Matthew Gruben has always been an entrepreneur.
“I was, like, 13 when I started a landscaping company and built that up over four or five years,” said the founder and CEO of Vital Logistics.
At 18 he launched a restaurant menu advertising company, and then in university he started a social event planning company.
“I built a bunch of different little things along the way, and they were a lot of fun, but they were more just pay-your-way-through-school type of stuff,” he said.
Over the past nine years, Gruben has founded multiple multimillion-dollar businesses including Vital Logistics, which is a global freight forwarding company with offices in London, Manila, Vancouver and Toronto.
About five years ago, Gruben also launched an outsourcing company in Manila that handles Vital Logistics’ back-end systems and also provides customer service, data entry and other services for other North American firms.
Before launching Vital Logistics, Gruben earned his international freight chops working at Purolator.
Purolator seemed willing to do anything to service the big companies. However, “they didn’t really give much attention to anybody who was smaller or mid-sized.”
It didn’t sit well with him, and sparked his next venture. He went solo and started building up a portfolio of smaller clients while partnering with large couriers like UPS.
“We spent a lot of time helping [our clients] to break into other markets or to learn different things about distribution.”
Gruben has channelled his entrepreneurial experience into boosting the chances for success of other new businesses. For two of the last three years he has served as chair of the Vancouver Entrepreneurs’ Organization accelerator program and has mentored more than 20 B.C. companies to expand their revenues to more than $1 million each.
Vital has been experiencing its own considerable growth.
“I think the key in handling that growth is systems,” Gruben said. “You want to get into a business where you have as many systems as possible.”
Where you live now:
Highest level of education:
Entrepreneurial master’s degree
Rocket Fuel, by Gino Wickman and Mark C. Winters
Currently listening to:
“Paradise” by Coldplay
When you were a kid, what you wanted to be when you grew up:
Professional hockey player
Toughest business or professional decision:
Leaving a Fortune 500 company to start new business from scratch
Advice you would give the younger you:
Always take an inch and don’t watch little things pass by because they add up to miles of progress in the long run
What’s left to do:
Pass along my experience to the next generation of entrepreneurs in hopes they use it to learn and grow in their journey
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