“Everyone tells you it can be lonely at the top, but it really is. There are some questions that you just can’t ask anyone in your company. My wife got tired of me asking her all the time, so it was nice to speak to other business owners and find a sounding board to help with questions about the business.”
PIERCE IN 100 WORDS
Pierce Ujjainwalla’s entrepreneurial journey is representative of a leader that has always trusted his intuition. An avid skier, Pierce spent time abroad in Innsbruck, Austria, where he skied and attended school as part of his studies at the Sprott School of Business at Carleton University. Since that time, he has acquired years of experience as a CEO, entrepreneur, and marketing leader. His robust career began with marketing automation roles at IBM and Titus before emerging as a successful entrepreneur with Revenue Pulse and Knak. Driven to share the key learnings and best practices that modern marketers need to succeed, Pierce’s familiarity with the marketing trenches reinforces his unique perspectives as a true marketing insider.
Founded in 2015 by Pierce Ujjainwalla, Knak started with a simple idea: Let’s make life easier for marketers. As discovered by his early experience at big firms, marketing campaigns were incredibly time-consuming, and with the large number of team members involved – took forever to launch. Pierce discovered the main barrier to launching a campaign revolved around coding – specifically for the email component of a campaign. It wasn’t long after that Pierce launched Knak, a platform designed to help marketers create beautiful, on-brand emails, without having HTML expertise. Also equipped with a laser-focus on customer service, Knak handles the details so teams from any industry can build on-brand emails quickly and get them to market faster.
“Everyone tells you it can be lonely at the top, but it really is. There are some questions that you just can’t ask anyone in your company. My wife got tired of me asking her all the time, so it was nice to speak to other business owners and find a sounding board to help with questions about the business,” said Pierce.
Knak was already seeing impressive growth since its launch, so Pierce initially had reservations about TEC and how it would add value to his business and life as an entrepreneur. “I was skeptical about TEC. I thought, is this going to work? Will the members teach me anything?” said Pierce. After meeting with TEC Chair Pascal St-Jean – Pierce reflected; “In the first five minutes, I could tell he [Pascal St-Jean] knew what he was talking about. I’ve never seen anyone do a better job at facilitating a meeting and getting people engaged.”
Since joining TEC in 2018, Knak has seen average year-over-year (YOY) growth of 85% – and has projected YOY growth of 100% for 2020.
“When I was doing things on my own, I was being a bit more risk-averse than I should have been. My TEC group provided me with the feedback and knowledge to trust my decisions and go bigger than I thought was possible,” said Pierce.
Now at 23 employees, Knak has continued to grow through the COVID-19 pandemic and recently received a notable feature in the Ottawa Business Journal – in addition to recently graduating from Invest Ottawa’s Pre-Accelerator Program into its Scale-Up Program. Equipped with the valuable mentorship of several advisers, including TEC Chair Pascal St-Jean, it’s clear that Pierce – and Knak – are destined for new heights, year-over-year.