Meet Matt Stefan, the impressive 25-year-old Chief Mar-Tech Officer of FrontRunner Technologies

Matt-Stefan
Matt Stefan,
Chief Mar-Tech Officer,
FrontRunner Technologies

Far from your average twenty-something, Matt Stefan spent his post-grad years launching himself into successful technology and business ventures, quickly becoming one of The Next Big Thing’s Top 20 Under 25 in Canada in 2015, and by 2016, named in the Top 8 Under 25.

Now, at 25 years old, Stefan is the Chief Mar-Tech Officer of FrontRunner Technologies—a high-growth startup that is changing the face of the Digital Out of Home (DOOH), commercial real estate, and retail industries simultaneously. With their Window Front Matrix and projection technology, FrontRunner is paving the way for the future of content delivery and in turn transforming the advertising industry in a way that is more engaging and meaningful.

As one of the tech gurus behind this notable startup, Mattis an integral team member, often acting as CEO Nathan Elliott’s right hand. Here, Matt shares how he got started in the world of technology development and what the bright future holds for FrontRunner Technologies.

How did you get into tech development?

MATT STEFAN: My fascination with technology first began with Bill Gates and his meteoric rise to becoming the wealthiest man on the planet—I was five years old at the time. Then, in my second year of high school, the movie “The Social Network” reinvigorated my curiosity about the fast-paced world of tech through the story of Facebook’s creation. This led me to pursue any tech-related project I could. In 2012, while completing my last year of high school, my best friend and I launched KromaClothing.com, an e-commerce website for designing and buying custom T-shirts. Originally a project for my Grade 12 entrepreneurship class, the process of                                                                                                                                              designing, building, and managing Kroma ignited within me a passion for how technology and business come together.

Before FrontRunner, along with a business partner, you launched a company called Festfeed, leading you to be named one of The Next Big Thing’s Top 8 Under 25. Can you tell us more about your first startup, how networking played an essential role and the success you saw from it?

During my second year of university, I was introduced to Hilton Routley through a mutual friend. Together, we created Festfeed, a social network focused solely on music festivals, with all the features of Facebook, but in a private environment just for the attendees. 

In 2014, Hilton and I successfully applied for and partook in the Accelerate Okanagan (AO) Venture Accelerator Program. During our time at AO, we volunteered to help at the annual Metabridge conference in Kelowna, an event which sees hundreds of Silicon Valley investors descend on Kelowna for three days of high-impact networking and business development. Here, we met Meredith Powell, who encouraged us to check out The Next Big Thing (TNBT), co-created by Meredith and Ryan Holmes, entrepreneur and CEO of HootSuite. TNBT empowers the next generation of leaders, helping them grow, learn, and re-imagine what it means to succeed.

Inspired by Meredith, we applied for and were accepted into the second intake of the TNBT program. Within the first two months of the program, we re-launched a revitalized platform and successfully secured our first paid case-study clients. Continued success throughout the first half of the program earned us a position in the Growth & Acceleration track. We ran full-speed ahead and within the first month, successfully secured a $250K pre-seed financing round from Angel Investors.

After three years of developing Festfeed, we were approached by a fellow Vancouver event-tech company interested in a potential merger. Always on the lookout for new challenges, I saw this as the perfect opportunity to shift day-to-day operations over to my business partner.

How did you get started with FrontRunner Technologies? What about FrontRunner first attracted you to the company?

MATT STEFAN: Having known Nathan for a couple of years, I was aware of what he was building at FrontRunner. I was immediately attracted to the idea because of the massive scale of the problem we solve—there is a lot of empty retail space. FrontRunner’s mission is simple, yet powerful: inspire awe and uplift by transforming window fronts into a living, breathing and talking surfaces. I am deeply motivated by the mission and opportunity to redefine the places we work and live.

I’ve also always been keen to gain experience in advertising, recognizing that all the largest technology companies are advertising companies. Coupled with the experience of the founding team, I felt the best thing for my career development was to learn first-hand from those who have built careers that I aspire to.

What aspect of FrontRunner Technologies do you think is changing the tech sphere?

MATT STEFAN: FrontRunner is changing the face of the Digital Out of Home (DOOH), commercial real estate, and retail industries simultaneously. Never have these industries been brought together in such a unique way. As public space pioneers, we are changing the way people think about empty space and we’re the first company to create a scaled-solution to bring content to where the people are—the downtown cores, shopping centers, airports, and undergrounds. Our Firefly Illumination System can turn any window into a content delivery platform. We’re weaving technology into the fabric of cities. Building narratives that create destinations where there was once empty space. We believe in transformation over disruption.