Mik Kersten

CEO and co-founder, Tasktop Technologies Age: 36

Mik Kersten knows exactly how he much time he wastes when he’s supposed to be working.

That’s because he uses his own tools that are designed to connect software development teams and track tasks. The purpose of Tasktop’s suite of products is to make software development more efficient.

“I realized that the thing that was really slowing us down in making better software … is actually a human problem: we’re not able to work together and collaborate effectively when we have more than three people in a room together,” he sa

The idea for Tasktop came out of Kersten’s PhD research. An earlier version of the tool, called Mylyn, was released for free as open-source software. The idea, said Kersten, was to allow open-source developers all around the world to make changes to Mylyn and improve it.

Mylyn is currently downloaded two million times a month. Tasktop’s for-sale products are used by Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Microsoft and CA Technologies. In the past 18 months, the company has doubled in size, and continues to double its revenue year over year.

Kersten has worked in Silicon Valley as a research scientist for Xerox PARC, but he chose to establish his company in Vancouver, in part because of the talent coming out of his alma mater, UBC.

“We see this as a great place to bring in talent from the schools here and attract talent,” he said. •

photo | SUPPLIED