2023 Program

Brent Holliday
Brent Holliday
Founder & CEO, Garibaldi Capital Advisors
"Welcome to TechExit.io! I’m pleased to be hosting the annual TechExit Conference in Vancouver. This conference is the only conference of its kind in Canada –focused solely on mergers and acquisitions strategies for technology companies. Whether you’re a Founder, Investor or M&A advisor, you will hear actionable ideas to navigate M&A opportunities - directly from some of Canada’s most experienced deal-makers.

I hope you enjoy it!"


May 30, 2023

7:15AM – 8:00AM
Registration, Networking & Continental Breakfast
8:00AM – 8:15AM
Welcome Remarks by Conference Chair
Chair: Brent Holliday, Founder & CEO, Garibaldi Capital Advisors
8:15AM – 8:45AM
No Silver Bullets: The Story Behind Canalyst’s $400-Million Exit to Tegus During an Economic Downturn

Capital markets data and analytics startup Canalyst was acquired by Tegus, a leading company intelligence platform, resulting in one of the largest-ever tech exits in BC. The acquisition closed in August 2022 amidst (and despite) the broader technology market downturn. Join Canalyst co-founder & CEO, Damir Hot, as he shares Canalyst’s story and lessons learned hot off the heels of his most recent exit.

Damir Hot, Managing Partner, Alphaninja Partners and Founder in Residence, Tegus (Co-Founder at Canalyst- Acquired by Tegus)
Moderator: Justin Young, Partner, Emerging and High Growth Companies, Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP
8:45AM – 9:25AM
Board Governance + M&A

Evaluating M&A opportunities can be the board’s highest stake role — while also the most frustrating. Although some companies make regular acquisitions a part of their corporate strategy, most are occasional, stressful events that involve many uncertainties.

Board actions and decisions get made on a hurry-up-and-wait basis. Decisions reached today are second-guessed for years to come. And often, no matter how diligently the board acts, there is an information mismatch between what the board needs to know to make the best decisions and what it gets from leadership. Learn all Board Governance, its role in M&A and how to do it right.

Lynda Brown-Ganzert, Founder & CEO, RxPx (Co-Founder of Curatio - Acquired by Pemba Capital Partners)
Fraser Hall, Partner, Rhino Ventures and Co-Founder & Director at Article (Co-Founder of Recon Instruments- Acquired by Intel)
Kristi Miller, Managing Partner, Krystal Growth Partners
Genevieve Pinto, Partner, Renewal Funds
Moderator: Sarah Applebaum, Investor, Pangaea Ventures
9:25AM – 9:55AM
2023 M&A Environment: The State of the Industry

The go-go days of 2021 are over. 2022 was the polar opposite: rocky and uncertain. Is 2023 the year we level set? What does the future hold in store? What does this mean for the tech landscape when it comes to M&A? Most importantly, what does this mean for you as a Founder/CEO? And how can you harness this information to your advantage?

Join John Ruffolo as he talks how 2023 is unfolding and his predictions for the coming quarter. This session will provide insights into a macro view of the economy and cast a lens on industry sector differences. You will walk away with:

  • An overview of the current economic conditions and market trends that founders need to consider when thinking about them.
  • An understanding of how these trends are impacting their business.
  • Insights into the current M&A environment, such as industry consolidations, leading acquirers and other factors which might affect your future.
John Ruffolo, Founder & Managing Partner, Maverix Private Equity
Moderator: Sean Silcoff, Business Writer, The Globe and Mail
9:55AM – 10:25AM
Coffee Break
10:25AM – 10:55AM
Founder Story Untold

Vancouver-based FinTech startup Grow Technologies, which offered white labeled digital banking solutions to Canadian banks, credit unions and other financial services providers, was acquired by Alberta’s ATB Financial in 2019. In this session, you’ll hear Kevin’s behind-the-scenes learnings on what worked, what didn’t and what Kevin would do differently if he went through an acquisition again.

Kevin Sandhu, CEO & Co-Founder, Otter (Founder of Grow Technologies- Acquired by ATB Financial)
Building the Foundational Building Blocks of M&A

Whether you want to be ready for a knock on the door or embark on an acquisition strategy, it takes time (and sometimes years) to check all the boxes. Early and measured preparation is key throughout all phases of the process – from strategy to integration. Operating efficiently, professionalizing processes, limiting vulnerabilities around IP, and source code and accounting records are just some things to consider. This session will showcase the most comprehensive, essential must-dos to get M&A ready.

Why attend this session?

  • Get the roadmap and understand the exact steps required to plan for a sell-side acquisition successfully.
  • Learn how to maximize your company’s valuation even if you have no plan to exit.
  • See where most companies make mistakes and get the tools to avoid these pitfalls.
Shannon Byrne Susko, Founder & CEO, Metronomics, Author "3HAG Way" (Former President & CEO at Subserveo- Acquired by DST Systems)
11:05AM – 11:45AM
Post-Deal Integration (and How to Get it Right)

Acquiring a company is one thing. Effectively integrating the company is another.

What happens after the deal has crossed the finish line? Furthermore, what is post-merger integration, and how to get it right?

Mergers and acquisitions revolve around a plethora of moving parts. Suddenly, two companies and additional stakeholders need to work and communicate fairly and seamlessly. And getting it right heavily influences your bottom line. Companies that deliver integration will achieve growth of 6-12% higher than those that don’t.

In this session, you’ll learn the importance of M&A integration, process and best practices. You’ll learn the challenges of integrating products, companies, teams and cultures (and how to overcome them).

Meryl Almeida, Director, Corporate Development, Inovia
Jade Bourelle, Founder, Talemetry, (Acquired by K1 Investment Management)
Matt Diederichs, Head of Strategy & Corporate Development, Invoca (Formerly Corp Dev at Hootsuite)
Justin Ouyang, Investor, OMERS Ventures, ex-Slack (Salesforce), Intercom, Zenefits
Moderator: Lyndsey Dyer, Executive Vice President, The Coaching Studio (formerly VP of People, Clio)
Unicorn-or-Bust: Startup Valuations in 2023

Despite market conditions, 2022 was Canada’s second-highest year on record for venture capital investment; however, after years of explosive startup valuations, the bubble has burst. Is this a relatively temporary setback or the start of a new era of VC caution? This session will look at how investors and acquirers are valuing acquisition targets and how the market slowdown, rising inflation and a tightened monetary environment are impacting the investment landscape.

Eric Bukovinsky, Partner, Yaletown Partners Inc.
Barbora Gaziova, Partner, Deals, PwC
Owen Madrick, Co-Founder & C3O (COO/CFO), Certn
Boris Petkovic, Director, Sampford Advisors
Moderator: Neelam Brar, Managing Director, Venture, Roynat Capital
11:45AM – 12:50PM
Networking Lunch
12:50PM – 1:30PM
Deal Killers Discussion (How to Address & Avoid Them)

The discipline of M&A is complex and labyrinthine, peppered with its share of false starts, thrilling chases, and heartbreaking shortfalls. This panel of experienced lawyers, investment bankers and serial acquirers discuss why deals are falling apart from the buyer and seller perspectives.  

You will learn:      

  • Why so many acquisitions fail during the due diligence phase
  • Areas that buyers will focus on that you may not have thought about   
  • Negotiation tactics used by savvy buyers and their acquisition teams   
  • Tactics to avoid major post-sale surprises.
Cameron Burke, Partner, Technology & Innovation Banking, Fort Capital Partners
Jon Conlin, Partner, Fasken
Moderator: Stephanie Fan, Partner M&A, Tiny
1:40PM – 2:20PM
Exit Options: There Are More Avenues Than You Think!

Exit options for tech companies, and their investors, were relatively straightforward for years — the companies could either go public or be acquired. Now the menu of possible options has significantly expanded.

Navigating exit options requires careful thought and analysis of the relative strength of the company, the makeup of the investors, and the ultimate long-term goals of the founders and investors. While this can be overwhelming for founders, this session will better equip you with different exit options. Ultimately, this session can better guide you toward what is right for your company.

In this session, we’ll discuss:

  • Considerations for different deal structures
  • How do you get the most out of your company if you aren’t growing and profitable: Distressed M&A opportunities, options and realities
  • Transactions – what we’ll see in 2023 given the market: All stock deals, acquires and more.
  • There are several ways to exit a company. Explore and compare strategic, venture, PE, etc.
  • And more!
Andrew Hennigar, Partner, Borden Ladner Gervais LLP
Kim Kaplan, CEO and Founder, Snack App (Former VP Product Management, Revenue Optimization & Marketing at Plenty of Fish, Acquired by Match Group)
Karen Starns, CEO, OJO Canada (recently acquired by Royal Bank of Canada)
Moderator: Shamil Hargovan, Managing Director, STS Capital Partners
Your Liquidity Options: Partial Exits & Two Part Exits

You’ve taken a lot of risk in putting your time, energy and often equity into your company. But the path to liquidity is years away.  This session will help you seek solutions to eliminate distractions, alleviates the financial pressures of being a founder and reduce the appeal of exiting early — a win for you as a founder and your investors — while still allowing you to focus on the long-term growth of the company.

Corey Gross, Managing Director & VP, Q2 (Co-Founder of Sensibill- Acquired by Q2 Holdings)
Maria Pacella, Managing Partner, Pender Ventures
Kareen Zimmer, Partner, Fasken Martineau LLP
Moderator: Brenda Slauko, Director, Technology Growth & Transition Capital, BDC
2:20PM – 2:50PM
Afternoon Networking & Coffee Break
2:50PM – 3:20PM
M&A Considerations: Building a Generational Tech Company for the Long Term

Boris helped build AbeBooks, which Amazon acquired for $90 million. Since that sale, he has raised more than $250 million in venture capital and seen the likes of Google, Salesforce, Groupon, and Twitter acquire companies in his portfolio. But that’s not what he wants to talk to you about. He wants Canadian Founders to focus on building generational tech companies. How can Founders stay future-focused and think long-term? How can M&A play a part in your growth? Learn all this and more.

Boris Wertz, Entrepreneur turned investor, Entrepreneur at AbeBooks (sold to Amazon) and Early-stage investor through Version One VC
Moderator: William Johnson, Publisher, Vancouver Tech Journal
3:20PM – 4:00PM
The Things They Don’t Tell You When You Get Acquired

Hear from a panel of CEOs + Founders who have recently exited and now can reflect on the process in the rear-view mirror. Let them help you build and broaden your frame of reference by sharing their own tales from the trenches.

You’ll hear:

  • What goes into selling your company
  • How and why did the founders decide to do it
  • What they wish they had known, their key learnings and what they would change.
  • If you join another team, what it’s like to go from being in charge to being an employee?
  • The emotional side of selling and what it’s like to walk away from something you put so much time and energy into building.
  • founder learned from that experience of selling the company, how it helped them grow, and what you can learn looking at your own company’s journey.
Catherine Dahl, Former CEO, Beanworks (acquired by Quadient)
Mik Kersten, CTO, Planview (Founder of Tasktop- Acquired by Planview)
Razad Shah, Founder Lodestar Technologies Inc. (acquired by Evergreen Services Group)
Moderator: Brent Holliday, Founder & CEO, Garibaldi Capital Advisors
4:00PM – 5:00PM
Happy Hour


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