Use rejection as a catalyst

August 31, 2023

From Street Dreams to VR Storytelling: The Inspiring Odyssey of Jacob Noland Cyr

Jacob Noland Cyr, a software engineer from Pasqua First Nation, living in Saskatoon, has a penchant for storytelling and is transforming the world of virtual reality (VR) with his new venture, Treaty Four Tech.

“A few months ago I decided, while facing failure in every direction, to just put my skills towards my dreams,” Cyr candidly shares. Recounting his past, he speaks of a time of despair when homelessness bore down on him. “All I had were comic books at the library, which became a haven for me. Now, these memories serve as a foundation for a futuristic dream – comic stories in VR.”

Jacob is building Treaty Four Tech as an immersive 3D gaming and storytelling platform. Elaborating on his business model, Jacob says, “My business brings stories right to a person’s browser or computer.” Grounded in Indigenous narratives and aiming to tap into the burgeoning VR/AR/XR sector, Treaty Four Tech‘s introductory offering is ‘Homer the Dog’. Available for a lifetime subscription at just $11, this initial content not only entertains but also demonstrates the platform’s vast capabilities.

Reflecting on his journey, Jacob speaks with enthusiasm about the highs and the inevitable lows. “The most rewarding part of all of this is seeing my dreams materialize in front of me in real time,” he says. Yet, the road wasn’t always as smooth. “The most challenging part is being told ‘no’ every step of the way.” This constant rejection became a catalyst for Jacob to create his own independent platform for his content.

The Pow Wow Pitch competition has been an important milestone for him. “Having other Native people see me actually doing what I’ve been talking about for decades is absolutely energizing,” he says. Not just a platform for validation, Pow Wow Pitch became a beacon of hope, showing Jacob the limitless potential within his community.

Jacob attributes much of his inspiration to famous mathematicians, not traditional entrepreneurial mentors. His drive? A potent blend of Indigenous pride, memories of systemic injustices faced by his ancestors, and an unyielding determination to push the boundaries of what’s possible.

As a beacon of motivation, Jacob’s words to aspiring entrepreneurs are incisive: “Just go for it. If you have to sit down for a decade and do math to get it done, that’s no problem.” And in an era dominated by technology, his advice is on point, “Don’t wait, utilize AI every possible way you can. Technology has removed a lot of the boundaries we face when learning.”

Concluding the conversation, Jacob leaves us with a blend of humor and ambition, “This has been a super fun distraction from my field as a data engineer. Expect more VR and 3D releases to come. And remember, all you need is a pen and pencil, and your dreams are guaranteed if you’re willing to do the math.”

In Jacob Noland Cyr’s story, underscores that entrepreneurship isn’t just about disrupting industries; it’s about breaking personal barriers, confronting adversities, and crafting a future where dreams, once scribbled on paper, become reality.

Register to watch Jacob pitch at the Technology Semi-Final Online Watch Party on September 15, 2023, at 6 PM ET and vote for Jacob to win the 2023 People’s Choice Prize (#108) before September 17, 2023.