Jay Modi was born in London, England, but his family relocated to Canada when he was fourteen. With a keen interest in the business sector, Jay started several ventures during his high school years – most notably an organic pasta company.
He continued to grow his business while attending the University of Calgary and managed to sell his product to grocers across Canada. Although he sold the business to a competitor, he learned a lot about running a successful business.
He eventually started pursuing opportunities in real estate and was able to purchase properties in low-income areas to renovate and sell for profit. It wasn’t long before he partnered with his sister, who had just graduated from the University of British Columbia and together they started a land development company. During this time, he studied asset management and further enhanced his professional skill set. After parting ways with the management company, he started his own FinTech company in 2015. This company assisted people who were looking for a loan, connecting them with lenders. Today it has become one of the fastest-growing businesses in Canada and was recently named in the Top 50 Fastest Growing Businesses Nationwide.
1. What do you do at your company? More than your title, what is your function?
I am the Founder and lead the entire sales team. So, it’s my job for us to approach various lenders, insurance companies, and car dealerships. The most important part is making sure we not only have customers to serve, but partners to work with. And I also work directly with my management team and use my previous experience from my previous business ventures to make sure that everything is on track and on an even keel.
2. What was the inspiration behind your business?
I decided that if I’m going to get involved in a new business, after ones that didn’t work out, I wanted it to be sustainable. When you look into the tech industry, financial technology to be specific, you need to find what works. For example, Lendingtree and Credit Karma were an inspiration, and that type of a business model was right down my alley because I love marketing and the digital space, so, it worked without taking the risk of being a lender. It ticked all the boxes of my skill set.
3. What defines your way of doing business?
Hard work and focus. If you have work to do and need to get it done, you must focus on the job to completion. Business is like a garden, if you don’t tend to it, it’ll never grow. It helps to surround yourself with good business partners, making sure you enjoy what you do because life’s too short to spend it doing things or working with people you don’t like.
4. What are your keys to being productive that you can share?
Going to the gym five days a week. Watching what I eat. Limiting junk food, alcohol, and the kind of substances that wreak havoc on your body. You need balance in your life and even though there are businessmen that can drink, party, and so on, that’s not the kind of life I want to live. Personally, to increase productivity and maximize decision making, you must take care of yourself because people rely on you. So, the better you treat yourself, the better you can treat others, which leads to better productivity.
5. Can you share one long term career goal?
To be the best in my role in my industry and to help this company grow to new heights both domestically and internationally. I want to make sure we are generating enough revenue to remain as debt free as possible. I want to be known in the financial technology space as one of the best. Yes, I’ve had failures and made mistakes like many successful entrepreneurs, but I’ve learned from them and I’d like to think that what I’ve learned is reflected in my success. It’s a comeback kid situation that helped my old investors recover a lot of the money they lost in previous ventures.
6. How do you measure success?
I would say how happy you are. People who think success in terms of money are not mature enough to understand what success really means. How does it reflect in those around you? Your family? Your coworkers? Can you show respect for others and get your point across without belittling them? That, to me, shows success in being mature enough to know yourself. Only insecure people are rude to other people consistently. Every day you’re going to touch someone and it’s your decision whether you’re kind or a tyrant.
It can also be a reflection of your skills; saving money, expenses, and generating revenue. But ultimately, the greatest success I think is being happy when you can look back on your life and be content with the decisions you’ve made, mistakes and all.
7. What is the most valuable lesson you’ve learned through the course of your career?
Be careful whom you trust in business. It may hinder the kind of deals you can make. The more successful you get, the more people will try to take your ideas and approach your customers. Even your best business partners may look to compete with you and if you don’t have a structure that incentivizes them, you may find long term partnership issues arise. So, surround yourself with the right counsel; good lawyers, good accountants, and good internal business partners that you can trust and “watch your back” at every step of the way.
8. What advice would you give to others aspiring to become an entrepreneur?
Dive and right and don’t wait to make mistakes. There’s no perfect time, so don’t wait for the perfect environment. Don’t make excuses. Anyone can make it. I didn’t even go to university and I’m one of the most successful businessmen in Canada, but that came with a lot of hard lessons. If you don’t get into it now, you’re wasting time that could have used learning from your mistakes. There are going to be storms along the way, but they will pass. And don’t be emotionally tied to business ideas. If you’re doing a business that’s not working, you can let it go and learn from it.
9. What are your favorite things to do outside of work?
I love going to the gym. Trying new restaurants. Spending time with friends and family. Love traveling and getting out to Los Angeles and seeing a beach is always a great experience. Traveling is nice, even to Vancouver or Toronto and the UK where I have family also.
10. How would your colleagues describe you?
A shark. But I don’t know if they say that to make me happy. Also ,hard working, focused, relentless, resilient. Maybe a few think I work too hard. Honest, funny, respectful, and a good leader. We’ve had very little turnover and that says a lot about employees that rarely quit.
11. How do you maintain a solid work life balance?
I think, as an entrepreneur, the biggest struggle is making that balance. Balancing work with your personal life is very important, making sure you don’t burn out and making sure you are always keeping your energy at a high pace. The key is knowing when you need a break to recharge, and when you need to “go go go” without a break. That’s when you can judge balance for yourself.
12. What piece of technology that helps you most in your daily routine?
Since everything we do now is remote, programs like Skype, Zoom, Google meet, Slack, and other apps like Whatsapp to help keep in touch with the company and my coworkers.
Aside from that, my cell phone and air pods. They’re probably the best piece of technology I’ve invested into to help keep myself connected.
13. Who’s been a role model to you and why?
I would have to say my father. He was an entrepreneur with a small pharmacy of his own. He was consistently busy in the small town we lived in while making money at the same time. He would make his own schedule. Him being a business owner inspired me to start one of my own. He saved every penny and that was a great example for me to follow in my own businesses.
14. What piece of advice have you never forgotten?
The most aggressive person always wins. Just be aggressive in what you want. Don’t give up. Go for it. Don’t stop trying. I’ve never forgotten that.