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Getting Out of Your Own Way: On the Path to Startup Success with Potloc Co-Founder and CEO Rodolphe Barrere 

Photo-Rodolphe Barrere
Rodolphe Barrere

Episode Summary

If you've ever filled out a survey online, there’s a good chance you've used technology created by Montréal-based company Potloc. The consumer research company extracts consumer insights by reaching niche audiences through social networks. In this episode, Michael sits down with Potloc’s Co-Founder and CEO Rodolphe Barrere. After co-founding the company in 2014, he and the team raised more than $58 million in capital. Today, Potloc has more than 500 clients served by three offices around the world, and Rodolphe says unicorn status is now on the horizon. During their discussion, Rodolphe dives into some of the secrets to his success including firing himself every six months.

Episode Notes

Don’t become your own bottleneck 

As a leader, Rodolphe is humble enough to recognize that with every next step the company takes, he needs to re-evaluate if he’s still the best person for the job. For example, while the founder of a company may be a great small-size startup leader, they may not be able to apply their skills as effectively to a company of more than 1,000 employees. To avoid becoming the bottleneck of his own creation, Rodolphe consistently “fires himself” every six months so he can ensure he’s always innovating, learning and growing. 

Establish a network 

Another leadership secret Rodolphe shared is to surround yourself with people who are uplifting, positive and curious. He reminds us that you are the sum of the five people you spend the most time with, so it’s important to be selective about who is in your inner circle. Once you’ve established a solid network of people you trust, keep the lines of communication open so you can share knowledge, swap tips and trade stories regularly. 

Culture is crucial 

Rodolphe’s key tip for other entrepreneurs hoping to reach unicorn status? Never underestimate the importance of creating a positive company culture. To do this, he suggests doing some inner reflection in the early growth stages of the company to determine your own personal values—for him and his co-founder, this included learning, transparency and ambition. From there, apply these values to every entrepreneurial decision you make along the way, and you can’t go wrong. 

CIBC Innovation Banking is a trusted financial partner to entrepreneurs and investors. Get in touch with our team at cibc.com/innovationbanking. 

Show Contributors: 

Rodolphe Barrere


Michael Hainsworth


CIBC Innovation Banking