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Forty under 40 Award winner profile: Graham Manders

Co-founder and CTO, DarkVision

BIV is proud to recognize Graham Manders, co-founder and CTO of DarkVision, and 39 exceptional business leaders with 2022 Forty under 40 Awards.

Each recipient is featured in BIV's annual Forty under 40 Magazine, and will be celebrated at an awards gala Feb. 22. Profiles of each award recipient – originally published in the magazine – will be available at in the days ahead.

Who or what is responsible for your work ethic?

My parents. They instilled a sense of responsibility and hard work that has carried me through my career.

What drives you?

Working on new and exciting technology is what gets me excited to come to work. I love exploring problems and finding creative solutions. If the tech is the carrot, the fear of failure is the stick. A feeling all true entrepreneurs experience.

A favourite book you would recommend?

The Lean Startup by Eric Ries and Zero to One by Peter Thiel.

Now that you are (or are close to) entering your 40s, what goals have you set for yourself?

Building DarkVision into a billion-dollar tech company over the next five years.

What was your childhood career dream?

I wanted to work for NASA and design Mars rovers. I loved taking things apart to learn how they work and building things out of old electronics – engineering was a natural fit.

What was your toughest business or professional decision?

Quitting my job to start DarkVision. There were countless reasons not to as I had a job that I liked, a stable income, a new baby at home and a wife on maternity leave, but it turned out to be well worth the risk.

What advice would you give your 20-year-old self?

Focus on learning and improving, and stress less about the short-term results.

What is your best habit?

Procrastination. It isn’t all bad as it can give you time to think through a problem, to keep an open mind and often it leads to unexpected innovative solutions.

Tell us one improbable fact about yourself.

I live in North Vancouver and have never done the Grouse Grind.

Best piece of advice ever received?

Never go by any one person’s opinion, no matter how experienced they are. Instead, find out why they believe what they believe, gather multiple opinions and make your own decision.

What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned in business?

If you have an innovative business idea, don’t expect it to resonate with most people. The best opportunities aren’t obvious and are likely unpopular or undervalued. If you really believe in it, do it anyways.

What career highlight are you most proud of?

Receiving the Deloitte Fast 50 award. DarkVision was recognized as one of Canada’s 50 fastest-growing tech companies in 2022. This was a huge milestone for our team and an honour to receive.

What’s left to accomplish?

Developing new technology and product lines at DarkVision. Longer term, I would love to support and advise other entrepreneurs with their startups.

Read the profiles of all 40 award recipients in BIV's annual Forty under 40 Magazine. Register to recognize this year's winner at the Forty under 40 Awards gala on Feb. 22.