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By John Intini
Veer Gidwaney has so much confidence in his new company he has decided to put Western's Richard Ivey School of Business on hold for now anyway.
The 20 year-old Edmonton native, who made the dean's list in all three years of his educational career at Western and is one of Canada's top debaters, said the decision to defer his final year at Ivey was an easy one.
"The time for the company is now," Gidwaney said. "We're going to give it a year and see what happens. Opportunities like this don't come along all the time but school will still be around if things don't work out."
Gidwaney is the chief executive officer of Control-F1, an Edmonton-based software company, which he founded this May. Based on his work surrounding a software product expected to hit the market later this month, Gidwaney said he was forced to put the final year of his honours business administration degree on hold.
The product is a tool for technology companies to provide quicker and cheaper support service to their customers, Gidwaney said. The software allows companies to place an icon on computer desktops which will link clients to support agents over the internet.
"It's like having a chisel in your tool box," Gidwaney said and described his company as a behind the scenes service.
According to Dave Patches, assistant manager of International Business Machine's Home Computing in Edmonton, the software offered by Control-F1 is critical to the industry. "I've been in the industry for 30 years and being able to provide a quick link for customers to solve their computer needs is vital," he said.
The company's Western connection doesn't end with Gidwaney. In search of a VP-operations, Gidwaney called his Western roommate, bachelor of commerce graduate, John Ruby.
"I was at my desk in Montreal when Veer called," Ruby said. "At first I wasn't too sure but decided to take a risk. Veer is pretty good at talking people into things."
Ruby said at present the company is worth about $750,000, but based on early indications, Ruby expects sales to reach $3-4 million over the next year.
Initial funding for the company came from private Edmonton investors. Gidwaney said he will look to venture capital investors for the second round of backing.
Michael Parent, professor of information systems at Ivey, who has taught Gidwaney, said the young entrepreneur has the tools to be a success regardless of his age.
"E-commerce is a young person's game," he said. "Veer has tremendous organizational skills and has been able to attract some good talent to surround him."