Tenacity pays off for student

As printed in The Marketplace – September/October 2018

Sam-Pasupalak
Sam Pasupalak

Many successful entrepreneurs can tell stories about failures or setbacks that preceded their eventual success. Sometimes the scale of the difference between the two can be breathtaking.

Sam Pasupalak’s journey is a prime example. Born in India, he reluctantly came to Canada for university after his father insisted. Early days in the computer science program at University of Waterloo were challenging, and his marks were mediocre. One day, he heard that Microsoft founder Bill Gates would be speaking at the university. The event was sold out, but somehow, he managed to talk his way in. Gates’ speech introduced him to unfamiliar concepts: entrepreneurship and start-ups.

Newly energized, he took an interest in artificial intelligence, an area where he excelled. He applied to Microsoft for co-op placements but was rejected three times.

Prior to graduation, he built a prototype artificial intelligence product in the Velocity Garage, a local tech business incubator. The company he co-founded from those efforts, Maluuba, developed a voice-
activated product that was used in millions of smart phones and TVs worldwide, including partnerships with Samsung, LG and Blackberry.

In 2017, Microsoft purchased the company for a nine-figure sum. On meeting Gates, he told the tech billionaire: “you didn’t accept me for co-op, so you have to buy my company at the end.”

Share:

Latest Featured Stories

A greater focus on economic development?

January 9, 2024

Ahmed Hussen, Canada’s Minister of International Development, praises MEDA’s work and pledges support for its ongoing efforts.

Love your neighbor: Create more MEDAs

January 9, 2024

Promoting support for entrepreneurs Mennonite World Conference general secretary César Garcia wants to see churches in the Global South starting...

Cultivating dreams, empowering communities

January 9, 2024

Convention speakers tell stories of MEDA’s impact, in North America and abroad The opening session of MEDA’s 70th-anniversary celebration convention...