Meet Our Judges
The CIX Top 20 Early and CIX Top 10 Growth Selection Committee is composed of North American investors and innovation experts. Their mandate is to evaluate a random group of submissions based on the following six criteria: Business Model, Quality of Product and Service Offering, Market Opportunity and Depth of Management and Diversity of Leadership.
We would like to thank the 135+ judges who are participating this year.
Please note that judges are recused from evaluating any submissions if a conflict of interest exists. The 2022 selection process will occur over 3 weeks in August on CIX's awards platform.
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 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
Talia is the managing partner of Deloitte Ventures and is responsible for launching the Canadian initiative in 2022. Coming from an entrepreneurial household, Talia is passionate about helping founders succeed.
In the five years before taking on Deloitte Ventures, Talia served as the chief operating officer for Deloitte’s national Financial Advisory practice and for Omnia AI, the firm’s artificial intelligence practice in Canada. She was on the ground floor of building the AI practice in 2018 and scaling it into the highly successful practice it is today.
Talia also has more than a decade of experience providing valuation and M&A advisory services to a variety of companies, with a particular focus on and personal excitement towards the technology sector. She has extensive experience in strategy development and complex execution with a focus on driving operational improvements and enabling growth through strategic investments.
Talia graduated from the Ivey School of Business and is a Chartered Business Valuator.
Narbe Alexandrian is an angel investor, and the former President and CEO of RIV Capital, a private equity and venture capital fund traded on the Canadian Stock Exchange (CSE:RIV). Prior to RIV Capital, Narbe worked as a venture capitalist at OMERS Ventures, the largest venture capital fund in Canada, responsible for close to $1 billion in assets under management. In his role, Narbe is responsible for researching and executing investment opportunities in the Technology, Media and Telecommunications (TMT) sector.
Narbe has taught courses in technology entrepreneurship and accounting at the Schulich School of Business and Rotman Commerce, and has also been an instructor for the Canadian Institute of Chartered Professional Accountants. Narbe is a Chartered Accountant (CA) and Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA).
I am currently an Investment Analyst at Relay Ventures based in our Toronto office. As a member of the Investment team, I take a data-centric approach in the due diligence and thesis development process. In addition, my experience within the Asset Management and PE/VC space offers a unique perspective for analyzing opportunities and spotting patterns. Prior to joining Relay Ventures and completing my MBA, I worked on the Investment consulting team at Aon. About Relay: At Relay we focus on four verticals that we believe technology will have an outsized impact on. We partner with founders at the Seed and Series A stage and provide support throughout the entire lifecycle of the business. We invest in FinTech, PropTech, Transportation, and Sports & Media.
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.
Maor is a Global Capital Markets professional. Over the last 20 years he has held roles with increasing responsibilities within the institutional sales department of two highly regarded investment banks. Throughout the years, Maor has advised some of the world’s largest institutional investors based in Europe, Canada and the US and has had the opportunity to work with the managements of many of North America’s largest corporations.
Maor holds a bachelor degree in mining engineering from McGill university (1994) and a Masters in Management degree from Ecole Superior de Commerce de Nice, Sophia Antipolis (1996). He lives in Montreal along with his wife and 2 kids.
Founder & Managing Director
Credit Mutuel Equity
Ludovic André is Founder and Managing Director of the Canadian venture capital arm of Crédit Mutuel Equity, a private equity subsidiary of Crédit Mutuel Alliance Fédérale, one of France’s largest banking organizations.
With 20 years of experience in the venture capital field in both France and North America, Ludovic has been involved in more than 30 companies mainly in the ICT and health sectors. Prior to joining the private equity sector, Ludovic held several key engineering and project management positions in the semiconductor industry.
Ludovic is co-founder and board member of French Tech Toronto. He acts as a mentor to startups as part of tech accelerators. He also sits on the boards of several private companies.
Ludovic holds a Master of Science in Chemical Engineering from Institut National
Polytechnique de Grenoble and the University of Texas at Austin, as well as an MBA from HEC in Paris.
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.
Maverix Private Equity
Layth is a Partner at Maverix Private Equity. In this role, he is responsible for deal sourcing, execution and portfolio company oversight. He brings 15 years of industry experience spanning private equity, management consulting, investment banking and software development. Layth has been involved in the origination, evaluation, execution, and oversight of buyout and minority investment transactions since 2017.
Prior to his career in private equity, Layth joined McKinsey & Company where he led and operational and financial restructurings, due diligences, and strategic reviews for clients around the globe. He was previously an associate in the investment banking division of RBC Capital Markets where he was involved in a variety of capital markets and M&A transactions.
Layth holds an Honours BASc. degree in Computer Engineering from the University of Waterloo and an MBA from the Richard Ivey School of Business. He is a Young Patrons Circle Ambassador with the Royal Ontario Museum. In his time away you can find him skiing, scuba diving, or reading.
Director, Venture Growth
Sep Assadian is Vice President for Venture Growth at ventureLAB. As an entrepreneur, mentor, advisor and investor, Sep has been working in the Canadian Innovation ecosystem for more than six years and has worked with 100s of startups that build-to-scale from Canada for global markets. Sep has been recognized for his international experience working with many VCs, accelerators, incubators and Science parks in Europe, Asia and the Middle East. Sep has over ten years of experience in innovation ecosystems globally, has supported the launch of several accelerators, and has also designed and coordinated national and international investment opportunities.
CENGN (Centre of Excellence in Next Generation Networks)
Tom is a seasoned veteran of Bay and Wall Street with 25 years’ experience in equity research and capital markets management. One of the top ranked technology and sector analysts for almost 15 years with experience in Canadian, U.S. and European markets. Recent experience includes venture and growth equity and debt investing as well as management of a public listed company. Tom is currently an active board member of both public, private and not-for-profit companies in the technology, finance and healthcare space.
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.
Chief Accelerator Officer
Hussam Ayyad is a multi-time entrepreneur, angel investor and business leader. He brings over 18 years of experience in building and operating companies, and in enabling other founders build high-growth ventures. Hussam is currently the Chief Accelerator Officer at Highline Beta, a globally recognized accelerator builder-operator and venture capital firm focused on corporate innovation.
Prior to joining Highline Beta, Hussam has dedicated his efforts to supporting other entrepreneurs. He was responsible for leading the team that transformed the DMZ from a university-based experiential learning space –in 2016– to a highly-recognized and world-leading tech accelerator and incubator. He also played a leading role in closely supporting hundreds of entrepreneurs as a trusted ex-CEO and an executive coach through his extensive work with Communitech and through leading its open innovation programs, and through numerous other involvements across various organizations in the global startup ecosystem. That followed a decade of innovating, co-founding and growing a number of international businesses in different industries and countries across the world, one of which he was responsible for the massive growth of.
He holds a Bachelor of Software Engineering from the University of Western Ontario, Master of Business Entrepreneurship and Technology (MBET) from the University of Waterloo and an MBA from The University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management.
Sumeru Equity Partners
Jason is a Managing Director at Sumeru Equity Partners and focuses on the firm’s software investments. Prior to co-founding Sumeru Equity Partners, he was a principal at Silver Lake Sumeru, the middle market investment strategy of Silver Lake and predecessor fund of Sumeru Equity Partners.
Jason has more than 15 years of technology investing and operating experience. As an operator, Jason was the Director of Engineering for Angstron Systems, a venture-backed startup he helped lead to a successful acquisition and he holds six issued patents. As an investor, Jason focuses on business-oriented software with investments including Talend (IPO – NASDAQ:TLND), Blackline (IPO – NASDAQ:BL), Buildium (Acquired), Snow Software, Criteria, Tasktop, and Loopio.
Michael is the Managing Director of the Georgian Angel Network, a not-for-profit organization whose members make angel investments in businesses seeking capital to commercialize and scale their transformational innovations. In his role, Michael reviews applications, recommends the best opportunities to present to members and coordinates the investment review and closing process.
Michael is also the part-time Executive Director of the International Institute of Business Valuers, a not-for-profit organization that develops and delivers quality professional business valuation education globally.
Michael is an accomplished senior executive, with over 40 years of successes leading transactions in a wide range of sectors, all across Canada, including professional education, finance, steel, IT staffing, multi-media, entertainment, utilities, nuclear energy, aerospace, trucking, logistics, and online education. He has been a partner at Deloitte, CCFL Advisory, Nesbitt Thomson, Power Financial Capital and KMPG.
His broad areas of expertise include corporate finance; business and equity valuation; strategic planning; forecasting; due diligence; M&A; restructuring; executive training; and e-learning.
He is also a founding shareholder of Hardwood Ski and Bike Inc. and a member of the Board of Directors of Dynasty Ventures Inc. He graduated from the University of Waterloo with a B.Math (Hons) where he focused on computer science, statistics and financial analysis.
Michael Badham CPA, CA, CBV
Snita Balsara is an investor with Graphite Ventures, a leading early-stage Venture Capital fund based in Toronto. She is energized by passionate entrepreneurs who are developing innovative technologies, building diverse teams and scaling strong businesses.
Snita has over a decade of investment experience and is an active member of the community she is proudly engaged with a number of initiatives. Within the innovation ecosystem her leadership skills are put to good use on the Board of Directors at Golden Triangle Angel Network, as a Founding Member of Toronto’s Women in Venture Capital community, and on the Leadership Committee on the Diversity and Inclusion Small Council.
Snita holds a B.Comm from Ryerson University (Information Technology Management), an MBA from the Schulich School of Business and ESADE, a PMP designation and has completed Coach Training through the Co-Active Training Institute.
Mistral Venture Partners
Raif is a startup CTO turned VC at Mistral Venture Partners in Canada. Prior to Mistral, he was the founder or CTO at multiple VC-backed companies in the Bay Area and Toronto, two of which were acquired, and two reached millions of users.
His more recent start-up CTO/Founder experience includes Nuula, a fintech that's raised $120M and Influitive, a late-stage B2B SaaS company that counts 8 of the ten largest software companies as customers. He was also the founding VP Eng at Loblaw Digital, building a team of 150 from pre-revenue to $100M (today at $3B).
He also advises venture-backed startups across the US & Canada on how to scale their product and engineering organizations, typically working directly with their CEO and CTO. He is a mentor with the ScaleUP accelerator at the Lazaridis Institute at Wilfred Laurier University in Waterloo, Hatchery at the University of Toronto and Berkeley-Haas Entrepreneurship Program at UC Berkeley.
He has an MBA from UC Berkeley, a B.Sc.H. in Computer Science, and a B.Sc in Mathematics from Queen’s University.
Investor, Director of Data & Operations
Alexander is a VC with Graphite Ventures, previously MaRS Investment Accelerator Fund (IAF), and has led seed-stage investments in high-potential IT, health, and cleantech startups. He’s spent over a decade working with hardware & software across sectors, from enterprise cloud development to healthcare hardware financing.
Niamh Barry is an Investor at Georgian, a fintech company focused on investing in high-growth technology companies that harness the power of data in a trustworthy way. Georgian is driven by a desire to provide the best possible experience of growth capital to CEOs and founders. Georgian’s platform provides the insights and automation to accelerate growth and augment how the team supports CEOs.
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).
Managing Partner, Growth Venture Co-Investment Fund
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.
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.
Mark Blackwell is a General Partner and lead of the Canadian Office at Builders. Previously, Mark was a Product Manager at SolarWinds, which develops IT monitoring and network management tools. Mark joined SolarWinds when it acquired GNS3 Technologies ($30MM), an enterprise networking startup where Mark was the Chief Operating Officer. While there, Mark contributed to over 1MM monthly active users, 16MM downloads, and a customer base that included the US Department of Defense, AT&T, Walmart, Google, and Facebook.
Prior to GNS3, Mark was an Investment Manager at Cenovus Energy’s corporate venture fund, where he led the financing in HiFi Engineering and Skyonic Corporation and was a Board Observer for both. Earlier in his career, Mark worked in the technology investment banking division at CIBC World Markets and as a Business Development Analyst at Enbridge, an energy transportation company; both roles were based in Calgary.
Mark is a graduate of the University of Calgary, where he studied Business. He was honored by the Order of the University, Rising Star Alumni Award & recently the 2021 Rising Star with Venture Capital Magazine. Mark is also very active in the Canadian ecosystem as the current Board Chair of the $100MM Opportunity Calgary Investment Fund & Board Member of Junior Achievement of Southern Alberta.
Sue Britton is Co-Founder of Fathom4sight Inc. which offers subscription-based access to a knowledge-as-a-service platform and advisors for market foresight in financial services. Prior to launching Fathom4sight in Jan. 2022, Sue was Founder and CEO of FinTech Growth Syndicate (FGS), which was recognized as the leading FinTech Advisory firm in 2019, and recently purchased by Disruptive Edge, a global innovation consulting firm.
Most of Sue’s career has been in financial technology and product innovation. After 25 years in sales, marketing and product roles for Xerox, Symcor, Broadridge, Pareto and Finastra, she left the corporate world to become an entrepreneur.
Driven by the conviction that established companies have the ability to innovate quickly so they can stay ahead of changing customer needs, Fathom4sight’s mission is to inform, inspire and facilitate ideas for growth for incumbents.
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.
Venture Partner at Hustle Fund. Operator at Animalz, previously I Done This and Apple. Cycling instructor, mom, 9-min nap enthusiast.
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 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.
Investment Director, VC & Technologies
Caisse de Depot et Placement du Quebec
Nayla is a VC investment director for Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ)’s venture capital fund. CDPQ is a long-term institutional investor that manages funds primarily for public retirement and insurance plans. As at December 31, 2021, it held CA$420 billion in net assets. CDPQ’s venture capital fund invests in later stage ventures in all sectors from travel to POS systems, from security to healthcare. CDPQ manages $83 billion of technology investments from early stage venture funds, direct Series C/D, growth tech, pre-IPO tech and post-IPO.
Curious and engaged, Nayla gravitated towards the venture capital and innovation ecosystem after twelve years as a private equity investor for CDPQ and previous operational experience in mergers and acquisitions for CAE, a global leader in training for the civil aviation, defense and security, and healthcare markets.
She is passionate about learning and understanding new technologies and how they can change the world we live in. She is always interested to learn about a different perspective and approach whether its meeting with entrepreneurs, investors or peers.
Founding Partner & CEO
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.
Mo is passionate about supporting ambitious founders and helping innovators bring their ideas to life. He grew up in Cairo, Egypt, before moving to Toronto in 2013 for University. After graduating, Mo spent over 3 years at MaRS Discovery District, where he managed a portfolio of products focused on enabling startups to raise capital and expand to global markets. In his current role at Real Ventures, he helps source, diligence, and fund great new companies as well as support founders post-investment. Outside of work, he's a mentor with the Startup Visa Program and is an avid sports fan that's always up to chat about soccer or join a pickup game.
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.
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.
Lauren Epstein is a Principal with StandUp Ventures, a seed-stage fund championing innovative companies led or co-led by women. StandUp partners with ambitious entrepreneurs across Canada to break through from Seed to Series A.
Before joining StandUp, Lauren worked at a large, Canadian, institutional venture capital fund, where she was responsible for sourcing, investing in, and supporting disruptive technology companies from Series A onwards. Previously, Lauren was the Director of Investments at Epstein Enterprises Inc., a Toronto-based family office, where she propelled the growth of the angel/seed-stage investing portfolio.
Before joining Epstein Enterprises, Lauren spent several years working as a litigation lawyer at a leading Toronto commercial litigation law firm, after clerking at the Ontario Court of Appeal.
Lauren holds a B.A. in Government, cum laude, from Harvard University and completed the joint JD/MBA program at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law and the Rotman School of Management, graduating first in her class in the MBA program and as the gold medalist among the JD/MBA students.
Lauren is passionate about entrepreneurs, the Canadian innovation ecosystem, giving back to the community, and her family, including her husband, son, and daughter.
Katheleen is on the investment team at StandUp Ventures, a Seed stage fund that invests in women-led companies across Canada. After completing her education in neuroscience and having her first founder experience, she became a Venture for Canada Fellow. Since then she has spent most of her career working in product and growth, first as a scale-up and then building a YC-backed fertility startup. She is on the Alumni Council for Venture for Canada as Founding Director of their Angel Investments Program, and is extremely passionate about moving the needle on income inequality through enabling more equitable access to entrepreneurship
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.
Partner, Growth Venture CI Fund
Jack joined BDC Capital as a Partner in its Growth Venture CI Fund in January 2020, with a focus on investing in SaaS, e-commerce, fintech, martech and proptech. Notable investments include Hopper, Snap Commerce, Symend, Article, Paper, KOHO, RenoRun, Borrowell, DOZR, Pathfactory and #Paid. Jack Fraser has over 30 years of experience as an operator and financier, primarily with digital commerce, FinTech, and P/SaaS companies with a specific skill at developing digital-first strategies and operational transformation to enable market and product expansion initiatives in various Asian-Pacific, European, and North American countries. Prior to BDC Capital, Jack held various executive roles with hyper-growth companies, most recently as the head of finance with SSENSE, a Québec-based global luxury fashion e-tailer.
Director Tech Financing
As a Senior Banker, Board Member, and Advisor, Jasmin brings to the table both in-depth financial and consulting expertise. She is an astute financial services executive that for the past 17 years has worked extensively with many of Canada’s best and brightest companies, especially those in emerging technology, innovation, and knowledge-based industries. Jasmin understands the power of leveraging the financial community, and the technology ecosystem to drive business results.
Jasmin truly understands the value of strategic partnership. By building alliances and successful relationships across the Canadian business and financial community, she has been able to drive the inception of numerous innovative financial solutions. She is well known to create competitive value, seek out and seize business opportunities, drive change, and achieve objectives. Her extensive experience has contributed to making her one of the most successful, and well-known financiers in the industry.
Jasmin is also an experienced board member and advisor, and currently sits on the board of Red Dot Digital, Decidio.io, The Canada Arab Business Council, and Diversity Leaders Alliance.
In addition to be being a financial services and technology ecosystem pillar, Jasmin’s role at the Business Development Bank of Canada often sees her as a frequent financial industry speaker and media commentator on the topics of finance, entrepreneurship, technology and innovation, and women in business. Through her travels she has been featured on the top-rated Canadian business show Dragon’s Den, providing financial commentary and analysis both on and off air. An example of can be found at http://www.cbc.ca/dragonsden/bdc/smart-sweets .
Off hours Jasmin’s true personal passion lies in philanthropy, diversity and inclusion, and giving back to the community through business mentorship and outreach, especially to those in marginalized and refugee communities.
Founder & Managing Partner
Vistara Capital Partners Ltd
Randy has passionately worked with dozens of emerging technology companies over the past 28+ years in various capacities as an investor, advisor, and board member.
In the early 90’s and 2000’s he worked closely with numerous earlier stage technology companies through their growth trajectories as a Principal in a venture capital fund. His experience also includes a number of years in the mid-2000’s on the sell–side as a Managing Director with PwC Corporate Finance leading M&A and financing mandates.
Rekindling his passion for investing in growing technology companies, he co-founded a family office fund in 2010 focused on providing flexible growth capital in the form of growth debt and growth equity to mid-later stage technology companies across North America. In early 2015, these efforts led to his founding of Vistara Capital Partners (now Vistara Growth) carrying on the same investment strategy and approach where he currently serves as its Managing Partner.
Randy has led a number of community initiatives including establishment of the Vistara Elevate Awards, to provide opportunities to underrepresented students from ethnic and racial minority groups in the areas of STEM and finance. He is also a long-standing member of Social Venture Partners (Vancouver) focused on vulnerable children and youth initiatives where he serves on the Development Committee, and where Vistara acts as a Community Business Partner. Randy also serves on the Board of Directors for the Canadian Venture Capital & Private Equity Association (CVCA)
Randy received his BBA from York University, his MBA from University of British Columbia, and is a CFA Charter holder.
Mark Gilbert is an Executive Director on the origination team at Espresso Capital, where he is responsible for sourcing new clients in need of creative growth capital. Mark is a seasoned tech banker with 15 years of sales and underwriting experience at financial institutions. Prior to joining Espresso, he was at BMO, where he was the Regional Market Leader of the Bank’s Technology practice for the Greater Toronto Area. Mark began his career at Chubb Insurance, where he provided tailored insurance products to the energy and resources sector. Mark sits on the Board of LEADER Project, a social impact organization that delivers coaching and mentoring to young entrepreneurs around the world.
Senior Investment Manager
Peter Goggin is the Senior Investment Manager at NBIF, and has over 10 years of startup and business experience. Peter received his MBA from the University of New Brunswick and is passionate for helping grow local businesses with global aspirations. Peter has vast experience building companies, raising funds, growing teams, and developing technology solutions. Previously Founder of Ag-Tech startup Resson, Peter was responsible for creating an award-winning startup from scratch, and building a talented team of dedicated software engineers, data scientists, and operations specialists. Peter is confident to take on any challenge presented, while motivating and encouraging teams and leading by example. With great familiarity of the Canadian and Atlantic Canada venture eco-systems, Peter aims to apply his skills and experiences as an operator to help fuel the next generation of businesses, founders, and new venture opportunities.
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 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.
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.
Flybridge Capital Partners
Chip Hazard is a co-founder and general partner with Flybridge, a seed-stage venture capital firm focused on investing behind ambitious founders leveraging the power of community. He is also a co-founder and investment partner with XFactor Ventures, a pre-seed and seed-stage fund investing in companies founded by women pursuing billion-dollar opportunities. Prior to Flybridge and XFactor, Chip was a General Partner with Greylock Partners, a leading venture capital firm he joined in 1994. He is a graduate of Stanford University, has an MBA from Harvard, and was recently named to the Insider Seed 100 list of the best early-stage investors.
Matt is responsible for expanding Brightspark's deal flow across Canada and supporting the venture decision process.
Prior to joining Brightspark, Matt worked for two years as the Director of Investments for Front Row Ventures, Canada’s first student-run venture capital firm, investing in the very best young founders in the Canadian ecosystem.
Matt developed a love for the entrepreneurship ecosystem, both the people in it and the technologies it creates, while building an educational non-profit that brought Blockchain education to university students. He has previously interned at FounderFuel in Montreal and White Star Capital in New York.
He holds a BSc from McGill University, studying Microbiology & Immunology and Computer Science, and has lived across Greece, China, and now Canada.
As CEO of Venbridge, Garron’s goal is to help build great Canadian companies and help founders grow their businesses without losing control through non-dilutive financing.
Having been on the ground floor at Creo, one of Canada’s earliest unicorns, Garron established their marketing operations and then became President of the Asia Pacific region. After growing to over 4,000 employees and reaching a market cap of over $2B, Creo was sold to Kodak. Garron stayed on to run Kodak’s $300M commercial division, doubling profit within a year.
Upon returning to Canada with his wife and two children, Garron became a Partner at Espresso Capital and built the Central and Eastern Canada business portfolio to become one of the top 3 SR&ED financial services firms. Garron is a recognized leader in the government tax credit and startup funding.
Garron holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Western University, as well as a Master of Business Administration from the University of British Columbia.
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.
Director of Investments
Dragonfly Venture Holdings
Eric has close to 10 years of experience in venture and growth capital, and business development in France and Canada mainly in technology, media and communications.
Previously, he worked 8 years for an entrepreneur led VC fund managing $500m. Eric invested in 26 companies mainly in technology. Among his top exit: Enovance a cloud company acquired for $C100m 14 months after the investment.
Eric moved to Toronto in 2015 and launched the North American subsidiary of an enterprise security software and managed business development in Toronto and Montreal.
Eric is passionate about innovation, growth and international development with extensive experience operating in multicultural environments. Eric holds an engineering degree in computer science from ENSIIE and a post-graduate master of finance from ESSEC Business School.
Prior to joining Brightspark, Éléonore worked in Assurance & Advisory at Ernst & Young LLP, focusing on alternative investment funds and private equity firms. She also co-founded Front Row Ventures, Canada’s first student-run venture capital firm.
Éléonore developed a passion for helping entrepreneurs and financing innovation while studying technology entrepreneurship in Silicon Valley as part of Stanford University’s immersion program for international students.
She holds a BBA from HEC Montréal and she is currently pursuing the CPA designation. Éléonore is involved with several startup initiatives around Montréal.
Emma joined Klass Capital in 2021. Her key responsibilities include sourcing new investment opportunities, conducts due diligence, executes transactions, supports portfolio companies and helps develop the firm’s investment theses. Emma holds an Honours Business Administration (HBA) degree from the Richard Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario.
Eric joined VERTU Capital in July 2018. Prior to joining VERTU, he worked at Facebook helping to scale its business integrity efforts, and as V.P. of Corporate Development at Sysomos, a Toronto-based data analytics company, where he was responsible for strategic and financial planning, operating infrastructure and processes, and corporate acquisitions.
Mr. Kafka previously worked at OMERS Private Equity with Ms. Melchior on numerous transactions, after starting his career on the Mergers and Acquisitions team at Scotiabank.
Eric graduated from McMaster University with an Honours Bachelor of Commerce degree and a minor in Economics.
Prior to his professional career, he was a member of the Canadian National Gymnastics Team and represented Canada at the 2003 Pan American Games and at international competitions around the world.
Partner, Private Capital
Jared Kalish is a co-founder of FirePower Asset Management, which houses FirePower’s Private Debt and Private Equity businesses.
Passionate about building companies, Jared brings creative thinking and leadership to FirePower’s portfolio of businesses, always with the goal of optimizing strategic business direction, providing hands-on operational support, and assisting with financial structuring, underwriting and M&A activities. Jared is a member of FirePower’s credit and investment committees, and is responsible for managing Firepower's limited partnerships.
In addition to serving on various corporate boards, Jared is also the founder and executive chairman of Konfidis, a leading Canadian proptech startup focussed on the Canadian Single Family Residential (SFR) asset class.
Prior to FirePower, Jared was responsible for Structured Finance and Strategic Equity for Investec in Canada. He was appointed as a division head for Investec Bank in South Africa at the age of 27, where he led the Equity Structuring team to realize substantial growth in profitability, providing derivative and structuring solutions for clients.
Jared holds a BSc in Actuarial Science and an MSc in Risk and Stochastics from the London School of Economics where he was ranked first overall in his class.
Alex Kolicich focuses on IT and Bio-IT investments.
Prior to joining 8VC, Alex was a Partner at Formation 8. Alex has also worked with Peter Thiel as a Principal at Mithril Capital Management, a growth-stage venture fund, where he helped lead investments in AppDirect, C2FO and Helion Energy.
Preceding his venture career, Alex worked as engineer and early-product advisor at Clarium, Palantir, and Google. He was an early member of the Clarium Capital quantitative engineering team (with Joe Lonsdale) and close advisor/collaborator with the early Palantir team; advising on product design and contributing to the product. At Google Research, Alex worked on Google Street-Views before and during launch. Preceding Street-Views, also at Google, he worked on the development and launch of the Google Checkout product.
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.
Managing Director, Technology Investment Banking
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.
Dominic began his career in accounting and finance at KPMG while he became deeply involved in the startup ecosystem. His first experiences with early-stage companies included mentoring student founders at the DMZ Sandbox Basecamp program, as well as through freelancing for startups & emerging VC managers. Through this lens, he saw the strong, positive impact that initial mentors and investors could have on startups when founders are resource and time constraint. As a result, he kickstarted his venture career with a local venture firm, EVP and helped build out the UWaterloo Student Venture Fund. Now, Dominic is continuing his journey in working closely with founders at Ripple Ventures.
In 2019, Dominic founded the RippleX Fellowship program, the fund's core initiative in democratizing access to venture capital & startups for students across North America. The program has diversity, equity, and inclusion targets of a minimum of 50% gender diversity as well as 50% minimum of BIPOC in each cohort.
Founding and General Partner
Two Small Fish Ventures
Eva is a well respected entrepreneur-turned-investor and one of the few women leading a venture fund in Canada. She is the Founding Partner of Two Small Fish Ventures, a venture fund that invests globally in early-stage, transformative tech companies with strong network effects. The fund is backed by many high net worth individuals, family offices, institutional investors and the Creator Circle, which composes of many top product and company creators who can leverage their experience to help Two Small Fish Ventures portfolio companies become successful.
Before starting Two Small Fish Ventures, she was Wattpad’s Head of Community and Content. She helped nurture and scale Wattpad from its infancy to become one of the largest online communities with tens of millions of monthly users around the world. With a sharp focus on investing companies with strong network effect as their defensibility, Eva has created the ASSET framework that many entrepreneurs and accelerators have adopted in their developing business strategies. Eva is regarded as an expert in this area.
Prior to Wattpad, she was Director of Product Development of Brightspark Labs, a Toronto based accelerator. During her tenure at Brightspark Labs she mentored and helped many tech startups in Toronto.
Eva is also involved in many incubators and accelerators, such as Creative Destruction Lab at Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto’s Entrepreneurship Hatchery, Ryerson’s DMZ, University of Waterloo’s Velocity and Techstars.
Eva has a bachelor degree in Industrial Engineering from University of Toronto and an MBA from Schulich School of Business.
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.
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.
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.
Elana is an Investment Director at Intel Capital. She drives investment in Retail, Internet of Things (IoT), AI, Robotics, etc. She is currently on the Boards of Rubikloud, Bossa Nova Robotics and BrightEdge. Before joining the IoT investment team, she made and/or supported investments in Airware, Tier3 (acquired by CenturyLink), Aldebaran (acquired by SoftBank), and InVisage. Prior to Intel Capital, she gained 10+ years of operational experiences in the US and China across different high-tech industries including software, cloud computing, and semiconductors. An electrical engineer by training and a geek at heart, Elana cofounded a couple of startups earlier in her career. She holds an MBA from Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management with an emphasis on entrepreneurship, finance, and marketing. Elana received an MS degree in Electrical Engineering from Tufts University and a BS degree in Engineering Science from the University of Toronto. Elana is an avid Van Gogh follower and PADI certified advanced scuba diver. She enjoys travelling, reading, and spending time with family.
With a strong ‘hands on’ approach, Laura oversees the day-to-day activities at OPN. Having 20+ years experience in technology, development, project management and operations. General Manager of Hardboot Communications, business website and application maintenance and support specialists
First Star Ventures
Millie Liu has focused her career on helping entrepreneurs with deep technology turn their ideas into great businesses with global reach.
She was previously at APT, an enterprise data analytics startup acquired by Mastercard for $600m where she helped Fortune 50 clients such as Walmart and P&G make better strategic decisions leveraging data. She was also the co-founder of an MIT startup working on unsupervised event detection, which later pivoted and became Infervision, an AI precision healthcare platform backed by Sequoia China. Millie is on the advisory board of MIT CSAIL (Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab). She holds a Master of Finance degree from MIT and B.S. in Mathematics from the University of Toronto.
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.
VP, Technology Banking
Silicon Valley Bank
As vice president of Relationship Management in the Technology Banking division, Tom Lowden maintains a strong pulse on the technology ecosystem in Canada and helps founders make meaningful connections with the SVB professionals who provide the creative and bespoke financial solutions and specialized services they need to thrive in the innovation economy.
Tom’s experience to date has helped him create a diverse and far-reaching network of founders and operators. Tom helped create the Creative Destruction Lab (CDL), where he went on to serve as associate director and director of the program, a premier global accelerator for building massively scalable science–based companies. From there, he was on the corporate venture arm of Boat Rocker Media, which invested in media and media-related technologies. He also spent some time in the food and beverage industry scaling the Toronto-based Dineen Coffee Company. Lastly, combining all of his previous experiences, he managed WeWork Labs, WeWork’s product for early-stage technology companies across Canada and the United States.
Vice President, Technology Banking
Silicon Valley Bank
Steve Lowry is a vice president of SVB’s Technology Banking division in Vancouver, British Columbia. A high-growth company executive and startup expert, Steve has led a dynamic career focused on company building, law and finance. He excels at envisioning new technologies, media properties and brands; managing client relationships in the realm of venture debt; and leading founders and national startup teams to bring their ambitious ideas to market. A lifelong lover of learning, Steve feels fortunate to have discovered entrepreneurship early in his career. He views collaborating with entrepreneurs and high-growth companies as the ultimate teaching environment, without the classroom debates.
Having built three startups and supported leadership teams at companies like Clio and Hootsuite, Steve remains ever enthusiastic about the entrepreneurial journey. He believes capital is essential to elevating innovations on the global scale and enjoys playing a part in allocating capital for companies with strong business models and growth bets.
Commercial Account Director
Export Development Canada
Rob Luini is the Ontario sector lead and Commercial Account Direction within Export Development Canada’s (EDC) Technology and Media industry team. He works collaboratively with the industries ecosystem to add value with integrated solutions to reduce international risk and provide cashflow to invest in your businesses growth.
Rob has been with EDC for 9 years, starting his career in Calgary with a focus on oil and gas but Tech and Clean Technology subsector focus. Moving to Toronto, he moved full time into Tech and Media helping to drive policy and program changes to allow Canadian companies to take on the world. Prior to EDC, he worked for HSBC Bank for 7 years.
Rob is open to hearing about emerging trends and exploring solutions for Canadian companies.
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 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.
Warburg Pincus LLC
Jeffrey MacDonald is based in New York, and is an Associate in Warburg Pincus’ Technology Group. Prior to joining Warburg Pincus, Mr. MacDonald was an Associate at Searchlight Capital Partners and an Investment Banking Analyst at J.P. Morgan. He received a M.A. in International Relations and Economics from the University of St. Andrews.
Blockchain Founders Fund
Aly Madhavji 穆亚霖 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 (清华大学), a Master of Business Administration from INSEAD (Singapore and France), and a Bachelor of Commerce with Distinction from the University of Toronto.
Brian is a technology director responsible for leading investments in smart cities, IoT, 5G and security for TELUS Ventures. Brian is an experienced VC investor with expertise in go-to-market for early stage companies, and as an engineer, he applies both a strategic and technical lens when evaluating investment opportunities and guiding portfolio companies. Brian’s portfolio companies have had exits to Splunk, Planet Labs, VMware and IMS Health.
Prior to joining TELUS Ventures, Brian was a Principal at Vanedge Capital for 5 years and previously served as Chief Security Officer at BC Hydro, where he led overall security policy development and implementation for the province’s electrical system. Brian is a trained engineer, with a bachelor’s degree in electrical, electronics and communications engineering from the University of Alberta, and he holds a Professional Engineer certification from the New York State Education Department.
When he’s not volunteering for Big Brothers or in the LGBTQ+ community, Brian can be found skiing or snowboarding Vancouver’s North Shore mountains or enjoying live music at festivals around the world. Brian and his husband are avid travellers and count Mexico City, Barcelona and Playa Zipolite among their favourite destinations.
Brian is a Chartered Financial Analyst, a member of the CVCA committee on International Affairs and holds an MBA from the Smith School of Business at Queen’s University.
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 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.
Nex Gen VC Partners Inc
Scott McKay is a serial investor, entrepreneur and active portfolio manager. Scott has 10 + years of investing in early stage private ventures providing capital, business advisory, financial network and, whenever it is helpful, a sounding board and support for founders. Scott focused on innovative tech and venture capital in 2012 and has since built out a track record of investing with high growth companies that continue to operate profitably privately, have transitioned to public companies or have been successfully sold.
Scott is co-founder and managing director of KJSM Ventures, a private investment corporation in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, which he joined in 2013. The company focuses on early staged venture opportunities, unique tech and special opportunity startups, private equity, alternative investment opportunities, real estate, and public equity markets. He is also one of the general partners and founders of Nex Gen VC Partners, an emerging early-stage opportunities tech venture fund, which takes an active agnostic absolute return focus approach to its portfolio companies. The firm focuses on seed and early staged investment opportunities primarily in Canada & US, through a suite of unique deal flow pipelines in the Canadian tech ecosystem, and has offices in Calgary, Vancouver & San Francisco. Scott has extensive experience in the valuation of investment opportunities in venture capital, private equity and public equity sectors. Scott’s band width of investments includes artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, health tech, fintech, prop tech, SaaS and the consumer app product space. Scott is closely involved with selected companies as a director or adviser to provide them private financing exposure and business advisory.
Scott holds a BBA and Masters of Science in Finance, and resides in Calgary with his wife and son.
Head of Business Development
Sean joined Novacap as Head of Business Development. Sean holds his BA (Honours) from Queen’s University, his LL.L and J.D. from the University of Ottawa Law School. Sean was called to the bar in Ontario and is a member of the Law Society of Ontario.
Prior to joining Novacap, Sean was a Vice President and Co-Head of the M&A Practice at BFL Canada. Sean also worked as lawyer in the Business Law Group at a global law firm, where his practice focused on mergers and acquisitions, corporate finance and securities law. Sean then transitioned to the insurance industry where he worked for a large global insurer.
Sean is very active in the Canadian Private Equity and M&A community and currently serves on the Board for ACG Toronto, as Past Chair of the ACG Young Professionals Committee and as Vice Chair of the CVCA Awards Committee.
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.
Founder & General Partner
The VC system is methodically designed to result in a particular outcome. Understanding the industry as it exists today, I am committed to educating Underestimated Founders to grasp the rules of the game while I simultaneously create new structures to tip the scales in their favor. I am the Founder and General Partner at Matr Ventures, where venture capital is done differently. Matr will invest up to $1 million in Underestimated Founders - and return above-market gains to its LPs (investors). Based on the philosophy that networks, herds and cultures drive technology and innovation - not the other way around - Matr is a digital (soon to be AI-enabled) VC structure that takes a modern approach to win all costs. Infatuated with market systems and the flow of money, I have more than 15 years of success in wealth management, investment banking, and technology. I am highly sought after for my expertise in building complex technologies, and buying and selling companies, which enables me to provide unique insight into building assets of value. As former partner and the head of investment banking for Toren & Associates, between 2017-2021, I facilitated buy and sell transactions for money managers, banks, wealth management firms, and family offices, completing transactions totaling over $5 billion in assets under management. From my work, I became known as, “the girl who moves money.” I am also the co-founder and CEO of NicheeStudio, a software development corporation. Leading a team of over 20 software developers, the company builds web-based applications, machine learning systems, enterprise software, and mobile experiences for venture-backed companies. I believe technology is a powerful equalizer for underestimated communities to build generational wealth. With a passion for connecting with investors and advisors who are ready to help propel like-minded founders to success, I am excited to create solutions to drive economic empowerment for Black, Indigenous, and POC communities. Let’s connect.
TELUS Pollinator Fund
Nabeela sources, analyzes and executes on investment opportunities in sustainability, healthcare and inclusive communities.
Nabeela joins TELUS from Relay Ventures, where she spent the last five years investing in early-stage technology startups across North America. An active advocate for women's empowerment, she founded the Canadian Women in VC community, a national group that connects and empowers women and allies to retain and promote Canadian women in venture capital. She is also a mentor at Canada Learning Code and an activator at SheEO, supporting women and non-binary entrepreneurs. Prior to joining the venture ecosystem, Nabeela was an electro-optics Engineer at L-3 Wescam.
Managing Director, General Partner
An engineer by trade, Jonah Midanik has spent the last twenty years at the intersection of marketing and technology as a serial entrepreneur in Canada. Jonah has been lucky enough to have several different lenses on the founder journey from bootstrapping, to launching new corporate divisions, and raising 8 figures of venture capital. Jonah currently spends his time helping Canadian companies grow with Forum Ventures as the COO and Managing Partner. Jonah lives in Toronto with his wife and two children.
Qasim Mohammad is an investor at Wittington Ventures, a venture capital firm investing in technology companies in the commerce, healthcare and food sectors. He invests in businesses at all stages of the lifecycle and is involved with the fund’s investments in numerous startups including Foxtrot Market, Arcaea Beauty and Motif Foodworks. Prior to Wittington Ventures, Qasim was building products for the enterprise software vertical. He has also previously held various investment and operational roles at other funds and technology startups. In his spare time Qasim writes a blog called Fire Ant (fireant.co) which covers all things related to the future of commerce.
Senior Director, Technology and Innovation
National Bank of Canada
Mike has over a decade of corporate banking experience with majority of his career focusing exclusively on providing financing solutions for emerging and scaling technology companies. Having worked with entrepreneurs across various sub sectors of technology ecosystem including fintech, ag-tech, legal, HR, ad-tech and various IOTs, he has enjoyed the front row seat to innovators changing nearly every aspect of our lives, like how (and where!) we work, play, communicate, collaborate, and sleep. Mike holds a bachelor’s degree from York University as well as the Chartered Financial Analyst designation.
Blue Book Ventures
Richard Moran is a Silicon Valley veteran in both investing and operations. He is General Partner at Tonic Bioventures, an early-stage life sciences venture firm. Previously, he was a Partner at Venrock, Chairman of Portal Software and a Managing Partner at Accenture. His track record includes successful exits in software, gaming, food and life sciences. He is a best-selling author with ten books to his credit. He has a syndicated show, "In the Workplace" on CBS Radio is an "Influencer" on LinkedIn where he is a regular contributor but never reads the comments.
Taha Mubashir joined Inovia in 2022 as a Principal on the Venture team. Taha has 10 years of finance experience and was recently a Director within PSP’s Direct Private Equity program. At PSP, Taha was responsible for sourcing and executing North American technology transactions. Taha’s key board seat and observer responsibilities included Lytx, Delinea and Collective Health.
Prior to PSP, Taha started his career in investment banking at BMO. Taha holds an HBA from the Richard Ivey School of Business.
Good News Ventures
Marat Mukhamedyarov is a managing partner at Good News Ventures, a Pre-seed & Seed stage fund focused on Tech companies located in North America.
He is a Serial entrepreneur; he helps founders to define & achieve their vision.
Information Venture Partners
Aman is a member of the investment team at Information Venture Partners. He is passionate about discovering innovative companies and trends in technology that are reshaping the world of financial services and commerce.
Aman is a two-time entrepreneur with a background in Aerospace Engineering. He is a lifelong learner who brings a diverse set of skills and knowledge to the companies he works with.
Anton Neschadim, MBA PhD, is currently a Senior Advisor at GreenSky Capital. Anton is a cross-disciplinary scientist, innovator, and entrepreneur with expertise ranging from the physical to biological sciences. Anton has founded a biomedical company, held executive and C-suite roles in two other biotechnology ventures, and was a founding board member and executive in Canada’s only national science policy organization. Anton has dived into venture capital while completing his MBA, and the first investment deal that he led diligence on exited in less than 2 years to a strategic acquirer. After inventing several biomedical products, authoring dozens of academic manuscripts and several patents, he is now driving value creation through venture investing and the commercialization of Canadian innovations in science and technology.
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.
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.
Neil Peet is a Principal with GreenSky Capital, a Venture Capital group focused on early-stage B2B Canadian Technology companies. Working with GreenSky since early 2015, Neil has had the chance to raise four funds, invest in 35+ deals so far, work through several exits (including Wave Accounting, one of the largest exits in Canadian tech) and failures, as well as currently sitting on the board of several high-growth portfolio companies. Prior to working in VC, Neil was a Senior Consultant with SECOR/KPMG Strategy Consulting where he worked in technology, natural resources, healthcare, and energy. He has owned and run his own software development company (launched back when HTML was first introduced), lived in Africa for 10% of his life, and worked with Engineers Without Borders where he launched an agri-business incubator in Ghana.
Christie Pitts is a General Partner (early-stage investor) at Backstage Capital. She joined Backstage in August 2017. Since then, she has assisted in sourcing and investing in startups led by underrepresented (women, people of color, and LGBTQ) founders, helping to bring the firm’s total investment portfolio to more than 180 companies.
ff Venture Capital
Prior to ffVC, Adam spent several years in business development, advisory and operational roles with several startups in New York and Los Angeles. Adam was the first hire at Lake Baldwin Management, a Princeton, New Jersey opportunistic hedge fund, where he was a generalist investor, managing an array of public and private market investments. Adam began his career at Goldman Sachs in the Leveraged Finance Group, and in the Risk Markets Group.
He grew up in New Jersey, where he operated a Commodore-64 based BBS before Middle School.
Adam holds a M.B.A. degree from the Harvard Business School. He also holds Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Applied Sciences, and Bachelor of Science in Economics degrees at the University of Pennsylvania.
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.
Partner, Growth Equity
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.
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 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.
Director, Technology and Innovation Banking
National Bank of Canada
Nik Rasskazovskiy is a Director with National Bank Technology and Innovation Banking group focusing on providing creative non-dilutive capital solutions to fast growing innovative companies. This group helps entrepreneurs and businesses grow, scale and achieve their goals and aspirations. Over the past 10 years Nik built is expertise in Financial Services across Investment Banking, Investment Analysis, Equity Research and Specialty Lending with focus on technology-intensive industries
Nik’s 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
John is a proud Canadian native, born in Ottawa, Ontario. Though a business school graduate, his curiosity and early passion for technology led him to a more untraditional business graduate career path, working at the intersection of technology, media, and commerce, with Shopify Plus, VaynerMedia, and Kognitiv, globally. John’s commercial mindset and work ethic has positioned himself as a trusted, young leader, from his experiences leading enterprise sales, revenue operations, financial and strategic planning, and go-to-market. Above everything else, John is a committed team player, with a strong passion for supporting and driving client results.
Having worked in tech, during a time where Canada’s sector witnessed unprecedented growth, in 2022, John joined his new team at RBCx, where he now directly supports earlier stage clients on all facets of business growth; including capital, talent, commercialization, and advisory.
John has a Bachelor of Arts, Honors Business Administration (HBA) from the Ivey Business School, at Western University.
Matt is a Partner at ScaleUP Ventures where he focuses on Seed and Series “A” opportunities in Marketplaces & B2B SMB Software. Matt led investments into Solink, Sonder, Rewind, Renorun, & #Paid. He also represents ScaleUP as a board member at Fusebill and Medstack.
Matt joined ScaleUP Ventures from BDC where he led the IT Venture Funds investments in Crowdriff, Sonder (Flatbook), Hubdoc, Unsplash and Crew. Before this Matt raised the Seed and Series “A” round for Semiconductor startup GaN Systems which he joined after graduating from his MBA. Matt was an Analyst at Venture Capital firm Wesley Clover, best known as billionaire entrepreneur Terry Matthews investment group and was also the co-founder and CEO at JohnnyVoIP, a company that developed a web based VoIP application platform. He started his career at eighteen as the youngest Project Coordinator (Manager) at Newbridge Networks, working in the LMDS wireless group (now part of Alcatel Canada).
In addition to his Master of Business Administration from the Richard Ivey School of Business at Western University, Matt holds a Bachelors of Arts (Honours) in History and Economics from Carleton University.
Wendy is a Venture Partner at Loyal.vc, a global tech and impact fund with 225+ investments, in 50+ countries, 30% in emerging markets, 30% female leadership, 45% of colour, 80% with UN SDGs. As one of Canada's first Female Founders in B2B SaaS, and a top-rated mentor with the Founder Institute, Wendy advises early-stage companies as they discover the right problems to solve and the right customers for innovation, all with a flavour of sustainability.
Y Combinator Continuity
Arnav is an investor at Y Combinator Continuity, which is YC’s growth-stage investing platform. He invests and partners with startups in B2B software, and leads our investment efforts in enterprise infrastructure software. Arnav has invested in, served on boards and been a strategic advisor to several companies in areas such as cybersecurity, artificial intelligence and machine learning, data infrastructure, developer platforms and cloud infrastructure. Arnav was previously an investor at Spark Capital, led M&A at AppDynamics and Cisco and was an investor at The Blackstone Group. He is also a member of the Forbes Council and World Economic Forum.
York Angel Investors
Katie Salem is an accomplished financial and management consulting professional with over 25 years of experience. She has an exceptional track record of exceeding client satisfaction while helping clients define their value proposition and achieve their financial and strategic objectives. A creative problem solver with solid business acumen, Katie has helped clients with the planning and execution of initiatives to help them create top-line growth and improve organizational effectiveness, with a focus on delighting customers.
Katie started her career at Ernst & Young (EY), in the Financial Services Group, where she planned and successfully executed client engagements for the Audit, Consulting, and Private Client Services practice areas, always embracing and overcoming challenges with grit and optimism. With a passion for entrepreneurship that can be traced to high school days, Katie later launched her own public accounting and consulting practice, serving other entrepreneurs and professionals.
She is currently leveraging her wealth of experience and skill set to support founders as an investor and advisor and as a financial literacy volunteer with Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada.
Managing Director & Head of Technology, Investment Banking
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.
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.
7 Gate Ventures
Former founder, Shahab brings over 15 years of experience in entrepreneurial ventures, business development, and capital markets. He focuses on sourcing, reviewing, executing, monitoring, and investing. A certified Product Manager and obtained an Executive MBA from the Beedie School of Business.
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.
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.
Managing Partner, Toronto Accelerator
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.
Vice President, Technology Banking
Silicon Valley Bank
Danielle Smith is a vice president of relationship management at Silicon Valley Bank Canada. She’s responsible for building client and ecosystem relationships and working alongside startup C-suites as they leverage SVB’s platform to scale. Danielle collaborates with an array of SVB leaders to optimize the client experience and is particularly focused on delivering a world-class platform that differentiates SVB across all key players in the market.
Before joining SVB in 2022, Danielle was the senior director of growth and partnerships at Intersect, the strategic tech services and innovation arm of CoreLogic. Prior to Intersect, she held a series of senior roles at top agencies, investment firms and startup incubators, including TWG (acquired by Deloitte Company in 2021), ScaleUP Ventures and The DMZ. These roles helped her build a broad network of entrepreneurs, investors, corporate partners and stakeholders in Canada’s startup and technology ecosystems.
Danielle loves working with startup founders and feels privileged to support and advocate for them as they take on challenges and navigate how to best grow their businesses and succeed.
Director, Technology & Innovation, Mid-Market Investment Banking
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
Simon is a Vice President at Relay Ventures. As a member of the Investment team, he works to create a data-centric foundation for Relay’s investment thesis. Prior to joining Relay Ventures, Simon worked on the Investment Banking team at Citibank with a focus on cross-border mergers & acquisitions. Previously, Simon held internships at both a portfolio company and with the fund.
Simon holds an Honors Business Administration from the Ivey Business School at Western University. He was involved in the finance and asset management clubs at Ivey while he co-founded a charity aimed at raising funds and awareness for Alzheimer’s. Simon is based in our Toronto office.
Adithya is part of the investment team at Radical Ventures. He also assists the Velocity team as a Board Observer for Crossing Minds, Birch AI, RoadBotics and Promise Robotics.
Prior to Radical, Adithya was a Venture Capitalist at NJF Capital in London, and worked on early-stage technology deals across Europe and North America, including Bolt.com, Blockchain.com, Rippling, Groq and Swarm Technologies (acq. SpaceX).
Sid Srivastava is a Vice President at McRock Capital, a venture capital firm focused on growth stage digital industrial investments across Canada, the US and Europe. McRock Capital has a unique track record in building high-growth companies at the intersection of digital transformation and industrial sectors, investing in broad variety of segments such as smart cities, robotics, connected workers and sustainability. McRock is backed by several leading financial institutional investors and global corporations including Cisco Systems, Caterpillar, Shell, Mitsubishi, AspenTech and Électricité de France (EDF).
As a former investment banker, Sid spent his pre-VC career orchestrating creative transactions in the technology M&A and private capital universe. He earned an undergraduate degree in Economics from Grinnell College, a liberal arts school in the United States and holds a post-graduate degree in Finance from the London School of Economics in the United Kingdom.
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.
Head of Business Development
Ellis is a business development executive with 15+ years’ experience developing and managing investor relations and raising capital in Canada. Prior to Tactico, Ellis founded a Montreal-based hedge fund where, as partner, he successfully raised several millions in capital. Ellis started his career at Dundee Wealth Management and helped the firm raise upwards of $15M in assets from private clients before transitioning to TD Private Wealth, quickly becoming a driving force behind fundraising and an instrumental part of the teams at both institutions. Ellis holds a BA in Honours Psychology from Concordia University.
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.
With over a decade of digital transformation experience in the industrial at Johnson & Johnson and SHARP Electronics, Champs brings together a blended perspective as an investor, operator, and engineer to pinpoint unique market opportunities that are ripe for disruptions through advanced technologies.
Canadian Business Growth Fund
Dale is a Senior Investor at the Canadian Business Growth Fund (CBGF). Dale has 20 years of experience in private equity and has invested $750 million in over 50 companies. His investments have ranged from early-stage companies to large growing enterprises with thousands of employees.
Prior to CBGF, Dale worked at BMO Capital Partners, CAI Capital Management, and Working Ventures. He received an MBA from Schulich School of Business, a BA Economics (Honours) and a Diploma of Engineering from the University of Prince Edward Island, and holds the ICD.D designation from the Institute of Corporate Directors.
Volaris Group (Constellation Software)
Mike is an Investment Associate at Volaris Group (part of Constellation Software), where he supports deal origination and execution, due diligence, and post-acquisition integration of B2B SaaS companies. Prior to Volaris, Mike spent 4 years at EY's business valuation team with a focus on technologies companies. Mike received his BSc. from the London School of Economics and his MBA from Rotman School of Management.
Olivia Train leads in Business Development and Growth at Georgian. In this role, Olivia sources new opportunities for the investment team, evaluates opportunities for fit with mandate and thesis, and develops long-term relationships with software companies. She also supports the Georgian CoLab, our platform for early-stage companies.
Jennifer Vancini is a Founding General Partner of Mighty Capital ®. Jennifer has been investing for 10 years, and prior to Mighty Capital® built Pointgrey Partners, a family investment office where she achieved a 15x cash-on-cash return. Before becoming a full-time investor, she held executive roles in corporate and strategic business development, especially in the high-growth security and mobile sectors with companies such as Telefonica, Symbian/Nokia, and Certicom, which she helped take public in Canada. Jennifer serves on private and non-profit boards and is currently the Vice-Chair of a Dean’s Advisory Council at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, where she completed her MBA.
Ryan is recognized globally as a pioneer and leader in the XR, gaming and crypto industries.
Ryan Wang is Co-founder and General Partner of Outpost Capital. Established in 2015, Outpost Capital is a leading cross-border early stage venture fund based in San Francisco and China, focusing on Metaverse, AI, VR/AR, Blockchain, NFT, Gaming/Esports, Transmedia and Digital Entertainment.
Having a multicultural background and proven track records, Ryan oversees companies in the US and greater China with solid insights and strong connections in both markets. Ryan has been frequently featured by international media, and invited to deliver keynotes at numerous conferences globally.
In 2017, Ryan took the role of Chief Business Officer at MOAC Blockchain - a high performance Multi-Layered public blockchain, and took the company to top 100 on CoinMarketCap.
Prior to Outpost, Ryan was a Venture Partner at CLI Ventures managing its TMT investment arm with over $200M AUM.
Early in his career, Ryan has compiled a comprehensive and successful career as an investment banker at Citigroup and Societe Generale in New York City.
Ryan is passionate about education and social impact. He is a guest lecturer at the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts, and is a coach at Nanyang Technology University Startup Case Challenge program. Outside work, Ryan is a snowboarder, world explorer and collector of stylish hats.
Senior Vice President, Business Development
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.
Sustainability Senior Associate
Megan joined Amplify Capital in 2020 with an interest to directly support business ventures in their pursuit to measure and manage impact alongside financial returns. Prior to Amplify Capital, she worked in civil engineering in the San Francisco Bay Area for six years developing sustainable solutions in water and resource management. At Amplify, she primarily supports solutions focused on the environment and climate change along with impact metrics for portfolio companies.
Hayden joined BrandProject as a Partner in February 2019 and is based in the firm’s New York office. Hayden focuses on new deal flow for BrandProject from deal sourcing to investment execution, and he supports portfolio companies with fundraising.
Prior to joining BrandProject, Hayden was a Principal at BBG Ventures, which is an early stage venture capital fund focused on consumer internet and mobile startups with at least one female founder. Previously, Hayden co-founded Treatings, a mobile application that helped members create new professional and creative relationships with people in their city. He started his career in investment banking in the Financial Institutions Group at Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
Sarah Willson is an investor at Panache Ventures, a $58M pre-seed and seed stage VC firm supporting inspiring Canadian founders at the earliest stages of building transformational companies. Sarah is also the founder of Hive Sitters, a B2C marketplace connecting families to quality childcare; and is an active member of the Tech4SickKids advisory council and Velocity investment committee.
Jon is a Managing Director at Deloitte Ventures where he is responsible for scaling the DV platform across direct and fund investments through deal sourcing, execution, and portfolio company monitoring. Jon brings over 12 years of investment banking, private equity and venture capital experience as an investor, advisor and board member across the health, consumer, IoT and B2B SaaS sectors. Prior to joining Deloitte, Jon spent over 5 years at TELUS Ventures, the CVC arm of TELUS Communications, where he helped grow the ventures platform into a recognized global CVC player investing in seed through growth stage companies and venture funds across Canada, U.S., U.K. and Israel. Previously, Jon worked at Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan (OTPP) in the private equity division where he focused on direct investments. Prior to OTPP he worked in the investment banking division of Scotia Capital focusing on the Technology, Media & Telecom (TMT) sectors. Jon has an HBA (with distinction) from the Richard Ivey School of Business.
Partner, Women in Technology Venture Fund
Kimberly Yeung is a Partner with the 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.
Zavosh Zaboliyan is a Canadian serial entrepreneur and investor. With over 15 years
experience in technology and investment management, he has helped develop
significant value in a number of companies generating over 250M in value. He started
his career in the media and entertainment industry where he has become a driving force in successful projects that have earned him a Grammy nomination and multiple
international awards. He has been a co-founder in several startups with 2 exits, and
re-invested in early stage startups in a few sectors including Media, Blockchain,
FinTech, AI and Web 3. Zavosh has been a delegate of the G20 YEA where he
represented Canada on the world stage and helped influence policies based on the
United Nations sustainable development goals. He has been a judge, mentor and
advisor on many panels including TiE Quest, Seneca College Hackathon, The Stevie
Awards, among others. As an impact investor he deeply cares about driving sustainability and scaling valuable solutions to shape a better future for the generations
White Star Capital
Since joining White Star Capital at the start of 2017, Sanjay worked on over 25 investments made by the fund across Canada, New York, Germany and South East Asia. While at the firm, Sanjay spent a year pursuing an MBA at Insead in Singapore and returned in September 2020 to launch White Star Capital's Toronto office. Sanjay focuses on identifying talented teams and founders for White Star Capital across Canada and South East Asia in both venture and the digital asset space.
Before joining White Star Capital as an Associate, Sanjay started his career in
investment banking at Rothschild & Co in London. During this time he worked within the technology, media and telecommunications team, where he focused on corporate finance and M&A advisory for a full range of European companies. Prior to this, he helped manage part of Babson College’s endowment, overseeing the college’s technology fund investments.
Sanjay attended Babson College as a Weissman Scholar and used the program’s
stipend to produce a video series called ‘Defining Entrepreneurship’ in which he
interviewed over 60 entrepreneurs across the world. He earned a BSc in Business
Administration. Born in Germany and raised in Canada, Sanjay is a dual Canadian-
What I love most about being a VC at White Star Capital is that it combines
my passions for entrepreneurship, finance and technology into one exciting
role where no day is like the other. In today’s fast paced global world, I firmly
believe we have built the right platform to create successful ventures.
The Big Push
I am a disruptive technology professional with over 20 years experience creating, launching and operating innovative & disruptive solutions
I work with and mentor C-Level executives to formulate action plans and measurable KPI’s in the areas of revenue & margin growth. As a strategist and innovator, my strength is my innate ability to see and predict trends before others.
When I’m not outside the box thinking of the next innovation in productivity, entertainment, communication or finance, you’ll find me either mentoring early stage startups, entrepreneurs and students or in the kitchen designing creative recipes to compliment my award winning pizza recipe.