- Alex TownsendAlex TownsendInvestment Manager at Angel One Investor Network
Alex Townsend is the Investment Manager for the Angel One Investor Network and is heavily involved in the angel investing community. He is responsible for the screening, selection, and analysis of investment opportunities for the group.
- Alla DarwishAlla DarwishPhD, MBA
Alla Darwish received a doctorate in chemistry from the University of Waterloo in 2009, and a Master of Business Administration from Lazaridis School of Business and Economics in 2018.
Alla is currently leading an R&D team at Dalriada Therapeutics (UTM start-up) in efforts to commercialize promising cancer therapeutics (2017 – present). Being one of the earlier pioneers, Alla played an instrumental role in scaling Dalriada’s operation at UTM.
Prior to this, Alla was a commercial associate at the Centre for Probe Development and Commercialization (2016 – 2017, McMaster University start-up) where he assisted in the due diligence process of novel and promising technologies with market potential.
Earlier on, Alla was a scientist in the discovery department at the Centre for Probe Development and Commercialization (2011 - 2016). He was the inventor of a novel technology platform (Fast Clear™) that raised over $160 million in series A&B financing to establish the spin-off company Fusion Pharmaceuticals.
- Chris ClayChris ClayDigital & Social Media Specialist at The Mississauga News and The Brampton GuardianChris Clay is an award-winning reporter and social media editor with The Mississauga News and Brampton Guardian newspapers with more than 15 years experience in the media industry. He’s covered a variety of beats including City Hall, provincial and federal politics, courts and crime, education, sports, the arts and business. Proficient in writing, editing and media relations, he’s also an experienced digital storyteller trained in SEO and analytics software including Parsely, Adobe Analytics and Chartbeat. He’s a graduate of both the University of Toronto and Humber College and his work has appeared in a number of publications including The Toronto Star, The Hamilton Spectator, Chill, West of the City and LUXE.
- Cliff BensonCliff BensonCo-founder & Lead Engineering at VSETA Inc.
Cliff Benson is an entrepreneur with a background in biomedical engineering and a former Blackberry. He is the cofounder and Lead Engineer at VSETA, a Toronto-based IoT company that enables real-time building and facility monitoring through wireless sensor network. He also co-founded a non-profit organization called Brampton Mastermind in 2016, that aims to empower business owners and entrepreneurs within Brampton through community support and networking. He is big believer in giving back to the entrepreneurial community and loves collaborating with aspiring entrepreneurs who love to tackle big problems. Cliff was also honoured in 2017 as City of Brampton’ Top 40 under 40.
- Derrick RaphaelDerrick Raphael
Derrick is a graduate of Princeton University, Duke University School of Law and the University of Toronto - Global Professional Masters of Law Program. During Derrick's professional career he has held a number of titles such as (1) CEO of his own education consulting company which focuses on students based in China and India; (2) CEO of ICON Talent Partners which is a nonprofit which prepares top talented diverse youth for careers in the most competitive sectors such as venture capital, investment banking, technology as well as corporate law and other areas.
Derrick likes to leverage his background in strategy and law as he currently focuses on supporting start-ups and emerging technology companies as they are incorporated while a member of Fasken law firm.
If you have interest in speaking with Derrick please email him at Derrick.Raphael1@gmail.com.
- Edward RieckelmanEdward RieckelmanPresident, True North Investors & Adjunct Professor, University of Toronto Mississauga
Over the course of his 25 years as an investor, Ed has made investments in over 20 private companies and been a director of 9 companies. His private equity investments have resulted in a return on invested capital in excess of 3x. He has focused on investing in small and medium-sized growth companies, most of which were founder or family held.
Today he spends his time lecturing at University of Toronto and is involved with a couple charities. Professionally, he continues to invest in small and medium-sized public and private companies and has completed four consulting projects for medium-sized companies. Also, since March 2015, he has held several advisory positions within Kevin Murphy Group, a premium global beauty care company with revenues in excess of $90 million. Currently he is its exclusive financial advisor reporting directly to the Chairman.
From 2009 to 2012, Ed was Vice President of Alberta Investment Management Corporation’s Private Equity Group. AIMCo’s PE Group has approximately $2 billion under management with investments in both private equity funds and directly in private companies. Prior to joining AIMCo’s Private Equity Group, Ed founded True North Investors, a private equity fund focused on acquiring middle market companies. From 2004 through 2007, he was a Partner with ONCAP Management Partners, Onex Corporation’s dedicated middle market investment affiliate. Prior to ONCAP, Ed was a Partner with Goldner Hawn Johnson & Morrison Incorporated, a Minneapolis-based $200 million private equity fund; he began his career at First Chicago Corporation’s Merchant Bank.
- Gurdeep SinghGurdeep SinghGrowth Mentor at UnivjobsA Start-Up Business Growth Specialist with more than a decade of experience across the world. Launched businesses from scratch and grew them to be market leaders. Experience across e-commerce, consumer goods, telecom and retail sectors. Gurdeep is currently helping inMotive, a Toronto based start-up to bring an innovative transmission for electric vehicles to market. Prior to that Gurdeep held leadership positions at GoFetch (Canada's leading pet care technology platform) and Ola Cabs (#1 Ride Sharing service in India: #1 Vs. Uber and valued USD $ 7b). Gurdeep is a graduate of Rotman School of Management (Canada's #1 Business School) and Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee (IIT R) (Asia's oldest technical institution).
- John DickJohn DickCo-Founder & CSO at Nicoya Lifesciences
John is the technical co-founder and CSO of Nicoya Lifesciences, a scientific instrumentation company that utilizes nanotechnology-based sensors to lower the cost of protein kinetic assays for academic, biotech and pharma.
For the past 7 years he has taken Nicoya from an idea stage start-up, to an SME with a 30+ headcount currently advancing through its growth stage. John has helped lead Nicoya through the various stages of startup ideation, market validation, pitch deck building and pitching, MVP design, patent writing and initial sales to make it a successful, viable business.
- Kevin AlfredKevin Alfred
- Linda KernLinda KernBCom
Linda is a highly regarded business development professional with over 20 years’ experience helping companies achieve and exceed their sales goals. She has worked in the printing, insurance, financial services, manufacturing, technology and transportation sectors, and is the Founder & CEO of The Kern Group—a company that specializes in sales strategy, training and consultancy.
A graduate of UBC with a BCom, Linda has been married for 26 years, has two children, a yellow lab, and they all live in Mississauga.
- Marko MrkonjicMarko MrkonjicAccount Executive at ChartMogulMarko Mrkonjic is a sales executive with over seven years of experience, mainly in the SaaS/tech industry. He has worked in business development, account management and leadership roles. In his last position, he was the first North American sales hire tasked to grow enterprise sales across the Fortune 1000. Currently, he oversees sales efforts in Canada, the U.S. and Australia for a subscription analytics start-up.
- Michael SamiMichael SamiAssociate at LaBarge Weinstein
Sami first joined the LW team in 2009, dedicating his practice to advising early-stage, growth companies within the Canadian tech sector as well as the VCs and investors who back them. Sami has extensive experience guiding founders from their ideation stage through to Series Seed financings and beyond, and has negotiated numerous exits on behalf of startups including by way of share and asset sales, mergers and other strategic combinations. Select clients include Real Ventures, Canopy, Shopify, Wattpad, Kik, Hubba, etc.
Sami acts as corporate secretary and sits on the advisory board for various clients. He is also a regular guest lecturer at the University of Ottawa and for the University of Waterloo Student Seed Fund.
Outside of the office, Sami is a political junkie and sports fanatic, and has represented Canada at the Mundiavocat (football world cup for lawyers) four times, most recently at the 2016 tournament held in La Manga, Spain.
- Natalie YeadonNatalie YeadonCo-Owner/Managing Director, Impetus Digital
Natalie Yeadon worked in the pharmaceutical industry for over 18 years. The U of T Mississauga grad held a variety of roles in sales, marketing and early brand commercialization management both in Canada and in the US. A veteran in the pharmaceutical industry, Yeadon dedicates herself to work she strongly believes in—improving healthcare by providing an easy-to-use, always accessible, online platform for healthcare professionals and industry leaders to connect, communicate and collaborate.
She has led product launches, include “first in kind” product, FluMist, an intranasal flu vaccine for AstraZeneca, and Herceptin for HER2+ early breast cancer with Genentech.
Yeadon began her career as a radiation therapist treating cancer patients at Toronto’s Princess Margaret Hospital where she treated babies with tumors and nueroblastomas. She says that experience plays a big part in how she considers issues in her current work. “Facing life-or-death situations daily made me realize that my day-to-day concerns paled in comparison to big health issues,” she says. “I worry less about the “what if” than the average person, which allows me to make successful, risky strategic decisions for Impetus.”
- Nathan CornNathan CornFounder at FlexPro MealsNathan Corn is a food tech entrepreneur from the United States who bootstrapped his online startup, FlexPro Meals with only $10k into a multi million dollar company. He is a sales driven individual who specializes in online marketing strategy, building websites, and straight up hustle. Nathan is well versed in spending capital on a tight budget, buying overseas, and managing a large team of employees. He has spoke at multiple Entrepreneur Events at the world wide known Kauffman Foundation and enjoys giving back to those less fortunate empowering them to create a better life through entrepreneurship.
- Nick KurylukNick KurylukChief Executive Office at ColdBlock Technologies Inc Principal Virtus Insights Inc
Nick Kuryluk is a graduate from the University of Toronto. He is a Principal at Virtus Insights Inc., A Strategic Management Professional Services Firm. Nick worked in the Bio-Pharmaceutical Industry for 24 years — 22 of them with Amgen Inc., a biotechnology company that discovers, develops, and manufactures human therapeutics. While at Amgen, Nick was Director of the Strategy and Program Management Office. In his role, he governed Amgen Canada’s approach to 1) Strategic Planning, 2) Program Management, and 3) New Products Commercialization. Nick was selected as one of the University of Toronto’s Mississauga’s Top 40 Alumni and he received an Arbor Award for his dedication to volunteerism. He is a member of the Governing Council at the University of Toronto where he serves on several boards and committees. Nick is an active volunteer advisor, specializing in commercialization processes and marketing frameworks.
- Paul BrandnerPaul BrandnerDirector of Marketing at Carta Worldwide
A brand-driven marketing leader, multi-disciplinary communications strategist and trusted leader with a proven track record growing brands, relationships, teams, campaigns and bottom lines. Driven by ideation, collaboration, communication, creativity and playing a role in the success and growth of colleagues, clients and companies alike.
- Portia AsliPortia AsliFounder & Executive Director at Px Venture Services
Portia Asli is a thought leader, 4-time entrepreneur and engineer having built businesses from the ground-up in healthcare wearables, online education, digital marketing, and advisory services. She has 10+ years of leadership & management expertise in: bringing new innovative ideas to market, building and managing high-performing teams, negotiating for optimal resources, bootstrapping resource-constraint businesses for success, closing ambitious B2B deals, establishing digital marketing strategy for B2C revenue stream and building exceptional partnerships across sectors to meet a shared agenda.
Portia is passionate about creating entrepreneurial ecosystems where emerging leaders can build sustainable and scalable businesses. She has coached over 200 startup founders across diverse sectors (FinTech, EdTech, CleanTech, IoT, AR/VR, Food, e-Commerce, AgriTech, Health) on investment strategy, product-market fit, lean product development, customer acquisition, B2B/B2C sales and online/offline marketing strategy. She has been a speaker on startup related content at conferences hosted by USAID, the Asian Development Bank, featured on live TV talk show and authored entrepreneurship articles for the Cambridge University.
- Robert MartellacciRobert MartellacciFounder & CEO at MindShare Workspace Inc. & MindShare Learning Technology
Robert Martellacci, MA, EdTech, is a proud resident of Mississauga who has over 25 years of expertise in startup ventures in the technology and learning space. His latest venture, the MindShare WorkSpace, was partly inspired by his close association with the MaRS Discovery District Innovation centre in downtown Toronto, one of Canada’s leading business incubators. He was part of Kevin O’Leary’s (Dragon’s Den star) team that launched The Learning Company School business in Canada that was sold to Mattel, Inc. This inspired Mr. Martellacci to launch his own business, MindShare Learning Technology, where he’s consulted to startups, large and small companies to support their innovative efforts in meeting the very complex needs of K12 & post-secondary learning institutions.
As founder of Canada’s 8th Canadian EdTech Leadership Summit, Mr. Martellacci thrives on helping entrepreneurs make vital connections to thrive personally and professionally. A former university administrator, Mr. Martellacci is committed to giving back to the community through hockey coaching, scholarship donations and currently serves as the president of the Credit Pointe Community Association.
A passionate lifelong learner, Mr. Martellacci augmented his skills as a mature student by completing his Master’s in Learning Technology at Pepperdine University. His signature tagline is, “keep the digital learning curve steep!”
- Samuel PeraltaSamuel PeraltaFounder and Chairman of Incandence
Samuel is founder and chairman of Incandence, co-founder and director of Cobalt Blockchain(TSXV:COBC), director of Noble Mineral(TSXV:NOB), and principal of the MintraxJV of COBC/DLT Labs. He's an executive mentor at Everwise, and an advisor at the ICUBE(University of Toronto), BlockchainHub(York University), and Startup Here Torontoaccelerators.
Previously, he co-founded and served on the boards of POET Technologies(TSXV:PTK), Windrift Bay, OPEL International(TSXV:OPL), Envergence, and Qvadis; he served on the boards of Peat Resources(TSXV:PET), Axiom NDTand the Organization of Canadian Nuclear Industries(OCNI). Samuel was CEO of Qvadis, CTO of OH Solar, chair of Windrift Bay, chair of Envergence, corporate treasurer at OCNI, and served in executive roles at Kinectrics, Ontario Power Generation, Ontario Hydro, and the Ontario Laser and Lightwave Research Centre.
Samuel is a leader in technological innovation, business development, and corporate re-engineering. He's built mobile software companies, fabless semiconductor firms, manufacturing plants for solar power. He's overseen blockchain and A.I. projects, streamed the Internet over power lines, engineered robots and laser tools for inspection of nuclear reactors. His businesses have been honored in the TSX Venture 50, and Canadian Business Magazine's Top Tech 100.
These contributions build on Sam's Ph.D. in physics, honed through a career applying cutting-edge technology to real-world challenges.
When he's not tinkering with Ruby on Rails or sensors, Samuel is a Palanca Award-winning poet, an essayist and short story writer, who's helped produce numerous indie films - one nominated for a Golden Globefor Best Foreign Film. He's a Wall Street Journaland USA Todaybestselling author and publishes The Future Chronicles, the #1 bestselling SF&F anthology series on Amazon. Recently, he curated an art exhibit exploring allegorical visions of the future, at the 33 Contemporary Gallery in Chicago.
- Smruti PatelSmruti PatelDirector, Business Operations Risk and Governance at RBC
Smruti has extensive global experience across a range of organizations including start-ups, scale-ups and large corporations. She graduated with a Masters in Law from the UK before moving to Dubai in 2006 to help found a financial institution (Dunia Finance), as part of a joint venture between two sovereign wealth funds. She then joined a tech scale-up to lead strategic initiatives across multiple countries aimed at increasing brand awareness and market share, before heading back home to Toronto. In 2013 she graduated with an MBA from Ivey before joining RBC. Since joining RBC, Smruti has held a progressive series of roles, responsible for the design and implementation of strategies, as a consultant, co-lead of a transformation initiative, and risk director.
Smruti continues to be passionate about entrepreneurship and enjoys volunteering with youth organizations to support the next generation of business leaders and entrepreneurs.
Vigen Nazarian is a serial entrepreneur and the President of Naprico Inc. – a consulting company providing advisory services to early-stage startups, SMEs and educational institutions.
A graduate of the University of Toronto in molecular genetics, Vigen started his career in 1989 as a researcher in the biotechnology industry working at companies such as Allelix, Pioneer Hi-Bred, and Dupont.
In 2000 he joined University of Toronto to commercialize innovations arising from life sciences research. In 2005 Vigen left U. of T. to co-found his first company – Amorfix Life Sciences (now ProMIS Neurosciences TSX:PMN), followed by Algopix Technologies and Antvibes Inc.
Vigen currently serves as a board member at various for and non-profit organizations. He is also a well sought after mentor and advisor at several educational institutions and technology incubators.