Jack Newton has no hesitation about resorting to a longtime habit when he needs some reprieve from the meetings, conference calls or the omnipresent glow of computer monitors lining his Burnaby office.
“I’ve run every day for 20 years,” said the 39-year-old CEO of Clio, a cloud-based service that makes the management of legal practices cheaper and simpler.
Newton said running is a meditative process that is key to maintaining work-life balance at a company that made Deloitte’s Technology Fast 50 list in 2016 following 314% revenue growth over five years.
“It’s the one part of the day I’m alone.”
Beyond the office, Newton and wife Tonia Newton take their three children camping on Vancouver Island whenever they can.
That sort of tranquillity is a far cry from when Clio was getting off the ground – a period the Edmonton-raised entrepreneur describes as “the nuclear winter of finance” otherwise known as 2009-10.
Clio had the seeds of a financial springtime in its possession, but Newton and co-founder Rian Gauvreau didn’t know it because it was buried in the company’s spam filter.
After pitching every angel investor they could find in Western Canada, the pair were frustrated with the feedback they were getting.
Everyone liked the idea of creating a company that could provide management tools to small law practices to help them reduce costs, recalled Newton. But the problem was that everyone was afraid the financial system could fall apart in the meantime.
While the co-founders were trying to squeeze water from stone, German investor Christoph Janz came across a blog post detailing Clio’s business model and immediately fired off an email to the company.
The message sat in the company’s spam folder for two weeks.
“He was even more interested because of the delay,” Newton said.
Not getting a reply to his email, Janz sent off a second message. Gauvreau came across it only after getting bored while on hold during a phone call and deciding to dig through the spam folder.
Where you live now: Vancouver
Highest level of education: Master of science, computer science (machine learning thesis)
Currently reading: An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth by Chris Hadfield
Currently listening to: Skin and Bones by Foo Fighters
When you were a kid, what you wanted to be when you grew up: Fighter jet pilot
Profession you would most like to try: Doing academic and applied research in machine learning
Toughest business or professional decision: Whether to continue on my academic career trajectory (pursuing a PhD in machine learning with Geoff Hinton at the University of Toronto) or to pursue my interests in industry
Advice you would give the younger you: Go with your gut. It’s right way more often than you think
What’s left to do: To truly transform the practice of law, for good, and to build an enduring, human and high-performing company that drives that transformation
Join us to celebrate the 2017 Forty under 40 Awards on January 23, 2018, at the Vancouver Convention Centre. For tickets and event info visit http://www.biv.com/events/40under40