Kelowna tech leader takes on a male dominated industry

Kelowna tech leader takes on a male dominated industry

In short time Janice Taylor has built an operation designed to help kids be safe online

Janice Taylor is a force to be reckoned with.

In just nine years, the Kelowna resident went from Googling “how to start a tech company” to being the force behind an app that helps young people safely transition to online life. That, in turn, has sent her jet setting across the U.S. and influencing change in a male dominated industry.

Take this month for example — Taylor brought Mazu Family to meetings in San Fransisco and New York. Then she went to LA to represent Canada in a Women in Tech event at the Canadian consulate, with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Trudeau had a number of U.S. speaking engagements that week, pitching Canadian globalism and the country’s new fast-track visa as reasons why Silicon Valley companies should consider Canada as a place to do business and spend money.

Canada is offering a two-week, fast-track employment permit for certain workers, dubbed the “global skills strategy visa.”

Government-sponsored billboards in Silicon Valley pitch: “H1-B Problems? Pivot to Canada.”

Taylor already sees the benefit of working in Canadian tech.

“All my 24 staff is in Kelowna and I live there and my children go to school there,” she said.

Being in transit as often as she is is a significant undertaking, but the work is valuable and that fuels her.

Mazu is a free app that gives kids, and their families, a forum to communicate on. Through it they can focus on their favourite sports teams and specific interests. For kids to use the app they have to have a parent’s approval and potentially interaction.

It’s what Taylor refers to as a “digital village.”

“We don’t use ‘like’ buttons, we don’t follow things,” she said, explaining that its the antithesis of traditional social media, which preys on the desire to be liked, validated, and rewarded.

“The content in our digital village is tagged with our core values. We filter so there is no bad content or bad language.”

There was such a gap in the online world when she started the app, that it’s turned heads and Taylor has managed to raise $7 million through angel investors to get it off the ground.

And the idea has fuelled her as she worked to navigate a male dominated industry.

“If you look at the statistics today, only five per cent of all tech companies are run by women,” she said. “In the City of Kelowna there are only two other female tech company founders and they’re co-founders.”

Getting to the top of a male dominated industry has been a slog and Taylor has some war stories.

“I’ve had men ask, ‘can I touch your hair,’or ‘your hair is distracting,’ ‘who takes care of your kids when you travel’ and ‘are you planning to have another baby?” she said.

What’s been the worst, however, is those who doubt she has the expertise on the issues she’s trying to address through the app, to be in the industry.

“ It astounds me. I have 14 year old on social media, I have friends, we talk … as if I won’t understand this population,” she said. “In the last two years there’s been a 50 per cent increase in girl suicide. It’s the first time in history that girls are killing themselves more than boys. Who better to solve that problem than a mother?”

For more information go to https://mazufamily.com

To report a typo, email: edit@kelownacapnews.com.



kmichaels@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Landmark GRand 10 Cinemas in Kelowna, B.C. (Contributed)
New COVID-19 protocols temporarily close Okanagan theatres

Kelowna Cineplex and Landmark 10 are part of the latest health regulations in limiting events

(City of Kelowna)
Kelowna council quashes welcome sign proposal

Council struck down the proposed sign along Highway 97 after deeming it leaned more artistic than welcoming

This year’s Santa Shuffle and Elf Walk will be virtual. (Santa Shuffle - Facebook)
Annual Santa Shuffle and Elf Walk goes virtual

Participants can walk or run to raise funds between Dec. 5 and Dec. 12

Photo of Devon Brazeau. (Contributed)
Kelowna RCMP search for missing man

Devon Brazeau was last seen on Nov. 20, 2020

This year’s Okanagan ChristmasFest will be smaller with limited entry. (RedScope Media)
Okanagan ChristmasFest cancelled due to COVID-19 pandemic

The event’s organizers are asking residents to continue supporting local food banks

The Animal Food Bank is asking for donations as the pandemic continues and the holidays approach. (Twila Amato - Black Press Media)
Okanagan Animal Food Bank in need of donations as pandemic continues

The Animal Food Bank provides food for any domestic pet in need

Product Care offers more than <a href="http://link.mediaoutreach.meltwater.com/ls/click?upn=pDYyTceU0YgTDdsd92GohdQJsmSiPFEkcB4MdMM0Qkoqb1aJA-2By5aWklKJXV6QRdyTteNjr2FccUOVLUe4t5Zw-3D-3D1ds-_KVyBcpjXADXifSWVpM8nQcAzSm9-2B6fEFnjVrTsOcu31irDHDxi5k0QTOIWCqMXUxaNbrf0yRzXSSpROCkfx3NkUtbr65Dkcw1J0by-2F-2BDdDiJGbcfhtjHWYSs66NwakeCCLYkj20e9ICIZsLcedqNZKBhsN0sGgBsInpdzsddYikUZkmQvFdxLJhakpgAA6aAJ5ScUoWR6vO9sM819vRB-2F6x7dsdfIaWa4ZgHxR4G7hauxgSJCsNI2bP5J62EFfM0aiDqRPwUPUjt7i5-2FMqpdJxrEBewnLky-2B3lE0JAmi5UsJBkJejuLOjsndZz4b7dNgbvt6KyewKuF0sxU2rpYgkAO9YAKc9STuFJd28Qn7jE0-2FqlB8HKOvpW150NHS-2BOMBcK5rkZ8YAuPqJy11k-2BgndiKB-2FWl2icAfbWtRGJPb8fM-3D" target="_blank">150 free drop-off locations</a> in B.C. (Pixabay.com)
Recycling broken or burnt string lights can reduce holiday landfill waste

In 2019, Product Care Recycling diverted more than 11.6 million light bulbs from landfills

The Vernon Towne Theatre and Galaxy Cinemas are closed under the latest pandemic protocols. (File photo)
COVID-19 closes North Okanagan movie theatres, again

Galaxy Cinemas and Towne Theatre part of latest health regulations in limiting events

Helen Watson, posing for a photo for her 100th birthday, turned 105 on Saturday (Nov. 21). (File photo)
B.C. woman who survived Spanish Flu turns 105

Helen Watson has packed a lot into life – including being in two pandemics

(Black Press Media files)
B.C. to test emergency alert system on cell phones, TVs, radios on Wednesday

The alert is part of a twice yearly test of the national Alert Ready system

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speak to the media about the COVID-19 virus outside Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s inability to manufacture vaccines in-house will delay distribution: Trudeau

First doses of COVID-19 vaccine expected in first few months of 2021, prime minister says

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Most Read