Our Company

Since 2013, the Appreciation Engine has been built with a lot of coffee, streaming music, and smart brains. This year, we were named Emerging Technology Company of the Year by VIATEC (Victoria Innovation, Advanced Technology, and Entrepreneurship Council).

Our Purpose

To help people & brands connect in a beneficial two-way relationship

We fundamentally believe that brands and businesses that focus on opening up a two-way relationship with their customers will ultimately win. We want AE to be a connector that powers businesses to be more successful and customers that are loyal to the brands they love.

Our Vision

We will fundamentally change how data is shared and used

We believe that everyone has the right to control how their data is being accessed and who’s using it. With recent data breaches and consumers’ data knowledge evolving we know that AE is going to help shape the online data future. It’s a lofty goal but that’s the way Vision rolls!


Our People

Of course none of this can happen without our people. Meet the talented and kind people who run, design, build, cajole, laugh, guide and support AE. Hello from all of us 🙂

Jeff Mitchell, CTO and Co-founder

I have over 12 years’ experience in the U.S., Canada and NZ, developing technology strategies, leading development and creating extraordinary companies as part of senior management teams.

Although I’ve worked at the enterprise level, I’m also passionate about working in start-up environments because they offer me the chance to develop technology platforms and business strategies from the ground up.

I use my skills, knowledge & leadership to develop technology that creates powerful solutions at all levels of business.

Follow Jeff on Last.fm or LinkedIn


Annabel Youens, CMO and Co-founder

I do a little bit of everything. I write up strategy docs, test out new technology, strategize with our fun clients & work with the team to build a better Appreciation Engine. I love that my job never gets boring and the people I get to work with are amazing. Brilliant!

My startup bug hit when I worked for five years at an internet startup in Victoria, Abebooks. With that amazing team I discovered how technology could really bring people together & make people money. I was hooked. In 2002 I moved to Wellington, NZ to work and consult in digital and web. After founding AE I ran the LA office for 5 years and now I’m back in beautiful BC.  I’m lucky that I’ve found a job that combines all my loves – the web, writing, community and media.

See Annabel on Twitter and LinkedIn


Mike Penhall, Senior Developer

I’m a Silverstripe and Rails developer, music fan, fine wine sampler, and pug enthusiast based in Wellington, New Zealand, mainly for the fantastic weather. I’ve worked in the startup world for 6 or so years, as a content creator, community guide, and production manager, but primarily as a developer. I love the way that in the startup space no two days are the same, and that the landscape is constantly changing. Anything is possible!

Meet Mike on Last.fm and LinkedIn



Jennifer Paul, Intermediate Developer

I’m a web developer with experience in SilverStripe, Django, and Rails. I was drawn to the world of programming and startups when I joined Ladies Learning Code, a group that teaches women tech skills and encourages women to meet other like-minded individuals. From there I was hooked and decided to become a full developer. I took Lighthouse Labs‘ intensive web development program and then got my first coding job at a Victoria startup called ChatterBlock. Now with a few years’ experience, I’m using my awesome tech skills at AE! I love coding because it’s like a logic puzzle that’s always different and always interesting!

Meet Jennifer on LinkedIn



Odette Jacquet, Precision Marketer

I’m a BCom grad with a background in Entrepreneurship and Service Management. I’m known for my creative problem solving, strategic thinking and overall hustle. To support myself through school, I managed food trucks, repped musicians, super-hosted an AirBnb and worked countless customer service jobs. Now at AE, I get to stitch together all my skills and abilities, helping AE to shine and stand out! I’m excited to be a part of AE because of the honest, open-minded and friendly work culture it prioritizes.

Meet Odette on LinkedIn



Brad Vatne, Junior Developer (Co-op)

I am a third-year student at the University of Victoria pursuing a combined major in Computer Science and Psychology. This unique degree has granted me the opportunity to gain in-depth knowledge of the technology behind software, and the brains behind the people who interact with it. I’m a self-taught front-end developer with experience in Javascript libraries such as React and I have exposure to multiple database models and backend frameworks. Previously, I have worked as a freelance digital marketer, and I carry that perspective with me while I consider the user experience of the software I’m developing.

Meet Brad on LinkedIn



Dave Moskovitz, Chairman

I’m an experienced entrepreneur turned angel investor, having co-founded one of Wellington’s early web development companies and taken it from the garage to strategic trade sale. I’m a great communicator and collaborator — I try to bring out the best in the teams I work with. I work hard to continue developing the Wellington early-stage ecosystem. I’ve been a member of the Institute of Directors since 2002, and believe good governance is central to building strategic value.

Meet Dave on LinkedIn



Paul Mabray, Director

I’m an innovator, strategic thinker, and a guy who makes things happen. I am the founder of VinTank, the world’s most pervasive software solution for the wine industry.  I try to be a thought leader in all things wine and digital.

Meet Paul on LinkedIn




Stefan Korn, Director

I have a strong background in corporate e-commerce and extensive experience in building transactional web-based businesses. I founded WebFund to help leverage my own experience to help take web-based Kiwi startups to the world.

Meet Stefan on LinkedIn




Richard Laverty, Director

I am an innovative and strategically focused General Manager with 18 years’ experience in achieving revenue growth through the successful implementation of strategy-led marketing and business development initiatives. I am an experienced leader with well-developed relationship-building skills, particularly in a cross-cultural environment. I am an enthusiastic and creative person with a passion to determine company direction and implement growth through business and technology-led innovation, with a particular emphasis on food and biotechnology.

Meet Richard on LinkedIn

Our five values inform our work everyday.

Be Respectful | Be Empathetic | Be Innovative | Be Tenacious | Be Trustworthy

Explore our values