Carter Gilchrist

Forty Under 40 Winner 2017: chief product officer, Unbounce, age 33

Having started his first business before he even graduated from high school, Carter Gilchrist has an impressive history as a serial entrepreneur – and he’s not far into his 30s yet.

Gilchrist spent only three of the past 20 years working for companies he didn’t own and build himself. In high school, while his friends were working at fast-food restaurants, Gilchrist was in his bedroom, which doubled as the headquarters of his first business, developing websites for emerging businesses and professionals he met through his parents.

A few years later, after taking a three-year detour at Bodog subsidiary Riptown.com Media – the only time he wasn’t his own boss – Gilchrist caught the entrepreneurial bug again and co-founded his second business, Fire450 Internet Product Development.

The key to Gilchrist’s multiple successes is confidence in his ability to learn, which he developed at a young age.

“I started saying yes to things I didn’t really know how to do,” he said. “I learned a lesson around the value of having courage and taking things on and saying yes to new opportunities even if you’re not quite sure how to handle it.”

That was the best education Gilchrist could ask for. While in post-secondary school, Gilchrist decided to take a one-year intensive digital and interactive media program, allowing him to return more quickly to the classroom he enjoyed most – the real world.

Gilchrist founded his current venture, Unbounce, with five friends, and is the firm’s chief product officer. Unbounce is a digital marketing platform that allows marketers to create and launch websites without developers. In the company’s early stages, Gilchrist boosted Unbounce’s customer base by 25% by developing an integrated platform. And he isn’t stopping there.

Unbounce is on a “take over the world” trajectory, Gilchrist said – only half-jokingly.

“I think there are a lot of problems out in the world that need to be solved,” he said. “I have not lost my passion for solving them, so I definitely think there is more opportunity out there.”

Birthplace:

Oakville, Ontario

Where you live now:

Vancouver

Highest level of education:

Interactive media diploma from Vancouver Film School

Currently reading:

In the Woods by Tana French

Currently Listening to:

Frank Zappa

When you were a kid, what you wanted to be when you grew up:

Writer

Profession you’d most like to try:

Astronaut

Toughest business or professional decision:

Quitting a safe job to start my own venture

Advice you would give the younger you:

Spend more time envisioning the future that you want

What’s left to do:

Global expansion

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 

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