Watch Out of Office on our YouTube Channel

David Frey: Today’s Notable Young Entrepreneur

Today’s Notable Young Entrepreneur is serial business starter David Frey, who currently runs three startups that are focused on empowering individuals through education. We caught up with him to find out what inspired his career route and why he believes so strongly in the notion that time is money…


1. Describe what you do in less than 140 characters. Go.
I run three education-focused startups: Teach Away, Learnkit and Skooli.

2. What was the inspiration for your career route?
I’m the son of an elementary school teacher and college professor. Education was always the most important thing growing up, followed by sports, then everything else. In high school, I had this amazing teacher who organized a volunteer trip to Egypt where we worked with local orphanages and sports clubs. It was an inspiring trip and showed me how a committed teacher can make an impact that lasts a lifetime. That’s when it clicked that education makes a difference.

3. What is the most memorable milestone in your career so far?
A few things come to mind: when my first company, Teach Away, ranked third on the Profit Hot 50 list, or when we opened our third office on a third continent; but the moment that stands out the most was landing the biggest education recruitment contract in the world in Abu Dhabi. Playing a major role in national education reform from the ground level was amazing. We hired over 80% of the teachers that were brought in to Abu Dhabi. To think of the thousands of students that have received a better education, and more opportunity for future success, that is really cool.

4. Where do you see yourself in 5 years, 10 years, 20 years?
In Vancouver. Having travelled the world for the past eight years, I have realized that Vancouver is home, and there is nothing else quite like it. As for business, I hope to continue to find ways to create a better way to learn, and help people unlock their potential through education.

5. Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
Just get started. Do the thing that scares you, and do it now. If it doesn’t scare you, it’s not big enough. I was 24 when I quit my job to start my first company. I figured if I ended up bankrupt in a year’s time, but got to travel the world doing business, I wouldn’t be any worse off than my friends who were taking the year off to travel. Turns out it went well, and has enabled me to continue to pursue new and exciting opportunities in business and education.

6. Do you support any charities? If so, which one(s) and why is it (or they) important to you?
I support the Phelisanong Centre for Orphans and Disabled Children in Lesotho, South Africa. Mamello, an amazing woman who has dedicated her life to helping orphans and special needs children who have been abandoned by their families, runs it. This is near and dear to me, as my nieces and nephew spent some time here before being adopted into our family and joining us in Canada.

7. What is one major challenge that you’ve had to overcome in your career? How did you overcome it?
Heading back into startup mode with Skooli, our online tutoring platform, after having been in expansion mode with my other businesses has taken some adjustment; just making that mental shift from being strictly strategic to wearing all of the hats as you do in the early stage of a startup. It’s always nerve-racking to embark on something new, but it’s exciting as well. We have seen such a positive response for our online tutoring service, it’s clear that students and parents are ready for this.

8. What does the word notable mean to you?
Doing something that has a lasting impression on the lives of others. It’s about creating something that is worth remembering.


1. Where is your favourite place to wine/ dine in your city and why?
Hawksworth, Nook and Yew because they provide notable experiences and are run by leaders and chefs who will create memories.

2. What’s the most visited website on your Internet browser? The most played song on your phone? – I’m an unapologetic Raptors fan. As for music, definitely a reggae track. Probably Stir It Up by Bob Marley.

3. Who’s one person you think everyone should be following on social media?
Steph Corker. She’s not only my better half, she is also a super inspiring businesswoman, ironman athlete, and coach.

4. What’s your favourite country to visit and why? And what’s the next one you plan on travelling to?
I had the luxury of doing a study exchange in Thailand when I was in school. As a student you get to see the true culture of the Thai people, who are some of the kindest, warmest, and most hospitable people I have ever met. I was there for the 2004 Tsunami and I have amazing stories about the resolve of the Thai people during that time, and how well they treated my family.

Over the past 10 years I have spent a lot of time on the road. When I travel for pleasure I often look for new places to visit that are a bit off the beaten track, Next up on my list is Rwanda. I have read a lot about the history, natural beauty, and culture of Rwanda and want to experience it first hand.

5. What gives you the greatest FOMO?
Missing out on a party. I think that we all work really hard, and sometimes don’t make enough time for fun. If there is something awesome going down, I want to be there with all my amigos.

6. What’s your guiltiest pleasure?
Chasing epic sports games around the world. I caught the World Cup in Brazil and a Duke game at Cameron Indoor in the same year.

7.  What’s something you wish you didn’t spend so much money on? What’s something you wish you spent more on?
Rent in Vancouver? Truthfully, it’s not about the money for me, it’s all about time. My business partner and older brother, Rene, once told me that the one thing Freys don’t do is trade time for money. I am a proud uncle of eight nieces and nephews with family across the country, so if I had more time, I would spend it with them.

8. And finally, what does success look like to you? Work, play, or otherwise…
Having been a successful entrepreneur for almost 10 years, my latest mantra is ‘just keep moving forward’. It’s all about the journey and making sure you are enjoying it. Tomorrow is never guaranteed, so if you can find joy in what you are doing every day, and do it with people who make you happy, then you are leading a successful life.


Notable Life

Canada’s leading online publication for driven young professionals & culture generators.