Meet Our Judges

The CIX Top 20 Early and CIX Top 10 Growth Selection Committees are composed of investors and technology and innovation experts. Their mandate is to evaluate a random group of submissions against the main criteria of Business Model, Quality of Product, Service Offering, Market Opportunity and Depth of Management and Diversity of Leadership.

This year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and ambiguity around the depth and length of the economic slowdown, their task is more difficult. We would like to thank the 100+ judges who are participating this year.

Please note that judges are recused from evaluating any submissions if a conflict of interest exists. The 2021 selection process will occur over 3 weeks in August on CIX's awards platform.

Co-Chairs

Neha Khera
Partner
2048 Ventures

Neha Khera is a Partner at 2048 Ventures, and has been an early-stage VC for nearly a decade. Prior to 2048 Ventures, Neha was a Partner with 500 Startups, leading the firm’s investments across Canada. Neha was also co-founder of 500 Startups Canada, and led the fund’s investments in Applyboard, Mejuri, Benchsci and Fightcamp.

Neha has been immersed in the technology industry throughout her career. She started off as a software developer, and worked in circuitry design and telecommunications before making her way to leading tech innovation at one of Canada’s top banks.

Neha has published numerous research papers, the most widely distributed titled Borderless Investments. She is a strong supporter of women in technology, having launched and run Girls in Tech Toronto and a TEDx Women conference for a number of years. Neha obtained an Electrical Engineering degree from the University of Waterloo and an MBA from the Richard Ivey School of Business.

Matthew Leibowitz
General Partner
Plaza Ventures

Matthew is the Co-Founder of Plaza Ventures, a national venture capital firm, spending 7+ years focused on deal flow, board management, ecosystem development, corporate partnerships and investor relations. Matthew is a career VC, having overseen dozens of growth-tech finance investments with consistent double-digit returns. Matthew has co-created multiple funds including Canada’s first dedicated Direct Secondary Fund.

Matthew is the Managing Partner of Quayside Venture Partners, an early-stage, Urban Technology Venture Fund established in partnership with Alphabet and its subsidiary Sidewalk Labs and numerous Fortune 500s.

He sits on the board of numerous companies including Dejero Labs and MMB Networks, accelerators, and charities. Matthew is a Board Member of the Canadian Venture Capital Association, a member of the MaRS IAF Investment Committee, Co-Chair of the CIX Top 20 Awards Committee and Mentor at Techstars Toronto Accelerator and Creative Destruction Lab. Matthew is also an Advisor at NEXT Canada, where he mentors young entrepreneurs in building their own ventures. He is a frequent public speaker and guest lecturer on tech start-ups and VC, as well as an active angel investor.

Matthew obtained his Honors Bachelor’s degree from the University of Toronto, a Master of Science from the University of New South Wales, and a Master of Laws from the University of Oxford

Jury

Muneeb Ahmed
Fintech VC
Impression Ventures

Muneeb is a recent Accounting and Finance graduate from the University of Waterloo. Prior to joining Impression Ventures, Muneeb worked at a strategy consulting firm focused on assisting companies in the financial services industry (insurers, reinsurers, and asset managers). Muneeb also worked at a $25B public equity asset manager, performing analysis on companies in Technology, Industrials, and Healthcare.

Muneeb holds a Bachelor's degree in Accounting and Finance from the University of Waterloo and is a CFA Level III Candidate.

Chris Albinson
Chief Executive Officer & President
Communitech

Chris Albinson is Chief Executive Officer & President of Communitech & Co-Founder & Managing Director of BreakawayGrowth Fund.  Albinson has been an early investor in companies that have created $45bn+ in value including Pinterest, Docusign, Newbridge Networks & Juniper Networks. We invested $1.06B & returned $4.25B, 3.8X over 26 years working with 68 amazing founders & companies. We are based in Kitchener.

Prior exits include Pinterest (IPO NASDAQ: PINS), DocuSign (IPO NASDAQ: DOCU), Ticketfly (acquired by NASDAQ: Pandora), Elemental Technology (Acquired by NASDAQ: Amazon), Good Technology (Acquired by NASDAQ: Blackberry), PasswordBox (Acquired by NASDAQ: Intel), and Juniper (IPO NASDAQ: JNPR).

Chris is currently on the board of Senso.ai, and an investor in GameClub, HarperWilde, SignalWire, Gentreo, CareerList, Pinterest, Turo, Stance, 33Across, Uberflip, People.AI, Lovepop, and 7 stealth companies.  He is a mentor and/or advisor for TechStars, Garage Capital, SAAS North, CIX - Canadian Innovation Exchange Top 20, and TiEcon 2020.

Previously, Chris was a General Partner at JP Morgan Partners ($6.5B AUM private equity firm). General Partner & Founder of FCC ($412M AUM secondary fund). Chris also helped grow four startups, most recently as Chief Strategy Officer for Digital Island (NASDAQ: ISLD; acquired by Cable & Wireless in 2001) and Newbridge Networks (NYSE: NN).

Joe Allen
Managing Director, Accelerator Programs, Dr. J Herbert Smith Centre for Technology Management and Entrepreneurship
ENERGIA, University of New Brunswick

Joe is an entrepreneurial finance expert. Prior to leading the Energia and Summer Institute accelerator programs, Joe worked as the Director of Investments at the New Brunswick Innovation Foundation (NBIF) managing their venture capital portfolio and overseeing the development of new investment clients.

Joe received his Bachelor of Business Administration with a concentration in accounting from the University of New Brunswick; where he served as student union vice-president of university affairs. He received his Chartered Accountant designation in 2004.

Joe is also the cofounder and CEO of Devil’s Keep Distillery, an internationally recognized and award-winning distillery known for their amazing vodka and gin.

Melissa Allen
Partner and COO
Bay Mills Diversity Fund

With an award-winning career in wealth management, Melissa Allen began her professional career as a digital marketing expert, first interning at Foreign Affairs Canada in Paris, France, and then working with major technology brands, such as Torstar Digital and Google.

Combining her passions for tech and finance, Melissa entered the Venture Capital space in 2018, graduating from the Female Funder’s Angel Academy accelerator program. After becoming a first-time VC investor and Limited Partner in 2019, Melissa began lending her expertise as an advisor to FinTech startups.

Melissa is fluent in French, has a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from Wilfrid Laurier University.

Jan Arp
Founding Managing Partner
Holt Fintech Accelerator

Jan is a fintech evangelist, passionate about improving society through finance and technology. He is Managing Partner & cofounder of Holt Accelerator that has currently invested in 20 early stages Canadian and International fintechs, in which those portfolio companies solve our society's most pressing and emergent issues. Previously, he founded Fintech Cadence, a non-profit that has trained thousands of individuals in fintech, resulting in the creation of +100 fintech projects. Prior to this, he was Head of Finance at Bus.com, helping it from incorporation to Series A, as well as Head of Finance at District 3, helping 20 early-stage teams raise more than $15 million. He began his career as a Consultant for billion dollar investment banking projects in the space satellite sector. He holds an MBA from HEC, a finance degree from Ottawa University, passed II levels of the CFA, and was awarded Montreal Ambassador of the year (2018) from the Montreal Startup Awards.

Josh Axler
Principal
Flow Capital Corp.

Josh is responsible for Origination and Underwriting at Flow Capital. Prior to joining Flow Capital, Josh had deployed over $200 million of credit facilities as an Investment Manager at Crown Capital Partners and as a Commercial Banking Associate at CIBC. Josh has also worked in business development roles with Hay Group and Xerox. 

Josh has a Bachelor of Arts, Honours Business Administration (HBA), and a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the Ivey Business School at Western University. He also holds the Chartered Financial Analyst designation.

Alex Baker
Partner
Relay Ventures

Alex is a Managing Partner at Relay Ventures. Alex’s background in strategy and finance lend well to his roles overseeing Relay Ventures’ investments in a broad range of early stage companies. Prior to joining Relay Ventures, Alex worked as a management consultant with BearingPoint and PwC Consulting, specializing in retail banking, consumer and commercial credit card, and loyalty marketing solutions. Alex has managed large projects for some of the world’s most prominent financial institutions, including Visa, American Express, CIBC, Bank of America, BarclayCard and PayPal.

Alex is a graduate from York University, Schulich School of Business and is a Kauffman Fellow. Alex is based in our Toronto office.

Jenifer Bartman
Founder & Principal
Jenifer Bartman Business Advisory Services

A business advisor known for her practical and solution-based approach, Jenifer Bartman assists companies in transition, including early stage, financing, growth, and succession/sale of business.  Her areas of expertise include strategic and business planning, financing readiness and assistance, business model development, growth strategies/marketing, succession planning, and executive coaching. Jenifer enjoys sharing her knowledge during regular appearances as a media commentator, including on national television and other venues, and has assisted and mentored many young and growth stage companies with her direct venture capital experience.

She is a published author (Defusing the Family Business Time Bomb and Master Your Investment in the Family Business: How to Increase After-Tax Wealth) and a contributor to It’s Your Money, Honey: A Girl’s Guide to Saving, Investing, and Building Wealth at Every Age and Life Stage.   Her work has appeared in various publications, including Yahoo! Finance, Private Capital, Canadian Capital, CareerVision, Golden Girl Finance, Divestopedia, and Club Manager Quarterly.  Jenifer has developed and delivered accredited courses in a number of areas, including technology commercialization management, succession planning, business valuation for advisors, advising family business, accounting for business growth and transition, business planning, operational foundations, and financial literacy for non-financial business leaders. Jenifer regularly appears on the CBC News Network Weekend Business Panel discussing the week in business and other developments, broadcast nationally and streaming globally. She has also conducted numerous media interviews on a range of current business topics, including for television, radio, podcast, digital, and print.

Jenifer has been actively involved with the Canadian Venture Capital and Private Equity Association (CVCA) since 2001 and is currently Chair of the Content Committee, responsible for the overall direction of communications and marketing efforts, for effective promotion of Canada’s private capital asset class, both domestically and internationally. She is also a member of the Selection Committee of the Canadian Innovation Exchange (CIX) Top 20 and has been on the CIX Summit stage, providing feedback on entrepreneur pitches.

Jenifer held the broad-based role of Vice President & Chief Financial Officer of a venture capital fund manager for over nine years.  After playing a direct role in growing the business from the start up stage to having raised capital in excess of $125 million, she led the closing of the fund manager’s sale to a national venture capital company.  As a result, Jenifer has direct experience in growing a business and raising capital, as well as the transactional aspects of investing and exit.

Prior to this role, she worked as a management consultant, providing business advisory services to organizations across a wide range of industries.  A graduate of the University of Manitoba, Faculty of Management, she holds a Bachelor of Commerce (Honours) degree, majoring in marketing and human resources.  Jenifer also holds the professional designations of Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA, CA), Certified Management Consultant (CMC), Master Financial Advisor (MFA) Executive Business Growth Specialist, and Real Wealth Manager (RWM).

Jenifer is currently on the Board and Audit Committee of a national mutual fund company with approximately $3 billion in capital under management and was formerly the Chair and a member of the Independent Review Committee (IRC). She was selected for inclusion in the Women in Capital Markets Board-Ready Directory, a national organization. Former governance roles include: member of the Board of Directors and Chair of the Marketing Committee of CMC-Global Institute (CMC-GI); and member of the Board of Directors, Executive, and Finance Committees of Economic Development Winnipeg Inc.  She has actively been involved in volunteer roles for over 30 years and was recognized for her efforts as the inaugural recipient of the Intercontinental Hotels Group Canada 2007 CSTA Community Service Award (presented by the Canadian Sport Tourism Alliance).

Win Bear
Managing Director
Kensington Capital Partners

Win Bear is a Managing Director on Kensington’s venture capital investment team. Prior to joining Kensington, Win spent 20 years in commercial banking, specifically focused on the innovation sector. Over the years, Win has worked closely with Canadian and US-based VC firms and growth equity firms, while actively supporting tech and life sciences/healthcare companies ranging from seed-stage companies to large private companies and public companies.

Win joined Kensington after a 15-year career with Silicon Valley Bank, where he led SVB’s Canada growth initiatives, relocating to Toronto as Head of Business Development for all SVB business units across Canada. He previously held senior business development roles at SVB in the Boston and Carolinas region.

Win holds a BA in English and an MBA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In his spare time, he loves fishing, SCUBA diving, and just about anything in the great outdoors.

Melissa Belbeck
Sr. Associate
Whitecap Venture Partners

Melissa is a Senior Associate at Whitecap Venture Partners. Previously, she was a Business Operations and Strategy manager at Ritual, a mobile order ahead app based in Toronto. At Ritual, Melissa ran major strategic projects and experiments. Prior to Ritual, Melissa worked as a Senior Product Manager at BMO, managing home financing products. Melissa started her career in management consulting, working in the Digital practice at Oliver Wyman, where she worked with leading Technology and Financial Services companies on strategic projects.

Melissa holds an HBA from the Ivey School of Business, and an MBA from the Kellogg School of Business.

Kia Besharat
Senior Managing Director
Gravitas Securities Inc.

Mr. Besharat is responsible for leading advisory, restructuring, corporate finance, and mergers & acquisitions mandates across our Canadian platform in the following industries: metals & mining, oil & gas, consumer/retail, real estate, clean technology, internet/new-media, and financial services.

Noteworthy transactions from 2017 to present include:

  • Reliq Health Technologies (TSX: V: RHT) $10.0 million Brokered Private Placement

  • Quinsam Capital Corporation (CSE: QCA) $24.6 million Brokered Private Placement

  • Nutritional High International Inc. (CSE: EAT) $8.0 million Brokered Private Placement

  • MediaValet (TSX-V: MVP) $8.0 million Brokered Private Placement

  • Nutritional High International Inc. (CSE: EAT) $8.0 million Brokered Convertible Debenture

  • Wellness Lifestyles Inc. (TSX-V: WELL) $12.2 million Brokered and Non-Brokered Private Placement

The above-mentioned transactions totaling in excess of $70 million speaks highly of Mr. Besharat’s leadership and relationship management skills having led to numerous transactions for GSI including leading financings ahead of larger and more established investment banks. Significantly, he has discharged the foregoing transactions professionally, conscientiously and efficiently. Mr. Besharat also motivates his team members to make their best contribution possible and does so with courage, intelligence, integrity and sensitivity. In many respects, his role within group has become one of counselor with many team members turning to him for advice on work matters.

Mr. Besharat’s qualities include an unparalleled service commitment to clients. Moreover, Gravitas has found him to be an honest, hardworking, intelligent and a trustworthy individual. Mr. Besharat has made a tremendous impact on GSI and our industry.

Ed Bryant
CEO
Sampford Advisors

Ed Bryant is the President and CEO of Sampford Advisors.  Ed started Sampford because he wanted to provide world-class Investment Banking and Strategic Advisory that large companies have been accustomed to, to small and medium sized businesses. Ed has over 25 years of experience including over 16 years in Investment Banking with Deutsche Bank and Morgan Stanley in Hong Kong, Singapore and New York. In that time, Ed raised in excess of $20 billion in equity and debt capital and completed over $10 billion in M&A transactions. Prior to founding Sampford, Ed held the CFO and VP of Corporate Development positions for three years at Conversant. Ed holds a Bachelor of Arts in Business Studies from Sheffield University in England.

Noah Chaikof
Investor
First Ascent Ventures

Noah is a Senior Associate with First Ascent Ventures, a Toronto-based Series A+ VC fund that invests in emerging Canadian and U.S.-based technology companies that are building the next generation of disruptive, enterprise B2B software.

Noah has experience working in finance and technology, both in Canada and abroad. He previously worked in Investment Banking in the Diversified practice at UBS Canada. Noah also spent a summer in Tel Aviv at Deloitte Catalyst, where he consulted for local start-ups and helped connect Deloitte’s global clients with Israeli technologies.

Noah graduated with an Honours degree in Business Administration from the Ivey School of Business at Western University. He graduated in the top 5% of his class and was awarded the designation of Ivey Scholar.

Additionally, Noah serves as a Leadership Committee Member for the Diversity and Inclusion Small Council (DISC), which is a grassroots Canadian organization helping under-represented tech founders and teams to get greater exposure and feedback from top-tier VC funds in Canada.

Bonnie Chau
Portfolio Manager
BCF Ventures

Bonnie Chau is a Portfolio Manager at BCF Ventures with diversified expertise in the areas of entrepreneurship, finance, accounting and investment. She currently leads the due diligence for B2B startups and provides support in the portfolio companies. Prior to becoming a VC at BCF Ventures, she honed her operating skills at one of the fastest growing fintech companies in Canada by providing her expertise in Finance/Accounting and she was later promoted to execute on interim management projects working directly with the CEO and CFO. She always looks for opportunities to give back to the startup community. Bonnie holds a Bachelor of Commerce with an Accounting major from the Desautels Faculty of Management at McGill University and she has also obtained her accounting designation CPA.

Patrick Conroy
Vice President
Revolution Growth

Patrick Conroy is a Principal at Revolution Growth. He is currently on the board of Orchard and Talkspace and is a board observer with BigCommerceCAVACLEAR, and Convene. He also supports the firm’s investments in Sportradar and DraftKings.

Prior to joining Revolution, Patrick was an Analyst at Morgan Stanley on the Technology Investment Banking and Global Capital Markets teams based in New York City. While at Morgan Stanley, Patrick advised internet, software, and business services companies on several transactions including IPO, follow-on, convertible debt, and private equity financings.

Patrick graduated from Brown University with a B.A. in Commerce, Organizations, and Entrepreneurship with a focus on Business Economics. While at Brown, Patrick was a member of the Varsity Football Team and earned the role of team captain as well as Academic All-American honors. Patrick was born and raised in Northern Virginia.

Martha Cosgrove
Investing Associate
Boeing HorizonX Ventures

Martha Cosgrove is an investing analyst for Boeing HorizonX. Based in St. Louis, Missouri, Cosgrove manages deal flow and focuses her skills on market research, due diligence and portfolio maintenance with startups around the world who are developing revolutionary concepts and business models.

Previously, Cosgrove led the Investor Relations program within Greentown Labs, the nation’s largest cleantech incubator, where she helped more than 50 early-stage hardware startups reach their fundraising milestones. She also served as Greentown Labs’ primary contact for more than 150 investors across the globe. In this role, she also supported Greentown Labs’ internal accelerator program, de-risking startup businesses and their products for potential investment and partnership with sponsoring corporate strategic partners. She has also held operational roles in various venture-backed startups.

In 2017, Cosgrove was awarded a two-year fellowship from Venture for America, a nonprofit organization with a mission of creating economic opportunity in American cities by mobilizing the next generation of entrepreneurs and equipping them with the skills and resources they need to create jobs. She is dedicated to upholding that mission within the Boeing HorizonX team and the city of St. Louis.

Cosgrove holds a Bachelor of Science degree in geology and geophysics, with a concentration in paleoclimatology and isotopic geochemistry, from Yale University.

Marcus Daniels
CEO
Highline BETA

Marcus is CEO and Founding Partner of Highline BETA, a venture capital and a startup co-creation company. He leads visionary execution, strategic deals, accelerator 

platform growth, and new venture funding. He has 20+ years as a serial tech entrepreneur and was previously the Co-Founder and CEO of HIGHLINE.vc and Managing Director of Extreme Startups. Marcus holds an MBA from the Smith School of Business - Queen's University and a BA from McGill University.

Michael Dennis
Investment Manager, Clean Technology
Innovacorp

Michael Dennis is an investment manager at Innovacorp, where his focus is on identifying and developing pre-seed and seed investment opportunities in the clean technology sector. He manages all aspects of the investment review, approval and closing cycle. Michael has extensive experience in the technology commercialization and company start-up in his career as research scientist, entrepreneur and executive in private and public companies in Canada.

Shayn Diamond
Partner
Whitecap Venture Partners

Shayn is a Partner at Whitecap Venture Partners. Shayn works closely with Qvella, Affinio, Classcraft Studios, Bold Commerce, Second Closet and Silofit.

Shayn is active in the community, including involvement with Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre and Sick Kids Hospital.

Prior to joining Whitecap, Shayn was a lawyer at Wildeboer Dellelce LLP. At Wildeboer, Shayn practiced primarily in the areas of securities, corporate finance and commercial real estate with a focus on corporate finance and mergers & acquisitions.

Shayn holds a JD and an MBA from Queen’s University.  He also holds a B.A. in Philosophy from the University of Western Ontario.

Andrea Drager
Vice President, Canada
Azure Capital Partners

Andrea is a Partner and lead of the Canadian office at Azure Capital Partners, a San Francisco-based venture capital firm with over $775 million under management. Based in Calgary, she evaluates investment opportunities across Canada and works with all of Azure’s Canadian investments and selected consumer investments in the US.


Prior to joining Azure, Andrea co-founded a fashion and travel e-commerce company and was a Director with strategy consulting firm Monitor Deloitte, where she worked with industry-leading consumer business and healthcare companies in the areas of innovation, marketing and growth strategy. She has been based in Paris, London, Toronto and Vancouver, and worked with clients across North & South America, Europe and Africa. Andrea received a Bachelor of Commerce degree from McGill University.

Connor Edwards
Sr. Investment Manager
MaRS IAF (Investment Accelerator Fund)

Connor Edwards brings nearly a decade of technology, banking and advisory experience to IAF.  Connor led digital innovation and fintech engagement for CIBC prior to joining the firm. Before that, he was a management consultant at IBM with a focus on growth strategy and M&A advisory for a range of technology, retail, and financial services clients. Connor started his career as an early employee of Hootsuite (Accel, Insight Venture Partners, OMERS) in Vancouver.

He holds a Bachelors of Commerce from the Gustavson School of Business, University of Victoria.

Layial El-Hadi
Executive Director
Fintech Cadence

Layial is the Executive Director at Fintech Cadence is a nationally-recognized fintech champion and educator. In 2019, she was identified as one of Digital Finance Institute’s Canada’s Top 50 Women in Fintech. Past experiences included work in operations management, teaching corporate finance, sustainability consulting, impact investment and non-profit management and was previously the Chief Financial Officer at Apisen; a small business based in Montréal that built security and safety products for law enforcement and emergency responders.

Madison Elkhazin
Investor
Georgian

Madison is an Investor at Georgian - where she supports deal selection, due diligence, and post-investment value add initiatives across R&D, product strategy, operations, and finance. Prior to joining Georgian, she spent 2 years in product management consulting at Deloitte Digital - focused on eCommerce and fintech sectors. Madison graduated with a BSc. in Biomedical Science from the University of Ottawa and is a tap dancer in her spare time.

Bryan Emerson
President
Starlight Capital Inc

Investor, Board Member and Mentor to Early-Stage Companies.

Financial operations and compliance professional. Securities licenses: 7, 63, 24, 27, 87, 79, and 99.

Since 2002, Starlight Capital Inc. co-organized the New York Private Equity Forums at the Yale Club New York, which has been America’s Premier Business Funding Conference for startups. Starlight has extensive experience offering transaction and advisory services for early- and development-stage companies.

In keeping with his interest in sustainability, Mr. Emerson works a portion of the year from his off-grid, solar and wind powered cabin.

Sergio Escobar
CEO & Partner
BCF Ventures

Sergio Escobar is the CEO & Partner at BCF Ventures, a Canadian Corporate Venture Capital Fund investing across the United States and Canada in B2B Cloud & SaaS Enterprise startups leveraging Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, Business Intelligence, Business Analytics and Security. Sergio has +15 years of experience as a multiple times tech entrepreneur with startups in Aerospace, eCommerce, Manufacturing, AgTech and Financial Technologies. Over the last 8 years, he has been deeply involved in the international entrepreneurial scene (incubators and accelerators) through his involvement as program advisor and startup mentor in Founder Institute, Techstars Startup Programs, McGill X-1, Startup Chile, Startup Peru, Startup Bootcamp FinTech London, MsB Tunisia, Flat6Labs Tunisia, Kuwait National Fund, World Bank ‘Tech Entrepreneurship Program for Innovation in the Caribbean’, Krypto Labs in the Middle East, NEXT AI and Creative Destruction Lab in Artificial Intelligence.

Mattia Flabiano
Senior Associate
Radian Capital

Mattia is an investor with Radian Capital, an NYC-based growth equity firm focused on supporting capital efficient B2B software and marketplace businesses.  Prior to joining Radian, Mattia worked at Greenspring Associates, a multi-strategy venture capital platform, and BankCap Partners, a financial services-focused private equity firm.  Mattia received his MBA from The Wharton School where he was a Palmer Scholar and his B.S. in Commerce from the University of Virginia.

Sophie Forest
Managing Partner
Brightspark Ventures

Prior to joining Brightspark Ventures, Sophie was a partner at CDP Capital Technology Ventures, a subsidiary of la Caisse de Dépôt et Placement du Québec. Sophie met Mark in 1997 when she became the lead investor in his start-up, Balisoft. They ended up collaborating on this exciting venture for three years and sold the company to Kana Software in 2000.

Since joining Brightspark in 2003 as a managing partner, Sophie has led and overseen more than 50 investments in technology companies. Notably, she has played a pivotal role in the investment, growth and exit of Radian6, leading to a 23x multiple on capital invested, and becoming one of the most successful technology exits in Canadian history.

Sophie was involved in the creation and growth of Jewlr.com and iStopOver.com. She is still an active board member of Jewlr inc., a leading online personalized jewelry company.

She sits on the Board of Directors of a number of companies, including Hopper, nGUVU and Jewlr. Sophie works closely with the startups she invests in and is known for her nurturing and listening qualities. In October 2017, Sophie was awarded the NACO Angel of the Year Award.

Sophie is a member of the Science and Technology Council of Canada, which provides external advice to the federal government in the domain of science, technology and innovation.

She is the proud mother of three teenage daughters and is passionate about opening up doors for women to the VC and tech world. Through her career, she has often been the “only woman in the room” and wants to continue to facilitate the entry for other women.

Randy Garg
Founder & Managing Partner
Vistara Capital Partners

Randy has over 23 years experience in venture capital, private equity and debt investing across a broad spectrum of the technology industry.

Randy is Managing Partner of Vistara Capital Partners, a technology-focused Growth Capital Fund providing Growth Debt & Growth Equity financing to mid-later stage technology companies across North America.   

Prior to founding Vistara Capital, Randy co-founded and was Managing Partner of a family office investment firm (2011-2015). During that time he completed numerous debt and equity growth capital financings with particular emphasis on the technology sector.

He previously spent six years with PwC Corporate Finance (2004-2010), as Managing Director for the Western Canadian technology practice executing on numerous corporate finance, M&A and financing mandates.

He also spent over 10 years as a principal with Discovery Capital (1993-2004) co-managing its family of technology venture capital funds, where he was responsible for structuring and managing direct equity investments, and served as advisor or on the Boards of a number of portfolio companies.

Randy received his BBA from York University, his MBA from University of British Columbia, and is a CFA Charterholder.

Ajay Gopal
Partner
Framework Venture Partners

Ajay Gopal is a Partner at Framework Venture Partners. Based in Toronto, Ajay has more than 5 years of VC experience and nearly a decade of prior investing and capital markets experience. Ajay’s responsibilities with the firm include strategic board representation, deal sourcing and assisting portfolio companies with operational and strategic initiatives.

Prior to Framework, Ajay most recently worked in venture capital as an Associate Principal at the BDC IT Venture Fund in Toronto. Prior to this, Ajay worked with a variety of investment platforms including direct private equity and hedge fund strategies while initially starting his career in investment banking at Citigroup, straddling both New York City and Toronto. Possessing an entrepreneurial background, Ajay is a partner and advisor of a healthcare services company currently in operation in Toronto. As an engineer by educational background, Ajay is keenly interested in meeting with technology companies across all verticals and focused on helping entrepreneurs with the scaling journey.

Ajay holds an MBA from the Ivey Business School, as well as Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering and a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Economics from Queen’s University. He also holds the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation.

Danielle Graham
Venture Partner
Archangel Network

Danielle is the Founder of Fierce Founders, first female-focused tech accelerator in Canada. She was Manager of Ontario Centres of Innovation's Market Readiness fund, Principal at Dream Maker and Sandpiper and currently Venture Partner with Archangel and Advisor with ventureLAB, unlocking capital for the earliest stage startups in the tech ecosystem.

Chung Hang TANG
Investment Director
EDBI

Growth stage venture capital investor focused on various emerging technologies:

Advanced manufacturing, Agrifood, AI, Enterprise software, Fintech, Mobility, Semiconductors/ new computing paradigms and Space tech

Led deals through the investment life cycle, including deal sourcing, due diligence, portfolio value creation and divestment.

Matan Hazanov
Vice President
Verstra Ventures

Matan spent 8 years building startups as an entrepreneur, advisor, and investor. In his role as a VC, Matan was a key player in many investments in the software, cleantech and agtech industries in North America and Israel. His unique approach in his role as an investor resulted in the formation of new companies, initiatives, and non-traditional deals. Today, Matan advises portfolio companies on strategy, raising capital and building a sustainable competitive advantage. Matan has an International BBA from the Schulich School of Business.

Brenda Hogan
Chief Investment Officer
Ontario Capital Growth Corporation

Brenda M. Hogan is the Chief Investment Officer at the Ontario Capital Growth Corporation (OCGC) and has over 15 years’ experience in strategy and execution in venture capital at the co-investment, fund of funds, and fund level investing. 

Brenda has held senior roles in corporate development, finance, and strategic investing with Bell Canada, EY, the Business Development Bank of Canada, and a software start-up.

Brenda served as Co-Chair of Canadian Women in Private Equity (CWPE); serves with the Institutional Limited Partners Association (ILPA) as a member of the Content Committee; and served three terms on the Board of Women in Capital Markets, serving as Chair of the Governance Committee.  She also served on the Board of Governors at Dalhousie University and Chaired the Finance, Audit, Investment, and Risk Committee. 

Brenda holds an MBA in finance, has completed the Institute of Corporate Directors SME Board Effectiveness Program, and has received leadership training from the Ivey School of Business.

Daniel Hoyles
Investment Analyst
New Brunswick Innovation Foundation

What do you get when you cross a CPA and a CMA with a passion for technology? You get NBIF’s Daniel Hoyles. Daniel’s intrigued by the world of technology on both a professional and personal level. As our Investment Analyst, he works with our Investment Team to administer our Venture Capital, Innovation Voucher, and Startup Investment funding programs to some of our province’s best and brightest innovators. To satisfy his own interests in tech and development, Dan spends his spare time learning computer programming on the latest mobile app frameworks.

Ilan Jacobson
Founding Partner and CEO
FirePower Capital

Ilan Jacobson is the Founding Partner & CEO of FirePower Capital, and has transformed the firm from a small 4-person family office into a 40+ strong M&A advisory and private capital powerhouse. Ilan leads FirePower Capital in all its endeavours, setting its strategic direction, providing top-level guidance on key transactions undertaken by the M&A division, and assessing new direct investments for FirePower’s Private Capital funds. Under his leadership, FirePower invests in Canada’s entrepreneurs by financing their growth directly with venture debt or private equity, and helps them complete their most critical transactions.

Ilan is sought after for his expertise on topics related to entrepreneurship, private capital, and M&A, and has appeared at numerous events as a speaker, moderator, and workshop leader. Previously, Ilan was a Portfolio Manager at a leading venture capital firm in Toronto, where he sat on numerous boards. He received his MBA from the Ted Rogers School of Management at Ryerson University, and has an Honours Degree in Science with a specialization in genetics from the University of Western Ontario.

Daryl Johnston
Managing Director, Technology Banking, Canada
Silicon Valley Bank

Daryl Johnston is a managing director of Technology Banking with Silicon Valley Bank. Based in Toronto, Daryl and his team deliver the bank’s core loan products as well as insights, connections and solutions that help Canada’s innovation-sector companies to scale. With more than 25 years of deep finance experience and technology knowledge, Daryl has developed a strong reputation as a “power networker”; he has a proven ability to understand a client’s business, identify opportunities and provide valuable guidance and services that achieve results.  In 2020, Daryl joined SVB — a bank sharply focused on serving the technology sector — for the unique opportunity to help entrepreneurs successfully solve one of these key requirements.

Prior to joining SVB, Daryl was the head of business development for Deloitte’s national Technology, Media & Telecommunications (TMT) industry group and a member of Deloitte’s TMT executive team in Canada. In these roles, he worked with early emerging, private and public fast-growth clients across a broad range of industry sub-sectors, including telecom, software, hardware, fintech and social and digital media. 

Over the years, Daryl has further developed his vast network through his engagement in a variety of business and tech-focused organizations, including Canada’s Best Managed Companies program and Deloitte’s Technology Fast 50 program. He was also a former member of the Canadian Innovation Exchange Advisory Board and has served as a judge in several TMT business competitions.

Geetanjali Kanwar
Associate
MKB

Geetanjali joined MKB in 2018. As an associate and a member of MKB’s investment team, she is responsible for sourcing and due diligence of investments, monitoring portfolio company performance and conducting sector deep dives.

Prior to this, Geetanjali worked at EY, where she was focused on performing external audit and financial analysis of technology companies.

She holds a Master of Management in Finance from McGill University and B.com Hons. from University of Delhi. For her Master’s thesis, she conducted empirical research on the Canadian Venture Capital landscape, analysing the impact of gender of the founding team on the fund-raising efforts of start-ups. She is passionate about having a meaningful impact in shaping the cities and societies of tomorrow.

Faisal Kawar
Investor
Fintech Collective

Faisal is currently a global early-stage fintech investor with FinTech Collective. He is passionate about mentoring and investing in tech startups. Faisal started his career in Private Equity, investing in financial services and technology companies across emerging markets. Faisal then joined UK-based payments startup IrisGuard, backed by Goldman Sachs and IFC, to head Corporate Strategy. Faisal graduated with an MBA from Harvard Business School, founding the HBS Fintech Club, and a B.A. in Engineering from Yale University.

David Kellenberger
Principal
Salesforce Ventures

Investing in the next generation of enterprise technology to help companies connect with their customers in entirely new ways.

Investments Include:

- Acto

- Alation

- Auth0

- Automattic

- BigID

- Bridgit

- Cogito

- Crossbeam

- FullStory

- Outreach

- Qualified

- Snowflake

- Tanium

- ThousandEyes

- Zoom

Michael Kosic
Founding Partner
Loyal VC

Michael is one of the two managing directors of Loyal VC LP, an evergreen venture fund set up in the province of Ontario in May 2018. As of May 2020 the fund had made initial investments in 180 companies in 45 different countries, and follow-on investments in 43 companies.

Michael is a lifelong entrepreneur who has successfully led the conception, ramp-up, and growth of both independent start-ups and internal divisions of existing companies in the internet, mobile, retail banking, and high-tech space in North America and abroad. Before starting Loyal, Michael was an active Angel investor and startup mentor for multiple entrepreneurs. He is a professional Industrial Engineer and an INSEAD MBA.

Siddartha Krishnan
Principal, Industrial, Clean and Energy Technology Venture Fund
BDC Capital

Siddartha (Sidd) Krishnan, Director in BDC Capital’s Industrial, Clean and Energy Technology Venture Fund, joined BDC Capital in 2015.

Sidd has a mix of investing, consulting and public policy experience. Prior to joining BDC Capital, Sidd was part of the Venture Capital and Growth Equity investment team at Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan where he helped spearhead a revamp of the pension plan's venture capital strategy. Sidd has also worked for the Government of Ontario on electricity sector policy and government asset sale initiatives, and as a consultant for NERA Economic Consulting.

Sidd holds an MSc in Financial Economics from the University of Oxford and a Bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Toronto.

Elaine Kunda
Founder
Disruption Ventures

Founder, Managing Partner Disruption Ventures, Seed Stage Venture Capital Fund.

Former CEO with 20 years operating experience, led multiple venture back companies, with two successful exits. 

Active in technology growth ecosystem, including Creative Destruction Labs, and Next AI

Founding Advisor/Creator Girls (20), a Global organization improving economic opportunities for women and girls. Microsoft Canada’s Top women in tech.

Yong Kwon
Managing Director, Technology Investment Banking
Raymond James

Yong Kwon joined Raymond James in 2021 and has 20 years of experience in investment banking and private equity.  Prior to joining Raymond James, Yong was a Principal at INFOR Financial Group, responsible for Technology and Financial Sponsor investment banking coverage.  Previously, Yong was a Partner with Novacap, a Montreal-based private equity firm, where he spent 5 years investing in TMT companies and playing a key role in building out the firm’s Toronto office.  Yong has prior investment banking experience at global and Canadian investment banks, including Barclays and RBC Capital Markets.  Yong earned an MBA from the Rotman School of Management and a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Toronto.

Nicole LeBlanc
Partner, Platform
2150

Nicole LeBlanc has worked for nearly 15 years as an investment professional in the venture capital industry. Currently she is an investor with 2150, a new urbantech and sustainability focused VC based in Europe. 2150 works collaboratively with a number of large strategic investors to tackle industry level problems to support the advancement of the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Prior to this Nicole was Director of Investments and Partnerships for Sidewalk Labs, an Alphabet company that imagines, designs, tests, and builds urban innovations to help cities meet their biggest challenges. She led the corporate venture capital strategy focused on urban tech, as well as supporting the development of Quayside, a 12-acre site in Toronto that had hoped to be a global hub for urban development. Before joining Sidewalk she was a Director with both BDC Capital and NBIF, investing and managing a portfolio of 150+ seed stage startups.


Nicole began her career as a CPA, including roles as a controller at Ganong Bros. Ltd., an East Coast family-run confectionery manufacturer that invented the chocolate bar. She stays active in the community through board roles at Innovacorp, Propel and Brilliant Labs, as well as actively mentoring with Creative Destruction Lab, Next Canada and Techstars.

Laura Lenz
Partner
OMERS Ventures

Based in Toronto, Laura is a Partner leading the fund’s investment activity in Canada. Laura has over 15 years of venture investing experience, including prior roles as a Partner with Generation Ventures, an Investment Director with MaRS Investment Accelerator Fund, and a Principal with EdgeStone Capital Partners. Laura started her career with BMO Nesbitt Burns as an investment banker focused on media and technology companies and extended her public market acumen into private equity investing for the firm with roles in Toronto and New York City. Throughout her career, Laura has focused on understanding and investing in Canadian emerging technology companies. As an active investor, Laura benefits from a wider aperture and applies a critical lens to metrics, team, financials, and strategy to ensure that a portfolio company is well positioned for the next stage of growth. With discipline, Laura strives to achieve alignment at the Board level, with company leadership, and with other VC stakeholders and investors.


Laura was previously responsible for sourcing, evaluating, and managing previous portfolio companies including: RapidMind (sold to Intel), Rypple (sold to Salesforce), Varicent (sold to IBM), SurfEasy (sold to Symantec), Jibestream (sold to Inpixon), and Keyfactor (exited to Insight).


Laura is an HBA graduate from Ivey Business School (Dean’s Honor List) and completed a General Management Program at Harvard. Laura is a founder and previous co-chair of the Canadian Pediatric Stroke Support Association. She is an enthusiastic martial artist, holding black belts in Karate and Tae Kwon Do.

Oded Levi
President
Epstein Enterprises Inc

Oded is the President of Epstein Enterprises Inc., a single family office based inToronto.  EEI is a multi-faceted investment company with direct and indirect investments in private and public corporations as well as commercial and residential real estate.  EEI’s technology investments span pre-revenue through growth stage.  EEI looks to support companies as they develop, grow and mature.

In the past, Oded has played executive management and CFO roles at a number of EEI’s operating subsidiaries and continues to work closely with leaders of those enterprises.  Prior to coming to EEI in 2006, Oded worked at Arthur Andersen, Deloitte and a boutique investment research firm.  Oded is a CPA, CA and has a BBA in Accounting and MBA in Finance from the Schulich School of Business atYorkUniversity. He has served on the boards of public, private and not for profit organizations.

Matthew Lombardi
Managing Director
OneEleven

Matthew Lombardi is the Managing Director of OneEleven, Toronto's premier innovation hub for post-seed scaleups. He has worked in leadership roles at Deloitte in Toronto, and the United Nations World Food Programme in Rome, across multiple industries. He also co-founded the not-for-profit marketplace GroceryHero during the earliest days of the COVID-19 pandemic. GroceryHero helped connect thousands of frontline medical workers who could not get a timely grocery delivery with a neighbour willing to help out.

Paul Lypaczewski
Partner
Island Capital Partners

Over the last 30 years, Paul has held a number of executive management positions in the computer graphics and software industries, in a senior leaders... hip role at major NASDAQ and NYSE firms such as Autodesk, AMD and Avid. As VP of Product Development at Alias, he was an integral part of the executive team that took the company over a three-year period from the brink of bankruptcy back to being the preeminent provider of 3D animation and industrial design software, resulting in a $450M acquisition by Silicon Graphics. Paul has received a number of awards and recognitions for his efforts, including being the first Canadian to receive the NASA Space Act Award for exceptional merit, and also devotes time to numerous not for profit organizations. He is currently one of four Managing Partner at Island Capital Partners, an early stage seed fund and personally invests in and consults with a number of early stage startups.

Alan Lysne
Co-Founder
Fastbreak Ventures

Alan is a founder and General partner at Fastbreak Ventures, and has been a co-founder, CEO, CTO, and COO of a number of successful technology businesses, and has worked with hundreds of startups globally.

Alan co-created and ran a number of corporate backed global startup accelerator programs in Calgary, Mumbai and Vietnam working with hundreds of startups around the world.

Alan was the CEO of a venture-backed mobile company called Cascada Mobile that was acquired by Monitise. Prior to that, Alan was co-founder and CTO of Davinci Technologies acquired by what is now Verint. His career started at Accenture.

Aly Madhavj
Managing Partner
Blockchain Founders Fund

Aly Madhavji 亚霖 is the Managing Partner at Blockchain Founders Fund which invests in and venture builds top-tier startups. He is a Limited Partner on Loyal VC and Draper Goren Holm. Aly consults organizations on emerging technologies such as INSEAD and the UN on solutions to help alleviate poverty. He is a Senior Blockchain Fellow at INSEAD and was recognized as a “Blockchain 100” Global Leader by Lattice80. 

He is an internationally acclaimed author, publishing three books and a monthly columnist for the leading blockchain magazine. Aly serves as a board member of CryptoStar Corp. (TSXV: CSTR), Mechanical Technology Incorporated (NASDAQ: MKTY) and has served on various advisory boards including the University of Toronto’s Governing Council, which manages a $2.5B budget. He is a mentor with Chinaccelerator, an elite accelerator program operated by the venture fund SOSV with $855M+ AUM and the Mobile Only Accelerator (MOX).

Aly holds a Master of Global Affairs as a Schwarzman Scholar from Tsinghua University (华大学), a Master of Business Administration from INSEAD (Singapore and France), and a Bachelor of Commerce with Distinction from the University of Toronto.

Sophia Maizel
Vice President
HarbourVest Partners (Canada) Ltd.

Sophia Maizel joined HarbourVest in 2015 to help expand the Firm’s local presence in Canada. She focuses on sourcing, reviewing, executing, monitoring, and reporting on direct co-investments and partnerships, primarily in the Canadian market. Sophia has been involved with several of the Firm’s direct co-investments, including Q4 Inc, Sonder, and Wave Financial and several partnerships including those managed by Avrio Capital, Genesys Ventures, Georgian Partners, Golden Ventures, Information Venture Partners, iNovia Investments, McRock Capital, Novacap Investments, Real Ventures, Vanedge Capital, and Versant Ventures. She also serves on the Young Professionals’ Committee of the Canadian Venture Capital Association. Sophia joined the Firm from Export Development Canada, where she was an associate focused on the evaluation, execution, and monitoring of direct and private equity fund investments. Sophia received a BA in Economics and Finance from McGill University in 2012. In early 2017, she received the Chartered Financial Analyst designation. She speaks fluent Russian and French.

Radhika Malik
Principal
Dell Technologies Capital

Radhika is a Principal at Dell Technologies Capital (DTC), where she focuses on investments in enterprise and cloud infrastructure, AI/ML, data and deep tech. She is based in Palo Alto, CA. Prior to DTC, Radhika was an Investment Director at Samsung Catalyst Fund, Samsung’s deep technology venture fund covering AI/ML, semiconductors, cloud, data and 5G. Radhika has a strong technical background and has worked as a software engineer and product manager at early stage startups including Panorama Education and MindMeld (acq by Cisco) as well as large corporations including Microsoft and Amazon. She has also been a venture capital fellow at Glasswing Ventures and Alumni Ventures Group. Radhika holds a B.S. and M.Eng. from MIT in Computer Science and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

Prashant Matta
Partner
Panache Ventures

Prashant Matta is a Partner at Panache Ventures, one of the most active seed stage venture funds in Canada. He is passionate about helping entrepreneurs build venture scale businesses and collaborating with the tech community in advancing the Canadian startup ecosystem. Prashant was previously at OMERS Ventures and Samsung.

Brent Matterson
Analyst
Good News Ventures

An Analyst at Good News Ventures, Brent Matterson is passionate about technology and its positive impacts. He is responsible for deal flow sourcing and analyzing great deals that align with GNV's investment criteria. With eclectic interests, Brent completed a Bachelor of Music degree where he was the top graduating student in his department. He also focused on business education at the University of Calgary. With experience as an educator, consultant, and researcher with a publication in the International Journal of Music Education, Brent is a well-rounded VC Analyst backing passionate and determined founders as they develop their impressive ideas into prominent businesses.

Laviva Mazhar
Investment Associate
Luge Capital

Laviva is an investment associate at Luge Capital, a venture capital firm focused on early-stage fintech. Laviva sources for new fintech investment opportunities, conducts due diligence, executes transactions, supports portfolio companies and helps develop the firm’s investment theses.  

Previously, she was an analyst at Ferst Capital Partners (FCP), a fintech startup foundry. She helped build portfolio companies and supported their operations and fundraising processes. 

Laviva was selected on the 2021 and 2017 Women in FinTech Powerlists by Innovate Finance and on Canada’s 2019 Top 50 Women in Fintech by Digital Finance Institute.

Born and raised in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Laviva moved to Canada to complete her BCom degree with double majors in Economics and Finance from McGill University. She completed CFA Level 1.

Alex McDougall
Chief Investment Officer
Bicameral Ventures

Speaker (Consensus, CES, World Crypto Con, CoinAgenda, others), author (Toronto Star, Coindesk, Venturebeat, GritDaily), investor (Velocia, Open Application Network, BalanceNow, MetaMe, etc), and hater of zero sum games. Former investment banker and current searcher for the hypotenuses of life. Liker of trust technologies, disliker of extractive data paradigms. Co-Founder of Bicameral Ventures and pioneer of Trust Overhead, Interconnected Investing, and Economy of Digital Byproducts.

Julie McGill
Expert Network, Strategic Investments and Women in Tech Fund
BDC Venture Capital

Julie McGill is a Partner in BDC’s Strategic Investments and Women in Technology Venture Fund. Julie is a passionate advocate for inclusive investing, supporting women in leadership roles and developing the next generation of women-in-tech founders and investors.

Julie has been helping small- and medium-sized businesses successfully scale their operations for more than 20 years. Prior to joining BDC, Julie was the Managing Partner of a family office where she led the deployment and management of capital across a variety of venture capital, private equity and fund-of-fund investments. Before that she was a Director at CAI Capital Management, one of the world’s top-performing mid-market private equity funds. She was also previously Vice President of Ernst & Young’s Transaction Advisory Services group.

Julie co-founded Women’s Equity Lab in Vancouver, which provides an on-ramp for women to activate their capital through direct private investments. She has also served as an advisor to and chair of the boards of numerous privately held, member-owned and not-for-profit organizations.

Julie holds a Bachelor of Finance from McGill University. She is a Chartered Accountant and Chartered Business Valuator, and holds the ICD.D designation from the Institute of Corporate Directors.

Matt McGuire
Co-Founder and Practice Leader
the AML shop

Matt is an internationally recognized expert in anti-money laundering, counter-terrorist financing and sanctions compliance, and leads the advisory practice team at The AML Shop. He has been assisting governments and financial services companies to assess and reduce financial crime and related regulatory risks for fifteen years. 

Matt is a Chartered Professional Accountant and has been inducted as a Fellow of CPA Ontario, is certified as an Anti-Money Laundering Specialist and Certified Cryptocurrency Investigator, and accredited as an Anti-Money Laundering Professional, and Certified in Financial Forensics. 

Matthew has been qualified as an expert witness in forensic accounting and money laundering, has testified before Senate committees, Parliamentary Committees and the Cullen Commission of Inquiry into money laundering.

Sultan Mehrabi
Managing Director
DMZ Ventures

Sultan Mehrabi co-founded Zensurance, a pure play insurance technology startup in the commercial insurance space. The company was acquired by The Travelers Companies Inc. in 2018.

Prior to starting Zensurance Sultan was Head of Strategy at Kijiji, Canada’s largest consumer to consumer classifieds marketplace where he worked closely with the executive team developing annual operations plans and long term strategic plans. He began his career as a software engineer at Cisco in the U.S.A. where he spent five years with the Network Management Business Unit and has also worked in consulting and venture capital.

Blair Miller
Managing Partner, TELUS Pollinator Fund for Good
TELUS

As the Managing Partner of TELUS’ Pollinator Fund for Good, Blair has made it his mission to leverage TELUS’ resources to fund and empower the next generation of startups focused on doing good and driving social impact in communities across Canada. From transforming healthcare, to supporting sustainable agriculture and reducing environmental footprints, Blair is passionate about technology that will better Canadians’ health and wellness and create space for underrepresented entrepreneurs. 

First joining TELUS in 1999, Blair has more than 20 years of experience launching and scaling mass-market products, including TELUS’ Optik TV and suite of home security products. Through his leadership, TELUS’ Content Solution team secured industry-first partnerships with Netflix and Amazon, meeting customers where they want to experience new and emerging digital technology platforms. As the leader of TELUS’ content team, Blair gained an appreciation for the role a corporation can play in fostering the next generation of talent. He launched STORYHIVE, a funding platform to support and mentor local and emerging creators.

A father to two boys, Blair is committed to leaving this world better than we found it. That’s why Blair and his boys take an interest in protecting the environment and educating the next generation of Canadians about environmental impact. When he is not helping keep the Lower Mainland’s beaches pristine as part of TELUS Days of Giving, Blair supports fundraising efforts  for a Nite for Hope -  a charity that promotes greater awareness and research for breast cancer.

Chris Moyer
Director
Pelorus Ventures

Chris is highly active in the Atlantic Canadian eco-system. With 10 years at Growthworks and deep finance and accounting background Chris has mentored companies alongside regional accelerators and local incubators across all four provinces. Chris actively serves on seven boards for his portfolio companies three of which are in NL.

MBA, Saint Mary’s University, CMA Designation, B.Comm Dalhousie University

Adam Nanjee
Managing Director, Canada - Microsoft for Startups
Microsoft Canada

As Managing Director of Canada at Microsoft for Startups, Adam and his team have a national mandate to build, develop and grow the B2B-enterprise, Series A+ startup eco-system through Microsoft for Startups global program.  Microsoft is focused on driving commercial opportunities for Canadian and global startups with Azure being the number one enterprise cloud for startups worldwide.  As an ambassador for Canada's startup, technology and innovation communities, Adam previously built Canada's first financial technology startup and innovation national program at MaRS Discovery District, one of North America's largest innovation hubs based in Toronto, Canada.  Having worked in the startup and corporate innovation eco-systems for over 15 years at MaRS, MasterCard, BlackBerry, and Zafin, Adam brings a unique skill set to Microsoft in scaling startups, venture capital financing, corporate technology integration and global technology partnerships.  Prior to joining Microsoft, Adam came from one of Canada’s top Series C+, enterprise startups - Zafin which was acquired in 2018 by Accenture.  As a member of the senior leadership team, Adam lead Zafin’s capital raise efforts and lead the startups’ Microsoft partnership, achieving co-sell status and successfully migrating Zafin to Azure prior to its acquisition.  Adam currently serves on the advisory board of The Canadian Innovation Exchange, and was formerly a member of the management board of The Ismaili Centers Canada in Vancouver and Toronto helping bridge the gap between poverty alleviation, knowledge sharing and access to cutting-edge technology in underrepresented markets as well as the public and private sectors.

Gil Nayot
Partner
VERTU Capital

Gil joined VERTU Capital in 2019 as Partner.  With more than a decade of private equity experience, Gil brings expertise in deal negotiation and execution, asset management and board directorship. 

Gil previously spent 8 years at CPP Investment Board (CPPIB) where he was a Senior Principal responsible for leading the Direct Private Equity Group’s technology vertical. At CPPIB, Gil invested in and worked with several market leading technology and enterprise software businesses. 

Prior to joining CPPIB, Gil worked at Lake Capital Partners, a mid-market private equity firm based in Chicago, where he focused on investing in the technology and business services sectors. He also previously worked at Bain & Company in Chicago and Singapore.

Gil holds an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, a Bachelor of Engineering Science from the University of Western Ontario and a Bachelor of Arts in Honors Business Administration from the Richard Ivey School of Business.

Katarina Neskovic
Analyst
Inovia Capital

Katarina joined Inovia Capital in October 2020. Prior to Inovia she worked with startups in Toronto and Seattle, and helped large, established companies adopt a user-centric mindset and agile product development. She is an alumna of NEXT Canada, the Massey Junior Fellowship and the University of Toronto, holding a BASc in Chemical Engineering and MASc in Mechanical Engineering. Outside of dreaming up a better future through tech, she is devoted to mastering the art of photography and loves exploring the world.

Amy Ng
VP, Relationship Management – RBCx
RBC Royal Bank

Amy is a VP in the RBCx team. Amy is passionate about providing sound financial advice to technology companies in various stages, including startups, early-stage and growth-stage companies. Amy has over 10 years of experience in the financial services industry. Prior to joining RBC in the Graduate Leadership Program where Amy rotated through 4 different areas of the bank in 2 years, Amy was a professional Process Engineer holding various roles from client-facing to company-wide strategy development and implementation for large multinational metals processing and mining companies. Amy holds an MBA from Rotman School of Management, Master of Applied Science specializing in biomedical engineering research and a Bachelor degree in Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry from the University of Toronto. Amy is also a founding member and VP Administration of Touching Lives Overseas, a Canadian registered charitable organization helping impoverished children in rural China.

Karamdeep Nijjar
General Partner
Inovia Capital

Karam has over 15 years of experience in technology, and specializes in enterprise software and emerging technologies. He joined inovia capital as an Associate in January 2010 while completing his final semester of his MBA, and quickly rose through the ranks to become a Partner. Karam currently serves as a director or observer on the boards of: Rubikloud, Chatkit, Ross, Clearpath, Street Contxt and Vidyard, and led or co-led our investments in Chango (acquired by Rubicon Project for $122M), BufferBox (acquired by Google), and Well.ca (acquired by McKesson Canada). Prior to inovia capital, Karam served as a subject matter expert at RBC on cross enterprise software architecture initiatives. Karam holds an MBA from Ivey Business School and a Bachelor of Math and Computer Science in Bioinformatics.

Alexander Norman
Canadian Partner
AngelList

Alex Norman is the GP of N49P, a preseed Canadian VC fund, the Canadian Partner of AngelList and the co-founder of TechTO.  Previously he worked in professional services at Lehman Brothers and McKinsey, and was an operator at early stage tech companies including Simply Business (400m exit) and HomeSav (which he cofounded and exited).  He has a BCom. from McGill University and a MBA from Wharton. Alex lives in Toronto with his wife and two kids.

Alexandre Nossovskoi
Venture Manager, Health Stream
Creative Distruction Lab

Alex Nossovskoi is a Venture Manager at the Creative Destruction Lab’s health stream in Toronto. Prior to joining the lab, he was part of the iGan Partners investment team, one of the largest early stage healthcare funds in Canada, before joining a vc-backed startup where he led marketing and growth. He completed his Bachelor’s degree in Finance at the University of Western Ontario, a certification from MIT in Big Data and Social (Behavioural) Analytics, as well as the CFA Level 1 and CSC exams. Alex is an active member of the startup community, and has been featured on CNBC, FastCompany, and more, sharing insights about tech ventures and technologies.

Greg Orelowitz
Software Investor
Klass Capital

Greg joined Klass Capital in 2019. His key responsibilities include sourcing deals, creating detailed financial models, performing in-depth industry research and monitoring portfolio companies.

Prior to joining, Greg was an Investment Banking Analyst in the Mergers and Acquisitions group at Bank of America Merrill Lynch in Toronto. Greg holds an Honours Business Administration (HBA) degree from the Richard Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario (with Distinction, Ivey Scholar).

Jim Orlando
Managing Partner
Wittington Ventures

Jim Orlando is the Managing Partner of Wittington Ventures, a venture capital firm investing in technology companies in the commerce, healthcare and food sectors. Jim was previously a Managing Partner of OMERS Ventures and led its investments in numerous startups including Contentful, DuckDuckGo, Digital Currency Group, Jobber, Shopify,  and Wattpad. Prior to OMERS Ventures, Jim held senior roles in OMERS Private Equity, Bell Canada’s venture arm and Battery Ventures in Silicon Valley. Jim studied computer engineering at McMaster University.

Anna Palmer
General Partner and Co-founder, XFactor Ventures
Flybridge Capital Partners

Anna Palmer is General Partner at Flybridge Capital, an early stage investment fund where she leads investments in companies on the cutting edge of commerce, community and the future of work. Alongside her role with Flybridge, Anna also is co-founder of XFactor Ventures, a pre-seed fund founded in 2017 that now spans 6 cities, 22 investment partners, and 60 portfolio companies.  

Prior to her roles in venture, Anna founded two companies, both marketplaces, selling Fashion Project- the industry leader in luxury clothing donation, in 2016 and currently serving as Executive Chairman of JoinDough.com- the best place to shop and discover women owned products. Anna and her work have been featured on CNBC SquawkBox, in publications such as Forbes, Fortune, Vanity Fair and Instyle Magazine, and in the books Counter Mentor Leadership and Launching While Female. 

She holds a B.A. from Eureka College, where she is a member of the Board of Trustees, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School.

Pan Pan
Co-Founder
NPK Capital

Pan Pan is an investment professional and entrepreneur with +20 years of financial services and food/agribusiness industry experience. She is Co-Founder of NPK Capital, an investment firm focused on the agri-food sector, carbon/environmental markets, and sustainable investments. She is also a Venture Partner at Loyal VC, a seed/early stage INSEAD affiliated VC fund with a global portfolio.

Previously, Pan held senior positions at agri-food companies including Unilever and Bunge, while also serving as Director at EIT Climate-KIC - EU’s leading public-private partnership for climate innovation where she designed and managed a Pan-European agritech innovation accelerator.

Pan has a BA in Economics (honors) from Northwestern University (USA), a MBA from INSEAD (France) and is a Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA). She was a World Economic Forum Global Leadership Fellow, LGT Venture Philanthropy Impact Fellow, and The Kiel Institute for the World Economy GES Young Fellow. Before her business career, Pan was trained as a professional pianist for 13 years and studied at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music (China) and the Eastman School of Music (Rochester, NY, USA). Pan holds dual Swiss and US citizenship, and is based in Geneva, Switzerland.

Parasvil Patel
Partner
Radical Ventures

Parasvil Patel is a partner at Radical Ventures, an AI focused early-stage VC firm. He partners with visionary entrepreneurs using AI to transform traditional industries. Prior to Radical, he worked at KKR and BCG. He received a B.Tech. in Electrical Engineering from IIT Bombay and an MBA with High Distinction from Harvard Business School.

Stephen Pollack
CEO
InsideSpin

Stephen Pollack is a serial entrepreneur and technology specialist working with companies in a variety of board, advisory and consultancy roles. Stephen focuses on young technology companies seeking excellence where the leadership team desires innovation and furthering their understanding of proven ways to rapidly grow a successful business.

Stephen was most well known as Founder and CEO of PlateSpin Ltd. He and his team grew globally from startup to over $25M over five years leading to a strategic acquisition by Novell in March, 2008. Stephen and his team won numerous awards for fast growth, global market leadership and business excellence achieving the #2 position for fast growth in Canada and 11th in North America over the 5-year period. Stephen was also one of three finalists for the 2008 E&Y Entrepreneur of the Year award.  Stephen is also the author of www.InsideSpin.com, a popular web site for insightful materials addressing the challenges of building successful technology ventures.

"He has talent, operates with integrity, is an inspirational and passionate leader, characteristics that will often delivers results that exceed expectations. Stephen demonstrated talents that span many functional areas from sales to marketing, product management, engineering and business operations and would be considered one of the best technology leaders around." - Scott Maxwell, OpenView Partners.

Jeffery Potvin
Founder/GP
OPN/SupportersFund

Open People Network (OPN)! OPN is a group of angel investors helping accelerate the growth of early Stage startups through The Supporters Fund and Pitchit Series. Jeffery is a lifelong entrepreneur with a proven track record of building companies and reinventing existing businesses. Jeffery is a mentor, coach and loves to climb mountains!

Background

• Multiple degrees: Post grad, Seneca College, York University

• Software engineer/Ecommerce Manager: Loblaws

• CEO/CTO: Hardboot Inc, development resourcing and Platform dev shop

• 7 Angel groups & Screening: York, Spark & GTAN, Equation, Keiretsu…

• Real Estate: Single & duplex's conversions

• 55+ companies Invested

Areas of Investment: Deep Tech, Real estate, Bitcoin, Retail, & Fintech.

• Currently invest in F&F rounds: preparing companies for Supporters Fund investment in Pre Seed round!

Amy Rae
Principal
Vanedge Capital

Amy is focused on investing in SaaS businesses and applied analytic technologies. Prior to joining Vanedge, Amy was the former Vice President & General Manager of Mobile and Social Commerce with Ziplocal (USA) where she was responsible for product. Prior to that, she held the position of Director of Business Development at Canpages after they acquired ZipLocal Canada. In this capacity at both companies, she leveraged her deal-making and relationship building skills to attract and broker new partnerships to enhance their online local search businesses.

Amy’s previous venture capital experience was as an associate with JLA Venture Partners where she provided due diligence and investment candidate screening. Prior to joining JLA, she was an Analyst with Latitude Partners, a merchant bank firm focused on the technology sector.

Amy’s career has been entirely focused on entrepreneurship and venture capital. Amy is actively involved in promoting entrepreneurship and supporting the Canadian startup community. She is a Board member of the Vancouver Enterprise Forum. Amy holds a B.Comm. with a finance specialization from Dalhousie University.

Loren Rafeson
Partner, Growth Equity
BDC Capital

Loren Rafeson is Partner, Growth Equity Partners, at BDC Capital where he helps leading Canadian companies scale globally. Since joining BDC in 2018, Loren has been involved in the execution of BDC’s investments in Firmex and Preciseley Microtechnology, and currently serves on the boards of Firmex and InvestorCOM. He previously served on the board of Neighbourly Pharmacy.

Loren has over 15 years’ experience in private equity and corporate finance having worked for several investment management firms in Canada and the United Kingdom, as well as the merchant bank and the investment bank of two large Canadian financial institutions. Loren holds a BBA from the Schulich School of Business at York University and an MBA from INSEAD. In addition, he is a CFA charterholder.

Jennien Raffington
Fellow
RareBreed Ventures

Prior to joining RareBreed Ventures as a fellow, Jennien worked in the Business Management department at one of the top five Canadian banks focused on reporting for internal projects. She currently also works at an ecommerce company analyzing data, identifying trends and helping to facilitate data-driven decision making.

Jennien holds a Master's degree from the University of Guelph in Bioinformatics where she completed a thesis focused on Natural Language Processing and a Bachelor's degree from McMaster University in Chemistry.

Prathna Ramesh
VP Operations
Futuresight Ventures

Prathna serves as Vice President at FutureSight and Chief Compliance Officer of Maple Leaf Angels. At FutureSight she plays an active role in the investment and new venture co creation process of the venture studio and leads fund operations. FutureSight builds and funds B2B SaaS companies at the early stages. Most recently, Prathna served as Managing Director of Maple Leaf Angels, Toronto's largest and most active angel network of high-net-worth individuals investing in innovation. Through this experience, she gained a strong track record of investing in early-stage Canadian technology ventures in Enterprise Software, Healthtech and Fintech. Prathna was also the General Partner of the MLA48 Funds (Ontario's only angel fund making investment decisions in 48 hours). Reporting to the MLA and MLACC Board of Directors, Prathna was responsible for the capital raise and deployment of all MLA48 funds. Investments have ranged between $50,000-$500,000 per company. Prathna holds a Commerce degree from the Rotman School of Management - University of Toronto and an Executive MBA from the Smith School of Business – Queens University.

Nik Rasskazovskiy
Director, Technology and Innovation Banking
National Bank of Canada

Nik Rasskazovskiy has over 10 years of experience in Financial Services across Investment Banking, Investment Analysis, Equity Research and Specialty Lending with focus on technology-intensive industries.

His experience involves coverage of opportunities from early-stage to multi-billion public companies including valuation, financing, mergers and acquisitions and strategic advisory at FIs ranging from private boutiques to major banks.

Nik holds an MBA from the Rotman School of Management at The University of Toronto and is pursuing his CFA designation.

Lauren Robinson
Partner, Highline BETA
Highline BETA

Lauren Robinson is a Partner at Highline BETA, an early-stage investor and a startup co-creation firm that launches and funds new ventures with leading corporations and entrepreneurs. Highline BETA works with forward-thinking, Fortune 1000 companies to reimagine and co-create the future of their industries through Corporate Innovation Programs, New Venture Creation & Investment Funding.

Previously, Lauren led operations at Highline VC, a Pre-Seed Fund & Acceleration Platform that invests in innovative technology companies conquering global markets. With offices in Toronto and Vancouver, Lauren was responsible for evaluating deal flow, portfolio management, overseeing national programming and driving new platform initiatives to better support portfolio founders.

Lauren is an active speaker and recognized leader in the Canadian tech, accelerator and innovation ecosystems, through her contributions to various Boards and other national and global initiatives. She has served as an active Board member for the National Angel Capital Organization (NACO), Canadian Acceleration and Business Incubation (CABI) Association and Vancouver Entrepreneurs Forum (VEF), and has led multiple initiatives to support and empower women investors and entrepreneurs, including her role as Executive Director of Female Funders, a global community of female angel investors and innovators.

Jamie Rosenblatt
Partner
Golden Venture Partners

Jamie works closely with portfolio founders, entrepreneurs, accelerators, incubators, and the broader startup community, to help find, fund and build exceptional companies. Jamie began his career in corporate development at O’Leary Ventures, a private early-stage investment company owned and chaired by Kevin O’Leary. He then joined Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP where he practiced corporate law with a focus on M&A and corporate finance in the technology sector. Prior to joining Golden Ventures, Jamie was the Head of Business Development for Avid Life Media. He has a JD / MBA from the University of Toronto, and a BA in Philosophy from Western University.

Tricia Salinero
Managing Partner & Managing Director Co-Lead of Software and Internet Services
Woodside Capital Partners

Tricia has completed more than 100 technology mergers and acquisitions valued at $4 billion over her 20+ years in technology. She has represented companies that sold to Google, Microsoft, Red Hat, Oracle, Blackbaud, Northvolt, Honda, and Social Capital.  

Prior to joining Woodside Capital, Tricia was the founder and Managing Partner of Newforth Partners, a boutique M&A advisory firm focused on the technology sector.  Prior to founding Newforth in 2002, Tricia spent seven years at Broadview International, a global M&A advisor for IT, communications, healthcare technology and media companies. She was instrumental in numerous transactions including the Kingston / SoftBank equity sale for $1.8 billion. Earlier, Tricia held corporate development positions at SuperMac and was a consultant at Arbor Group.

Tricia received a BA degree in History from University of California, Berkeley, and a master’s degree in Public Administration from California State, East Bay, with an emphasis in Organizational Development.

Sanjiv Samant
Managing Partner
Round13 Growth Fund

Sanjiv joined Round13 in the beginning of 2020 to establish the Round13 Growth Fund as a Founder and Managing Partner. Sanjiv has spent 20+ years in the technology & healthcare sectors, and is one of Canada's most experienced and widely respected growth company advisors and financiers.

Prior to establishing the Round13 Growth Fund, Sanjiv headed the Technology, Media, Telecommunication (“TMT”), Sustainability and Healthcare investment banking group at a Canadian bank owned dealer.

During his professional career Sanjiv has advised a wide variety of Canadian growth companies on M&A, IPO and capital raising initiatives, including leading transactions for several of the most prominent public software-as-a-service companies in Canada. Some of Sanjiv’s most recent trusted clients have included Lightspeed POS, Shopify, Kinaxis, Halogen and Solium, and Sanjiv has acted in advisory roles for many other long-term clients including Pure Technologies, Com Dev, and RuggedCom.

Sanjiv holds a Bachelor of Arts, Economics from the University of Western Ontario, a MBA, Finance from the Schulich School of Business at York University, and an LLB, Law from Osgoode Hall Law School.

Matt Saunders
Co-Founder
Fastbreak Ventures

Matt is a Partner at Fastbreak Ventures, a seed-stage venture fund focussed on investing in exceptional founders building enterprise software platforms. At Fastbreak, we leverage our experience as founders and operators along with customer connections to accelerate the growth of our portfolio companies. Matt has over 20 years of experience as an entrepreneur, executive, and investor working with various companies in the technology and service-based sectors. He brings operations, finance, business development, and strategic planning experience.

Brice Scheschuk
Managing Partner
Globalive Capital

Brice Scheschuk, CPA, CA is the Chief M&A Officer of Globalive Technology, Managing Partner of Globalive Capital and CFO of Pragmatic Solutions. He was CFO of WIND Mobile as well as CEO of Globalive Communications. Brice has over twenty years’ experience building and operating companies at Globalive, Leitch Technology and PricewaterhouseCoopers. He obtained his CA designation at PricewaterhouseCoopers and B.Comm (Hon.) Finance from Dalhousie University. Selected current and past board and advisory positions include Cranson Capital, Creative Destruction Labs – Atlantic, Espresso Capital, Findev (CVE:FDI), Flexiti Financial, Founder Institute, Globalive Communications, iLOOKABOUT (CVE:ILA), Level Jump Financial Group, Loran Scholars Foundation, OutsideIQ, Partsroom, Plaza Land Fund, Plaza Ventures, PitchPoint Solutions, Pragmatic Solutions, Ryerson Futures, Samba Days/Rewards, SceneDoc, Shamba Foundation, Techstars Toronto, Varicent Software, Web Host Industry Review, White Crane Capital, WIND Mobile, World of Angus and Zoocasa. Brice is a frequent speaker on scale-up entrepreneurship and innovation.

Mike Sfalcin
Principal
Yaletown Partners

For more than 10 years, he worked at the intersection of the technology and finance industries. In his many capacities as co-founder, investor, and consultant, he has sourced, managed, and completed dozens of investments.

Before joining Yaletown, Michael helped a Schedule A bank re-enter the technology lending market. He was also an Investment Director with a venture capital and venture debt firm for five years, leading more than 15 successful investments.

Michael began his career with a seed-stage incubation and investment firm that was created and financed by a successful entrepreneur. After graduating from McMaster’s University DeGroote School of Business, he completed an MBA in management of innovation and new technology and finance.

Sunil Sharma
Managing Partner, Toronto Accelerator
Techstars

Sunil Sharma is Managing Director for Techstars Toronto.  Techstars Toronto is a city program and Techstars' first accelerator in Canada.  Techstars Toronto is a joint venture between Techstars and Real Ventures (Canada’s most active venture capital fund).

Prior to Techstars Sunil was a Managing Partner with Extreme Venture Partners (EVP) and co-founder and Managing Director of Extreme Startups.  While at Extreme, Sunil sourced and lead more than 40 investments across two funds and two accelerator programs.

Sunil is passionate about helping entrepreneurs become great.  He spends some of his free time running the Founder Institute pre-accelerator program in Toronto and Waterloo.  Through Founder Institute Sunil has helped first-time founders create more than 100 brand new startups with the support of more than 80 mentors.

Sunil has been very active in the startup community from his time co-launching Startup Weekend Toronto (now part of Techstars) as well as organizing many of Canada’s leading innovation and technology conferences and events.

Prior to his career helping startups, Sunil was a career diplomat in the Canadian Foreign Service.   Sunil served as the head of the Canadian Consulate in San Diego, California where he launched one of Canada’s newest diplomatic missions. Sunil has also worked at the Canadian Space Agency and represented Canada at the United Nations in Geneva.

Sunil has an undergraduate degree from the University of Victoria and a graduate degree from the University of Toronto.

Laith Shukri
Sr. Market Development Manager
Silicon Valley Bank

Laith is a senior market development manager for SVB in Toronto, where his role is to build and strengthen relationships between the bank and early-stage companies in Canada. To this end, he consults with innovators to identify ways that SVB can best serve their needs as they scale. Laith is particularly passionate about using his background and talents to help founders move to the next opportunity; his services include providing feedback on pitches and business models as well as fostering connections between Canada’s upcoming game-changers and the most influential peers, organizations and programs in Canada’s innovation ecosystem that can help set new ideas in motion.

Prior to joining SVB, Laith served as a senior analyst for ScaleUP Ventures, a Toronto-based VC fund. In this capacity, he was responsible for deal-flow management, coaching founders and cultivating partnerships with significant programs and conferences. Earlier in his career, Laith worked at the DMZ, a leading accelerator for tech startups in Canada.

Outside of work, Laith volunteers on the leadership team of the Diversity and Inclusion Small Council (DISC). This group of 10 high-level industry representatives is dedicated to promoting diversity and inclusion in VC funds and in the broader VC community.

Asha Soares
Director, Technology & Innovation, Mid-Market Investment Banking
CIBC

Asha joined CIBC in 2018 and is focused on advising technology companies on M&A and capital raise transactions. Over her career, Asha has successfully advised on numerous transactions across a variety of sub-sectors including Enterprise Software, Vertical SaaS, SMB SaaS, HR Tech, Healthcare IT, Digital Media and AdTech. 

Asha has over a decade of technology and growth industry experience across Capital Market roles and, prior to joining CIBC, held various roles at leading global financial institutions including Paradigm Capital, Cantor Fitzgerald, Stifel Nicolaus and Veritas Investment Research.

Asha is a CFA Charter holder and holds a Bachelor of Mathematics from the University of Waterloo

Pablo Srugo
Principal
Mistral Venture Partners

Pablo Srugo is a Principal at Mistral Venture Partners, based in Toronto. Prior to Mistral, Pablo was the co-founder and COO of Gymtrack– a VC-backed startup in the FitTech space. Before starting Gymtrack, Pablo co-founded an online tutoring platform, which was acquired in 2014.

Craig Strong
Partner
Round13 Capital

Craig’s main interest is helping entrepreneurs to build powerful sales & marketing machines. He was the co-founder and CEO of Fitzii, an online recruiting company that uses a predictive algorithm to match candidates to employers (sold to the Ian Martin Group).

Craig worked at Deloitte – initially as a Marketing Director and later as a strategy consultant in the Enterprise Risk practice. Before that, Craig co-founded and led Ethos, the corporate responsibility practice of JWT – the world’s fourth-biggest ad agency.

Craig has an MBA from the Rotman School of Management at University of Toronto. He was on the Advisory Board of AutoShare (sold to Enterprise) and, until recently, was on the Board at Evergreen.

Anthony Sturgeon
Senior Account Manager - Tech
Export Development Canada

Anthony Sturgeon is a Senior Account Manager with Export Development Canada’s tech industry team. In support of EDC’s mandate to help Canadian companies grow internationally, he assists technology companies with financing, risk mitigation and international knowledge and connections.

Anthony holds a BA, Economic from the University of British Columbia and an MBA from Queens University. Prior to joining EDC, he developed a strong understanding of Canada’s economy as an Economist as an economic consulting company.  

He is always willing to connect with innovative Canadian companies to help them take on the world.

Alex Tong
Venture Investor
Information Venture Partners

Alex joined Information Venture Partners in 2016 focused on investments in FinTech and enterprise software startups, and works closely with the fund’s portfolio companies. He currently serves on the Board of Directors at LendingFront and is a Board Observer at a number of other companies including Cinchy, Jirav, Knowtions Research and Procurify.

Prior to joining Information Venture Partners Alex worked at Hootsuite as its first team hire in corporate development. Alex worked cross-functionally with its leadership team, executing on numerous growth initiatives including corporate and team acquisitions, new mobile apps (content and social selling) and raising venture capital. Prior to Hootsuite, Alex worked at BMO Capital Markets in both Mergers and Acquisitions and the Financial Institutions Group, working on various mandates including a U.S. regional bank acquisition, financial technology M&A, large P&C insurance IPO, and other M&A assignments across energy, utilities, media and telecom. Alex also worked at CIBC in its Leveraged Finance Group, focusing on credit opportunities involving various private equity and mid-market companies.

Outside of the fund, Alex also serves as a mentor to various startups. Alex graduated with First Class Honours, holding a BBA from the Beedie School of Business at Simon Fraser University.

Becca Topper
Chief of Staff
Moderne Ventures

Becca Topper is the Chief of Staff at Moderne Ventures. Her responsibilities include investor relations, partnership strategy, technology trends research, industry analysis sourcing and portfolio management.

Prior to joining Moderne Ventures, Becca worked in Investor Relations at Cadre, a tech-enabled real estate investment platform. She worked with individual high net worth investors, introducing them to the platform, outlining investment opportunities and acting as a relationship manager throughout the process. She also led investor strategy and go-to-market plans for various fund and product launches. Becca started her career as a Rotational Analyst in Wealth Management at Morgan Stanley, where she worked in Investment Research, Product Development, Philanthropy Management, and UHNW Business Strategy.

Becca received her Bachelor of Arts in Public Policy and a minor in Economics from Duke University.   

Galen Udell
Investor & Startup Advisor
York Angel Investors

After a highly successful 25+ years with IBM Canada, IBM Corp (US), and Belden in the areas of new business development, marketing, and sales, Galen retired to start a second career as an entrepreneur, mentor and angel investor.

Throughout his corporate career, Galen specialized in bringing new products, services, and technology to market; from ideation, to strategy, to marketing, and eventually sales. He has received numerous corporate awards in the areas of new business development, strategic planning, channel management, and sales management. Additionally, he has led both large and small marketing and sales teams.

Having worked internationally with both IBM and Belden, including roles as a Global SMB Marketing Manager, Sales & Marketing Director for Greater China and Director of Global Strategic Accounts, Galen has broad industry knowledge, having worked across several business sectors, such as Banking & Finance, Healthcare, Government, Education, Entertainment, and IT. He is viewed as a leader in the IT industry for increasing sales, reducing costs, and improving customer satisfaction through the creation of new business partner programs, sales force automation tools, strategic customer relationships, and industry alliances, and has been recognized as a leader in high performance sales with a focus on customer collaboration, solution selling, and customer ROI.

In 2015, Galen founded Bark 'n Yapp, a marketplace start-up in the pet sector, and Novate Technologies, a consulting firm that helps SME’s leverage new technologies to expand their businesses. Galen now spends his time as the Executive Director of York Angel Investors, an Angel Investor, startup Advisor, and mentor for founders and entrepreneurs.

Peggy Van De Plassche
Managing Partner
Roar Growth

Peggy has spent close to 20 years in the IT and financial services industries globally as an executive, investor, and entrepreneur to leading financial institutions, as well as software and IT services companies.

She led innovation for CIBC, managed a European family office, started 2 fintech companies and allocated several billions of capital to technology projects on behalf of CGI & BMO.

Over the last few years she has advised funds (OMERS VC, Portag3 Ventures) financial institutions (BMO WM, Power Financial) and Fintechs (LongGame, DoubleClick Lending) on multiple aspects linked with value creation.

A board member at Invest in Canada, Impak Finance, FrontFundr and Hackergal, Peggy is passionate about D&I, impact investing and innovation.

Praveen Varshney
Partner
Varshney Capital

Praveen has been a principal of Varshney Capital Corp., a Vancouver based merchant banking, venture capital and corporate advisory services firm since 1991.  He's also a Founding Director of Pyfera Growth Capital & a Founding Director of Humanitas Smart Planet Fund, both with a social impact focus.  Mr. Varshney obtained a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of British Columbia in 1987 and is a FCPA, FCA.

He has been a Director or Officer of many publicly traded companies over the years including one of Canada's largest fintech companies, Mogo Inc. (NASDAQ: MOGO & TSX: MOGO) (Co-Founder).  He is also a Co-Founder of NEXE Innovations (TSX.V : NEXE) and of Little Kitchen Academy, and former CFO of Carmanah Technologies which became Canada's largest solar company, and of The Plastic Bank.  He was also Co-Founder of a predecessor of Mountain Province Diamonds (TSX : MPVD) who's Gahcho Kue project in September 2016 became the world's largest new diamond mine since 2003 & De Beers' (MPVD's partner) second-largest producer behind its Jwaneng mine in Botswana..

Praveen is a member of the Vancouver Chapter of EO since 1996, Toniic, TiE Vancouver (Founding Director) & Silicon Valley Blockchain Society - Vancouver Chapter (Founding Director).  He's also on a number of non-profit boards such as the Varshney Family Foundation, Dalai Lama Center for Peace + Education, the Vancouver Foundation & a Founding Member of Instruments Beyond Borders.  He's also an SVP Vancouver Partner, a Director of Foundations for Change, and on the Advisory Boards of Room to Read Vancouver and The Thomas Edison Innovation Foundation in New Jersey.  He also Co-Founded with his daughter, Jaiya, Down to the Last Straw, a global movement to reduce plastic waste with a major focus on single-use plastic straws.

Praveen is also a past recipient of Business in Vancouver's 40 Under 40 Awards and the 2020 Greater Vancouver Board of Trade Wendy McDonald Diversity Awards Outstanding Mentor recipient.

Kapil Venkatachalam
Partner
TCV

Kapil joined TCV in 2006 and spends time primarily in the software and tech-enabled services spaces, including both minority and majority investments. His areas of interest include security, analytics, and vertical software.

Kapil currently serves on the board of directors of ETQ and Rave Mobile Safety. His other active investments comprise FinancialForce and Genesys. Prior investments included Alarm.com (NASDAQ: ALRM), ExactTarget (NYSE: ET, acquired by Salesforce.com), Global 360 (acquired by OpenText), IQMS (acquired by Dassault Systemes), OSIsoft (interest acquired by SoftBank), Rapid7 (NASDAQ: RPD), Seismic Micro-Technology (acquired by IHS), SolArc (acquired by OpenLink Financial), Splunk (NASDAQ: SPLK), TOA Technologies (acquired by Oracle), and Webroot (acquired by Carbonite).

Prior to TCV, Kapil worked for the CIO at Goldman Sachs on various strategic application and infrastructure technology projects. He also spent time as a software investment banker at Goldman Sachs in New York.

Kapil’s journey to finding his ultimate passion in tech investing included many pit stops — he explored being a commercial pilot, a chef, and other experiences worth sharing over a cold beverage.

He has lived in Singapore, India, and Tanzania and looks for every opportunity to travel with family and friends. He enjoys watching Bollywood movies, is an amateur photographer, and experiments with every new flight simulation game that comes to market.

Kapil received his M.E.M./M.S. in Electrical Engineering from the Dartmouth College, where he was a William F. May Fellow.

Bryan Watson
Partner
Flow Ventures

Bryan Watson is a Partner at Flow Ventures, Managing Director of CleanTech North, Founding Director of the Ontario Clean Technology Industry Association, Advisor to Renewable Energy Technologies Fund LP, and 2021 Clean50 Awardee as well as member of multiple Boards as a Director.

For over 15 years, Bryan has been an entrepreneur and advised and supported Angel and venture capital investors, all levels of government, NGOs and companies at all stages – scale-up to mature, global companies.

Bryan completed his Masters in Management, Economics and International Relations at the University of St. Andrews, Scotland, on the only full Chevening Scholarship awarded in Canada.

Jon Wolkin
Investment Director
TELUS Ventures

Jon brings 9 years of experience in investments and corporate finance to his role as Investment Director at TELUS Ventures, where he is responsible for identifying, evaluating and executing on strategic opportunities for TELUS Ventures. Jon leverages his previous experience with companies at various stages of growth to assess the viability of potential investments. He also works closely with existing portfolio companies on a day-to-day basis to enhance their financial and operational performance and is an active board observer for portfolio companies League, Beacon and SecureKey. Jon played a lead role in TELUS Ventures’ investment in Integrate AI.

His previous work as a Senior Strategy Manager at TELUS gives Jon unique insight into how TELUS Ventures’ investments contribute to the success of the business overall and help better serve TELUS customers. Prior to TELUS, he worked at the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan as part of Teachers’ Private Capital and was an investment banker at Scotia Capital focusing on the Technology, Media and Telecommunications (TMT) sectors.

Jon is a Toronto native and an active sports fan. When he’s not trying to beat his best run time – he’s completed three half-marathons – Jon can be found watching or playing basketball, baseball or spending time with his young and growing family.

Jon has an HBA degree (with distinction) from the Richard Ivey School of Business.

Kathryn Wortsman
Managing Partner
Amplify Capital

Kathryn Wortsman leads Amplify Capital, a seed stage firm investing in Canadian impact tech ventures based at the MaRS Discovery District.  Amplify Capital launched late 2019 and is the second fund after the success of the inaugural MaRS Catalyst Fund.  The MaRS Catalyst Fund was launched in 2016, and it was one of the first early stage impact venture funds in Canada. The fund was incubated and supported at the MaRS Discovery District in partnership with Virgin Unite Foundation.

Kathryn has 25 years of venture capital, private equity, business and social enterprise experience.  Kathryn started her career in investment banking then quickly moved to in venture capital and private equity where she saw the opportunity to make a long term investment and be part of building value and growth.   In Toronto, Kathryn spent time at CIBC Capital Partners, BMO Capital and Lynx Equity, a succession fund. In New York, Kathryn actively invested and managed a portfolio of early stage media technology companies with Constellation Ventures, a Bear Stearns-sponsored venture capital fund. Kathryn also actively invested and managed strategic insurance technology investments for MetLife, the largest life insurer in the United States, and subsequently joined its corporate development team to create new products and services.

Kathryn has held a number of board roles and participated in a number of exits, including strategic acquisitions, follow-on financings and IPOs for portfolio companies she managed directly.  In 2012, Kathryn jumped to a CEO role and managed operations through Toronto-based search fund Crest Capital.   Her passion for social finance was born a decade ago when she joined Social Venture Partners NYC and then subsequently founded Social Venture Partners Toronto. Kathryn was born and raised in Toronto and has an undergraduate degree from the University of Western Ontario and an MBA from Columbia University in New York.

Katy Yam
General Manager, Founder Fuel
Real Ventures

Katy is a natural connector of people and ideas in service of helping good people succeed. As General Manager of FounderFuel, her ambition is to create an environment that helps founders level up quickly by filling knowledge and experience gaps with pairings from Real Ventures’ rich mentor ecosystem. She believes that a sense of deep personal accountability and a #givegenerously mindset empowers founders and accelerates their traction at FounderFuel and beyond. Prior to joining Real, Katy spent 3 years at Element AI, scaling from pre-Series A to its acquisition post-Series B as Canada’s largest and global AI company. 

She is a multilingual executive with a 20+ year history of managing high-performing product, business intelligence and marketing teams across various public and private industries including telecommunications (Bell Canada), consumer packaged goods (Maple Leaf Foods), gambling (Loto-Québec) and artificial intelligence (Element AI). Katy also serves as an independent board member at Loto-Québec following her nomination by the Quebec Cabinet. Since 2013, Katy has led TEDxMontréal, a non-profit dedicated to elevating Montreal-born ideas onto the global TED stage. A guest lecturer, board member, public speaker and triathlete, she adores reading fiction of all sorts and riding/running on Zwift to unwind.

Kimberly Yeung
Principal, Strategic Investments and Women in Technology Venture Fund
BDC Capital

Kimberly Yeung is a Principal, Strategic Investments and Women in Technology Venture Fund at BDC Capital.

Kim has over 10 years of experience in the financial sector and worked in private equity investing in New York and Toronto. She began her career in both the investment banking and merchant banking divisions at Goldman Sachs in New York.

Kim holds an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and an HBA from the Richard Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario.

David Zug
Principal
HarbourVest Partners, LLC

David Zug joined HarbourVest in 2005 and focuses on sourcing, evaluating, and executing growth equity, buyout, and mezzanine transactions. David recently led the expansion of the firm’s international operations to Canada and the opening of the Toronto office. He currently serves as a board observer for Miovision Technologies and Q4 Inc. David has led several direct co-investments, including Benefitmall (acquired by Carlyle), Lightower (acquired by Crown Castle), RCN (acquired by TPG), Saba Software, SafeNet (acquired by Gemalto), Sonder, TeamViewer, Wave Financial, and Zayo Group (NYSE: ZAYO).

David’s prior experience includes four years at The Monitor Group, the international strategy consulting firm, where he focused on growth strategies for corporate clients and private equity investors.

David received a BA (cum laude) from Dartmouth College and an MBA from the Darden School at the University of Virginia. He serves as a Trustee of Thompson Island Outward Bound in Boston.




Have questions? Need help?
Contact Jessica McNair at jmcnair@brunico.com.