How to increase your odds of survival

Mistakes during a pivot is akin to burning cash. Credits: Jp Valery

Especially during a full-blown pandemic. Even more so when your material wealth or personal identity is etched into the fabric of your startup.

A pivot — especially a drastic one —can be a difficult process to come to realization with, even if it’s necessary for the long term viability of a startup.

Fortunately, I was spared from making this tough decision — being put in a position where my startup had to no choice but to pivot. Within days.

Why? As most of us know — COVID decimated the restaurant and seafood industries — two springboards that helped my startup…


This was a challenging year to say the least.

In what was a historic year, 2020 magnified the most troubling trends plaguing society today: severe wealth inequality, selfish individualism, and the inherent racism that still emanates silently across the world.

I learned how fragile our food system could be, and how people we may have previously overlooked — cashiers, grocers, farmers, and nurses — are essential to preserving the health, life, and essence of our daily life.

Despite some of these unprecedented challenges, 2020 was a year of profound learning —full of growth, challenges, changes, and highlights.

Here are the 20 that defined my 2020:

↩️ Completely pivoted…


Three years ago, Robert and I started Coastline with a simple vision of democratizing access to small-scale harvesters through an online portal. Now as another year rolls by, it’s clear that our scope and mission has grown considerably — evidenced by our global ambitions and rapid growth in 2019.

Here’s our year at a glance 🎉:


A few weeks ago, I had a sudden realization. I was now 23. Something about this number really stood out to me. Maybe because I was only two years away from the quarter-century mark. Or maybe because there’s no Taylor Swift song about being 23. Or probably because I felt like my time to figure shit out was diminishing by the second.

This made me pause and think: what have I learned in my life? Looking back, I realize I should have documented more of my experiences and lessons over the years. …


Last week, I had an awesome opportunity to go back to UBC and present to 60 SHAD Valley Fellows from across Canada. Panelling with Derek from Mealshare and Jess from A&K Robotics, we were asked to recap our startup journey and provide insights for the next generation of Canadian leaders. After verbally sharing my experience, I thought it would be a useful personal exercise to transcribe my journey on pen and paper:

Throughout my first two years of building Coastline, I’ve always seemed to be asked the same questions when I described what we were building:

“How did you get…


To mark last Tuesday’s National Indigenous Peoples Day, here is a recap of my experience in Gingolx — one of the four villages that make up the Nisga’a Nation.

The village is known as the seafood capital of the Nass River.

Roughly a year and a half ago, I embarked on my first start up journey, with the aim of pushing myself to the limit and learning what it took to become a successful entrepreneur. In those two years, I’ve lived in/visited more places than I can count: Boston, San Fransisco, Seattle, Toronto and Halifax— among many others. …


Image courtesy of Techstars.

Nearly nine months ago, we applied to Techstars with a misguided vision on how to create a successful startup. We had hastily built a product without drilling down on our customer’s pain points and ultimately delivered a narrow-sighted solution that didn’t address our ultimate goal. As you probably expect, we were rejected.

Despite our unsuccessful application, we remained optimistic about our goal of radically improving the inefficient seafood supply chain. Over the following months, we earned opportunities to work with great organizations— The Next 36, The Next Big Thing, Propel Entrepreneurship, OCE and the Spin Master Innovation Fund — who…


A guest blog piece by Coastline and Christina Kelly from the Huffington Post.

Why source imported seafood when it’s in our own backyard?

They say ignorance is bliss, but when it comes to the source of your food, this should never be the case. The journey seafood takes to get to the plate of consumers shouldn’t be a mystery, in fact it should be simple and clear.

This is the vision that drives Coastline Market, a boat-to-plate technology company based out of Vancouver, British Columbia. Founded by young entrepreneurs, Coastline enables a progressive relationship to exist between nearby restaurants, chefs and local commercial fishers. …


The Coastline team recently embarked on a five-day journey across Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Maine, and finally Boston, Massachusetts to immerse ourselves in the Atlantic fishing industry. Our concluding stop in Boston allowed us the privilege of attending the Seafood Expo North America, an event with over 20,000 attendees from over 100+ countries around the world. After speaking to a diverse group of stakeholders throughout our journey, here are our key takeaways:

Traceability is on the Rise

After speaking to roughly 100 industry stakeholders, it was clear: traceability was on the minds of every major operator. Along with Chain of Custody tracking and MSC certification…

Joseph Lee

Cofounder at Freshline (prev. Coastline). Alumi UBC, Next 36, Techstars & Forbes 30 Under 30. 🇰🇷 🇨🇦 immigrant entrepreneur, sports lover, dad to two cats 🐈

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