Neil Wainwright Founder and CEO of Uphabit
Neil Wainwright is a serial entrepreneur and the creator of UpHabit, a relationship management app to help you keep in touch and develop deeper, more authentic relationships.
Neil has over 30 years of technical engineering experience and has been an entrepreneur in building and managing businesses for over 25 years. He has a strong business leadership background and broad technical skills cultured through firms he has founded and through senior management positions held at Nortel Networks, Lotus Development, and IBM. He is a Professional Engineer and holds a B.Sc. in Electrical Engineering from Queen's University at Kingston, Ontario
You’ve met and continue to meet tons of great people in your life. But you’ve probably been too busy to stay in touch with most of them. You also know that life is not about to slow down. We want to help you keep in touch with these important people and to help you deepen your relationships in a supportive and authentic way.
Jennifer Carl: Tell me about UpHabit’s mission.
Neil Wainwright: UpHabit exists to help you develop deeper and more authentic high-quality relationships. As a mobile-focused personal CRM, UpHabit consolidates your contacts, reminds you to reach out, and turns your professional network into invaluable relationships.
Jennifer Carl: What were you doing before you joined UpHabit as CEO?
Neil Wainwright: Back in 2002, I had co-founded Nexonia, an expense report management solution. As CEO for 14+ years, I directly led sales, marketing, human resources, finance, customer success and was the de-facto product manager for almost the entire time. But I was always an engineer at heart so designing the original products and features was always something I was passionate about. I wanted us to build something that adds value to our customers and essentially, what we ended up with is a combination of customer-first mentality and product excellence.
With 145 employees, and 3 offices (Toronto, Montreal, and Philly), I sold Nexonia in 2016, my seventh startup.
Jennifer Carl: How did you get your start in the technology industry?
Neil Wainwright: In 1984, I graduated in Electrical Engineering from Queen's University at Kingston, Ontario and was very eager to get started in tech. Believe it or not, the first step I took was back in 1988 when I started and ran an Apple reseller. After 5 years, I felt like I had gained the experience and found myself gravitating towards consultancy and things started to pick-up from there. I began working with the likes of IBM, and Lotus for multiple years. The learning never stops and the journey was monumentally important for helping me get to the Nexonia days.
Jennifer Carl: What are your goals for the next 5 years? Where do you see yourself and UpHabit?
Neil Wainwright: I started UpHabit because I believe we can make a difference in people’s lives. Managing my relationships was a problem that I was facing constantly but I realized I wasn’t the only one. In 5 years, I see UpHabit growing to become a thought leader in relationship management by becoming a values-driven place of excellence for outstanding people and awesome software.
Jennifer Carl: Give us your TechTip of the month.
Neil Wainwright: Focus on building the team. I cannot emphasize this enough. Your product can be great, your features can be awesome, but if you have people that are clashing with the culture, and are demotivated, then all of the hard work will go to waste.
Take the time to find the right culture, the right people and build accordingly.
I had a talk recently about this very topic and I highly recommend anyone looking into building the right team to check it out here: https://uphabit.com/2018/10/22/company-culture/