Tech entrepreneur and alumnus Andrew Chau headlines Dean's Speaker Series

Maya Gauthier

The Edwards School of Business Dean’s Speaker Series showcases inspiring alumni from around the world for students, staff, and alumni. Armed with knowledge and practical experience, thousands of our hardworking alumni continue to make stellar impact on our communities.

This fall, Edwards took the annual event on the road for the first time to the USask Calgary Hub, in addition to a livestream for those who were not in the area. Andrew Chau (B.Comm. 2009) was the 2022 featured guest speaker.

Chau’s name is synonymous with co-founding SkipTheDishes and more recently, Neo Financial. Neo Financial is the brainchild of business partners Chris Simair, Jeff Adamson, and Kris Read. They were inspired by the premise that “Canadians have been underserved in their finances for far too long.”

Today, Neo Financial is helping Canadians to reimagine the world of personal banking and financial management. The company has over 7,000 loyalty programs and reward offerings that are personalized to individual spending behaviour. Neo Financial received unicorn status in May 2022 after a $185M Series C fundraise and a $1B+ valuation, making them one of the fastest Canadian companies to reach this valuation.

The fireside style chat shared insight into Andrew’s life and his journey as an entrepreneur. As CEO of Neo Financial, Chau provides his expertise on the financial and quantitative aspects of the business. Chau admits having a smoother journey with Neo than with his first start-up, SkipTheDishes. In his initial entrepreneurial venture with SkipTheDishes, Chau and his team learned the value of persistence as they would door knock on restaurants throughout Calgary in order to solicit business. After those long days, the team would evaluate progress and make decisions about how to improve. The team’s dedication was rewarded as Chau and his team built a world-class business, eventually selling it to a British company.

As the CEO of Neo, Chau has encountered various situations requiring strong leadership skills. When discussing an effective leader, Chau described them as “someone who can get people believing in what they do equally or more.” He says the principle of leadership has been vital in building a core team and guiding Neo Financial. Chau also spoke about his version of a work life balance. Rather than a balance, Andrew sees it as an integration. He loves Neo and when you love what you do, it is enjoyable, and you relate your daily life to it.

“We were excited to not only be in-person together, but to be in-person for the first time in Calgary at the beautiful USask Calgary hub,” said Edwards School of Business Dean Dr. Keith Willoughby. “Edwards has strong alumni ties in Calgary, and we are excited for future events to bring our community together. Thank you to everyone who joined us in-person or virtually for the 2022 Dean’s Speaker Series.”

If you are in the Calgary area and want to get involved with Edwards or want to stay up to date with future events in the city, please contact Carlee Snow, Alumni Engagement Officer, at

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