Propel BC’s Best

07 Jan 2020


Propel is a marketplace platform that connects learning swimmers with qualified instructors, along with private pools for them to have their swim lessons in. By providing pool access, insurance, and tools to manage lessons, the platform is fueling an entirely new personal swim instruction industry. This comes at a time when waitlists for public swimming lessons in most major Canadian cities are in the tens of thousands.

Unlike mobile services that send instructors around the city to home or condo pools, Propel provides instructors with pools that they can effectively call their own. These instructors run their own businesses, teaching back-to-back lessons with no travel in between. They set their own price and schedule, and earn on average $40/hr. Propel is first to market with this model and their team is made up of former instructors turned engineers and marketers.


As of 2019, Propel had delivered over 13,000 lessons operating in Vancouver and Toronto. They start 2020 having just launched in Calgary. Their top performing instructor earned over $45,000 last year while working just 16 hours a week. Propel has partnered with major hospitality groups like InnVest, IHG, and the Easton’s Group to help them better utilize their facilities and offset their pool operating costs. Propel was also awarded the first ever contract by the Canadian Red Cross to use their curriculum in online report cards.



The Propel team is made up of former swim instructors turned engineers. This distinct blend of talents and passions has driven the progress of the company thus far and gives them a great insight into their industry.

Kiel Olver – CEO. Kiel is a former Swim Instructor/Engineer with Product Development experience at Tesla, renewable energy startup HydroRun, and Kiewit Construction.

Sean Hudson – CTO. Sean is an Engineer/Web Developer with experience building enterprise applications for Staples, FedEx, Microsoft, and within his own previous startup.

Amie Nguyen – COO. Amie is a former Swim Instructor with Marketing/Operations experience, acquired through working with SportsTech startup RosterBot and DailyHive.



Propel is currently raising a seed round, which will help them continue to profitably scale and build out their facility recruitment engine and marketing team. This funding round will be sufficient to help Propel scale across Canada and begin the expansion into their first US cities.

Revenue Model

Instructors sign up for free and set their own price at any of Propel’s partnered facilities. Propel deducts a facility admission fee and 16% booking fee from each lesson which covers all payment processing, insurance, and web site costs. Unlike other providers that have commoditized services, Propel employs Passion Economy principles to enable instructors to offer differentiated services across a spectrum of pricing, currently $45-$170/hr.


To learn more about Propel visit

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