40 Under Forty: Derek Canton, 25


Founder & CEO
paerpay, Worcester

Lives: Chelsea

Birthplace: Worcester

Colleges: Worcester State University

Canton founded paerpay three years after graduating WSU, seeking to revolutionize the restaurant industry by creating a mobile app where diners can digitally see and pay their bill without waiting for a waiter to deliver it. The company was a direct result of Canton winning Money 20/20, the world's largest financial technology hack-a-thon, where he competed against 400 developers. He has partnered with Worcester restaurant parent company Niche Hospitality and Worcester digital services provider ten24 to develop and implement the app. Paerpay was among the top 8 percent of 1,600 applicants worldwide for MassChallenge Boston, getting accepted into its startup accelerator program. Before starting his company, Canton worked for Dell EMC in Hopkinton, but he always had the entrepreneurial bug since winning WSU's inaugural Next Big Idea Competition and receiving funding for his lifestyle clothing brand. Canton is the youngest member of the Framingham State University Foundation Board and a member of WSU's Young Alumni President's Circle, helping students pursue their life and career goals. Canton volunteers as the marketing director at Liberty Churches in Shrewsbury, where he developed the church's mobile application to improve congregation engagement.

From 40 Under Forty judge Kate Sharry: “Entrepreneurship at its finest, Derek does it all and he does it in style!”

What four people would you take on a road trip? Albert Einstein, Stan Lee, Pharrell Williams and Kobe Bryant. They brought a whole new meaning to game changers.

Who has been your best mentor? My dad has been and will always be! He is my day one ride-or-die.
Read about the entire 2018 Class of 40 Under Forty
Michael Alden - Ascentria Care Alliance
Che Anderson - City of Worcester
Victor M. Archila - VMA Electric Inc.
Allison Beckler, DO - YOU, Inc.
Sam Bitar - Webster Five
Mark A. Borenstein - Seder & Chandler LLP
Kate D. Campanale - Massachusetts House of Representatives
Derek Canton - paerpay
Ryan Canuel - Petricore, Inc.
Jennifer Caron - Body Therapeutics
Danielle J. Clark - Clark Career Coaching
Heidi Cooper - Cooper’s Hilltop Farm
Matthew M. Copeland, P.E. - Copeland Building Envelope Consulting
Pat Davis - The DAVIS Cos.
Efua T. Dufu, MSW, LCSW - Ellite Event Planning
Grace Elton - Tower Hill Botanic Garden
Ursula Furi-Perry, J.D. - Becker College
Jared E. Gentilucci - Nitsch Engineering
David Gilchrist, MD, MBA - UMass Memorial Health Care
Alvara Gjylapi - Santander Bank
Erica Grinkis - The GazBar Sports Grill
Meredith Harris - Marlborough Economic Development Corp.
Erin Jansky - Worcester Housing Authority
Ben Jones - Boston Scientific Corp
Alexis Kelleher - Crust Bakeshop; North Main Provisions
Bert LaValley - Sustainable Comfort, Inc.; deadhorse hill & simjang restaurants
Jennifer Leger - Fidelity Bank
Brian Lemerise - Quiet Logistics, Inc.
Tom Lubelczyk - The Worcester Jazz Collective
Laura Marotta - Creative Hub Worcester
Ryan Matson - Small Business Insurance Agency
Michael P. McDonough, CPA - McDonough, McDonough & Corsini, LLP
Madeline Mendoza - NewVue Communities
Jessica Morris - MCPHS University
Nathan Oriol - Oakdale Rehabilitation & Skilled Nursing Center (Oriol Health Care)
Nicholas Pelletier - Pelletier Properties at Keller Williams North Central
Courtney E. Pelley - Edward M. Kennedy Community Health Center
Lilian Radke - Unic Pro Inc.
Blaine Schnare - Harrington HealthCare System
Bonnie J. Walker - Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Learn how the winners were picked on our judges' page.