Insight Information’s Series Round Venture Investment Forum will be bringing together a targeted group of North American VCs, angel investors and entrepreneurs that are working towards or already in the series stage. Through keynote sessions and “Seed to Series Trailblazer” discussions delivered by heavy hitters, decision makers and problem solvers behind some of the biggest ideas over the last few years and the investors who supported them, the Series Round Venture Investment Forum will address some of the key challenges and issues in this fast growing industry.
Who Should Attend:
- Venture Capitalists from the US and Canada
- Angel Investors
- Managing Directors of North American accelerators and incubators
- Corporations looking to invest in innovative new ideas
- Consultants, Lawyers, Accountants and other solution providers
Dedication: Donald (Ben) C. Webster 1930 -1997
Ben Webster was a member of one of Canada’s most prominent families, the Websters of Montreal. He was an outstanding Canadian early stage venture capitalist, who began his investing career in high-tech (such as it then was) by introducing Velcro, a Swiss invention, to North America. This coup in the 60’s led him to raise $10MM and form the Toronto firm of Helix Investments in 1968, which invested in a number of predominantly hi-tech start-up companies in return for minority equity positions – a novel concept at that time. The people Helix supported and invested in, now luminaries such as Dr. Michael Cowpland, Sir Terence Matthews, Moses Znaimer O.Ont., among others, and the companies they built, eventually became Mitel Corporation (56 locations, 6,400 employees globally at its peak), Newbridge Networks (ultimately acquired by Alcatel in 2000 for $7 BN), Corel Corporation (peak market cap of $2.8 BN), Cast Containers (multi-billion dollar shipping container concern), Hummingbird Communications (acquired by Open Text for $489 MM in 2006), GEAC Computers (sold in 2005 for $1 BN) and City Television/Citytv (ultimately acquired by Bell Globemedia in 2006 as part of a larger media portfolio for $1.7 BN), to name a few. He was also eclectic, keenly interested in all aspects of the paranormal and reincarnation – his office had a Stonehenge room; he co-founded and was a devoted Executive member of the Canadian Schizophrenia Foundation (CSF); he made massive early contributions to orthomolecular medicine in which nutrients, especially vitamins and minerals, are used to treat diseases; he received the Dalai Lama and also underwrote the unsuccessful search for buried pirate’s treasure on Oak Island, Nova Scotia. He is to be remembered for his generosity, his intellectual curiosity, his accomplishments in many important areas over and above venture capital investing and the accumulation of money, and most importantly, the unaffected manner by which he carried himself and treated others – especially budding entrepreneurs. He is Canada’s original venture capitalist.
|Conference Co-Chair: David S. Brown
Partner and Private Equity Group Chair, WeirFoulds LLP
Founding President/Director, Private Capital Markets Association of Canada
Voted as one of Canada’s Best Lawyers™ in Corporate Law 2013 and 2014, and having co-founded the Toronto Venture Group™ in 1990, the Toronto Angel Group™ (TAG), in 2001 (which in 2007 became the Maple Leaf Angels™) and the Founding President of the Private Capital Markets Association of Canada™ in 2002 (formerly the Exempt Market Dealers Association of Canada™), David S. Brown has over the last 25 years been involved in all aspects of Venture funding in Canada and is a recognized expert in the area. David has developed an active domestic and international finance practice representing finance firms in Toronto, New York, Chicago, Frankfurt and London seeking to invest in all stages of companies, from seed through to later stage investments. He has spoken extensively on the topics of Venture and Private Equity investments. He also has an active practice representing seed and venture stage companies, takes on a mentorship role for a number of seed and venture stage engagements each year, provides structuring and organizational advice, business mentoring and facilitates financing contacts to worthy emerging companies. David sits on the Board and has been a Director of a number of public, private and charitable endeavours, including Make-a-Wish Foundation of Toronto & Central Ontario.
|Conference Co-Chair: William (Bill) R. Tharp
CEO & Director, Grenville Strategic Royalty Corp.
Mr. Tharp is CEO & Co-Founder of Grenville Strategic Royalty Corp., a newly founded royalty investment company focused on building out a portfolio of non-traditional royalty holdings across all sectors except oil & gas, mining, pharma and film. Grenville was established to service a material and funding growing gap in the growth capital market space servicing companies with revenues of up to $50mln presented by the current pricing and structuring of equity and venture (mezzdebt) financing. Mr. Tharp also serves as CEO & Founder of Climate Change Infrastructure, a company focused on the low-carbon, water constrained, alternative energy and efficiency marketplace. Climate Change Infrastructure’s wholly owned asset management subsidiary, Quantum Leap, has mobilized over $600 million in growth capital with solid investment returns. A few notable investments include RuggedCom (lead investor), Ventus Wind Energy, and Trilliant Networks and acted as a director to numerous companies. Tangerine Tango, Climate Change Infrastructure’s advisory business, was started in cooperation with Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC), Canada’s $1.7bn leading sustainablility foundation and has successfully assisted many industry companies. Mr. Tharp has received several awards, most recently The Environmental Responsibility Leadership Award from The CEO Global Network.
|Keynote Speaker: The Hon. Minister Reza Moridi
Minister for Research and Innovation, Government of Ontario
In February 2013, Premier Wynne appointed Reza Moridi Minister of Research and Innovation. Minister Moridi was first elected to the Ontario Legislature in 2007 and re-elected in 2011, he represents the riding of Richmond Hill. He has served as the Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities, the Minister of Research and Innovation and the Minister of Energy. Reza Moridi is an award-winning scientist, engineer, educator, business leader and community activist. Moridi has lived with his family in Richmond Hill since 1991. Educated in the UK, Moridi obtained a PhD from Brunel University. He is a Chartered Engineer and Chartered Physicist. Minister Moridi worked as a CEO and Chair in the electrical industry and his career in academia included serving as the Dean of the School of Sciences, Chair of the Physics Department, University Chief Librarian and member of the Senate at Alzahra University in Tehran. Prior to his entry to politics, Moridi had a 17-year career at the Radiation Safety Institute of Canada where he was the Vice-President and Chief Scientist. For his contributions to the understanding of nuclear materials, radiation and health physics, Moridi has received the Education and Communication Award from the Canadian Nuclear Society and the Fellow Award from the US Health Physics Society. He was elected as a Fellow of the UK Institute of Physics and the UK Institution of Engineering and Technology for his original contribution to physics and engineering. Minister Moridi’s extensive political, business and scientific background provide him with the knowledge and the experience needed to bridge academia with business and government. He understands first-hand that research is part of Ontario’s economic engine and he strongly believes that the Ministry of Research and Innovation is key to building the economy of tomorrow.
|Keynote Speaker: Heather Reisman
Chief Executive Officer, Indigo
Heather Reisman is the founder, Chair and CEO of Indigo, Canada’s largest book, gift and specialty toy retailer, and co-founder of Kobo, a leading global eReading company. Ms. Reisman was born in Montreal and educated at McGill University.She is also Founding Chair of the Indigo Love of Reading Foundation which has to date contributed over $15mm to enrich the libraries and literacy rates in high needs schools across Canada. For the first 16 years of her career Ms. Reisman was Managing Director of Paradigm Consulting, the strategy and change management firm she co-founded in 1979. Paradigm was the world’s first strategic change consultancy and pioneered many organizational change strategies still in use today. Heather is a former Governor of McGill University and of the Toronto Stock Exchange. She has served on many North American boards and continues to serve as a Director on the board of Onex Corporation, and as an Officer of Mount Sinai Hospital. She is also a member of the Bilderberg Steering Committee, a geo-political think group. Ms. Reisman is the recipient of several awards including The Order of Canada, The WXN Top 100 Most Powerful Women, Waterloo Entrepreneur Hall of Fame, University of Waterloo; International Distinguished Entrepreneur Award, University of Manitoba; and the John Molson School of Business Award of Distinction, Concordia University. She is the recipient of Honourary Doctorates from Ryerson University (2006), Wilfred Laurier University (2009), Mount Allison University (2010), and St. Francis Xavier University (2013).
|John S. Albright
Co-Founder, Relay Ventures
John is Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Relay Ventures, an early stage venture fund exclusively focused on mobile connectivity. During his tenure in the venture capital business, John has gained extensive experience assisting entrepreneurs shape their vision and capital plans into successful long term growth programs which typically involved an aggressive financing strategy. John has a history of assisting entrepreneurial companies through significant growth and eventually to the public markets. His ability to work with and advise senior management of investee companies, as well as his skills in filling supporting roles where existing management lack the experience or skill set, has been vital to the success of past investments. John currently serves as a director of Nexage, Fuse, Digby, Achievers, ClearFit, Blue Ant Media, mDialog, InPowered, TribeHR, Difference Capital Funding, theScore, and OCAD University. In addition, John serves as an advisor to The Next 36, Ryerson Digital Media Zone, and OCAD University’s Imagination Catalyst. John previously served on the board of: Aepona (Acquired by Intel May 2013), Fun Technology (IPO 2003, acquired by Liberty Media 2006), Q9 Networks (IPO 2004, acquired by Abry 2008, Bell 2012), Descartes (IPO 1997), Triple G (IPO 2001, acquired by General Electric 2003), QuickPlay Media (acquired by Madison Dearborn, 2012), Bioscrypt (IPO 2002, acquired by L-1 in 2008) and Sirit (IPO 1998, acquired by Federal Signal 2010). John is a Chartered Financial Analyst and received his Bachelor of Business Administration degree from the Schulich School of Business at York University. John is based in our Toronto office.
Founder, CEO, Well.ca, Tulip Retail
Ali Asaria is the founder and CEO of Tulip Retail. Ali works alongside North America’s best retailers building next-generation, elegant and visionary retail experiences. Prior to founding Tulip, Ali Asaria founded Well.ca (www.well.ca), which has grown to become Canada’s largest online health and beauty store. Ali studied Computer Engineering at the University of Waterloo and began his career at Microsoft and then Blackberry. At Blackberry, Ali was best known for creating the popular mobile game BrickBreaker during his free time. Subsequently, BrickBreaker was installed on millions of mobile devices worldwide and became the most popular mobile game of its time.
Mallorie holds a certificate in Entrepreneurship from the prestigious Richard Ivey School of Business. She is an entrepreneur with experience building and launching a successful e-commerce startup and is a recent graduate of The Next 36.
Managing Director, Georgian Partners
Having spent his career in marketing, sales management, and operations, Simon founded Georgian Partners in 2008. He applies his strong operating background to the companies in which Georgian Partners invests and is focused on designing and building optimal go-to-market models for Cloud and SaaS-based companies. Current investments: Dealfind, Terapeak, Razorsight and ScribbleLive. Prior to Georgian Partners, Simon was Worldwide Director of Sales, Information Solutions within the IBM Software Group, via the acquisition of DWL Inc., in 2005. At DWL, Simon was the Senior Vice President, Worldwide Sales and Marketing, where he was responsible for global field operations and achieving revenue leadership in the Master Data Management (MDM) space. Simon holds an MBA from Henley Management School in the United Kingdom.
Managing Director- Hyperdrive, Communitech
Doug Cooper has spent 31 years in the technology industry. A 28 year veteran of Intel he established the company’s marketing efforts in Canada. He has served on the Boards of ITAC and Communitech. Was the past chair of ITAC and currently serves on the board of CDMN. After retiring from Intel he spent a year and 1/2 coaching technology companies as a part-time Executive In Residence for Communitech. Today he is the Managing Director of the Communitech HYPERDRIVE accelerator/incubator. HYPERDRIVE serves a critical need for companies trying to go from “Seed to Series ‘A’”.
General Partner, Real Ventures
JS Cournoyer is co-founder and General Partner with Real Ventures and Montreal Startups, Montreal-based venture capital funds investing in great entrepreneurs building world-class companies. He’s also co-founder of Founderfuel, a Montreal-based accelerator for web, mobile and software startups. JS is also an entrepreneur, having co-founded a number of companies over the years and an active angel. He is the proud father of 5 wonderful children.
Managing Director, Extreme Startups
Marcus is the Managing Director of Extreme Startups, a VC-backed startup accelerator, where he’s obsessed with supercharging founder development, accelerating product-market fit and graduating fundable companies. Founded MeshSquared Ventures to invest & build digital product companies. Former COO at TrendHunter.com, the world’s #1 Trendspotting website and VP Operations & Product Development at Frameworks, North America’s leading retail QSR business intelligence software & eLearning company. A former board member of the Canadian eLearning Enterprise Alliance, he sits on the board of directors of Extreme Startups, Youth In Motion (Canada’s Top 20 Under 20) and is a Digital Strategy curriculum developer at University of Toronto SCS. Marcus holds an MBA from Queen’s School of Business, a BA in Psychology & Economics from McGill University and completed the Venture Capital Executive Program from Haas School of Business, UC Berkeley.
Partner, WeirFoulds LLP
Rajeev is a member of the Corporate, Securities and Private Equity Practice Groups at WeirFoulds LLP. Raj, having previously worked in the UK and the Middle East, has significant transactional and regulatory experience in both Canadian and international capital markets in relation to IPOs, mergers and acquisitions, and private equity transactions. He advises Canadian entrepreneurs and high-growth companies on all facets of corporate and securities law, with a particular emphasis on public offerings, private placements, mergers and acquisitions, financial services regulation, and private equity and venture capital financings. Raj also advises both Canadian and international clients on cross-border transactions in, and from, Canada with emerging markets, specifically in relation to sourcing, facilitating and implementing cross-border transactions and strategic partnerships between high growth companies, corporate groups and family offices in the Middle East. Raj’s experience, strengthened by his having been a Member of Nasdaq Dubai Listing Rules Working Group, has qualified him to author and co-author numerous publications in Canada and the Middle East on securities, private equity, venture capital, Islamic finance, international and cross-border investments and to speak extensively both in Canada and the United Arab Emirates on business financing.
Bionym are the makers of Nymi – the heartwave sensing wristband used for seamless authentication. As President Andrew is responsible for all aspects of go-to-market including platform, business development, marketing and fundraising. Prior to joining Bionym, Andrew was the Chief Operating Officer of Toronto-based Top Hat, where he led the efforts to raise over $11M in financing, opened offices in San Francisco and Chicago, grew the organization from 15 to 80 employees, secured strategic partnerships with the world’s largest education companies, and recruited a world-class executive team to usher the company into its next phase of growth. Andrew has been an advisor to a number of multiple high-growth Canadian startups and accelerators and is a frequent contributor on entrepreneurship and technology to publications including VentureBeat, Mashable, Business Insider, VC Journal, The Globe & Mail, Techvibes and the Toronto Standard. Andrew graduated on the Dean’s Honours list from the University of Waterloo with a degree in Systems Design Engineering and a specialization in Management Science.
|Sandi K. Gilbert
Founder, SeedUps Canada
COO, ECN – The Exempt Capital Network
Sandi is strategic, visionary entrepreneur with experience in building companies with effective operating principles and proven marketing techniques. She thrives in dynamic environments and is an early adopter of technologies that enhance the customer experience and make businesses more efficient. Today, she is working diligently to develop technology infrastructures that enhance the private equity investment marketplace by making it easier for investors to find good investments and good companies to find the investment they need. She recently launched SeedUps Canada, a Crowdfund investing platform that supports direct equity investments from ordinary investors into privately held small to emerging companies seeking between $250,000 and $2 million in capital utilizing the Offering Memorandum exemption. She is also the COO of the Exempt Capital Network (ECN), a Global private equity investment platform that brings together accredited investors, investment firms and corporate issuers to facilitate private offerings between $5 million and $150 million. Sandi is a board member of the National Angel Capital Organization, NACO and a co-founder of the Equity Crowdfunding Alliance of Canada, ECFA.
Co-Founder, Unified Computer Intelligence Corporation
Leor Grebler is a co-founder and CEO of Unified Computer Intelligence Corporation (UCIC), a company dedicated to The Internet of Things (IoT) market space. UCIC’s initial IoT product offering is the Ubi™ – The Ubiquitous Computer™ – a voice activated computing device that offers instant access to information and control of home automation devices. Leor steers UCIC towards its goal of making interaction with technology more human and natural. The Ubi ™ was one of the most successful Kickstarter ™ participants in Canada in 2012 (even prior to Kickstarter’s formal entry into Canada in September, 2013) – smashing through its Kickstarter goal of $36,000 by ~ 700% – raising $229,000 from 1,190 backers. UCIC’s Kickstarter™ participation led to the Ubi’s™ beta development, UCIC winning the N100 startup competition in September of 2013 and a seed financing award of from N100™ of $100,000 as well as to the completion of an Angel funding round through the Maple Leaf Angels™ in October, 2013, all of which enabled UCIC to meet its Kickstarter™ and pre-order commitments of delivering ~2,000 fully functioning Ubi’s ™ by January, 2014. The stage has now been set for UCIC to go-to-market on a Series A venture round in the near future.. The Ubi ™ has been favourably profiled in the media by TechCrunch ™, Fast Company ™, Wired ™ and Lang & O’Leary ™ , to name a few. Leor has over eight years of technology experience including IBM and Clearpath Robotics and has worked with several startups such as The Funding Portal, where he saw the company from its launch through its first funding round. He holds a Bachelors in Aerospace Engineering from Carleton University. www.theubi.com twitter: @TheUbi
Lauren is a Civil Structural Engineer with hands-on North American industry experience, focused in concrete restoration. She is an active mentor to young women in construction and is a recent graduate of The Next 36.
Principal, Founder Collective, Co-Founder, Polar Mobile
Gaurav has spent nearly a decade in the smartphone space, as an Engineer, Product Manager, Entrepreneur and now Investor. As an Embedded Software Engineer at BlackBerry back in 2004, Gaurav built several parts of the core BlackBerry stack that are still part of the operating system. In 2007, Gaurav co-founded Polar Mobile, one of the most successful mobile media publishing companies in the world. Gaurav helped take the company from an idea to 30 employees in less than two years. Polar now powers 1,500 smartphone apps serving 18 million users globally and has raised $9 million in equity financing thus far. As one of the Lead Product Managers for Android, Gaurav was instrumental in making it the #1 smartphone platform. Gaurav was recognized with the Founders Award, highest employee achievement award at Google, for his significant contribution to the growth and success of the Android platform. Gaurav now invests in early stage tech companies through a seed-stage fund called Founder Collective. The fund has invested in companies such as Uber, Buzzfeed and MakerBot.
Co-Founder & CEO, Wattpad
Wattpad is the world’s largest community of readers and writers. With years of experience building successful mobile tech companies, Allen first started prototyping a mobile eReading app in 2002 on an old grey-scale Java phone that could only display 5 lines of text. He wanted to solve a problem he was facing – how to read while on the go. So for the past 10 years Allen has been exploring the power of mobile/social collaboration, online communities, and user-generated content. Wattpad now serves over 15 million people a month and with over 10 million stories uploaded, Allen is leading a team that’s building a new reading experience on the web and across every mobile device. In April 2014, Wattpad announced the completion of a $46MM Series C funding round led by OMERS Ventures, with participation from August Capital, Raine Ventures and Northleaf Venture Catalyst Fund.
Senior Managing Director, Progress Partners
General Partner, Progress Ventures
Co-Chair, Canadian Entrepreneurs in New England
Chris Legg has spent 20 years working with growth companies, prior to being an investor he was an investment banker at Credit Suisse and Merrill Lynch. Chris holds direct experience and involvement both as an advisor and investor with 35 liquidity events, both acquisitions and IPO¹s and has raised $500+ million in private equity for a variety of high growth companies. He previously held similar roles at Tandem Expansion Fund and Argo Global Capital. He has extensive international experience having spent considerable stages of his career or made investments in Canada, the United States, Europe, and Asia. Chris holds a B.Com. With High Distinction from Queen¹s University and an MBA from Harvard Business School.
Partner, Plazacorp Ventures
Throughout his career, Matthew has been involved in all aspects of the investment cycle having completed dozens of transactions of early stage technology companies. Matthew was formerly a Principal with an institutional investment firm in Toronto. Matthew focuses on origination, vetting, due diligence, negotiation and deal structuring of investments and private equity financing agreements across technology sectors, as well as the refining of business concepts, selecting appropriate business plans for investment and monitoring and enhancing the performance of portfolio companies. Matthew is a frequent speaker at various conferences and events relating to Private Equity, Venture Capital and Clean Technology and sits on the Board of Directors and Advisory Boards of numerous companies and charities. Matthew is currently the Investor In Residence for VentureLab Markham. Matthew holds his Masters of Law from the University of Oxford and the University of Kent, a Master of Science in International Sustainable Development and Investment from the University of New South Wales and an Honours Bachelor of Arts from the University of Toronto.
Managing Partner, Difference Capital
Mr. Liston has over 14 years of experience in technology research. Prior to joining Difference Capital, he worked at Yorkton Securities as a Research Analyst covering Software and IT Services companies. In early 2003, he joined Versant Partners in the same role and was promoted to Director of Research while maintaining his coverage of technology companies. In late August of 2012, Versant Partners’ team was acquired by Cantor Fitzgerald. At Cantor, Mr. Liston served as Director of Canadian Research and covered the technology sector. As a technology analyst, Mr. Liston has been consistently ranked among the top technology analysts in several surveys, including: StarMine, Brendan Wood, Greenwich Associates and Reuters. He has received more StarMine stock picking awards than any other technology analyst. Mr. Liston is a CFA charterholder, completed a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Finance from the University of New Brunswick in 1996 and a Master of Arts in Economics and Finance from Queen’s University in 1998.
Co-Founder & CEO
Michael Litt is the CEO and co-founder of Vidyard (http://www.vidyard.com), a video marketing platform that helps marketers manage and measure the impact of their video content. Thought leader, surfer, and serial entrepreneur, Michael is passionate about the power of content marketing and online video. The recent winner of the Peter Brojde Award for Canada’s Next Generation Executive Leadership, Michael is a member of Communitech’s Board of Directors and works with fellow entrepreneurs and startups as a mentor. Connect with Michael on Twitter @MichaelLitt or LinkedIn http://ca.linkedin.com/in/michaellitt to learn more about the most innovative video marketing tool available.
|Carlos Pinto Lobo
Chief Compliance Officer, MaRs Discovery District
Carlos is an accomplished, compliance, governance and risk management professional with over 25 years of extensive experience in the financial services industry, including futures, options, retail compliance, LCM, SOX, credit, operational risk management, anti-money laundering, privacy regulations and successful business solutions. Carlos has had previous roles as a Director and VP at CIBC, Deutsche Bank AG, Alpha ATS, and BMO InvestorLine Inc., as well as been a guest speaker at a variety of industry related events. He has also been instrumental in the development of regulatory regimes and groundbreaking industry initiatives.
Entrepreneur in Residence, OMERS Ventures
At OMERS Ventures, Haroon Mirza is responsible for contributing to the identification and execution of investment opportunities in the Technology, Media and Telecommunications (TMT) sectors. Prior to joining OMERS Ventures, Haroon was Director of Business Development – Anonymous Viewer Analytics at Intel Corp. Before that he was the co-founder and CEO of CognoVision, an award-winning retail analytics provider. CognoVision was named Canada’s Most Innovative Company in 2009, and was acquired by Intel in September 2010. Haroon has also worked in the consumer packaged goods industry, and as a consultant for the Carleton University Foundry Program, evaluating technology startups and obtaining pre-seed capital to commercialize on-campus technologies. He graduated from Carleton University’s Sprott School of Business with a Bachelor of Commerce, and Harvard Business School’s Program for Leadership Development (PLD). His deep commitment to the advancement of entrepreneurship includes serving on the board of TiE Toronto, and acting as a mentor with Extreme Startups, JOLT (MaRS), and TiE.
President & CEO of Dynamitenetwork.com, Founder of North of 41
Jeff Musson is an accomplished hi-tech entrepreneur and President and CEO of Dynamitenetwork.com, a leading software development company that specializes in the area of enterprise focused websites and mobile apps. Jeff has been responsible for leading the Dynamite team on a continual growth trajectory, year over year. He is also a recognized commentator in technology finance and entrepreneurship space, having written numerous articles on those subjects for both traditional media outlets, such as the Globe and Mail, as well as new media outlets such as Techvibe Jeff is also the founder of www.Northof41.org , whose sole mission is to connect tech entrepreneurs and others in the ecosystem across North America. Currently, there are over 12,000 Northof41 members across North America and throughout the year, Northof41 engages the tech community with networking events attracting entrepreneurs, financiers, government groups and professionals in Toronto, Ottawa, New York, Austin, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago. You can connect with Jeff at linkedin.com/in/musson or you can follow him at @jeffmusson
Founder and CEO
Known for his innovative and visionary thinking, Ken Nickerson is an active investor specializing in research and development, software engineering and business strategy. He is the Founder & CEO of iBinary LLC, a private investment and R&D firm based in Toronto and was an investor and CEO of OpenCola, a collaborative search engine company (sold to OpenText Inc.) and investor in The DocSpace Company (sold to Critical Path). His many achievements include bringing Hotmail to Microsoft as GM of Microsoft Network Canada, early Internet and Network Management to Rogers as VP Technology Development and research in emergent systems for banking and insurance. Mr. Nickerson is an active or past board member or advisor to companies including dTaz, Kobo, Flixel, Atomic Reach, Synbiota, Omers Ventures, Agora Mobile, Synaptop, SKULogix, docSpace, Chapters Online and others. He is also engaged in philanthropy focused on early education needs.
Canada Marketing and Community Manager, Indiegogo
Ayah Norris leads Marketing and Community in Canada for Indiegogo, the world’s funding engine. Ayah leads growth in Canada through outreach at events, building partnerships, and supporting campaigners through their crowdfunding journeys. Ayah is also Co-Creator of The INSIGHT Project, an award-winning, crowdfunded digital media platform sharing the stories of grassroots, creative game-changers. A graduate of the Queen’s School of Business, Ayah led national initiatives in strategy and marketing for Canada’s largest restaurant company prior to making the leap into the creative world. When not crossing the country with Indiegogo, you’ll find her crossing the globe discovering new cultures, cuisines, and stories. Ayah is based out of Toronto, Ontario.
Managing Director, OMERS Ventures
In his role as Managing Director of OMERS Ventures, Jim Orlando is responsible for leading investment activities in the North American market focusing on high-growth companies in the technology, media, and telecommunications sectors. With more than 14 years of experience in the venture capital and private equity sectors, Jim has a strong track record of finding deals, closing investments, and in working with strong founders, CEOs and management teams on the ongoing development and growth of their businesses. Prior to joining OMERS Ventures, Jim was a Managing Director at OMERS Private Equity, which directly owns and actively manages a diversified, multi-billion dollar portfolio of investments in North America and Europe. Jim was involved with direct investments in the software, mobile telephony and retail sectors. Prior to that he held key roles with Bell Canada Capital and Battery Ventures in Silicon Valley, and also has ten years of operational experience in the telecom industry. Jim holds Bachelor of Computer Engineering and Management, and Master of Electrical Engineering degrees from McMaster University.
Executive Chairman, Grenville Capital Royalty Corp
Steve Parry is Executive Chairman and one of the founding investors in Grenville Strategic Royalty Corp. A geologist by vocation and a venture capital investor for the past 15 years, Steve focuses on innovative deal structures and the development of investment strategies to fill gaps in the traditional spectrum of financing alternatives. In addition to his role as one of the principal investors at Grenville, Steve is Chair of Dirtt Environmental Solutions (TSX:DRT), Lead Director at privately held Fallbrook Technologies, and the Chair of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation. He is a recipient of the Canada 125 Medal for his activist work on behalf of Canadian resource communities.
Managing Director, Technology Investment Banking
Barry Richards joined Paradigm in 2004 and has over 15 years of technology investment banking and related experience in both Canada and the U.S. Prior to leading the tech investment banking team, Barry was a high tech analyst and a key figure in research coverage for the Canadian technology marketplace with Paradigm Capital (most recently as Co-Head of Research), CIBC World Markets and Sprott Securities. Barry started his career at Bell Canada before joining Working Ventures’ Canadian Fund as a venture capitalist. Barry has an Engineering degree and an MBA, both from the University of Toronto and is a P. Eng.
Associate, MaRS Centre for Impact Investing
Tristina Sinopoli supports the execution of the MaRS Centre for Impact Investing’s education and engagement strategy and market and product development initiatives. Tristina provides capital raising advisory support to for-profit and nonprofit impact ventures, manages expert financial advisors supporting the Centre’s activities, and manages investor relations with target groups including foundations, high net worth individuals, investment advisors, and fund managers. Sinopoli is a graduate of the Schulich School of Business at York University, having completed her degree in international business administration.
|Peter van der Velden
President, Canada’s Venture, Capital & Private Equity Association
Managing General Partner, Lumira CapitalPeter oversees the overall business operations of Lumira Capital and is also active on the investment side focusing primarily on investments in the areas of growth equity, non-traditional and consumer oriented medicines, therapeutic devices, spin-outs of operating businesses, re-structurings and public companies. In general, his focus is on companies that have made, or that are close to making, the transition from the development stage to selling and marketing their products. With over 23 years of investment and operating experience, he has participated in building companies from start-up through to expansion in the life sciences, information technology and consumer sectors.Peter has extensive experience on both sides of the value creation equation having worked as a partner, investor and mentor to highly successful management teams, as well as being an entrepreneur. Peter’s experience includes: partner in a buyouts partnership targeting the retail and consumer centric businesses, vice president business development for a venture capital backed drug delivery company, and an associate role at Canada’s then largest venture capital firm. Immediately prior to joining Lumira Capital, Peter was a founding partner at a merchant banking boutique targeting the Canadian technology sector.Peter holds an MBA from the Schulich School of Business, an M.Sc. (pathology) Queen’s University and a B.Sc. (honours life sciences) from Queen’s University. Peter’s current and recent board and investment responsibilities include: the Canadian Venture Capital and Private Equity Association (he is the incoming President for the Association), Life Sciences Ontario, Skinstore.com, Alveolus Inc., and Milcom Ventures.
Co-Founder & CEO, Rithm, MavenSay
Mike is CEO and Co-Founder of Rithm, a fast-growing mobile platform that makes music sharing fun. Rithm was named ‘Canada’s Hottest Innovative Startup’ at CIX 2013 and was selected as a finalist for ‘Startup of the Year’ for the 2013 Canadian Startup Awards. Mike also co-founded MavenSay, a popular social recommendations app. Mike has an MBA and a law degree from the University of Toronto and is a former Roadtrip Nation participant, where he traveled across North America interviewing leaders from different walks of life for a PBS series. Mike loves good food, good music and good hustle!
Partner, BDC IT Venture Fund
Roger Wilson is a Partner in BDC’s IT Venture Fund, an early-stage fund that invests in emerging Canadian IT companies with passionate and visionary entrepreneurs looking to disrupt existing industries or create entirely new markets. The Fund’s focus is on Enterprise, Internet and Mobile sectors. With offices in Vancouver, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal and Calgary/San Francisco, we use our network, knowledge and resources to help promising companies become global leaders. We have invested in a number of successful companies including Radian6 (acquired by Salesforce), Opalis (acquired by Microsoft), Bycast (acquired by NetApp), Q1 Labs (acquired by IBM) and Layer7 (acquired by CA).Based in Toronto, Roger has been in the venture capital business for over 20 years in enterprise software, Internet, electronics and life sciences, focussing on the IT sector since 2000. He previously managed the sales and service operations for an entrepreneurial company based in Montreal. Roger has been involved in the financing, growth and M&A of many companies over the years, playing an active role on the board of directors of both private and public companies across a diverse range of businesses and stage of development. He served as Vice President of the Canadian Venture Capital Association (CVCA) and Chair of the CVCA’s Professional Development Committee, where he continues to contribute as a committee member. He is an active member of the start-up community, serving as advisor/mentor to various entrepreneurial organizations. Roger holds a BBA from Acadia University and an MBA from Concordia University.