Meet the Team: CIO and Co-Founder Jag Barpagga

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Blog: Meet the Team: Jag Barpagga CIO and Co-Founder title card

Our Chief Information Officer and Co-Founder Jag Barpagga is a cornerstone of ForwardAI, in charge of our business development team and compliance requirements. We sat him down for a short interview so everyone could get to know Jag as well as we do! 

Jag, you’ve worked with accounting data for over twenty years. How did you initially get into the tech field? 

While I was going through my bachelor’s degree program, I became deeply interested in computer science. I found myself working more and more with computers as technology adoption spread like wildfire. For instance, when Microsoft launched Windows 98, it was a complete game-changer for me.

I wanted to keep growing my skill set and decided to enroll in the computer science program at BCIT, a top technical institute in BC, Canada. After completing it, I found a position working with an accounting firm as their Network Administrator. It ended up being the perfect place for me, as the firm I was working with introduced me to another firm that needed IT services.  

This was when I realized every accounting firm needed its applications to have specific, consistent configurations across the board. I kept seeing this need ignored by the service providers they were already working with. I became passionate about improving the IT services at the companies I worked with and raising application efficiency with all employees. To supplement the latter, I organized “lunch’n’learn” sessions to teach accountants a deep dive into the various applications they used day-to-day. Teaching workshops helped me understand the ins and outs of all the programs at a level reserved for those that constantly answer the question, “But why?”

Soon after that, Nick and I registered our IT company Welcome Networks, with the goal of providing services specific to supporting small to medium-size accounting firms. From there, I had many opportunities to advance in my field, including writing technical manuals for document management software and attending various training seminars organized by Wolters Kluwer. Nick and I began to see the potential in cloud services, and we started building out the first cloud-based bookkeeping application called SlickPie in 2014.

Since then, we have sold Welcome Networks and worked on many initiatives related to the finance and accounting world. Our latest venture is ForwardAI and the Precise API, and it’s the most exciting yet.


How do you balance the busy role of a CIO with a healthy lifestyle?

My days are long, and I have a never-ending task list. For me, I believe planning is the key. I always start my day early and prioritize my tasks from the get-go. Exercise is important to me – I try to include some first thing in the morning and spend time with my family over dinner or the weekends whenever possible. Sometimes, this means giving up an hour of sleep here and there to make up for the rest, but it’s always worth it.


This isn’t the first company you’ve founded. What’s your favourite part of starting a new venture, and how does ForwardAI fit into it?

I’ve been a small business owner for most of my life, and I know the struggle to finance and grow your business. Small businesses are the lifeblood of our economy. We started ForwardAI to solve two problems we’ve seen time and time before.

Number one is to get expedited finance for small businesses. They’ve had a horrible time during the pandemic, and we need to support them in accessing working capital. I’ve met so many business owners that have to jump through hoops to get funding, and it simply shouldn’t be that difficult if they are a successful business. 

Number two is to help bridge the data gap between these small businesses and the banks and other lenders. In order to make lending decisions, banks and lenders need better data. Bank statements, spreadsheets, printouts, and pdfs of financial data are completely outdated when direct data APIs are available and offer real-time insights.

ForwardAI is directly fixing both of these issues. It’s exciting to be in a position where I can help both small businesses and banks in such a dramatic way. Being a part of a project that can help so many people keeps me going and encourages me to work as hard as possible.


How do you get into “work mode”? What motivates you to start your day?

Since starting my first business, I have always been in “work mode”. My biggest struggle is figuring out how to get out of work mode most of the time! The harder I work, the closer I get to making this dream a reality and helping more people. Nothing motivates me more than thinking of when the solution is fully implemented worldwide and actively solving the problems I mentioned are being faced by small businesses and bigger institutions alike.


ForwardAI is looking to double its staff over the next six months. Do you have any advice for anyone looking to join the company? 

I am proud to say ForwardAI is a great place to work. We offer excellent pay, flexible hours, and a friendly environment. There are plenty of opportunities to grow within the company. We want people that have similar values and really believe in changing the world for the better. If you are passionate about what you do, ForwardAI is the company for you.


Connect with Jag on LinkedIn

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