Katherine Regnier is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Coconut Software. In 2011, she quit her job at 3-months pregnant to solely focus on Coconut. In late 2016, after 5 years of bootstrapping the company to over a million in sales everything changed.
Katherine attended a month long mentorship program in Silicon Valley led by Neal Dempsey. Once completed she decided to seek venture capital. Fast-forward to 2018, Katherine has successfully raised $4.9M and has grown her team to over a staff of 50. She believes in continuous learning and surrounding yourself with bright mentors and who have been there and done that.
In addition to running her business, she is passionate about giving back to Canada and wants to help pave the way for future entrepreneurs. Katherine is a founding board member of Co.Labs, Saskatchewan’s first technology incubator and hosted the very first Prairie Investment Forum (PIF), which was a celebration of technology and investment in the Prairies.
A strong advocate for women in tech, she regularly speaks at events, and is happy to share her experience and learnings at events such as WomeninTech, TechTO, City Hall (Toronto), Women Entrepreneurs, and at the University of Washington.
As a shining star in the Canadian tech scene, Katherine was awarded the 2018 CIX Top 20 Innovative Companies, the 2018 Find-A-Way Raj Manek Award, as well as the 2018 Women Entrepreneur of the Year – Prairie Region. Her passion and commitment has inspired a community of future risk takers and she hopes to be a symbol for women in the technology and STEM fields. Ms. Regnier’s success has helped put Canada on the map with investors across North America.
Q&A with Katherine
What inspired you to become an entrepreneur?
I didn’t think about becoming an entrepreneur explicitly. I just became very passionate about solving a really big problem. The problem “How do we not waste time on the phone corresponding when I know exactly what I want as a customer?” The answer was – make it straightforward to book an appointment online when I want with whomever I want — at any hour of the day. This idea transformed into Coconut Software. So, the problem came first, then that resulted in me being an entrepreneur.
What are the three biggest lessons you’ve learned as an entrepreneur?
Lesson #1: It can be life changing to get the right Coach/Mentor. You can’t do it alone. Even the best hockey players have a coach. There is a reason for that.
Lesson #2: It’s all about People and Culture. I never understood why CEO’s talked about culture so much. I thought I had it figured out… until our team hit 35 -40ish people. Then it hit me like a brick. So now, my number one success metric is that our staff comes to work with Passion and Purpose. Culture isn’t about ping pong and beer fridges. I always ask myself: Does the team understand what success looks like at a business and individual level? And do they feel respected and accomplished at the end of the day?’
Lesson #3: Being a mom of two, a wife, a volunteer board member, and a CEO..etc… I have learned that “work-life balance” is not the road I have chosen to take. What I do know is that “boundaries” are more important than balance.