Alumni Insights: Aaron Paul

Interview: Aaron Paul, TyltGO

Waterloo Business Review had the privilege of sitting down with former University of Waterloo student Aaron Paul to speak to him about his work experiences, his time in the Faculty of Engineering, and to gain insight into the world of entrepreneurship. Aaron was a student at the University of Waterloo from 2018-2019 in the Management Engineering program and is now serving full-time as the Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer (CTO) with his company, TYLTGO.

TyltGO is an on-demand courier service, missioned to provide value to its three key stakeholders, enterprises, small businesses and drivers, done through the optimization and management of same-day delivery logistics to offer the best possible post purchase experience.. Beyond this, TYLTGO provides back-end data collection allowing for small businesses to strategically grow while also benefiting from competitive and cost-effective delivery solutions. TyltGO understands the challenges such businesses face and has a “reliable, flexible, fast, affordable and easy…” solution. With TYLTGO’s quick growth and traction, now serving 10 cities in Southern Ontario, TYLTGO is looking to expand and deliver value-adding solutions.

Aaron came to the University of Waterloo knowing he wanted to start his own business and was captivated by the school’s entrepreneurial culture which ultimately led him to the school. He largely credits the school for the avenues of learning it provided and further enabled. Specifically for him, it was the learning outside of the classroom that had the most impact of which was furthered by strong and ambitious peers. In his first year, his drive was further materialized on campus by seeing his peers work on complex problems with real-world applications. He knew Waterloo would be the place to start a company as he discovered friends working on a coding project. This motivated him to enhance his technical skills and he began pondering how to apply these skills to a business. His greatest takeaway was the importance and impact one’s environment can place on an individual’s skill development. Aaron highlighted the impact individuals can have when he explained, “One of the biggest things that the University of Waterloo brought me was the people.”

Aaron’s interest in entrepreneurship was further emphasized in his first co-op term, where he discovered his passion for impact. He explained, “I showed up at nine o’clock in the morning and left at five o’clock in the evening because I didn’t have any skin in the game. Whether I showed up the next day or not, [the company] would still move on. I didn’t like that feeling and I wanted to have more impact. Launching and growing a startup really allows you to maintain impact at every level of the company, which is why I wanted to be an entrepreneur.” During his first co-op, Aaron also met his partner Jaden Pereira

Leveraging the opportunities to learn, Aaron decided to opt for an Enterprise Co-op (E co-op). E co-op is an opportunity for students to pursue an entrepreneurial co-op offered through the Conrad School of Entrepreneurship and Business, at the University of Waterloo. Through this, he realized he wanted to work for himself and drive impact through entrepreneurship. Following his E co-op, he knew he wanted to dedicate himself to TYLTGO, knowing his education would serve as a barrier, Aaron took a leap of faith and invested full-time into TYLTGO. He explains, “We were gaining traction and I got to the point where I was nearing the end of my E Co-op where I was working on my own business and I knew that if I went back to school, the company would likely not continue.” While first facing backlash from his parents, this was a necessary step in his personal, professional and business growth. Aaron explains, “this was a major hurdle that I had to jump personally in order to take TYLTGO to the next level.”

In fact, before his first E Co-op term, he began researching current market trends before even meeting his future partner, Jaden. Aaron immediately knew that Jaden was the person he wanted to start a company with as he was extremely serious and dedicated to the idea. Jaden had already spun up something on Shopify and that's what showed me his seriousness and dedication. They started TYLTGO in August of 2019, with hopes of changing and improving the delivery industry by targeting small businesses in the Kitchener/Waterloo corridor, now serving more businesses than before including retailers such as Walmart. Although it took immense willpower and courage for Aaron to leave school and pursue an entrepreneurial venture full-time, Aaron has been able to gain knowledge and experience from his business that would not have been possible through any other co-op employers. In hindsight, he believes that starting his own business was the best decision because of the opportunity it provided him to learn more about current market trends and meet others with similar visions. Throughout this process, he kept his initial mindset and, along with his co-founder Jaden, continued taking on risks such as applying and getting Y Combinator funding, which allowed the company to further expand into a more recognized name in the delivery industry.

Ultimately for Aaron, the impact is what keeps him going. The ability to control and manage his own business is what continues to provide him with motivation and continued inspiration. With regard to work-life balance, Aaron explained that he has so much passion for the work that TYLTGO does and the impact he is able to create as an entrepreneur that his work does not feel like work. However, Aaron also finds other ways to grow besides investing time in TYLTGO. Examples include engaging in personal fitness activities in the morning and reading literature at night. When asked about advice he would give ambitious students, he emphasizes the importance of making a conscientious effort to meet amazing people. Without taking the risk to launch an idea, an idea is nothing more than just that.