Why He’s Top 40: For being one of Edmonton’s major high-tech entrepreneurs.
Unexpected Hobby: “I challenged myself to make something outside of software – I made my own office desk out of concrete, reclaimed wood and metal.”
Raoul Bhatt is on the patio of an Edmonton cafe when a passing man says, “Excuse me, hi, is your name Raoul?”
When Bhatt replies in the affirmative, the man says he met him a long time ago, but declines to say more before getting into a car.
Bhatt shrugs and flashes a grin. “When you’ve been in Edmonton a long time,” he says, “that happens a lot.”
It’s understandable that people know Bhatt by name. He’s lived in the city his entire life, been a software developer in Edmonton for 18 years, and he’s only 36 years old.
As the owner of bhatt.ca, he’s not modest about his company’s prowess — “what would take another company six months, I can do in six weeks” – but says he’s downright humble compared to the Bhatt of his 20s, when he was an egotistical, “one-dimensional” young businessman.
He was 24 when he got into text-to-TV screen software. Before long, he had a million global users and was riding high on his successes. But his early successes came at a price — most notably that of his first marriage. And the crash of 2008 was a reckoning, forcing him to come down to earth and evolve.
For Bhatt, that meant changing the way he viewed the software industry as well as the people around him.
“I went from thinking nothing could stop me to having to stop and listen to what the market was and what people needed.”
Today, he has 96 employees: Project managers in Edmonton and coders – “my guys” – in India. They currently have 24 projects, such as building nine different video games for Booster Juice at Pearson International Airport.
Bhatt is married again, with a three-year-old son. “I think I’m a very well-rounded person now.”