Michelle Kwok sold a company in her early 20s. What comes next?
The co-founder of FLIK is now leading community growth at Scale.
The last time I talked to Michelle Kwok, her company was in the midst of being acquired. “Nothing was set in stone at the time,” she laughs after I grill her for not giving me the scoop. “Just didn’t want to jinx it.”
That she didn't. FLIK (Female Laboratory of Innovative Knowledge), which Kwok founded with Ravina Anand to pair women entrepreneurs with budding female founders and students across the world, was sold to another Vancouver-based organization, Rumor Avenue, in October of last year. In all, it took less than two years to launch and sell the company.
“I was trying to figure out what I was going to do,” recalls Kwok who founded the company out of the Next Canada entrepreneurship incubator shortly after graduating from Western University.
“It felt like my whole life had been being a founder—my whole career so far. I was literally like, ‘What is my identity now?’”
It didn’t take long for the Vancouverite to find her next gig. She got a call from one of the directors of On Deck, a community building platform for entrepreneurs. “She was building something similar to FLIK,” says Kwok. “And I felt with the next step in my career I’d want to do something aligned with my personal mission. I realized that’s what’s most important to me—to stay true to my personal mission and purpose.”
Kwok helped On Deck and its community of founders to “level up and accelerate their missions and visions.” But because Kwok’s first venture was community-focused, it stands to reason that she knows a ton of players in the tech scene, both here and abroad. And so the calls kept coming in. One of those was from Ravi Mehta, a former executive at Facebook and Tinder. He was working on a new venture called Scale, a 1-on-1 coaching platform.
“We started talking, and the way he was talking about why he was building Scale was really interesting to me,” says Kwok. “He was looking to democratize access to success, to help people find their true passions. That resonates a lot with me. If I didn't have really awesome mentors or people I met along my journey, I would be in med school right now.”
Earlier this month, she joined the company as its head of community growth. Somehow, Kwok—not even 25 yet—has already lived a few different careers. And yet, there’s so much of her story left to write. Asked whether being an employee after years as a founder is a difficult transition, she answers thoughtfully.
I believe so much in what the founders are building,” she insists. “And they treat me like one of them. I’m part of every big decision. Even though I’m not technically a founder, on the team they've definitely treated me with a lot of respect and shown that they value my experience as a key part of the team right now. I don’t think it matters to me whether I’m called a founder or not—at the end of the day that’s a label. What am I working towards, and how am I helping impact something that is going to better the lives of others?”