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Hassan Syed

Bringing people, ideas, and solutions together

My Story

I am the Founder and CEO of Bir Ventures – developing innovative products in the idea economy. A technologist at heart, I have 30+ years of broad international experience and track record of converting concepts into successful products. In simple terms, explain the problem and leave the rest on me. From the inception of an idea to its launch in production, I provide vision, establish teams, build consensus, design solutions, engage customers, lead the development, and transition it to production.

I started programming at an early age and learned the concept of systems thinking by experience. During my early career, I experimented with every aspect of Information Technology, from designing data centers, to setting up disaster recovery processes. I programmed networking equipment, troubleshooted assembly line problems, and fiddled mainframe operating systems.

In 1995, I joined Xentek Corporation Canada to establish Project Management Practices, now called PMOs. This was my first experience using process thinking outside of IT. At Xentek Corporation, we implemented ERP software. We even developed an ERP software for chemical manufacturing that was successfully rolled out in three chemical manufacturing companies.

After the bubble burst in 2001, Xentek Corporation was soon out of business. At this time in my life, I started looking for a purpose and joined the City of Toronto at Toronto Zoo. After doing an infrastructure upgrade we started looking at implementing an ERP at the zoo. This is when I met the people at Species 360, formerly known as International Species Information System. They were about to start developing a Software as a Service (SaaS) based product to collect lifetime data on millions of animals in zoos all over the world. I moved to Minneapolis to lead this global project.

Developing Zoological Information Management System (ZIMS) was a lifetime experience with stories that our team will continue to tell for a long time. I hope to write a book on this project at some point in my life. ZIMS is a unique product that is now used by more than a thousand aquariums and zoos all over the world.

After launching ZIMS, I joined a zoo to actually experience the ZIMS product from the other side as a customer or user. In 2012, I decided to start Bir Ventures. My purpose was very clear: help people develop innovative products that support collaboration and knowledge exchanges. Since 2012, we have helped launch five SaaS-based products through this platform. We helped a major university start up their Science and Innovation Park. We have worked with a global network of futurists, offering the most authoritative forecasts on emerging technologies. We are also the developers of IdeaGist.com, the world’s first SaaS based Virtual Incubation Platform, now connecting more than 300 communities from all over the world.

I am a mentor and advisor to many technology startups. I am always interested in new ideas and always willing to hear about them.

My topics of interests are around emerging technologies and their impact on our world. I am concerned about our collective ecological footprint and our responsibilities. I like to learn new things, travel and experience new cultures, and meet new people.

Management Skills

  • Leadership 97%
  • Project Management 99%
  • Starting Up 99%
  • Strategic Planning 73%