Who’ll be scoring your elevator pitches @startupfest?
If you’ve seen our video from last year’s festival, you know that we like to take things literally: especially when it comes to elevator pitches. Like last year, we’ll be giving startups the opportunity to pitch to judges during a 60 second elevator ride. Yes, a real elevator. You’ll have 30 seconds up and 30 seconds down to wow the judges with your idea! Not only is this a great opportunity to practice your pitch in a rapid-fire manner, but it’s also a great way for investors looking for the next hot thing to gain exposure to a wide range of startups.
This year’s elevator will be featuring three types of judges: our elevator, $50K and FounderFuel judges will be present during the designated elevator pitch times. Keep in mind that they’re all investors, so that’s extra incentive to wow them! During the ride, 2 judges will be scoring you (and giving you feedback); the pitch with the best score will have the chance to pitch in front of everyone on the main stage. You’ll also gain exposure to the judges giving away the $50k and FounderFuel prizes.
So if you’re interested in pitching on the main stage, winning either or both the above-mentioned prizes, are looking to practice your pitch or are an investor looking for your next project, this will be a great place to go and be seen!
Meet the Elevator Judges!
General Partner at Real Ventures
Mark is one of Canada’s leading startup finance experts. Mark is a a Partner at Real Ventures, Canada’s largest and most active seed VC fund. At Real, Mark invests in SaaS and e-commerce companies.
From 1999 – 2010, Mark was CFO for some of Canada’s leading startups including Shopify, Tungle (sold to RIM), Status.net, Mobivox (sold to Sabse Technologies), Terrascale (sold to Rackable Systems), Hexago and Silanis Technology (AIM:SNS).
Mark is a frequent blogger on funding, growing and exiting startups at startupcfo.ca.
They make seed stage investments: first money into capital efficient web and mobile startups with a particular focus on SaaS, freemium, digital media and e-commerce.
Partner at Real Ventures
John is a Founding Partner at Real Ventures and is also the co-founder and
Managing Partner of Montreal Start Up, two early stage VC funds. He co-founded a number of software, Internet and media companies in New Zealand (Bulletin.net), South Africa (Brightpoint SA/MTN PAYG), Malaysia (Aethos Asia Pacific) and Japan (Livedoor & Vogue Planet). John also founded Piermont Ventures, a Hong Kong based boutique investment and advisory business, which advised entrepreneurs and invested in their startups. John is currently an investor and/or board member in fashion/tech related companies such as Beyond the Rack, Frank & Oak and Buyosphere.
They make seed stage investments ranging from $150K – $500K in web and mobile companies.
Vice President at Summerhill Venture Partners
Brian Kobus joined Summerhill Venture Partners in 2006 and leverages more than 10 years experience in the areas of technology investing, mergers & acquisitions and strategic transactions in working with early stage companies. Brian works closely with Summerhill portfolio companies Scribble Technologies and Sonian as well as with Radian6 prior to its acquisition by Salesforce.com in 2011. Before joining Summerhill, Brian was part of the M&A team at Bell Canada Enterprises where he was responsible for the evaluation and structuring of acquisitions, divestitures, joint ventures and strategic equity investments. While at Bell, Brian was involved in transactions aggregating more than $300 million in value. Previously, Brian worked in Morgan Stanley’s Investment Banking Group in New York where he was involved in a number of financial advisory and capital raising mandates. Brian holds both MBA and an Honors Business Administration degrees from the Richard Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario. Brian also holds a CFA designation.
They make A round investments with a typical initial check size ranging between $2M and $4M focused in digital media, wireless and B2B software & service platforms.
Managing partner at Brightspark Ventures and Brightspark Capital
Sophie has been in the venture business for close to 20 years. She has lived through and understands the passion and the challenges of start-up entrepreneurs. She has led or overseen more than 50 investments in technology companies in Canada and abroad over the past 15 to 20 years. As co-CEO of Brightspark 3.0, Sophie helped develop Internet solutions that led to the creation and growth of Jewlr.com and iStopOver.com. Sophie is a member of the advisory committee on small business and entrepreneurship for the Canadian government, as well as a member of the Canadian Digital Media Network advisory board. She also sits on the Board of Directors of a number of companies, including Protecode, Hopper, eXludus, b5media, Jazinga and others.
They make investments up to 7M$ in early stage companies through their life cycle with a focus in software, Internet, mobile and social media companies.
General Partner at Rho Ventures
Roger Chabra is a General Partner at Rho Canada Ventures, a division of New York-based Rho Capital Partners. He has ten years of operational & entrepreneurial experience and eight years of venture capital experience. Roger joined Rho in January 2010 and is focused on investing in media, software, web, wireless and communication companies at the Seed and Series A stage.
Prior to Rho, Roger was as a venture investor at GrowthWorks Capital where he was involved in the funding and growth of numerous early stage companies including Xkoto (acquired by Teradata), Whitehill (acquired by Oracle), Paymentus (acquired by Accel-KKR) and NetShelter (ranked by ComScore as the #1 tech media company in terms of online traffic). He was also previously an investor at the corporate venture arm of BCE’s wireless division, where he was instrumental in the financing & development of many successful wireless and telecom companies across North America. Prior to his career in venture capital, Rogers was a technology start-up CEO at Mobilessence and has worked in a variety of web technology-focused roles at Rogers Wireless and Sapphire Technologies (acquired by Randstad).
They make seed and Series A investments ranging between $250K and $5m in digital media, Internet apps, ad tech, mobile, telecom, enterprise software.
Managing Partner at Brightspark
Being in the right place at the right time makes all the difference. The rise of the personal computer spelled the end of the fax machine—but not right away. From 1988 to 1995, Delrina’s WinFax dominated the PC fax industry, fundamentally changing the economics of an industry and created a Canadian software company that was sold for over $450m. Mark Skapinker gives us a look at what it’s like to stand astride two huge industries, the fax and the PC, and ride their convergence to fun and profit. Mark will also relate this to current opportunities.
They make investments ranging between $2M to 7M$ in early stage companies through their life cycle with a focus in software, Internet, mobile and social media companies.
Partner at BDC IT Venture Fund
Steve joined BDC Venture Capital in 2001, after almost nine years in investment banking with Scotia McLeod and two years as CFO of an interactive advertising agency. As a director in corporate finance, he participated in many IPO’s, privatizations, M&A advisory mandates, and equity and debt financings for companies in sectors including technology, transportation and telecommunications. For an Internet company, he raised a first round of venture capital, did three acquisitions, two start-ups, and helped grow the company from 20 people to 145.
Steve works with BDC investments: Beyond The Rack, Recoset, Invidi, Vantrix, Bluestreak, Trumpet and prior investments: Max-T (acq. Avid) and Third Brigade (acq. Trend Micro).
They make late seed ($250K) and series A investments ($2-3M) with a focus in enterprise, SaaS, cloud, Internet/e-commerce and mobile.
David is a full time Entrepreneur in Residence with iNovia Capital with a focus on Quebec investment opportunities.
Entrepreneurship is part of David’s DNA and so is helping others in their quest to grow their businesses. His interest in venture building and deep experience in sales and marketing has attracted him to mentor a large number of promising entrepreneurs. His area of expertise include; software, e-commerce and electronic payments. He learned early on the meaning of lean start-up while at VIPswitch when he had to get large customer validation for a disruptive telecom technology for which he later helped raise $15 million to grow. Thereafter, while director of business development at Pivotal Payments, an emerging payment processor, he experienced what creating traction was all about when the company grew from a few to over 60,000 customers, 400 employees and more than $8 billion in transaction volume. After which David was named president of Callio Technologies whose intellectual property was acquired by Bell Canada.
Our elevator is sponsored by BDO and Gowlings