Vivek Jain BAdmin’99 can be a hard guy to pin down. If he’s not in Regina looking after his young daughters, chances are he is in Los Angeles or New York promoting his new dating app. Or, you might find him in Toronto, appearing in a commercial or acting in an independent feature length film. Not long ago, the accounting graduate and his partners were on CBC’s Dragons’ Den pitching a unique football league. FANchise is a digital-age sports league where every decision, from the colour of the cheerleaders’ uniforms to on-field play calling, is decided by fans.
- If you were pitching FANchise to investors, how would you describe it in a sentence or two?
- What if I told you we’ve turned professional football into a real-life video game? Wouldn’t you want to be a part of that?
- You have developed one of the first video dating apps, called LOKO. What are the virtues of a video-only dating app?
- Video dating eliminates frustrations such as text conversations that go nowhere or matches who are nothing like their profiles suggest. It also brings back some old-fashioned dating charm – where human interaction and personality become the root to making real connections.
- Most of us know your LOKO business partner Norm MacDonald from his stand-up comedy and his extended stint on Saturday Night Live. What qualities does he bring to the partnership?
- He’s an incredibly intelligent, hard-working guy with great business instincts. He’s the perfect business partner and has been an integral part of building the business from the ground up.
- What was the genesis of your entrepreneurialism?
- I’ve always been driven to try and make a lasting impact on society. The entrepreneurial world seemed like the perfect way to do that. It’s pretty easy to find passion in your work when you’ve come up with an idea that is needed in the marketplace and [you’re] taking it from concept to reality.
- Who or what inspires you?
- I’m fortunate to be surrounded by a lot of inspirational people in my life, but my daughters are the most inspirational. I live my life based on a quote that Walt Disney made famous, “If you can dream it, it’s possible.” One of my biggest goals is to instill this same belief in my daughters.
- What was the main thing you came away with from your educational experience at the University of Regina?
- My education was instrumental in allowing me to do the things I am doing now. It gave me all the basic foundational pieces that are necessary to be able to grow in the business world.
- You also have a burgeoning acting career and have appeared in feature length films. What is it about the craft that attracts you?
- I find acting such a liberating experience. I come from such a black and white world in business. It’s so refreshing to be able to dig into a character and find my creative side. Plus my kids think I’m cool because I’m on TV!
- Your lifestyle is often fast-paced with plenty of the stress that comes from chasing and negotiating complex and sizeably valued deals. What is your favourite way to get away from it all?
- Any time with my girls, but my favorite would have to be a movie night at home. A table full of junk food and my babies cuddling me on the couch – not sure it gets any more perfect!