Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Danny Grande, co-founder of Arbor, located in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

Arbor is a sustainability data platform. We empower businesses to measure, improve, and showcase their environmental and social impacts.
Right now, as you know, is a really weird time in history. Trust is at an all-time low. People don't trust governments, doctors, businesses, or even their peers.

With all the misinformation, greenwashing, and cause washing in the world, we created Arbor to be the "face of sustainability."

Arbor's platform creates an environment where businesses, governments, and regular-day consumers can all speak the same language and one that everyone can trust when it comes to sustainability. We work with small and medium-sized businesses, as well as large enterprises, to embrace the biggest industry transition of the century.

Tell us about yourself

I've been an entrepreneur my whole life. I've never had a formal job interview in my life - only given them. The first company I founded was called CoDesign Factory (CDF). Born out of the disappointment in formal secondary education, CDF bridged the gap between software engineering and computer science students who were looking for practical experience and industries looking for cheaper labour. CDF's main goal was to help people. At the time, I was making $4/hour worked, so it wasn't sustainable.

My second company, 99bits, was the opposite. As poor college students, we eventually got tired of eating ramen in the dark, so we completely pivoted to just making money. 99bits was basically a dev house where we would do client projects. I didn't become an entrepreneur to just work for other people, which is where Arbor comes in.

Arbor is a trifecta of the things I loved about the previous companies - helping people and getting paid for it, but at the same time, I get to work on something that gives me purpose. The motivation I have to get out of bed every day directly comes from the opportunity to build this amazing company with these amazing people.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

As a business owner, I'd say my biggest accomplishment is having incredibly intelligent and talented people that WANT to work with me on something that, at one time, was just a thought in my head.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

For me, one of the hardest things about owning a business is what's called "imposter syndrome." Imposter syndrome is this underlying feeling and doubts around your abilities. Thankfully, the people I have built this company with help with my imposter syndrome. My cofounders and coworkers help me realize that I'm not a fraud and are integral to my confidence.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Measure everything. This applies to every facet of your business, such as website analytics, business meetings, and employee culture/happiness/performance. Everyone in my company likes to poke fun at my weird love for graphs and funnels, but if it's built to measure, it's built to grow.
  2. Don't take yourself too seriously. Starting your business should be one of the most fun things you ever do, and getting caught up in the stress can really take a toll.
  3. Fail fast. This one sounds cheesy, but it's better to learn from your failures instead of carrying on like nothing's wrong.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share, then email; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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