Trung Pham is the Founder & CEO of RYSE, a technology startup in the smart home space. Born in Macau, Trung immigrated to Canada, arriving in Toronto at the age of 1. Growing up, Trung had a normal childhood, and excelled in school, eventually earning him a scholarship to York University’s Schulich School of Business, and a Bachelors in Business Administration. Interestingly enough, Trung loved watching movies on law and courtroom drama (i.e. ‘A Few Good Men’ ) and wanted to study Corporate Law; but one class taught him how boring his life would be arguing over a simple comma that could change the understanding of an entire contract. So Trung pivoted and began exploring other options, including Finance; he even completed all 3 Chartered Financial Analayst (CFA) exams within 18 months, but never bothered to pay the fees to become officially a CFA holder. He graduated during one of the worse economic times, in 2009’s Subprime Mortgage Crisis, which led to many of the Investment Banks putting on a hiring freeze. So again, Trung had to pivot, and it was during this time, that the iPhone began to grow in popularity, and mobile apps were becoming the hottest thing in tech and business. His admiration for technology entrepreneurs like Steve Jobs and Elon Musk, drove him to dive into founding his first startup, HookUpVIP. With the economy still recovering from the Subprime Mortgage Crisis, Trung spent most of his post-university days partying, and saw a need in the nightlife industry needed – specifically, many concert and nightlife venues were still using pen-and-paper managing reservations and paper ticket sales. Trung wanted to introduce an online platform that allowed venues and promoters to sell tickets online, and using a mobile app to scan tickets – something that while common today, was unheard of during this time. This was Trung’s first taste of technology and entrepreneurship, and working with small businesses – it also taught him how hard it was to scale a business that focused on a niche market like nightlife. Eventually, HookUpVIP merged with a mobile-first competitor, and Trung moved on from the industry. As an avid reader, one of his favorite books is Onward by Howard Schultz (the CEO of Starbucks), where he learned an important perspective on business: you could own and run one coffee shop on the street corner, or be the CEO of a chain of coffeeshops like Starbucks…while the focus may differ, the amount of time and effort is the same, so why not shoot for the stars and think big? The risk/reward of being the CEO of Starbucks was far more attractive. This is when Trung accidently stumbled on his next venture, while trying to solve a problem he experienced himself. He moved into a condo in downtown Toronto, and as a techie himself, he wanted all the latest gadgets for his new home. He wanted motorized shades, but was quoted an astronomically expensive figure of $1,500 per window, while regular manual shades were only $500 per window. However, a few months down the road, with the blistering summer sun heating up his condo, Trung went back to the same dealer he purchased his shades and asked for a motor to control the beaded chains of his window shade, that he could DIY install himself. When he learned that this “motorized pulley” didn’t exist, he had his Eureka moment, and RYSE was born! The simple fact that less than 10% of window shades are motorized was due to the high cost and non-existent retrofit solution – a problem, RYSE’s mission was to solve. Today, when Trung’s mind isn’t on RYSE, he spends his time golfing, boxing, weight training, reading, and playing the guitar.