Join us for a captivating fireside chat with Laurie, a visionary leader who built a Canadian tech unicorn. In a historic achievement, Laurie became Canada’s first women CEO to lead a company to a billion-dollar USD exit with Galvanize’s remarkable sale to Diligent. Drawing from her extensive three-decade tech journey, Laurie will engage in a candid conversation about her transformative experience, turning a dismissed tech venture into a billion-dollar success story.
Learn how to navigate networks to support your primary needs as a founder: funding, talent, customer acquisition, mentorship and knowledge share. This talk is based on the in-program talk we give at our accelerators to help Techstars founders grow and scale. To date, Techstars has invested in 3,000 companies and has had six companies go public. Additional learning will focus on what Techstars does and how to build an effective entrepreneurial community.
Devon joined RBC’s tech practice in 2012 and is now the Managing Director, Banking at RBCx. RBCx is supporting visionary entrepreneurs at any stage of growth by providing access to tech-focused capital, marketplace services, and deep sector and operational expertise to help companies scale. She has spent 20 years in financial services with 10 of those years being a passionate connector, business advisor, and mentor within the tech ecosystem
Retired Squadron Commander & Founder
Glenn founded One 9 Investments while serving as an Assaulter Officer in Canadian Special Operations Forces. As a Squadron Commander, Glenn specialized in leadership, command and strategic planning and successfully translated these skills with the creation of a venture capital fund that invests utilizing the principles of special operations planning, risk mitigation and execution. Last year, Glenn was invited to join the Triple7 Expedition with Folds of Honor. Glenn and his Triple7 team mates executed skydiving jumps on all seven continents in seven days – decimating the previous world record.
Founder & General Partner
Janet is the Founder and General Partner of Staircase Ventures which invests in Canada’s most promising early-stage tech companies. Staircase recognizes that founders are the bedrock upon which companies are built and therefore provides unparalleled dedication to accelerating founders’ development and performance.
Prior to launching Staircase Ventures, Janet was Managing Partner at Real Ventures, one of Canada’s largest and most active early-stage investors. Janet is also a graduate of the prestigious Kauffman Fellows program, a global network of the world’s top 1% investors and innovation leaders.
In addition, Janet is very active in the Canadian tech ecosystem; she is the Co-Chair of C100 and on the Boards of Communitech in Waterloo, Vector Institute in Toronto, and Ivey Business School. She is also a mentor at Creative Destruction Lab.
Janet has won numerous awards and recognition including Insider’s 2023 “Seed 30: The Best Women Early-Stage Investors s in North America”, Venture Capital Journal’s 2021 “Women of Influence in Private Markets”, Pitchbooks’ 2021 “Female Founders & Investors to Know”, and American Bankers’ 2019 “Most Influential Women in Payments”.
In 2004, Janet launched Kijiji.ca and grew it to become one of the most visited websites in Canada. Subsequently, she led the Kijiji Global business, launching the website in new countries and accelerating growth in North America, Europe, and Asia.
Janet also spent four years at eBay in Silicon Valley where she helped transform eBay from a Collectibles to a mainstream marketplace. She started her career as a Brand Manager at Procter & Gamble and then joined McKinsey & Co. where she was an Engagement Manager. She also founded and built a successful consulting business and was CEO at a venture-backed start-up prior to joining Real Ventures.
Janet was a varsity long-distance runner and competed internationally in triathlons. Today she balances her active lifestyle with being a wife and mother.
The last few years have seen venture capital and private equity push to new records and pivot focus to respond to various market variables. From attracting and growing Canadian talent, to building a strong ecosystem for startup companies to flourish, to a competitive taxation system, CVCA’s voice and the role of this industry is essential to Canada’s economic success.
Entrepreneur & Lead Vocalist of Our Lady Peace
Raine is an artist, entrepreneur and humanitarian. He is the founder and lead vocalist of Juno award-winning, Canadian alternative rock band, Our Lady Peace and with over 25 years of experience in the music industry, Raine is shifting his career towards his new venture, MolotovProjects. MolotovProjects is in essence is a virtual incubator whereby Raine and his team develop innovative ideas, both within and outside of the music industry, and work with fellow entrepreneurs and their group of tech experts to make these visions a reality. From a technology that revolutionizes music therapy, to the first direct-to-consumer solution for craft breweries, the ventures within MolotovProjects’ portfolio are sure to make waves. Raine has always considered a band as somewhat of a start-up and as someone who has endured a dynamic paradigm shift within the industry, it is no surprise he is well-equipped to take on this newest venture!
Founder & CEO
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 20 transactions in 5 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.
ACMG Mountain Guide & Area-Manager – Nomads, CMH Heli-Skiing
Craig McGee is a professional, fully certified International Mountain Guide (IFMGA), who has been guiding for 20 years, 17 of which have been with CMH Heli-Skiing, the world’s first and largest Heli-Ski company. Craig grew up with a passion for skiing and has always striven to challenge himself and push his limits. Similar to building and growing a business, guiding the outdoors is never black and white, especially when faced with unpredictable terrain and external pressures. Understanding how to navigate the grey area and assess risk accurately is how Craig has gotten to where he is today.
Craig will take the #BVF2018 stage and share his experience in becoming a top Mountain Guide and how a strong knowledge of risk-assessment can help guide you through the grey area of business and reach your own peak! Learn more about Craig and CHM Heli-Skiing.
Navy Diver, Shark Attack Survivor, Author & Motivational Speaker
This mantra is something that Australian Navy Clearance Diver, author, and speaker, Paul de Gelder, has lived by since his early Army days. As an active adventure-seeker, Paul’s life has taken him down many different paths, from a substance-fueled stint working in the nightlife industry, to climbing his way to the upper echelons of the defence forces as an Army Paratrooper and then a Navy Clearance Diver.
In February of 2009, a brutal shark-attack in the Sydney Harbour left Paul without two of his limbs and clinging to life. With his daredevil career at stake, Paul took this traumatic experience and turned it into his greatest opportunity to leave a positive impact. Nine years later, Paul has now traveled the world as a top motivational speaker, passionate environmentalist, author of the book, No Time for Fear, and co-host of nine documentaries for Discovery Channel’s Shark Week and one for National Geographic!
Don’t miss Paul’s exhilarating story about how he inspires others to face every challenge head-on and why you should have no time for fear!
Director of Worldwide Corporate Development, Alexa Fund
Zain A. Gulamali manages the Amazon Alexa Fund, Amazon’s $200 Million venture capital fund investing in artificial intelligence, enterprise, healthcare, IoT and connected devices, robotics, voice technology, and more. Zain has led the Alexa Fund’s investments in Tact, Greenlight Financial Technology, June Oven, Owlet Baby Care, Mojio, Embodied, Rachio, and TrackR. He was also responsible for establishing the Alexa Accelerator in partnership with Techstars, now running its 2nd class. Zain is also part of the broader Corporate Development team at Amazon. Prior to Amazon, he worked in mobile gaming (Pocket Gems), private equity (Warburg Pincus and Monitor Clipper Partners), and investment banking (Goldman Sachs). Zain is a graduate of the Stanford Graduate School of Business and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
Co-Founder & Managing Partner
John is a Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Relay Ventures. John has over 20 years of experience helping entrepreneurs shape their vision and capital plans for long-term, sustainable growth. John’s tenure in finance spans both venture capital and private equity, where he has assisted entrepreneurs through all stages of the startup lifecycle, from seed financing to IPO and M&A. His ability to work alongside company management teams and offer guidance around hiring, governance, and scaling has been vital to the success of Relay’s investments.