This is the Program Archive for the TechExit conference.
Our 2018 Chair
— DirectorsEdge Inc (Exited PayByPhone, Subserveo, MAKE Technologies)
Past Agenda February 15, 2018
Exits in the Tech Sector - Being Exit Ready Teague Collins
Whether you’re in it to build your tech company to sell or not, you still need to be exit ready as you may be presented with an opportunity to sell and may need to sell for reasons you never thought of. Sometimes exits can happen sooner than expected, and sometimes they need to be accelerated based on what is happening in the market. Learn how to assess the market dynamics and read the signals so that you can strategically respond or plan for your exit. When do exits happen and why? What are the tell-tale signs that may warrant an early exit? As a buyer or seller in the technology sector, you need to learn how to think strategically. Be exit ready.
Buying or Selling – It's about being prepared Andrew Lugsdin, Paul Geyer, Iain Mant, Manny Padda and Janette Pantry
Buying or selling a technology company is all about preparation - though the steps required are very different from buying or selling a bricks & mortar company. Managing the due diligence process, avoiding loss of intellectual property and trade secrets, managing commercial partnerships and customers relationships, all pose unique challenges to technology companies. You don’t want to reveal trade secrets to the competition, who may approach you under the guise of an acquisition, and you don’t want to put your business at risk should a sale not go through. In this panel discussion, you’ll hear from experts that have lived through an acquisition or sale. You’ll hear about the challenges they faced in managing their exits.
Networking and Coffee Break
Valuing Technology Companies – You Are More Than Just a Multiple Brent Holliday, Kiki Anadu, Desmond Griffin, Richard Hungerford and Hans Knapp
In 2012 Facebook bought Instagram, a company with 13 employees and 30 million users, for $1.0B and so it began. Analysts then described Instagram as a company without a business model. Since then it has been described as a brilliant move by Mark Zuckerberg. In 2014 Facebook bought WhatsApp for $19B, in 2016 Microsoft bought Linkedin $26.2B. Why do technology companies get acquired for strategic values that make other sectors look tepid, and how do you take advantage of this? And what can you do to drive exit value in your technology company? In this panel discussion hear from experts who have worked in, advised and sold technology companies discuss what drives exit value and how it is different from bricks and mortar companies. Learn about valuation techniques and also what steps you can take to increase your enterprise value.
The M&A Team – Who You Need On Your Side Diane Horton, Michael Hagerman, Andrew Jones, Steve Munford and James Smith
A Tech Exit is an extremely labour intensive process. How do you manage this process and still keep your business running smoothly? The answer is forming an M&A team, both with inside resources and outside specialists, to lead and manage the process. Who are the key players you need to complete a successful acquisition or sale? What do they bring to the table and what are their costs and benefits? Which employees inside your company should be involved, and when? Learn about the roles advisors play and when to start engaging these experts.
War Stories From Technology Entrepreneurs Who Have Sold Their Companies David Raffa MC/Chair, Christian Cotichini, Neil McDonnell, Lonny McLean and Olivier Vincent
No matter how much you prepare, you only really know what it will be like AFTER you have gone through the process of selling your company. Hear directly from technology entrepreneurs who have sold their technology companies. What did they wish they knew before they started? What did they learn in the process? What would they do over?
Happy Hour Sponsored by LaBarge Weinstein
Meet Founders and Investors at a Happy Hour unlike any other. Enjoy premium food and drinks including an oyster bar, a sushi bar, a scotch bar, and more! Mingle with leading deal makers and entrepreneurs in a relaxed environment.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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
Founder & CEO
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Co-Founder & CEO
— Bit Stew Systems
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.
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.
— Eventbrite (Former Founder & CEO, Picatic)
Jayesh Parmar is the CEO and co-founder of Picatic, which was acquired by Eventbrite in 2018.
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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Sponsored by RBC
Royal Bank of Canada is a global financial institution with a purpose-driven, principles-led approach to delivering leading performance. Our success comes from the 84,000+ employees who bring our vision, values and strategy to life so we can help our clients thrive and communities prosper. As Canada’s biggest bank, and one of the largest in the world based on market capitalization, we have a diversified business model with a focus on innovation and providing exceptional experiences to our 16 million clients in Canada, the U.S. and 34 other countries. Learn more at rbc.com.
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.
— 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
— 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.
Kiki Anadu is a Vice-President in PwC’s valuations practice under the firm’s Deals Group. Kiki is a Chartered Business Valuator with over 9 years of experience in providing business valuation and advisory services with a focus on early stage companies and technology investments.
Kiki recently spent 3.5 years advising companies in London, UK on business and intangibles valuations with a particular focus on Technology and Media. While in London, Kiki provided advice to early stage technology businesses through various accelerators including Startupbootcamp and Seedcamp, educating founders looking to fundraise on how to assess the value of their early stage business and helping them understand the impact of various strategies on the value of their early stage businesses.
Prior to London, Kiki spent 5.5 years in Toronto providing valuation advice for a variety of purposes such as independent valuations, corporate reorganizations, mergers and acquisitions, financial reporting, business modelling, tax and estate planning and shareholder transactions.
Teague Collins is a Senior Vice President at Cascadia Capital in the firm’s Technology practice. He has over 11 years of investment banking and capital markets experience, executing a variety of M&A and financing transactions for public and private companies across the equity and debt spectrum.
Teague joined Cascadia from Goldman Sachs where he was a part of the Investment Banking Financing Group. Teague was responsible for originating and executing alternative debt and equity transactions for healthcare, consumer, and technology clients. Prior to Goldman Sachs, Teague was with Morgan Stanley in the Global Investment Banking and Capital Markets group where he executed debt and equity financings, as well as M&A transactions for life sciences and technology clients.
Prior to his investment banking career, Teague served as a Surface Warfare Officer in the United States Navy and completed two Middle East deployments. Teague has a B.S. from the United States Naval Academy.
With over 20 years of experience leading startup and high growth technology companies, Christian Cotichini is an active angel investor and mentor to startup entrepreneurs. In the mid-1990s, Christian founded Absolute Software, a leader in computer security and asset management. After going public, Absolute continues to grow and has diversified into a solution for organizations to manage the massive proliferation of Internet devices.
Christian then went on to found MAKE Technologies, a platform for the transformation and modernization of its clients’ legacy and mission-critical software systems. While remaining on the Board of MAKE, Christian left day-to-day activities to join co-founder Shannon Susko on a new startup, Subserveo. A SaaS company, Subserveo targeted the post-2008 compliance and regulatory challenges faced by the banking sector. Subserveo was acquired by DST Systems in 2011. MAKE was then also sold to Dell Computers in 2012.
In 2013, Christian joined HeroX as co-founder and CEO. He is also focused on angel/seed financing, hands-on entrepreneurship, mentoring, M&A, and anti-consulting to startups and emerging disruptive companies.
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 activity 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.
Paul Geyer, a successful Medtech Entrepreneur, is an experienced Board member and Angel Investor. Over the past 25 years Paul founded and led three companies through their growth phase, in one case to a successful exit and in the other case to growth as a public company with numerous acquisitions. Two companies have grown to be anchor medical device companies in the Vancouver area, employing more than 350 people, while the third company is just commercializing its technology.
In 1991 he founded Mitroflow, a tissue heart valve company. Paul grew the company from 9 employees to more than 125 employees. In 1999 Paul sold Mitroflow for more than $50 mil. Paul’s leadership resulted in Mitroflow growing to more than 200 employees, making it one of the largest medical devices companies in the Vancouver area.
In 2001 Paul started Medical Ventures (Neovasc), a new specialty vascular device company where he is currently Chairman of the Board. Mr. Geyer held the position of CEO at Neovasc until June 2008 and was responsible for raising over $40 million in Equity financing and growing the company’s product portfolio through internal development and the acquisition of 3 other companies.
In 2008 Paul focused on assisting Entrepreneurs to build successful businesses, as a mentor or Board member. He also focused on building the local community through his involvement as a Board member of BCTECH industry association, along with a number of non-profit community-based organizations. Paul is actively engaged as a Philanthropist, on the Board of Social Venture Partners Vancouver, involved with Science World, Entrepreneurship at UBC, Project Somos Children’s Village and other organizations.
Paul is currently the CEO of Discovery Parks and Nimbus Synergies, an innovative investment program that will invest Discovery Parks’ assets in growing BC companies that focus on the intersection between health, life sciences, and technology.
Desmond is the co-founder and CEO of Glance Technologies, a publicly traded company that owns and operates Glance Pay, a streamlined payment system that revolutionizes how smartphone users choose where to dine, order goods and services, make payments, access digital receipts, redeem digital deals, earn great rewards & interact with merchants. Desmond co-founded PayByPhone (formerly Verrus Mobile Technologies) and was its CEO from inception through to a successful exit, during which time PayByPhone went from a concept to a platform processing tens of millions of mobile payments annually for millions of consumers in over 100 cities around the world. Desmond is an active advisor to early stage technology companies. He holds a Bachelors of Business Administration degree from Simon Fraser University and holds the Chartered Financial Analyst designation.
Michael Hagerman is the CEO of DirectorsEdge Inc. After careers in travel, financial services, Michael Hagerman entered the tech world as an angel investor in 2001. He served as an advisor to PayByPhone (exit in 2010), Cofounder/Executive Chairman of Subserveo (exit in 2011) and Executive Chairman and Interim CEO at MAKE Technologies (exit in 2012). Earlier in his career, he participated in the sale of Deak International to Thomas Cook and Goepel McDermid to Raymond James — in each case, he learned a lot about the art and science of receiving a premium price for a company.
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.
Diane brings 20+ years in the Technology sector at both large multi-national organizations and small start-up companies, helping to drive strategy and growth in a variety of roles in Finance, Sales, Marketing, and Business Systems Consulting. In her role at Tequity, Diane advises Software and IT company shareholders and executives on strategic M&A engagements that will best meet their unique objectives. Diane studied at the University of Western Ontario and the Certified General Accountants Association, and is a designated Certified Business Intermediary (CBI) and Certified Merger & Acquisition Advisor (CM&AA).
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.
Andrew is equally comfortable speaking the three languages of code, product and corporate finance. His career path is unique: from embedded systems design engineer, to 10 years in product line management, to technology company transaction advisory. Andrew co-founded Garibaldi Capital Advisors (12 deals since 2013) prior to spinning out Cardin Partners as an M&A focused boutique in 2016. Andrew is an avid tournament poker and competitive squash player.
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.
Andrew Lugsdin is a partner in the IT Venture Fund. He joined BDC Capital in 2001 and is based out of Vancouver, BC. He has over 20 years experience in the IT and telecom sectors.
Prior to joining BDC Capital, Andrew was the founder and president of a consulting firm for early-stage high-tech companies, providing business planning and development services. Previously, as Vice President of Sales and Client Strategy, he helped transform a Vancouver-based professional Web services firm into a Canadian leader. Andrew also worked for a number of years as a software engineer at Nortel and as a consultant for the DMR Group.
Andrew holds a Bachelor of Science in Physics and in Computer Science from McGill University.
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.
Neil McDonnell is currently chair of Agreement Express, Chair of Photon Control, Executive Chair of ResponseTek, director of Symbility Software and director of Colligo Networks. He is a recognized leader in the Canadian technology space, serving most recently as chair of QHR Technologies (acquired by George Weston in 2016), director of TitanStar Properties and CEO of Wurldtech Security Technologies (acquired by General Electric in 2015). Previously, Mr. McDonnell held senior positions at several British Columbia’s most successful companies, including chair and CEO TeraSpan Networks, COO TIR systems (a Royal Philips company), COO Mobile Data Solutions, and CEO Intrinsyc Software. He is active as an Executive in Residence for the British Columbia Technology Industry Association, formerly an advisor to the ICBC board (Transformation Committee) and director for the British Columbia Lottery Corporation (2001 – 2011). Mr. McDonnell holds a Master of Business Administration from the University of British Columbia and a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Toronto.
Lonny McLean, is the Founder/CEO of CareCru Inc., an automated, data-driven growth platform for Health Clinics. Lonny is an experienced entrepreneur with a focus on building and growing technology-oriented companies from seed to exit. He was the Founder and CEO of Layer 7 Technologies, a company recognized as the BC Technology Industry Start-up of the Year, Company of the Year, and by Deloitte as one of the fastest growing technology companies in North America. This revenue growth and company strategy was key in the very successful sale of Layer 7 to CA Technologies in 2013.
As a repeat founder and sales executive, Lonny has built teams and strategies focused on growing companies through various stages of developments. He has successfully raised money from individual and Venture investors and is managed those Boards through the various stages of development. As an angel investor in various companies, he has worked with founding teams, entrepreneurs and executives as they executed their own strategies in building companies.
Steve Munford is Non-Executive Director at Sophos. He served as Sophos’ CEO from 2006 to 2012 and, during that time, led the company through a period of dramatic growth, more than tripling bookings. Prior to his role as CEO, Steve served as President of Sophos for North America and then became Chief Operating Officer, responsible for the day-to-day running of the company and its senior management team. Previously, he was President of ActiveState before its acquisition by Sophos in 2003. Under his leadership, ActiveState established itself as a global leader in email security software.
Steve has a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Western Ontario and has an MBA from Queen’s University, Ontario.
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.
Janette is the leader of EY’s Transaction Tax practice in British Columbia. She has extensive experience advising on the tax aspects of mergers, acquisitions, divestitures and restructuring transactions in a variety of industries, including locally owned businesses, private equity funds and large public companies. She has practiced exclusively in the tax field for more than 20 years and joined EY after practicing with Canadian law firms for 15 years.
Janette is a governor of the Canadian Tax Foundation, co-chairs the research committee and has presented papers at national and provincial tax conferences and for professional organizations on many occasions. She has been recognized by International Tax Review as one of the world’s leading women tax advisors. She previously served as a vice chair of the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade and is a recipient of Business in Vancouver’s Top 40 Under 40 award.
As partner at LaBarge Weinstein LLP, James Smith’s practice has literally grown up with Canada’s technology leaders since 1998. James focuses on corporate, securities and commercial law, and has acted in over 100 venture and exit transactions since joining the firm in 2000. James holds a Master’s degree in venture-backed firm corporate governance at the University of Toronto Law School through its Capital Markets Institute and is widely recognized as a leading resource for Canada’s founding teams at every stage of startup company formation and growth. James was called to the bar in Ontario in 1996, New York in 2002 and British Columbia in 2015.
Olivier is a Vancouver based serial tech-entrepreneur. He created over 9 companies and startups. He was the founder and CEO of Canpages with the vision to disrupt the local market (back then dominated by yellow pages and a rapidly growing Google) with a series of digital marketing and search solutions. He sold the company for $225m after growing it to over $100m in revenue.
Olivier is currently the President of WeatherBug, a growing weather app with over 20 million users, and is spending is time between Silicon Valley and Vancouver. Like many geeks, he is also having fun currently with the magic potential of AI and AR.
Olivier has an engineering master degree and an MBA. He lives in Vancouver which is the ideal combination for his passions for his kids, ocean and mountain, music and tech.