and write about the intersection of technology, entrepreneurship, community building and innovation spaces, working with startups, corporations, real estate developers, governments, and universities.
To work on a project together, book a workshop or talk, or if you have something else in mind, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.