Innovation

How to build better products and services

Gain as many perspectives as possible when developing your products and services. Even "traditional" businesses benefit from diversity when it comes to client service, product positioning, or sales tactics

Leen Li moved from China to grow a prosperous career in Canadian tech, currently as CFO of FinTech startup Wealthsimple. She’s passionate about bringing different perspectives to the table because diversity produces better results. Read on to see her global idea for tech and innovation.

How did you get involved in tech?

After getting my bachelors degree in China, I moved to Canada to get my masters in finance at Saint Mary’s University in Halifax. Upon graduating in 2005, I moved to Toronto join a then-new marketing tech company called Eloqua. The company was doing a Series B fundraising round at the time to expand in North America and Europe, and they needed someone on their finance team.

2005 was the year I started learning about SaaS companies and seeing how startups operate. I stayed at Eloqua for a little over a year but then moved back into the financial services industry, where I’d worked in China prior to coming to Canada.

Leen got back into tech in 2012
Leen got back into tech in 2012

In 2012 I came back to tech.

Mark Organ – founder and CEO of Eloqua – reached out, asking me to join his next company, Influitive. We had a few conversations about what the role would look like and I joined Influitive in 2012 to run finance operations for the office.

I was at Influitive for almost five years, seeing the company grow from less than ten people to over 150 when I left.

During my time at Influitive, I connected with Mike Katchen, founder and CEO of Wealthsimple. He was looking for someone with both startup and finance experience to lead finance at Wealthsimple, and I ended up joining as CFO in September 2016.

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