01 WhyAttend

Why Attend?

In technology, mergers and acquisitions are a regular occurrence and can be a path to growth. Every tech company needs to be "Exit Ready". Learn from the biggest exit success stories, the multiple exit stories, and connect with the players that made them happen.

TechExit.io is the go-to event for technology industry players who want to understand the ins and outs of selling – or buying – technology companies.  This event is not just for tech companies looking to exit in the near term – it is about being “exit ready” from day one.  You’ll understand what you need in place to be able to act intelligently to pursue a tech exit, to react to unsolicited in-bound acquisition interest, and to be able to move quickly should consolidation start happening in your industry.  Be strategic – having an exit strategy is integral to your long-term plan. You will hear from Founders and their C-teams, VCs, Angel Investors and advisors from Legal, Tax and Investment Banking. You will learn directly from those that have achieved successful exits and the advisors who specialize in M&A for technology companies.  TechExit.io is the first conference of its kind in Canada – we’re focused solely on exit strategies for technology companies.   Who should attend TechExit.io?

  • Founders of technology companies and their C-Team
  • Board members and advisors to tech companies
  • Angels and VCs
  • Investment Bankers, Lawyers, Accountants and Tax advisors
02 Our2019Sponsors

Our 2019 Sponsors

03 2019Speakers

Our 2019 Chair

05 2019ProgramandAgenda

2019 Program and Agenda

  • Registration, Networking & Continental Breakfast
  • Conference Overview by Chair David Raffa MC/Chair
  • Keynote
    Market Overview
    Cameron Burke

    This session will address the key trends for growing and exiting a tech company in Canada

  • Morning Keynote, Fireside Chat: Adaptive Insights, A Looming IPO went Acquisition Instead
    Sponsored by RBC
    Robert Antoniades and Robert Hull

    Join Robert Antoniades, General Partner with Information Ventures Partners as he sits down with Robert Hull, Founder of Adaptive Insights, which was acquired by Workday for $1.6 Billion, after a recent IPO announcement. Presented by RBC

  • Coffee Break
  • Plenary
    The Buying Journey: A Purchaser's Perspective
    Marc Drouin, Igor Faletski, Richard Hungerford, Yong Kwon and Hamed Shahbazi

    There are different types of buyers in the M&A continuum: strategic, private equity, corporate dev teams, among others. Understanding your potential buyer universe will help you clarify your objectives for selling and what you want success to look like. In learning about the different classes of buyers, you will quickly see that it isn’t a one size fits all game. It’s about the best fit for the type of business you are building.In this session you will hear from different buyers and what influences their purchasing decisions.

  • The Valuation Levers
    Sponsored by Shareworks
    Jackie Cook, Paul Emond, Brenda Irwin, Meredith Powell and Alex MacKay

    It is never too early to be thinking about your exit strategy - even if you don’t plan on selling right away. Most entrepreneurs don’t get nearly what they should because they weren’t prepared, and this can gravely affect the value of your company. Furthermore, a successful exit for your shareholders can be very different from what you, the entrepreneur, defines as a success. This session will explore how to enhance the value of your business from the get-go and what levers you need to “push or pull” in order to optimize the results you are looking for.

  • Concurrent Sessions (Breakouts)
  • A1: Deal Killers: Common Deal Challenges & How to Address and Avoid Them Paulin Laberge, David Levine, Mark Longo and Tea Nicola

    The LOI is signed. Great! But challenges lie ahead that must be carefully navigated to avoid collapses or changes to the negotiated deal. Buyers and sellers often have different needs and objectives - and the idea of providing unfettered access to your confidential business information is scary. This session will look at real-world examples of how to structure your company well in advance of a potential sale; help you consider all of your business options to reap the benefits and avoid pitfalls; and tactics to avoid major post-sale surprises. This is your opportunity to learn about common “deal breakers” so that you and your advisors can prepare well in advance.

  • A2: Liquidity vs. Exits
    Sponsored by BDC
    Jill Earthy, Aly Gillani, Lisa Melchior, Greg Smith, Kevin Swan and Praveen Varshney

    Finding a potential suitor for your business is the most monumental decision you will make in your life. Depending on the size of the business you are operating and your personal goals, there are different financial options to consider that will make your venture profitable. Strategic or private equity buyers might be your most lucrative exit strategy, but there are other liquidity options to help you put growth capital to work. This session will feature experts from tech-specific private equity firms, classic strategic buyers, other financiers.

  • Networking Lunch
  • Roundtables Discussions with Industry Leaders

    Meet the day’s experts during this interactive discussion with conference thought leaders and other subject matter experts who will give you the tactical take-aways you need around IP strategy, negotiating deal terms, debt financing, governance, etc.
    Please RSVP by clicking on the Roundtable speakers below.

  • Roundtable Discussion, hosted by Corum Group
    Crossing the Final Hurdles: Keeping Your Leverage Throughout the Transaction
    Joel Espelien and David Levine

    Join David Levine and Joel Espelien from Corum Group, the leading seller of software and related technology companies, to discuss how to do more than just get a deal across the finish line The only way to get an optimal outcome for your company—best price and structure—is to have multiple buyers at the table, by running a carefully managed global process. But after you’ve chosen a buyer and entered the “no-shop” period, how do you maintain that leverage? We’ll discuss war stories, best practices and strategies that you’ll want to understand well in advance of signing that LOI.

  • Roundtable Discussion, hosted by Garibaldi Capital Advisors
    The Metrics That Matter
    Geoff Hansen and Brent Holliday

    Join Brent Holliday and Geoff Hansen from Garibaldi Capital to discuss the metrics that matter. How you measure customer acquisition and manage churn rates are two essential areas your potential acquirer is going to want to examine once an offer is on the table. This Roundtable discussion will dive deep into the mechanisms that buyers use to evaluate growth, churn, and essentially how they will predict the future growth of your business.

  • Roundtable Discussion, hosted by PwC Canada
    Think Like A Buyer
    Shivalika Handa

    Are you confident you’re able to position yourself and your company to attract the attention of a buyer? How do buyers think differently from VCs? Join PwC Canada’s Shivalika Handa, Managing Director, Corporate Finance to uncover how you can attract attention of different buyer groups, regardless of your company size. We’ll discuss strategies to help you think like a buyer and position yourself in the best light to ultimately get you the offer.

  • Luncheon Keynote: Setting the Table for Acquisition: Why Knowing What Kind of Company You Are Building From Day One Will Be The Key To Your Success Kevin Collins and Hans Knapp

    Positioning your company based on your technology, product or brand, among other factors will become the determining value drivers in your time to exit, capital needs and costs, and ultimately the exit price you will get. This session will feature a global story of a tech entrepreneur and his or her major investors who achieved a strategic exit value.

  • Concurrent Sessions (Breakouts)
  • B1: Building & Leveraging Your Board to Win Hannes Blum, Catherine Dahl, Amielle Lake, Julie McGill and Catherine Warren

    This session will explore how best to work with your board, who should be on your board at the different stages of your company’s life-cycle, and how to run an effective boarding meeting. Whether you are fundraising, scaling up, or planning your exit strategy, the people who accompany you on this journey need to be right for you. Hear from top VC firms, as well as entrepreneurs who have exited, as they share best practices for how to leverage this integral extension of your team.

  • B2: Taxation: Effectively Structuring Your Company for Selling Ian D. Heine, Sheryne Mecklai, Peter Mogan and George Reznik

    If your business is acquired, you will inevitably face a significant taxation bill. If you’re not careful, you could find yourself with less than half the purchase price in your pocket. How options are taxed, for example, can leave many business owners and their employees, deeply disappointed! Fortunately, with the right preparation and enough time to implement, there are a number of opportunities to reduce or eliminate tax burdens. In this special focused session we will look at real-world examples, how to structure your company well in advance of a potential sale or recapitalization so you have to consider all of your business options to reap the benefits and avoid the pitfalls.

  • Networking & Coffee Break
  • The Checklist: How to Prepare for Your Exit Caroline Dunn, Brent Holliday, Monique Janower and Iain Mant

    Once you have decided on what you want your exit outcome to look like, you need to be thoughtful around all of the decisions leading up to your sale. Operating efficiently, professionalizing processes, limiting vulnerabilities around IP, source code, accounting records, are just a some of the things to take into consideration. This session will address the essential do’s and don’ts for getting exit ready and identify some of the significant mistakes companies unknowingly make which end up limiting their options and reducing value.

  • Plenary
    War stories: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly
    David Raffa MC/Chair, Carol Leaman, Lisa Shields, Derek Spratt and Shannon Byrne Susko

    This closing session will feature the good, the bad and the ugly as entrepreneurs who have exited share their stories on what worked, what didn’t and what they wish they had known when they started their company.

  • Happy Hour
06 OurStory

Our Story

Code Media

TechExit.io is brought to you by the founders of SAAS NORTH and The Business Transitions forum, Cube Business Media Inc. Cube is a boutique conference and exposition company, founded to generate connections, build content & create communities. We create physical hubs where large groups of like-minded individuals can gather face-to-face.

07 FAQs


Where is TechExit.io taking place?

TechExit.io will be taking place at the Vancouver Convention Centre East,  999 Canada Pl, Vancouver, BC V6C 3E1 on April 10, 2019.

When is TechExit.io happening?

TechExit.io 2019 is a full day conference and networking event, happening on April 10, 2019.

How do I get to TechExit.io?

The Vancouver Convention Centre East is conveniently located beside the Cruise Ship Terminal and Waterfront Station, close to many local attractions. Check out some great deals from our Travel Partners.


I’m interested in sponsoring, how do I get more information?

Send David an email and he will get back to you shortly.

I’m interested in speaking, where do I apply?

Send us an email with your proposed topic and title.

Do you have media passes?

Absolutely! Send us an email to info@techexit.io and we can arrange for the next steps.

Code of Conduct

Go to our code of conduct page for more information.

How do I purchase a ticket for this event?

You can now register for the 2019 event online here.

Where can I get a discount for TechExit?

To get the best deal for our 2019 event, be sure to subscribe to be the first to know!

Would I be able to refund my ticket?

All cancellation requests are subject to an administrative fee of 25%, and must be made in writing and received at accounting@cubebusinessmedia.com by March 21, 2019. We regret that cancellations and refunds are not permitted after this date.

Substitutions are permitted at no charge prior to March 21, 2019. For substitutions after this date, there is a $50 +5% GST administration fee.

We apologize that we are unable to apply discount codes to previously purchased tickets.

08 RecentTweets

Recent Tweets

Close Menu
Robert Antoniades


Co-Founder & General Partner
— Information Venture Partners

Robert co-founded Information VP in 2014 as a spin-out of RBC Venture Partners from Royal Bank of Canada. Robert joined RBC Venture Partners as a Managing Director in 2004 and led direct investments in a broad range of software and technology companies in enterprise software and FinTech. Robert also used his expertise in venture capital to assist in the development and commercialization of emerging technologies developed within RBC. Prior to RBC, Robert was a Vice President at BMO Nesbitt Burns Equity Partners and Executive Director of CIBC Capital Partners’ Silicon Valley office in Menlo Park.

Robert currently serves on the Boards of Infobright Software, Adaptive Insights, NOMi and Igloo Software. Prior boards include Verafin, Varicent (acquired by IBM) and ITM Software (acquired by BMC) and Placemark (acquired by Envestnet). Additionally, Robert is the Past Chair of the Distress Centres of Toronto, current Chair of Flemingdon Neighbourhood Services and, Chair and co-founder of the Upside Foundation of Canada.

Robert has a broad base of transaction and industry experience as a capital markets professional including Equity Research, Institutional Sales & Trading, Mergers & Acquisitions, and Private Equity. Robert has a BBA from Wilfrid Laurier University and is a Chartered Financial Analyst, a Fellow of the Canadian Securities Institute and a Certified Investment Manager.

Hannes Blum


Venture Partner
— Acton Capital

The German industrial engineer left Boston Consulting after just a few years to launch Justbooks. Until mid-2015 he was President & CEO of Abebooks in Canada; his term of office saw various acquisitions, investments and the sale of AbeBooks to Amazon. Hannes Blum demonstrates impressive consistency, stamina and strategic vision. The wholehearted entrepreneur has won numerous awards in his field, including “Entrepreneur of the Year in the Consumer Category Pacific Region” from Ernst & Young. Despite his many active investments and seats on supervisory boards, he has never lost his infectious sense of humor. The family man from the Black Forest brightens up every skiing party. His passion for tennis has taken him into Canada’s national team. And last but not least: he bears the standard for Acton in Canada and North America, reinforcing the team in its quest for new trends and investments.

Steps: Boston Consulting Group, Founder and MD of JustBooks Abebooks Europe GmbH, President & CEO of Abebooks, VP Amazon.com

Portfolio: Mobify (CAN), Eloquii (USA), Chefsplate (CAN)

Cameron Burke


Managing Director - Technology Sector
— PwC

Cameron Burke is a versatile technology executive at PwC Canada, focused on advising and scaling Canada’s most innovative tech companies. Previously Cam was with Hootsuite, where he was responsible for building out their partner ecosystem and partner strategy. Prior to that he co-founded and led two SaaS companies in Vancouver and spent a decade scaling those companies from concept to exit.  

Kevin Collins


Co-Founder & CEO
— Bit Stew Systems (Entrepreneur, Acquired by GE)

Kevin brings more than 30 years of experience in architecting and designing enterprise-class software and systems solutions, both as a start-up entrepreneur and as a corporate executive. Kevin has extensive domain knowledge about the technology challenges facing industrial operations today.

As CEO and Co-Founder of Bit Stew Systems, Kevin established the vision and direction for the company, led the evolution of the data intelligence platform, MIx Core™ and served as chief customer advocate. In November 2016, GE Digital acquired Bit Stew Systems to advance its machine learning and artificial intelligence capabilities.

While at GE Digital, Kevin led the Predix Application Platform Group and drove the vision and strategy for Predix Studio, a visual app builder designed to accelerate industrial app development, and Predix App Engine, a scalable runtime foundation that powers the apps created in Predix Studio.

Before founding Bit Stew, Kevin worked closely with a number of Silicon Valley companies while at Ernst & Young, and was a key innovator within Navio Systems and NetReliance. Prior to his time in Silicon Valley, Kevin worked in the high-tech networking and security field, and led technology firms specializing in cryptography, public key infrastructures and high-performance and scalable networks. He also spent many years working on networking technologies in Motorola’s Wireless Research Group.

Kevin is passionate about the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and has dedicated his career to advancing digital industrial technologies that create better business outcomes for our customers.

Jackie Cook


Founder & CEO
— FundVotes (Acquired by Morningstar)

Jackie Cook is a specialist in corporate disclosure analysis focusing on developing data solutions that strengthen investor stewardship on environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues. Jackie joined Morningstar in October 2018, as Director of Sustainable Stewardship Research, with Morningstar’s acquisition of Fund Votes Research Ltd., a company that she founded in 2007. Fund Votes had been a provider of mutual fund and exchange-traded fund proxy voting data on corporate resolutions and shareholder proposals across ESG topics.  Previously, Jackie had been a senior research associate at The Corporate Library (which merged with GMI in 2010 and was acquired by MSCI in 2014) and a junior research fellow at the Centre for Business Research at the University of Cambridge. Over the past 18 years, Jackie has also worked as a consultant on governance research projects for UNCTAD and several non-government organizations and have published academic articles on mutual corporate form, investor advocacy, and energy governance.

Jackie holds a bachelor’s degree with honors in clinical psychology and a master’s degree in research and experimental psychology from South African universities. She also holds a bachelor’s degree with honors in economics and management from Saïd Business School of the University of Oxford, where she studied as a Rhodes Scholar.

Catherine Dahl


— Beanworks Solutions Inc.

As a Canadian startup CEO, Catherine Dahl heads an industry-leading accounting automation software company that is trailblazing modern accounting processes.

A Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) and Certified Management Accountants (CMA) with more than 25 years of operational accounting and management experience, Catherine maintains a unique perspective into the accounting industry at large. She has used this expert insight to steer Beanworks over the last five years and build a thriving company with a fast-growing, highly motivated staff.

Catherine’s entrepreneurial efforts show a clear pattern of determination, resilience, and careful execution. Not only has she built a thriving company, but she has been instrumental in securing the funding, partnerships and team members necessary to scale that company. Through her various board positions and volunteer efforts, Catherine is a highly engaged member of the entrepreneurship community.

Marc Drouin


Regional Director, Technologies Group

Marc Drouin has been with BDC in various capacities since 2004, and currently holds the position of Regional Director, BC and North Technology Group.  He attended McGill University obtaining his Bachelors of Science majoring in Chemistry and then completing a Management Diploma prior to joining BDC.  Marc has extensive experience in small business and technology.  He has been actively involved in BDC’s technology initiatives over the years.  He received the BDC President’s award of excellence in 2014 for outstanding contributions to the Bank, Client and Employee Experience.

Caroline Dunn


President and CEO
— Vivonet

Caroline Dunn has partnered with founders of North American technology companies for 20 years in the full range of ownership structures (private, public, private equity). She has built and crystalised shareholder value through acquisitions, take private transactions and three successful exits, leading from a variety of vantage points; CFO, COO and most recently as CEO in Vivonet’s sale to Infor.

Jill Earthy


Head of Growth
— Female Funders

Jill Earthy is an entrepreneurially minded leader who believes diversity drives innovation. As Head of Growth for Female Funders and Founders (powered by Highine BETA), she is creating new models to increase the number of female investors, as well as expedited access to capital for female entrepreneurs. She was formerly the Chief Growth Officer of FrontFundr, an online investment platform, bridging the gap between entrepreneurs and investors. She has successfully built two companies nationally and sold them, and then spent 8 years in leadership roles in the non-profit sector supporting entrepreneurs including as CEO of The Forum for Women Entrepreneurs. She is a community leader and active mentor, currently serving on the Board of Governors for Simon Fraser University (SFU), and as Board Chair of the Women’s Enterprise Centre in BC. She is Co-Founder of the WEB Alliance, a collective of over 25 Women’s Business networks in BC and Co-Chairs the annual We for She Conference in Vancouver supporting the economic advancement of women.  Jill is well recognized for her contributions to the community and has won numerous awards including most recently the Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion award as a Community Champion.

Paul Emond


Former CEO
— Versature (Acquired by net2phone)

Founder of TechSupport.ca, an IT focused company which made the Profit 100 two years in a row and was successfully sold in 2012 to a competitor.  Founder of Versature, an ITSP which won multiple awards including Telecom Employer of the Year and Ottawa Small Business of the Year.  Versature was recently sold in late 2018 to a NYSE-traded Public Company.

When he’s not leading fast-growth companies, Paul likes to spend time on the water in the summer and on the mountain in the winter.

Joel Espelien


— Corum Group Ltd.

RSVP for the Roundtable Discussion, hosted by Corum Group

Joel Espelien has worked in a number of roles over a twenty year career in the technology industry. Most recently Joel served as Senior Advisor to Karmel Capital, where he advised on corporate spin-offs and M&A transactions, including the private-equity backed purchase of DivX LLC from Rovi Corporation and subsequent sale to Neulion, Inc, as well as the successful spin-off of Snaptracs, Inc. and its Tagg wireless pet tracking product from Qualcomm and the eventual two-stage sale to Whistle Labs and Mars Petcare. Joel has also served on the boards of multiple venture-backed companies resulting in successful exits, including AI startup IQ Engines (acquired by Yahoo) and IoT-for-AgTech pioneer 640 Labs (acquired by Monsanto/Climate Corporation). Joel has also written extensively on the future of video in his capacity as Senior Analyst for the Diffusion Group where he published 14 industry research reports as well as a widely recognized weekly blog.

Previously, Joel was the Chief Business Officer, SVP of Strategy and General Counsel of PacketVideo, a pioneer in the mobile video market. While at PacketVideo, Joel led corporate development activities, including multiple buy-side acquisitions in the US and Europe, a groundbreaking technology partnership with Google that helped launch Android, a private-equity backed MBO and ultimately the sale of the company to NTT DoCoMo (Japan).

Prior to PacketVideo, Joel was a corporate attorney at Cooley LLP in Palo Alto and San Diego, California. Joel is a member of the Bar in both Washington and California. He holds a JD/LLM (International and Comparative Law) from Duke University and a BA from St. Olaf College. Joel is fluent in Spanish and has done business throughout Spain and Latin America.

Igor Faletski


Co-Founder & CEO
— Mobify

As CEO and co-founder, Igor has successfully scaled Mobify from three people working in a downtown Vancouver apartment to the global leader in mobile commerce and engagement solutions for retailers. With a strong background in computer science and software engineering, Igor is a passionate spokesperson for the future of mobile and its positive impact on society. He is frequently quoted in media outlets such as Forbes, Harvard Business Review, Mashable and VentureBeat. In his spare time, Igor trains as an open water swimmer aspiring to one day cross English Bay from West Vancouver to Kitsilano.

Aly Gillani


Director, Global Investment Banking
— RBC Capital Markets
Shivalika Handa


Managing Director, Corporate Finance
— PwC Canada

RSVP for the Roundtable Discussion, hosted by PwC Canada

Shivalika is a Director with PwC Corporate Finance and co-leads the technology sector on a national basis.

With 7 years experience in M&A, public markets and capital raising, Shivalika has worked closely with many companies in the technology, healthcare and life sciences sectors.

Shivalika also has operational experience with a large, global pharmaceutical company and four years experience as a scientific researcher in cardiovascular medicine at the University Health Network in Toronto.

Shivalika holds an MBA from the DeGroote School of Business at McMaster University, an MSc from the University of Toronto and a Bachelor of Science from Queen’s University.

Ian D. Heine


Partner, National Technology Sector Tax Leader
— PwC

Ian is a partner in the PwC Vancouver office providing tax consulting and compliance services to public and private companies that are entrepreneurial and growing. Ian joined PwC Canada in 1995 and specializes in addressing tax considerations for stakeholders in Technology, Entertainment & Media, Retail, CleanTech and Life Sciences companies.

He has a BComm from Vancouver’s Sauder School of Business and obtained his CA designation in 1999. He has authored, lectured and presented articles, papers and reports on various taxation and industry related topics, including for the Canadian Tax Foundation and the Continuing Legal Education Society of BC.

In his spare time, Ian is an avid soccer player and coach, and is the treasurer on the BC Transplant Research Foundation’s executive committee. He is also a member of the Taxation Professional Advisory Committee for the Institute of Chartered Accountants of BC, a former group study facilitator for the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountant’s In-depth Tax Program and a former steering committee member of the Canadian Tax Foundation’s Young Tax Practitioner’s Group.

Brent Holliday


Founder & CEO
— Garibaldi Capital Advisors

RSVP for the Roundtable Discussion, hosted by Garibaldi Capital Advisors

Brent has been in the technology finance industry for 24 years and is the co-founder and CEO of Canada’s first technology-focused boutique M&A advisory firm, Garibaldi Capital Advisors. Founded in 2013, Garibaldi helps private technology companies across Canada grow by planning and executing on their capital strategy needs and assisting them through M&A transactions. With offices in Vancouver, Toronto and Saint John, Garibaldi has completed 18 transactions in 4 years across Canada.

Brent spent five years prior to founding Garibaldi doing technology transactions for Capital West Partners in Vancouver. Before that, Brent was a technology focused venture capitalist, raising over $40 million with two other partners in 1999 to invest in 15 early stage companies. In the Internet 1.0 days of the mid-90’s Brent helped found an Internet Software company, later known as Maximizer Technologies and worked for BDC’s venture capital group before founding his own fund.

He has an MBA from the University of British Columbia and an Honours Bachelor of Science from Western University in his original hometown of London, Ontario.

Richard Hungerford


VP, Business and Corporate Development
— Hootsuite

Richard is VP Corporate Development at Hootsuite where he oversees Acquisitions and Partnerships. He’s worked on multiple partnership deals, M&A transactions and integrations while at Hootsuite. Prior to Hootsuite he was CEO of Brightkit, a marketing technology software, that was acquired by Hootsuite in 2014.

Robert Hull


— Adaptive Insights (acquired by Workday)

A former CFO, Rob founded Adaptive Insights with a vision to provide modern finance leaders with an easy-to-use SaaS-based solution to manage business performance. Previously, Rob held the roles of CEO of ChemTracker, and CFO for software companies LoopNet and Risk Management Solutions, among others. Over the course of his career as a successful entrepreneur, he’s raised close to $200 million in equity and debt capital for his companies, and has completed several successful M&A transactions.

As a finance veteran and expert in cloud-based initiatives, Rob speaks frequently to finance leaders regarding best practices in planning, forecasting, and analysis; he also speaks to CFOs sharing insight into how cloud-based corporate performance management (CPM) can drive competitive advantage. Prior to his financial management roles, Rob was a consultant for Booz, Allen & Hamilton.

Rob holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Stanford University.

Brenda Irwin


General Partner
— Relentless Venture Fund

Brenda is the Founder and Managing Partner of the Relentless Venture Fund (Relentless).  Relentless  is a mission-based, health technology venture capital fund that invests in preventative and proactive solutions that optimize health, activity and longevity. Relentless builds upon Relentless Pursuit Partners’ (RPP) sport and health technology angel investment group that Brenda co-founded with 4x Olympian and triathlete Simon Whitfield.

Prior to launching Relentless and RPP, Brenda was a member of the Healthcare Venture Capital team for the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC). A seasoned VC and Board Director, Brenda has been a member of 15 private and public companies as well as non-profit organizations.

Brenda is an instructor for the Canadian Private Capital Investment School, is a mentor and instructor for Female Founders, and is an Associate for the Creative Destruction Lab’s Health cohort in Vancouver

Monique Janower


Senior Market Research and Business Strategist
— Catapult Strategy

Monique Janower is a research, business and brand strategist who founded, built and sold a multi-million dollar marketing communications agency. She has been recognized among top female entrepreneurs.

A results-driven strategist, in her 20-year career, she has advised over 100 organizations — public and private, B2B and B2C — with project budgets from a few thousand to 25 million.

Following the sale of her company in 2014, Monique founded Catapult Strategy. A hands-on strategic advisor, speaker and facilitator to US and Canadian business, she combines management consulting along with market research, customer experience and brand strategy to unlock critical insights, giving leaders a new lens to see their customers, competitors and organization. New insight that enables leaders to make better decisions that will innovate and transform their business to be Future Ready.

A transformative leader, she helps businesses reimagine the future, anticipate trends, harness disruption, outsmart competitors, redefine their offering to delight customers throughout their journey, engage your most important activator of change – employees, and define compelling brand positioning that is distinct, compelling and authentic. She applies her business problem-solving to start-up, expansion, IPO and business turnaround situations to propel organizational success.

Her success spans verticals such as technology, higher education, lottery, national retail franchise, professional sports, utility, e-commerce, real estate, telecommunications, resource, transportation and governments.

Hans Knapp


Partner and Co-founder
— Yaletown Partners

Hans co-founded Yaletown in 2001 and brings over 20 years of investing, legal and corporate governance experience to Yaletown’s team.  A seasoned investor with multiple $200M+ exits under his belt, Hans presently manages Yaletown’s emerging-growth investments in Cooledge Lighting, Redlen Technologies and Equicare Health and is part of the Investing Team of Yaletown’s newest $100M fund, the Yaletown Innovation Growth Fund.  Hans has played a key role in the formation, financing or exiting of over two dozen high growth companies including most recently Monexa’s sale to Netsuite (2015), Bitstew’s sale to General Electric (2016) and the sale of Daiya Foods to Otsuka Pharmaceuticals (2017).  A frequent speaker on topics of note in the venture industry, Hans sits on the Board of the Canadian Venture Capital Association and was co-chair of the CVCA’s 2015 marquee annual conference in Vancouver.  Prior to founding Yaletown Hans practiced commercial litigation with a leading national firm and has been a member of the BC Bar since 1996. 

Yong Kwon


— Novacap

Yong is a Partner in the Toronto office of Novacap, a Montreal-based private equity firm established in 1981 and currently managing $2.3 billion of capital.  He focuses on investment opportunities in Technology, Media & Telecom (TMT) and is actively investing out of a $840 million fund raised in 2017.  Prior to joining Novacap, Yong was an investment banker covering the TMT sector at Barclays and RBC Capital Markets in Toronto.

Paulin Laberge


— iCompass Technologies (Acquired by Diligent Corporation)

Paulin leads the iCompass team to help them develop solutions that empower local governments. With over 10 years of local government software experience, he makes sure that key corporate objectives and business strategies are executed with precision by creating a performance-centric culture and inspiring an engaged, motivated team that is focused on driving innovation. With over 30 years of experience in senior executive leadership roles in the technology industry, Paulin has first-hand experience in building and running organizations, developing effective strategies, securing financing, developing market-leading products, establishing strategic alliances, and marketing and selling domestically and internationally. Before joining iCompass, Paulin was an Entrepreneur in Residence at the British Columbia Innovation Council (BCIC) and the Chair and CEO of Con-Space Communications. He has served as CEO, advisor and mentor to numerous technology companies in BC’s fast-growing technology industry. Paulin is a registered Professional Engineer and holds a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from the University of Alberta.

Amielle Lake


EVP, Sales and Marketing
— CarboNet & Founder & Board Member, Tagga (Acquired by Campaign Monitor)

When asked about her journey as an entrepreneur, Amielle remarks that her ability to handle risks seems to be a result of a deficiency in her genes, having come from a family of entrepreneurs. Having graduated from UBC with a Bachelor degree in English Literature, followed by a Masters in Business Administration in the UK, Amielle seemed destined to be on the path to becoming an entrepreneur. The first stop, Amielle founded Tagga Media, a customer data platform designed to help large brands better understand their customers. In 2017, Tagga was successfully acquired by Campaign Monitor.

Amielle is also an advocate for female entrepreneurship, currently sitting on the board of the Forum for Women Entrepreneurs. Up next on her agenda is working on launching a women’s investment fund, The Women’s Equity Lab. WEL is focused on empowering women angel investors through an educational and collaborative investment process. And on top of being an incredibly successful entrepreneur, fun fact, Amielle is also a published author.

Carol Leaman


— Axonify (former CEO PostRank, acquired by Google)

Carol Leaman is the CEO of Axonify Inc., a disruptor in the corporate learning space and innovator behind the world’s first Adaptive Microlearning Platform. Axonify delivers a unique 3-minute a day learning experience that combines brain science, personalization, gamification and predictive analytics to increase employee knowledge and the performance necessary for achieving targeted business results. Prior to Axonify, Carol was the CEO of PostRank Inc., a social engagement analytics company that she sold to Google in June 2011. Previously, Carol held CEO positions at several other technology firms, including RSS Solutions and Fakespace Systems, both of which she sold to strategic acquirers. Carol is a frequent speaker, a regular contributor to industry magazines and has won multiple awards, including the Waterloo Region Entrepreneur Hall of Fame Intrepid Award (2011), the Sarah Kirke Award (2010) for Canada’s leading female entrepreneur and the Profit500 Female Entrepreneur of the Year (2017). Carol sits on the boards of numerous for-profit and not-for-profit organizations.

David Levine


Senior Vice President
— Corum Group Ltd.

RSVP for the Roundtable Discussion, hosted by Corum Group

Dave joined Corum in 2015 and has a diverse background in technology and life sciences. As an executive and entrepreneur, Dave has been operating and investing in companies sitting at the convergence of commerce and eCommerce as well as innovative life science businesses for over 25 years. Recently, Dave was CEO North America for Gaxsys, an eCommerce and logistics company that is a leader in last mile logistics and fulfillment for eCommerce marketplaces.

Dave has been on both sides of the mergers and acquisitions table, having sold a life science technology company, facilitated sell side and buy side technology transactions and has also scaled multiple technology companies globally in the eCommerce, life sciences and innovation intelligence markets.

Dave sits on boards of numerous public and private companies, including one that recently filed for an IPO.

Mark Longo


Managing Partner
— Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP

Mark is Co-Chair of Osler’s Emerging and High Growth Companies Group and Managing Partner of Osler’s Vancouver office. Mark has over 20 years of experience in corporate finance, M&A and technology law, and has held general counsel, corporate secretary and senior executive positions for a number of private and publicly traded technology companies, including Intrinsyc Software International Inc., Star Data Systems Inc. and Datawire Communication Networks Inc.

In the three years immediately prior to joining Osler, Mark was a partner in the Vancouver office of a boutique law firm focused on the technology industry. Previous to that, Mark was a partner in the technology and corporate finance groups of a Vancouver-based law firm for over three years.


Alex MacKay


Strategic M&A Advisor
— Tequity

Alex brings 35 years of experience working in enterprise software and services organizations. He’s worked with large global players such as SAP and Siebel at VP & GM levels as well as having CEO’d several high growth small/medium firms raising capital and leading exit strategies. As a revenue growth advisor Alex has aided several firms with positioning for M&A transactions. His experience in leading and building software and service companies provides a solid core background to help organizations set themselves up to achieve their strategic objectives. Having worked with many Founders and Boards, Alex appreciates and understands the complexities that come into play when considering possible M&A scenarios. Alex has a MBA plus a BA in Economics.

Iain Mant


— Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP

Iain Mant is a prominent mergers and acquisitions lawyer in Fasken’s Vancouver office with more than 30 years’ of experience advising clients in the technology and life sciences industries.   Iain has extensive experience advising on the negotiation, structuring and implementing of public and private M&A transactions, involving domestic and foreign purchasers and sellers. As team leader on transactions, he coordinates financing, regulatory, intellectual property, employment, tax and other advice from the early planning stages to closing.  Iain is a sought after advisor for his experience in advising on technology transactions involving some of the world’s largest technology companies, including Intel, Google, General Electric and large private equity groups.

Julie McGill


Managing Partner
— Fulmer Capital Partners

Julie partnered with Yuri at Fulmer Capital in 2016 to follow her passion to help small to mid-sized businesses achieve their potential. She leads Fulmer Capital’s investment activities. She is responsible for deal origination and execution, as well as portfolio company development. Julie brings a unique skill-set of financial, operational, governance and M&A expertise developed over 15 years of advising and investing in private companies. She has a passion for bringing together and supporting talented people to achieve extraordinary results.

Julie earned a Bachelor of Commerce degree from McGill University in 1999, and is a Chartered Accountant and Chartered Business Valuator.

Prior to joining Fulmer Capital, Julie was a Director at CAI, a leading mid-market private equity firm focused on investing in medium-sized businesses across North America. Before moving into private equity, Julie was a VP at Ernst & Young Vancouver’s office providing transaction advisory services to public and private clients across a variety of industry sectors. Julie joined EY after earning her CA and CBV designations working with small-medium sized clients at several professional services firms in Montreal and Yellowknife.

Julie is a Director of BlueShore Financial Credit Union, Chair of Central City Foundation and has held a variety of roles on both private company and not-for-profit boards. She is a member of the BC Association of Women in Finance, the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants and the Canadian Institute of Chartered Business Valuators.

Sheryne Mecklai


Partner, Manning Elliott

Sheryne, a partner in Manning Elliott’s Tax Department, primarily focusing on estate planning and business succession services for Canadian owner-managed business in a wide range of industries.  She has extensive experience working on engagements such as complex estate plans, cross border assignments and Canadian corporate, trust and personal tax compliance.

After obtaining her Bachelor of Business Administration from Simon Fraser University, Sheryne began her accounting career as an articling student with a local mid-sized accounting firm. She attained her CA designation from the Institute of Chartered Accountants of British Columbia in 2002. Before joining Manning Elliott in January 2014, Sheryne worked as a Senior Tax Manager for an international accounting firm.

Sheryne has always had an interest in teaching new tax practitioners and students. She has been involved in the CPA In-Depth Tax Course as a tutor for a number of years and now as a lecturer.  Sheryne also teaches various seminars for the CPABC in the professional development program.  Sheryne has spoken at a variety of internal and external tax update sessions focusing on private businesses and the issues and changes they face daily

Sheryne is currently a board of the Vancouver Fireworks Festival Society.  Sheryne has served as secretary of the Parents Advisory Committee for Castle Park Elementary and as a manager for her son’s hockey team with the Port Coquitlam Minor Hockey Association. She also served as a member of the Grants and Review Board for the Ismaili community.

Outside the office, Sheryne enjoys spending time with her two active sons’ and volunteering at their school when possible.  She enjoys travelling and has the opportunity to visit exotic places such as Thailand, Bali, Singapore, Tanzania, and Kenya. She also enjoys reading a good book in her downtime.

Lisa Melchior


Founder and President
— VERTU Capital

Lisa Melchior, founder of VERTU Capital, is an experienced private equity professional with a 20 plus year track record of building businesses and successful investment outcomes.

Lisa has extensive experience across a variety of industries and stages with a focus on growth equity and buyouts in the technology sector. As a strategic thought partner to CEOs, Lisa brings sound judgment, a global network, and a steady hand to support the achievement of a company’s long-term goals.

Over the course of her career, Lisa has invested nearly $1.4B in over 20 companies across various sectors through multiple cycles. Her technology sector experience spans application software, HCIT, cleantech, and tech-enabled services, to industrial technology. Her investments have included growth capital, buyouts, and public to privates.

While Lisa’s orientation is as a long-term owner of businesses, she has successfully managed changes in ownership at critical strategic stages, both by taking companies public and en bloc sales.

Peter Mogan


— Mogan Daniels Slager

Known as a leading mid-market M&A legal advisor in British Columbia, Peter Mogan, founder and senior partner of Mogan Daniels Slager LLP, has over 40 years of experience as a transactions lawyer. Peter has been called to the bar in both Ontario and B.C. and has practiced in large national firm, mid-sized firm and small firm settings. Over the years, Peter has been the go-to lawyer for hundreds of entrepreneurs selling a business or seeking a private equity partner. Between 2010 and 2017, Peter represented six of the fourteen winners of the “Dealmaker of the Year” award for British Columbia awarded by the Association for Corporate Growth. Peter also provides strategic advice to his business clients, including advising boards of directors on strategic decisions, negotiating shareholders agreements in complex situations, and establishing employee ownership structures.

Tea Nicola


Co-founder & CEO
— WealthBar (Acquired by CI Financial)
Meredith Powell


Venture Partner
— Voyager Capital

Meredith spent the first 12 years of her career in the fast-paced fashion industry travelling the globe unearthing emerging consumer products and platforms, creating go to market strategies & executing on multi-million dollar launches into new markets.

Born out of her apartment, Meredith’s brand & business sister agencies grew to serve the likes of Amazon, Nordstrom,

Urban Outfitters, Isetan and H&M as well as to be featured by the likes of Vice, Glamour, Elle, and The NY Times.

In 2012, Meredith was tapped by the past Publisher of Vogue to launch Shopthefloor.com, the world’s largest B2B wholesale apparel marketplace (acquired by UBM).

Today, Meredith stays busy as a national award-winning speaker, consultant & venture partner with Voyager Capital, as well as founder of a Next Gen startup incubator and youth fellowship. Over 50 portfolio companies graduated the incubator’s flagship program to date, raising nearly $10m in funding.

George Reznik


Chief Financial Officer
— Intrinsyc Technologies

George Reznik is the Chief Financial Officer and Corporate Secretary of the Corporation. Mr. Reznik has more than twenty years of experience in executive finance and operations roles with the last fifteen years spent at rapidly growing public companies in the high technology industry. He has extensive expertise in international corporate finance, strategic business planning, mergers and acquisitions, business restructuring and growth management, investor relations, and operational management in addition to public company reporting. Prior to joining Intrinsyc, Mr. Reznik was CFO of DDS Wireless in which he was instrumental in execution of a high growth strategic acquisition strategy that doubled revenues with profitability in addition to having formerly been the CFO and COO of Infowave Software, and the Vice President of Finance at Pivotal Corporation where he played a leadership role through its IPO on Nasdaq and its subsequent rapid business growth.

Mr. Reznik previously was the Corporate Finance Valuation Practice Leader of Deloitte and was with the firm for over twelve years primarily based in Canada and the UK. Mr. Reznik is a Chartered Professional Accountant – Chartered Accountant (CPA, CA), a Chartered Business Valuator (CBV), a Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE) and holds a Bachelor of Commerce (Honors) degree from the University of Manitoba.

Lisa Shields


Founder & CEO
— Hyperwallet (Acquired by PayPal)

Lisa Shields is the Founder of Hyperwallet Systems Inc. Lisa guided Hyperwallet from a technology startup to the leading international payments processor for business to consumer mass payouts. Prior to founding Hyperwallet, Lisa managed payments acceptance and risk management technology teams for high-volume online merchants. She holds Bachelors and Masters of Science degrees in Engineering from MIT and was a founding director of the Wireless Innovation Society of British Columbia. A firm believer in inclusive commerce and digital payments, Lisa is driven by the social and economic imperatives that shape global payment technologies. She speaks frequently and passionately on the importance of low-cost, compliant cross-border payment methods and is constantly looking for new ways to effectively and efficiently service the world’s underbanked population.

Hamed Shahbazi


— Well

Mr. Shahbazi has 20+ years of experience as technology focused operator and founded TIO Networks (TSXV:TNC) as a kiosk solution provider in 1997 and has transitioned it into a multi-channel payment solution provider specializing in bill payment and other financial services. TIO Networks was acquired by PayPal (Nasdaq: PYPL) for CAD$304 million (Jul 2017).

He has extensive strategic Mergers & Acquisitions and Divestitures experience as an operator (eg. TIO) and board member (BroadbandTV, WELL, etc.) with more than a dozen successful transactions.

He is a passionate advocate of impact entrepreneurship where new companies aim to do well by doing good, which he promotes as the role of an “Impactreneur”. He regularly mentors founders and entrepreneurs of early stage companies.

The Cantech Letter named Mr. Shahbazi the TSX Venture Tech “Exec of the Year” (2014 – 2016) and TIO the TSX Venture Tech “Stock of the Year” (2014 – 2015). More recently, he is a winner of Business in Vancouver CEO of the Year, mid-market category (2017) and EY Entrepreneur of the year, financial service category (2017).

Greg Smith


Chief Investment Officer
— TIMIA Capital

Greg joined TIMIA as the CIO in September 2015. He has been on both sides of the table as an entrepreneur and investor. Previous to TIMIA, he was a Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Espresso Capital, an early leader in debt and revenue financing for the tech sector, for 6 years. Prior to Espresso, Greg worked for the Business Development Bank of Canada’s (“BDC”) Technology Seed Investment Group. Before BDC, Greg founded and bootstrapped for seven years, his own start-up which he successfully exited in March 2000.

Greg has a Bachelor of Applied Science from the University of BC.

Derek Spratt


Serial Entrepreneur and Investor
— Former President & CEO, Mobidia Technology (Acquired by App Annie)

I am currently a mentor and advisor to tech companies and a board member of the BC Discovery Fund.

As a veteran of the Canadian tech space, I initially worked as a mobile products designer engineer for Motorola in their wireless data division, developing 1st generation public network mobile computing devices in the 1980s. In the 1990s I founded and ran 2 wireless tech companies, PCS Wireless (micro-cells, a precursor to WiFi networks) and Intrinsyc Software (IoT), which collectively raised more than $200M and employed over 500 people globally. In the mid 2000s I helped build BC Advantage Funds as a board and investment committee member, and advised Quorum Fund in Toronto and Bessemer Venture Partners in NYC on tech transactions. In the later 2000s I was CEO of a mobile app analytics company, Mobidia, which was sold to App Annie in 2015. I helped ScaleUP Ventures in its early days, a corporate Canada backed VC firm, by raising capital for the fund from BC investors (LPs), and acting as a partner and MD from 2017 to 2019.

Starting in the late 1990s I became an advisor to the BC Government and the TSX Venture Exchange, and held board positions with the Vancouver Enterprise Forum, Acetech, WinBC, DigiBC, and Wavefront – a wireless tech accelerator.

I helped bring Social Venture Partners (co-creating thriving sustainable and just communities) from Seattle to Vancouver in the late 1990s with a financial investment and a position on the board, worked with Sierra Legal Defence Fund/Earth Justice (environmental legal advocacy) as an investor and board member, helped build the BC Science-World Eurika Gallery as an investor and committee member, and helped found the Scientist in Residence Program (giving children early exposure to science and scientists) for Vancouver schools along Don Rix with matching financial investments and a position on the board of advisors.

I have been with my spouse Cheryl for the past 39 years. We have 3 grown children, Perry, Colin & Evan.

Kevin Swan


VP Corporate Development
— Shareworks, formerly Solium Capital (Acquired by Morgan Stanley)

Over the past 14 years, Kevin has split his time between Canada and the Silicon Valley and has served on both sides of the table. He currently leads M&A, strategic partnerships and new business creation at Solium. Solium provides cloud-enabled services through its industry leading Shareworks platform for global equity administration, financial reporting and compliance. With operations across the globe, over 3,000 public and private companies rely on Shareworks to engage their employees with equity and promote a culture of ownership.

Kevin began his career in product and engineering before joining iNovia Capital in 2010 as an early-stage investment partner. In 2015, he moved back to the operating side of the table as VP Corporate Development at San Francisco-based portfolio company, AppDirect, as the company grew to a billion-dollar valuation. He continues to serve as a Board Partner at iNovia Capital and is on the board of Allocadia Software. Kevin has a BSc. from the University of Alberta and a M.S. from Stanford University where he studied mechatronics and control systems.

Shannon Byrne Susko


Former President & CEO
— Subserveo (Aquired by DST Systems); Author "3HAG Way"

Shannon has 18 years of experience leading financial technology services companies in North America. Her technical expertise is coupled with extensive sales, marketing and operations experience. Shannon has served on for-profit and not-for-profit boards at a regional, national and international level. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of BCAA, Norsat International, and Alberta Treasury Branches. Shannon is Vancouver’s ACG and BIV 2011 Dealmaker of the Year, and Canada’s Top 40 Under 40 recipient for the year 2000.

Praveen Varshney


FCPA, FCA, Director
— Varshney Capital Corp.

Mr. Varshney has been a principal of Varshney Capital Corp., a Vancouver based venture capital, merchant bank and corporate advisory services firm, since 1991 and a Founding Director of Pyfera Growth Capital social impact fund.  Mr. Varshney obtained a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of British Columbia in 1987 and is a FCPA, FCA.

He is a director or officer of various publicly traded companies including Mogo (Co-Founder) and BetterU Education Corp.  He is also a Co-Founder of G-PAK, Co-Founder of Little Kitchen Academy, CFO of The Plastic Bank and former CFO of Carmanah Technologies which became Canada’s largest solar company.  He also was Co-Founder of a predecessor of Mountain Province Diamonds who’s Gahcho Kué in September 2016 became the world’s largest new diamond mine since 2003 & De Beers’ second-largest producer behind its Jwaneng mine in Botswana.

Mr. Varshney is a Toniic member and a long-time member of both EO Entrepreneurs Organization – Vancouver Chapter, TiE Vancouver (Founding Director) and Silicon Valley Blockchain Society – Vancouver Chapter (Founding Director).  He’s also on a number of non-profit boards such as The Varshney Family Charitable Foundation, Dalai Lama Center for Peace and Education and a Founding Member of instrumentbeyondborders.org.  He’s also an SVP Vancouver Partner, a Vancouver Police Foundation Trustee, and on the Advisory boards of Room to Read – Vancouver and The Thomas Edison Innovation Foundation in New Jersey, USA.  He also Co-Founded with his daughter, Jaiya, Down to the Last Straw, a global movement to reduce plastic waste with a major focus on single-use plastic straws.

Mr. Varshney is also a past recipient of Business in Vancouver’s 40 Under 40 Awards.

Catherine Warren



Catherine Warren is the Chief Executive Officer of the Vancouver Economic Commission (VEC), serving Canada’s fastest-growing, low-carbon economy, contributing to a metro region with an annual GDP of $138B and building upon a global brand valued at $32B.

VEC is the economic development engine for the city’s businesses, investors and citizens, established to strengthen local companies, attract foreign investment and promote international trade. As CEO, Catherine leads VEC’s expert business and community development officers across the Tech, Digital Entertainment and Green Economy sectors, and its Film Commission and Asia Pacific Centre business units. This close-knit team works collaboratively to position Vancouver as a global destination for innovative, creative, diverse and sustainable development.

A veteran in digital transformation, financing and community building, Catherine has lived and worked in Canada, the US, UK and Europe. Most recently, she served as CEO for Great Northern Way Campus & The Centre for Digital Media, Vancouver’s vibrant industry, education and arts district. As an entrepreneur in digital communities, Catherine is the founder of FanTrust, which has spent nearly two decades pioneering digital engagement and business development for global entertainment clients in TV, film, video games and eSports, the emerging professional gaming sector.

Prior to founding FanTrust, Catherine was COO of a broadcast tech company that she and colleagues took public on the Nasdaq, growing it to a $300M market cap. Catherine is a member of the international Academy of Television Arts & Sciences – serving on the Nominating Committee and as an Emmy judge – and is a longstanding Executive Board director of the United Nations flagship program World Summit Awards for digital media, which represents the best media from 183 countries dedicated to Sustainable Development Goals. She serves on the board of the national Bell Fund, Canada’s largest private fund for digital broadcasting, with $200M+ invested to date in media for all platforms; and on the Board of DigiBC, the industry association for the world’s preeminent animation and visual effects sector, videogames and digital marketing.

Catherine has a physics degree with a focus on climate change from Reed College, and an MS from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, where she did her original digital work at MIT’s Media Lab, and won the Correspondent Fund Award to report at CERN, the European Centre for Particle Physics Research.

David Raffa MC/Chair


— Valeo Corporate Finance Ltd.

David has had several business careers: from scientist at an environmental engineering firm to corporate lawyer specializing in venture capital and representing technology companies, to co-founder and portfolio manager of a $100 million venture capital fund.  David has been a corporate advisor, angel investor and board member to both public and private companies, and most recently was a co-founder of Emerald Health Therapeutics, which trades on the TSX and has a market cap of a half a billion dollars.  David now spends the majority of his time providing sell-side investment banking services to small cap industrial and technology companies.

Named as one of BC’s top 25 “New Elite” innovators in technology, David is a popular speaker and lecturer at business events and post-secondary institutions. He’s the co-author of “Everything I Wanted to Learn About Business I Learned from a Canadian,” a bestselling business book that’s on the required reading lists of several business programs.  During his career he has helped build multiple technology companies, contributing to the growth of BC’s vibrant technology community.  Known for his tough, no-nonsense approach and hands-on style, he is currently taking on a limited number of investment banking engagements for small cap technology and industrial companies based in British Columbia.

David Raffa

David Raffa

— Valeo Corporate Finance Ltd

David has been working in the venture space for more than thirty years in a variety of roles including scientist, corporate finance lawyer and venture capitalist.  David retired from the practice of law in 2002 when he moved into venture fund management and investment banking.  He currently is President of Valeo Corporate Finance Ltd. (www.davidraffa.com) where he provides M&A services to small to mid-cap technology and industrial companies looking to exit, as well as longer term advisory services for companies looking to accelerate growth.   

David has led or been a key player in numerous successful exits including Parasun Technologies (acquired by Uniserve), ActiveState (acquired by Sophos PLC), Wolf Medical (acquired by Telus), RFind (acquired by Constellation Software), TSC Software (acquired by Stardyne), In Motion Technologies (acquired by Sierra Systems), Liquivision (acquired by Huish Outdoors), Scorpion Software (acquired by Kaseya) and Goldrock Mines (acquired by Fortuna Silver (NYSE:FVI)), to name just a few.  David was an advisor to Flickr (acquired by Yahoo), Layer 7 Technologies (acquired by CA) and Avigilon (TSX: AVO) who have achieved successful exits or gone public.  Most recently, David was co-founder of Emerald Health Therapeutics (TSX:EMH), a medical marijuana company having grown to a market cap of over a billion dollars. 

David has a BSc (Biology) from Simon Fraser University (Vancouver, BC, Canada) and LLB (Law) from Osgoode Hall Law School (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), and was named by BC Business Magazine as one of B.C.’s “Top 25 New Elite” in the technology sector in 2004.

Brent Holliday

Brent Holliday

Co-founder and CEO
— Garibaldi Capital Advisors

Brent has been in the technology finance industry for 25 years and is the co-founder and CEO of Canada’s first technology-focused boutique M&A advisory firm, Garibaldi Capital Advisors. Founded in 2013, Garibaldi helps private technology companies across Canada grow by planning and executing on their capital strategy needs and assisting them through M&A transactions. With offices in Vancouver, Toronto and Saint John, Garibaldi has completed over 20 transactions in 4 years in technology centers across Canada. 

Brent spent five years prior to founding Garibaldi doing technology transactions for Capital West Partners in Vancouver. Before that, Brent was a technology-focused venture capitalist, raising over $40 million with two other partners in 1999 to invest in 15 early stage companies. In the Internet 1.0 days of the mid-90’s Brent helped found an Internet Software company, later known as Maximizer Technologies and worked for BDC’s venture capital group before founding his own fund. 

 He has an MBA from the University of British Columbia and an Honours Bachelor of Science from Western University in his original hometown of London, Ontario. 

Hannes Blum

Hannes Blum

Venture Partner North America
— Acton Capital

Dr. Hannes Blum started his career with The Boston Consulting Group in Germany and founded his first company (JustBooks GmbH) with colleagues of his PhD program in 1999. After selling his business to AbeBooks.com, he was asked to take over as CEO of AbeBooks which brought him and his family to Victoria, Canada in 2003. After acquiring 5 companies, he sold AbeBooks to Amazon.com in 2008 and stayed on as a VP for Amazon.com until May 2015. He won several industry awards during his tenure at AbeBooks and Amazon (e.g. Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year in the Consumer category for Pacific Canada).  

Currently, he is Venture Partner North America for Acton Capital, a Munich based growth VC fund focused on consumer internet. He serves on the Board of five companies (Mobify in Vancouver, Chef’s Plate in Toronto, Eloquii in New York and Codename Entertainment as well as Monk Office in Victoria) and is an active Angel Investor (e.g. Indochino.com, Teampages.com – sold to Active Network, Authy.com – sold to Twilio, Checkfront.com, Certn.com – he received the “Angel of the Year” Award from Viatec in 2018). In his spare time, Hannes loves to spend time with his wife and 2 children, on tennis courts, ski hills and golf courses. 

Iain Mant

Iain Mant

— Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP

Iain Mant is a prominent mergers and acquisitions lawyer in Fasken’s Vancouver office with more than 30 years’ of experience advising clients in the technology and life sciences industries.   Iain has extensive experience advising on the negotiation, structuring and implementing of public and private M&A transactions, involving domestic and foreign purchasers and sellers. As the team leader on transactions, he coordinates financing, regulatory, intellectual property, employment, tax, and other advice from the early planning stages to closing.  Iain is a sought-after advisor for his experience in advising on technology transactions involving some of the world’s largest technology companies, including Intel, Google, General Electric, Roper Technologies, and large private equity groups. 

Jill Earthy

Jill Earthy

Head of Growth
— Female Funders & Founders, powered by Highline Beta

Jill Earthy is an entrepreneurially minded leader who believes diversity drives innovation. As Head of Growth for Female Funders and Founders (powered by Highline BETA), she is creating new models to increase the number of female investors, as well as expedited access to capital for female entrepreneurs. She was formerly the Chief Growth Officer of FrontFundr, an online investment platform, bridging the gap between entrepreneurs and investors. She has successfully built two companies nationally and sold them, and then spent 8 years in leadership roles in the non-profit sector supporting entrepreneurs including as CEO of The Forum for Women Entrepreneurs. She is a community leader and active mentor, currently serving on the Board of Governors for Simon Fraser University (SFU), and as Board Chair of the Women’s Enterprise Centre in BC. She is Co-Founder of the WEB Alliance, a collective of over 25 Women’s Business networks in BC and Co-Chairs the annual We for She Conference in Vancouver supporting the economic advancement of women.  Jill is well recognized for her contributions to the community and has won numerous awards including most recently the Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion award as a Community Champion. 


Theazel Lee

Theazel Lee

— Nelsa Investment (VCC) Inc. and VANTEC Entrepreneurs Fund (VCC) Inc.

Thealzel joined the board of TIMIA in April 2014. She manages the monthly Vancouver Angel Technology Network (VANTEC) and the Vancouver chapter of the Keiretsu Forum (Northwest Region) for the local startup community of entrepreneurs and angel investors.  She also serves on committees with the National Angel Capital Organization (Canada) and the Angel Capital Association (U.S.). She is a founder of two angel seed funds: Nelsa Investment (VCC) Inc. and VANTEC Entrepreneurs Fund (VCC) Inc., which has 40 percent of its portfolio invested in “green technology” companies based in British Columbia. 

Thealzel holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Microbiology from the University of Alberta, and a Masters of Business Administration from the Richard Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario. 


Anthony Nicalo

Anthony Nicalo

Entrepreneur in Residence
— Highline BETA
Brenda Irwin

Brenda Irwin

Founder and Managing Partner
— Relentless Venture Fund

Brenda is the Founder and Managing Partner of the Relentless Venture Fund (“RVF”).  RVF is a mission based, health technology venture capital fund that invests in preventative and proactive solutions that optimize health, activity and longevity. RVF builds upon Relentless Pursuit Partners’ sport and health technology angel investment group that Brenda co-founded with 4x Olympian and triathlete Simon Whitfield.

Prior to launching Relentless, Brenda was a member of the Healthcare Venture Capital team for the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC). While at BDC she was responsible for management of a $100 million life sciences portfolio inclusive of drug development and medical devices.

A seasoned VC and Board Director, Brenda has been a member of 15 private and public companies as well as non-profit organizations; she has acted as corporate Board Chair, and Chair of numerous compensation, audit and corporate governance committees.

Brenda’s not for profit and volunteer commitment includes a six-year term on the Providence Health Care Board of Directors, one of the largest health care organizations in Canada operating 16 facilities in Greater Vancouver, and building the innovative ‘New St. Paul’s Hospital and Campus of Care’. Brenda chaired Providence’s Innovation, Academics & Research Committee. She is also former Vice-President and Board Director for the Take A Hike, Youth at Risk Foundation. In 2017, Brenda joined the Creative Destruction Lab’s Health cohort as an Associate.  Other current volunteer, advising and mentoring program commitments include Female Funders and the Hyper Growth Life V3.0 cohort.

Fuelled by her personal and professional experiences, Brenda has been committed to inspiring young women to pursue careers in science and technology since her early career as a science teacher. She is a frequent industry speaker, enthusiastic mentor, an RBC Canadian Woman of Influence nominee and Business in Vancouver ‘40 Under 40’ Award recipient.

Mark Longo

Mark Longo

— Osler
Manny Padda

Manny Padda

Founding Partner
— New Avenue Capital

Manny Padda is an entrepreneur, angel investor, and philanthropist. He is the founder of New Avenue Capital, a global firm focusing on Financial, Human, and Impact Capital.

A self-made entrepreneur who built his first multi-million-dollar company at age 26, Manny is an active advisor and angel investor globally and in British Columbia’s tech community. He personally invests in local start-ups including Picatic, MyBestHelper, ShareShed, and MTT. He is also the co-founder of GradusOne, an organization that provides students and new graduates with resources to help them refine their career path and achieve success.

Manny was recently awarded Startup Canada’s 2017 National Entrepreneur Promotion Award, BC Tech Person of the Year 2017 Finalist, EY Entrepreneur of the Year 2017 Pacific Awards Finalist, NACO’s 2016 Canadian Angel Investor of the Year, BIV’s Top 40 under 40, EO Global Citizen of the Year, Canadian Startup Awards’ 2016 Angel Investor of the Year Finalist, and the 2017 Governor General Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers.

Michael Dingle

Michael Dingle

Partner, National Deals Leader
— PwC

Michael is an Advisory Partner and leads the firm’s services in the Technology Sector on a national basis.

As as practitioner within PwC’s Deals practice, Michael advises clients on mergers, acquisitions, divestitures, and financings.

With a broad range of expertise, Michael uniquely combines knowledge of transactions, strategic consulting, digital technologies, and data. With an entrepreneurial background, Michael works to forecast and address business needs by collaborating with technology companies at various stages of growth and providing timely advice. While covering all technology sub-sectors, Michael has significant experience in Software (SaaS), Artificial Intelligence (AI), Blockchain & Crypto, Internet of Things (IoT), E-Commerce, HealthTech, PropTech, and FinTech.

With over 25 years of experience, Michael has direct experience both as an operator and as an advisor. Michael has led multi-disciplinary deal teams working on transactions in North America, Europe and Asia. Furthermore, Michael has led several technology transformation
initiatives in a variety of geographies as a consultant and as an employee.

Prior to joining PwC, Michael’s career has been at the intersection of technology and business operations:

  • As a member of the Executive Team at Colliers International, Michael worked in a corporate development capacity leading M&A transactions in the US , Canadian, European and Asian markets.
  • As a founding shareholder, Michael built Blast Radius, one of the first and the leading digital agency and web application development business in Canada. With Blast Radius, Michael led engagement teams delivering strategy, architecture and
    application development services into Nike, AT&T Wireless, Microsoft, Starbucks, Fairmont, Electronic Arts, BMW and others. Blast Radius was sold to WPP.
  • As President and CEO of Medeo Corporation, a SaaS company, Michael led the strategy and development of Canada’s first direct-to-patient telemedicine platform. Medeo was designed mobile-first, API-first and ready to integrate with existing healthcare IT stacks. Michael led the sale of Medeo to QHR Technologies in 2014.
Paulin Laberge

Paulin Laberge

— iCompass Technologies


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