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

COVID-19 cases identified in Kelowna, after public gatherings

Those who were downtown or at the waterfront from June 25 to July 6 maybe have been exposed to COVID-19.

UPDATE: YouTubers claim to be Kelowna display toilet ‘poopers’

RCMP can not speak to legitimacy of video, will be investigating

Couple shaken up after homophobic encounter at Kelowna mall

‘We’re not in the States; we’re not in some little hick town; we’re in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada. And it still happens’

Rollover on Highway 97 in West Kelowna

Traffic on Highway 97 is backed up in the southbound lanes

Dog locks out Kelowna couple on 4th floor patio

Kelowna firefighters were called in to rescue the two people

B.C. sees 25 new COVID-19 cases, community exposure tracked

One death, outbreaks remain in two long-term care facilities

VIDEO: Vancouver Island cat missing 18 months reunited with family

Blue the cat found at Victoria museum 17 kilometres from home

VIDEO: Alberta man rescues baby eagle believed to be drowning in East Kootenay lake

Brett Bacon was boating on a lake in Windermere when he spotted the baby eagle struggling in the water

Summerland Blossom Youth Ambassador Program to hold coronation

Event will be held by video as a result of COVID-19 precautions

Vernon shutterbugs capture rainbow

A rain event July 9 made way for a glorious sight

Pooch abandoned at Penticton doggy daycare suffered from oral disease

A fundraiser for Okie held by the BC SPCA surpassed its goal of $1,700

Summerland to allow in-person attendance at July 13 council meetings

Two meetings will be held at Summerland Arena Banquet Room to accommodate public

Fundraiser kicks off for Lake Country families displaced by house fire

A GoFundMe campaign has been launched to raise $5K for those who lost everything in early morning blaze

Rescued hawk returned to Lumby skies

A rehabilitated Swainson’s hawk was returned to its Rawlings Lake habitat

Most Read