Cody Green

Forty Under 40 Winner 2015: founder, co-CEO, Canada Drives, Age 30 

Cody Green talks like the manager of a professional sports team.

The founder and co-CEO of the quickly expanding Canada Drives says things like: the “common purpose” and the “common goal” when discussing his staff. He talks about “keeping the team moving in the right direction.”

It makes sense. The former car salesman says his boyhood dream was to play baseball for the Toronto Blue Jays.

Instead, he founded and helps run his Vancouver-based company, an online service that allows customers to complete a credit application at home and then find out which kind of vehicle and which kind of finance plan they qualify for. It saves them the hassle of shopping around for a car they like only to find out they don’t qualify for the financing plan.

Green started the company in 2010 after working as a car salesman. More than 500,000 people have applied for financing through Canada Drives.

“There were a few realizations I had when I was working at the car dealerships,” he said. “As a single person, no matter how good you are at sales, there’s only a finite amount of hours in a day that you could actually engage with people and help customers out. There was only so much time I had.”

He said the car sales industry was slow to catch up with digital technology, and that caused inefficiencies in sales when customers would choose a car only to get rejected based on credit. Green said the industry should operate the other way around.

“The financing aspect was really important,” he said. It turned out to be the key determining factor in which car people ended up buying.

Canada Drives has been expanding at a rapid pace, its staff growing from about 10 people to nearly 100.

“The things you do when you have 10 people don’t work when you have close to 100 people, so you have to fundamentally change as a leader,” Green said. “When there is a handful of people working for you it’s really easy to keep everyone accountable, keep everyone on the same page. Culture becomes one of the things you have to address, and making sure that everyone is still moving in the same direction like they were when there were only a few people.”

Learning how to delegate, while keeping everyone engaged, has been the key to his leadership. He said common strategies and goals have to permeate through every aspect of the business.

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