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For creatives, by creatives.

Sai is here to help.

Sai is a financial technology start-up on a mission to help artists and creatives take charge of their money 💰

As creatives and artists ourselves, we know the impact money management can have on your mental health, career growth, and ability to focus on your craft.

Why taxes? After two years of research, dozens of interviews, and personal lived experience, tax season emerged as the number one stressor for artists and creatives. It was overwhelming and anxiety-inducing. The language used by accountants felt inaccessible and confusing. No one knew the answers to grant funding questions and laughed when asked what expense category [insert weird art purchase] fell into. Even arts-centric tax preparers placed the task of receipt organizing and expense categorization onto the shoulders of overworked, underpaid creatives. 

We’re here to change the game. 

With decades of experience in arts leadership, business development, and computer engineering, the Sai team is in a unique position to remove the stress, overwhelm, and confusion artists face when it comes to all things money.

Taxes are just the beginning. 💙

Who’s behind Sai? 👀

Owais Lightwala

Co-founder and CEO

Professor at Toronto Metropolitan University, former MD Why Not Theatre, 12 years experience as arts and culture leader.
Likes: good chai, motorcycles, plays under 90 minutes.
Dislikes: fitted sheets, bad design.
Fun Fact: Was the original “Sunny” in Jordan Tannahill’s play RIHANNABOI95 🎭

Mustafa Petiwala

Co-founder and CTO

Computer engineer with 10 years of engineering and leadership experience at Intel, Amazon and Veeva.
Likes: photography, his family, bean bag chairs.
Dislikes: traffic, housing inequality.
Fun Fact: His wife is a children’s book writer and illustrator 🎨

Melanie Yan

UX/UI Lead

Product designer and illustrator specializing in communication design and visual storytelling.
Likes: comics, cringe jokes, curated playlists.
Dislikes: winter, windy days.
Fun Fact: Is an award-winner zinester 🏆

Natasha Qureshi

Marketing Consultant and Advisor

15 years of progressive leadership experience in CPG and Fintech in Canada, UK, USA, and Pakistan.
Likes: going to brunch, interior design, binge-watching Netflix dramas.
Dislikes: hula hoops, horror movies.
Fun Fact: Studied Computer Science, has an MBA, and was a Fulbright scholar 👩‍🎓

Advisory

Aïko Thurlow

Advisor

10 years entrepreneurship experience and CEO of InFounders. Previously Associate Director at York University, Program Director at Shad Canada, and special advisor for Seneca College.

Allie Harvey

Advisor

Program Manager at ArtReach with 10 years experience in Toronto's non-profit/ community arts sector.

Muhammad Shabbir

Advisor

Tax Specialist and Financial Planner with 7 years experience in doing accounting and bookkeeping, and filing T1 and T2 returns for clients from a broad range of industries.

Riyaz Dharamshi

Advisor

Technology entrepreneur with 15 years of tech and leadership experience at Amazon and TELUS.

take charge of your money

take charge of your money

take charge of your money

take charge of your money

take charge of your money

take charge of your money

take charge of your money

take charge of your money

take charge of your money

take charge of your money

Acknowledgements

Sai’s offices and operations are based in Tkaronto (Toronto, Ontario), which is the traditional territory of many Indigenous nations, including the Anishinaabe, the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, the Wendat, and the Mississaugas of the Credit.  We recognize that this land has been a site of human activity and settlement for thousands of years, and we honor and respect the enduring presence of Indigenous peoples and their ongoing stewardship of this land. Furthermore, we recognize the ongoing impact of colonization and systemic oppression on Indigenous peoples and endeavor to do our part to end these cycles of violence through educating ourselves, listening to Indigenous leaders and elders, and standing in solidarity with Indigenous communities.

Sai received development funding from the Canada Council for the Arts and the Government of Canada.

Homepage image of Natasha Poon Woo, photographed by Drew Berry

Additional Support