We’ve been biting our tongues for weeks, but now it’s official. Chris Eben will be joining TWG as a senior partner at the end of August. We couldn’t be more excited, and so we felt the need to share and tell you a bit about how it happened.
About a year ago, I was attending the Mesh Conference after-party at the Drake. Over mouth-fulls of sliders, Mike McDerment introduced me to a deep-talking, sandy-haired guy standing next to us. Chris was in the Enterprise software space, but was interested in getting more involved in the Toronto tech scene. I spent the next couple hours fielding questions from this total stranger, telling him how much we earned as entrepreneurs, how much we paid developers, designers, project managers, and how we managed to keep a balance between client work and our own start-up concepts. Something in his nature made me feel comfortable giving him intimate details about our business and about how we were doing.
He, in return, admitted that while the enterprise software space was lucrative, and challenging, he wasn’t finding enough creative fulfillment from it, and that he had his own ‘big idea’ that he’d been working on for a long time and would like to explore. After a couple hours of beers, sliders, and discussion, we exchanged email addresses and parted ways to wobble home, promising to follow up in the weeks ahead.
The next few months found Chris and I exchanging many emails in a futile attempt to meet up, and it wasn’t until Startup Weekend in September, and then LeanCoffee Toronto that we finally began to meet regularly. In fact, the weekly LeanCoffeeTO sessions soon became the de-facto meeting point for a lot of us in the Toronto Startup scene. It needs to be highlighted just how valuable and important those days with LeanCoffee were (and still are) for us at TWG. The Thursday morning sessions, where we shared experiences with a bunch of great local entrepreneurs and thinkers like Adil, Andrew, Cam, Jason, Karim, Mark, Matt, Max, Michael, Satish, Tom, and many more, were a real catalyst in giving us the sounding board and confidence to really push our goals and expectations for the future. From these LeanCoffee meetings, Chris, Andres and I realized that we truly had a similar outlook on life and work and in short time we became good friends.
In the year since our chance meeting, TWG has continued to evolve. And as we grow and change, we’ve continually sought out great developers and strategic thinkers who can help us gracefully perform our highwire balancing act between web development and product development. So after a number of marathon meetings, and weekend get-togethers, we gathered our collective courage and together took the leap of faith to have Chris join TWG as a senior partner. It’s a tremendous opportunity for us to benefit from his expertise, and it’s a great opportunity for Chris to flex some creative muscle in developing some of the ideas and projects he’s passionate about.
We’re extremely excited and proud about having Chris join us and we’re now busy clearing the runway, and getting ready to accelerate into the next great stage of TWG’s development. Help me in welcoming our good friend Chris Eben to the team.
Chris Eben Bio
Chris comes to The Working Group after 14 years in the Enterprise Software Market, focused on Business Intelligence, Analytics and Performance Management. He’s held roles in product management, and client services – most recently as Director of Product Management at Actuate Corporation. While Chris was born and raised in Toronto, he called San Francisco home for over 2 years, living through the rise and fall of the first Internet bubble, and then moved to London for 2 more years to help set up his company’s operations in Europe. Chris completed his MBA at Kellogg and landed back in his hometown where he’s become deeply involved in the tech and startup community of the city. Helping to bring Startup Weekend to Canada, Chris acts as the organizer for Startup Weekend Toronto and is a co-organizer of the LeanCoffeeTO meetup group.
Chris was an OUA all-star Receiver for the University of Guelph Gryphons Football team, and provides a significant boost to the average weight and height of The Working Group. While continuing to be an avid football fan, Chris’ real sporting passions are in basketball and soccer (the real football).