Luke Aulin

Forty under 40 winner 2017: Co-founder and CEO, Rtown, Age 38

As co-founder and CEO of Vancouver-based digital marketing company Rtown, Luke Aulin is focused on helping local businesses succeed.

In his position since 2013, Aulin’s greatest professional accomplishment to date has been transforming Rtown from a home-based startup into a profitable business within two years. He now leads a staff of 22 people in B.C. and Alberta.

“It shows how quickly things can change if you surround yourself with the right people,” he said.

Aulin, a roundtable member of Acetech BC, has been practising entrepreneurship since graduating with a bachelor of commerce degree from the University of British Columbia. He embarked on many adventures before Rtown, including launching an online dating company and trying to start a print publication, both of which failed.

He later became a leader at Vancouver-based software company Faronics, where he became an “intrapreneur” and helmed two new business units before launching Rtown.

“An intrapreneur to me is an employee who assumes the reputational  risk, but not the full financial risk, by passionately pursuing new business opportunities inside an already existing business,” Aulin explained. “They are the A players who show up every day to make our businesses better.”

Aulin is focused on helping entrepreneurs succeed and is passionate about helping create job opportunities for others at Rtown.

“As an entrepreneur who has built a B2B [business-to-business] company with the singular purpose of helping local businesses succeed, I get to go to work every day living in line with my personal purpose,” he said. “I also love the mental gymnastics that come with entrepreneurship.”

Having had many mentors himself, Aulin regularly tries to help educate and inspire the next generation. Aulin, who lives with his partner in Vancouver, was a keynote speaker at Canada’s largest digital marketing event, the Change in the Making Conference held in Squamish. He is a world traveller who climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in 2012 in support of an orphanage in Tanzania, and volunteered to help deliver clean water in Cambodia.

Birthplace: Kamloops

Where you live now: Vancouver

Highest level of education: Bachelor of commerce, University of British Columbia

Currently reading: Actionable Gamification: Beyond Points, Badges, and Leaderboards by Yu-kai Chou

Currently listening to: “Arpeggiator” by Fugazi

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

Profession you would most like to try: Travel photographer

Toughest business or professional decision: Walking away from a dishonest investor not knowing if my business would survive a cash-flow pinch in three months. We did, and then flourished

Advice you would give the younger you: Know your personal why, know your own core values and know your numbers

What’s left to do: Help local businesses succeed by making every town Rtown

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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