Aaron Davidson owns Cronometer, a Revelstoke based startup. The company grew out of his nerdy obsession with a cult diet. (Jake Sherman/Revelstoke Review)

Aaron Davidson owns Cronometer, a Revelstoke based startup. The company grew out of his nerdy obsession with a cult diet. (Jake Sherman/Revelstoke Review)

B.C. man turns nerdy hobby into a million dollar startup

Aaron Davidson left behind a six figure corporate job to find meaning in the mountains of Revelstoke

Behind Aaron Davidson’s humble and unassuming brown eyes is a reverent humanism. In 2011 Davidson left behind a six figure corporate job in Ireland developing software for a major company in search of love, meaning, fulfillment, and the possibility of a new beginning. At the time he was poised, prepared, and determined to make a change in his life, but uncertain of just what that might be.

In a strange twist of fate, and perhaps a sign that Davidson had been right to leave behind the high paying job he says gave him grey hairs, three months after the now 39 year-old software developer left his corporate gig in the bustling metropolis of Dublin, the CEO of the company he worked for was indicted by the United States of America for money laundering and fraud. It left him and others he worked with shocked. But after some serious soul-searching, and a whole lot of working on the side, Davidson ended up turning a nerdy obsession with a cult diet into a million-dollar startup with about 10 employees and a projected growth of about 80 per cent for the next fiscal year.

For the digital nomad who’s never really settled in one place for very long, Revelstoke has become home base, and Cronometer, an open source hobby and obsession, has turned into a career.

Today, at any one time, Davidson says there are thousands of people using his app, and that 1.6 million people have created accounts. He says people are adding accounts at a rate of over 2000 a day.

Because of that, his company that helps people monitor their nutrition — telling them based on how much they exercise, how many calories they need to consume to stay healthy — is projected to make a million dollars in revenue this year, up from around $600,000 last year.

RELATED: Cronometer looks to lead the way in nutrition tracking

Davidson says Cronometer is projected to grow to 1.2 to 1.5 million in revenue next year.

The local entrepreneur was born in Penticton, moved to Edmonton at age one, and spent time in the Northwest Territories and Northern B.C. before settling in Kamloops where he went to Jr. High and high school.

At 17 Davidson left Kamloops to pursue an education in Computer Science at the University of Alberta in Edmonton.

He spent six years there where he graduated with a Master’s.

Davidson wrote his thesis on artificial intelligence and playing poker.

After he graduated he was interested in doing a PhD, but didn’t have a topic. At the time his former supervisors had a biotech company and offered him a job. He took it.

Davidson worked there developing bioinformatics software for about a year.

Over time the company changed direction and decided to commercialize the poker A.I. Davidson had developed under his thesis supervisors during his time in university. As a result they ended up building a Texas Hold’em tool so you could play against the A.I. and learn to be a better poker player.

A year later he was headhunted and ended up with an offer from one of the biggest online poker companies in the world. That brought him to Dublin where his life changed direction.

Davidson spent four years there. But all the while his ex-wife had never been able to work on his work visa. So he decided it was her turn to live her dream, and Davidson walked away from his “stressful high paying job in a giant company of 800 people,” to pursue meaning in the mountains. First in Canmore, and later in Revelstoke.

For about five years previous to that decision Davidson had been interested in what he calls a “nerdy diet” known as Caloric Restriction with Optimal Nutrition. The basic idea behind it is that you can prolong your lifespan by limiting the number of calories you consume in a day. However, you still need to satisfy your body’s basic nutritional requirements. In his effort to live healthy, he couldn’t find any software available to monitor his caloric input against his output; so he decided to build his own.

His open source software (which he developed on the side of his day job) grew organically, and Davidson maintained it as a hobby until eventually he decided to launch it as a formal service.

“It had grown, and I was getting a lot of e-mails. So I relaunched it as a service. It was really ugly and basic, but I started migrating users over to it. It was making a couple grand in revenue a month by the end of that year, but it wasn’t going to pay rent,” said Davidson.

At the same time as Davidson had begun to monetize the service, his friends who he had worked for in Edmonton, (but who had also been bought by the Irish company Davidson worked at) were laid off when the company went under during its criminal investigation by the U.S. government. So they decided to put their minds together and start a Seattle based startup that lasted about two years. All the while Cronomoter ran neglected in the background, but doubled in size each year.

Davidson then ended up working in another startup, and again left Cronometer running on its own. Still, Cronometer continued to grow. In fact, it grew another 60 per cent that year.

All of it was organic, and word of mouth. It made him realize that he had a business, and that he’d have to devote some serious time to it.

“It’s been like a rocket ship,” said Davidson. “That’s how you know it’s a good business.”

So he moved to Revelstoke, bought a house in the Big Eddy, and decided to take Cronometer on full time.

Now, downtown Revelstoke has became cronometer’s home base, and it could be just one of many budding and succesful tech startups to call our little valley home over the next decade.

@Jnsherman
jake.sherman@revelstokereview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

An aerial shot of Cedar Valley Lodge this past August, LNG Canada’s newest accommodation for workers. This is where several employees are isolating after a COVID-19 outbreak was declared last Thursday (Nov. 19). (Photo courtesy of LNG Canada)
Forty-one positive COVID-19 cases associated with the LNG Canada site outbreak

Thirty-four of the 41 cases remain active, according to Northern Health

Kitimat RCMP are requesting assistance locating 24-year-old Teah Wilken, who was last seen getting on a bus at City Centre Mall in Kitimat around 6:30 p.m. Monday (Nov. 23). Kitimat RCMP Facebook photo.
Kitimat RCMP requesting assistance locating missing woman

Wilken last seen getting on bus at City Centre Mall in Kitimat around 6:30 p.m. Monday (Nov. 23)

The Nisga’a Nation activated its pandemic safety protocols Nov. 20 after a positive COVID-19 case in the Terrace area was identified. (Nisga’a Lisims Government photo)
Nisga’a Nation reverts to phase one pandemic restrictions

Tightening of precautions follows discovery of positive case in Terrace

Cases have gone up in Northern Health in the past week, as they have all over B.C. (K-J Millar/Black Press Media)
Northern Health reports new highest number of COVID-19 cases in one day

Nineteen cases were reported to Public Health last Tuesday (Nov. 17)

New COVID-19 restrictions forced the cancellation of the in-person portion of the second annual Festival of Trees event scheduled for Nov. 20 -21 in Terrace. (Pexels)
In-person event cancelled, online auction still a go for Terrace’s Festival of Trees

Dr. R.E.M. Lee Hospital Foundation was planning to host the event at Heritage Park

People wearing face masks to help curb the spread of COVID-19 cross a street in downtown Vancouver, on Sunday, November 22, 2020. The use of masks is mandatory in indoor public and retail spaces in the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. reports 17 COVID deaths, 1,933 new cases as hospitalizations surge over the weekend

There are 277 people in hospital, of whom 59 are in ICU or critical care

Workers arrive at the Lynn Valley Care Centre seniors home, in North Vancouver, B.C., on Saturday, March 14, 2020. It was the site of Canada’s first COVID-19 outbreak in a long-term care facility. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Rapid tests ‘not a panacea’ for care homes, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

B.C. lacks capacity for daily tests of thousands of workers

(Delta Police Department photo)
Cannabis edibles found in Halloween bag lead B.C. police to illegal lab

Delta police arrested a man and a woman while executing a warrant at a residential property Nov. 20

A woman being arrested at a Kelowna Value Village after refusing to wear a mask on Nov. 22.(@Jules50278750/Twitter)
VIDEO: Woman arrested for refusing to wear mask at Kelowna Value Village

RCMP claims the woman was uncooperative with officers, striking them a number of times and screaming

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

B.C. Liberal MLA Shirley Bond questions NDP government ministers in the B.C. legislature, Feb. 19, 2020. (Hansard TV)
Cabinet veteran Shirley Bond chosen interim leader of B.C. Liberals

28-member opposition prepares for December legislature session

Motorists wait to enter a Fraser Health COVID-19 testing facility, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, November 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
COVID-19: What do rising positivity rates mean for B.C.? It’s not entirely clear

Coronavirus cases are on the rise but the province has not unveiled clear thresholds for further measures

A rider carves a path on Yanks Peak Saturday, Nov. 21. Two men from Prince George went missing on the mountain the next day. One of them, Colin Jalbert, made it back after digging out his sled from four feet under the snow. The other, Mike Harbak, is still missing. Local search and rescue teams went out looking Monday, Nov. 23. (Sam Fait Photo)
‘I could still be the one out there’: Snowmobiler rescued, 1 missing on northern B.C. mountain

As Quesnel search and rescue teams search for the remaining rider, Colin Jalbert is resting at home

More than 70 anglers participated in the bar-fishing demonstration fishery on Sept. 9, 2020 on the Fraser River near Chilliwack. DFO officers ticketed six people and seized four rods. A court date is set for Dec. 1, 2020. (Jennifer Feinberg/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Anglers ticketed in Fraser River demonstration fishery heading to court

Sportfishing groups started a GoFundMe with almost $20K so far for legal defence of six anglers

Most Read