Balancing the creative and the analytical has driven blockchain the startup founder’s career
1995 – earns double law degrees
Her pursuit of both Canadian and American law degrees resulted in a double course load and learning how law is taught differently across borders, the U.S. being more formal in its use of the Socratic method. During law school and articles, she focused on litigation, but when her father died during law school and later her artist brother faced a copyright and entertainment legal issues, she realized at that moment she wanted to switch directions so she can help him.
2000 – recruited by CHUM/Citytv/MuchMusic
Vandana’s experience at a copyright collective (Access Copyright), an intellectual property firm, and an animation studio leads to a call from a legal recruiter for a position at CHUM/Citytv as an in-house lawyer.
“It was a crazy experience especially negotiating all the musicians for the MuchMusic Video Awards; I was working in a creative space but not in a creative job. Working across the different departments: news, fashion, music satisfied both my left brain and my right brain.
2006 – goes solo
The quest for greater creativity sees Vandana leaving her in-house entertainment job and strike out on her own.
“Opening your own practice is a big step. I learned the art of being in business and became fascinated with being my own boss and being empowered. First, I worked on domestic and international films including a Halle Berry film. I learned to never take ‘no’ for an answer. I learned the art of turning a no into a yes.”
2010 – shifts gears
Vandana takes on the legal work of her internationally acclaimed artist brother, Gary Taxali, also stepping in as his art agent and lawyer.
“That changed my path. He wanted to have an event at the AGO and I got a ‘yes’ when they had said ‘no’. I negotiated licensing deals with major brands for my artists including my brother. That’s when my reputation in the art world bloomed and my career shifted to also being an art agent and entrepreneur.”
2014 – expands technical know-how
“Learning to code is similar to being a lawyer”
“A company with an office in my building sent out an email offering a course to learn front end development over three months in the evenings. Learning to code is similar to being a lawyer—you have to think in terms of ‘if/and’ and ‘but’ statements. Later I became a mentor and volunteered to teach coding classes on the weekends.”
2015 – mentoring and teaching
Vandana merges her legal knowhow and online presence to the benefit of clients, followers, and startups when she converts all her boxes of legal precedents, checklists, and other content into blog posts and free downloadable legal checklists and shares them on her law firm’s Entcounsel blog and on Twitter. Later she mentors startups and teaches intellectual property at OCAD University. “Access to legal recourses is prohibitive and I thought ‘there needs to be a solution in sharing legal knowledge.’”
2019 – founds Artcryption
Vandana realizes technology can help her clients and founds tech venture, Artcryption, which protects intellectual property and namely, art, on the blockchain.
She gets into blockchain technology in 2017 and was certified as a blockchain professional at York University in 2018.
“I realized how blockchain and smart contracts can help protect and manage intellectual property. I’ve joined the Standards Council of Canada blockchain committee. My startup, Artcryption has gone through the Founder Institute and the World Trade Centre Accelerator.”