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HomeMonthly BreakfastsPast Breakfast Meeting Speakers
Past Breakfast Meeting Speakers

Ron Thompson, Founder of CAIL, a founding and Active Member of Toronto Angel Group
"Venture Investing from the Angel Perspective - a look inside the Toronto Angel Group and the seed funding environment"
November 2006

Are you an Entrepreneur looking for financin?  Want to understand how Angels better prepare a venture for VC investment?  Are you curious how and why Angels invest?

Come and hear Ron Thompson, a founding member of the Toronto Ange* l Group, give an insider's view on Angel investing, and how Angel deals fit into the venture investment food chain.

Ron will provide insights on
- What Angels bring to Company Founders, VC's and Service Providers
- The difference between Angel investment versus friends and family funds
- How an Angel investment can improve the probability of business success
- How the Toronto Angel Group operates and how to work with Angels

The Toronto Angel Group (TAG) was a Toronto Venture Group initiative that commenced operation in 2001 to serve the funding and access to expertise requirements of young companies.  In conjunction with this, important TAG objectives are to enable private investors to have the opportunity to invest in promising companies, effectively collaborate to improve the quality and efficiency of venture due diligence, and realize greater rewards while reducing investment risk.  TAG is a member-based organization that is a forum for Angel investors to build a portfolio of quality, pre-screened investment opportunities.

This will be a compelling look at how Angels support entrepreneurship, product innovation, and manage risk in the wealth creation process.

Sean Wise, Founder, Wise Mentor Capital
"Lessons From the DRAGONS' DEN: What a reality TV show can teach you about Raising Capital"
October 2006

According to this month's issue of Profit Magazine - the CBC's new prime time reality-TV series - the DRAGONS DEN - is turning the high-stakes investment pitch into prime-time entertainment.  More than 1500 contestants from coast to coast tried out for the chance to pitch before 5 multi-millionaire investors.  Some got paid - most got slayed.

In October, the TVG will go behind the scenes of the Dragons' Den, with the show's industry advisor and online host, Sean Wise.

Sean, a former national director with Ernst & Young's Venture Capital Advisory Group, is also known for leading Bootcamp programs focused on teaching founders how to raise capital - a program whose alumni have gone on to raise more than $900M in capital.  In addition, Sean sits on the Board of The 2007 Canadian Venture Forum, the Toronto Venture Group, the BC Advantage Fund and the Banff Venture Forum.  Sean also has his own regular column in the Globe and Mail entitled:  Wise Words: Lessons in Entrepreneurship and Venture Capital.

Learn the inside scoop on pitching and working with multimillionaires.  Whether you are live on national television or going one on one with your investors of choice, you company's success in acquiring future capital may depend on it.

Sam Ifergan, President & CEO of Hargan Ventures
Tom Little, President & CEO of VisualSonics
"Succeeding at Early-Stag Investing in the Medical Device Sector - Going from $0 $25m in Sales within Three Years"
September 2006

Sam Ifergan and Tom Little will speak about their experience with building VisualSonics into the world’s leading developer of high-resolution, ultrasound-based, micro-imaging systems designed specifically for the preclinical market.

tarting with quarterly revenues of a few hundred thousand dollars in 2003, VisualSonics has experienced a 145% compounded annual growth rate, quickly reaching its current $24 million in annualized sales. Hargan Ventures founded the company in conjunction with Dr. Stuart Foster in 2001 and provided the company with an initial financing round of $1.5 million.

Topics of discussion will include: innovative go-to-market strategies in a heavily regulated industry, attracting initial beta customers, streamlining technology R&D efforts, building a defensible IP position and patent portfolio, value-adding partnership strategies, raising follow-on rounds of financing and evaluating exit strategies.

Sam Ifergan is the President and CEO of Hargan Ventures ( and is a member of the Board of Directors of VisualSonics. Sam has over 15 years of entrepreneurial, technology and venture capital experience. As the leader of Hargan's investment team he is involved in overseeing allocation of the firm's funds under management, evaluating new investment prospects, structuring transactions and leading the firm's governance efforts with respect to portfolio companies. Sam has been extensively involved in the day-to-day business of all of Hargan's investments, often serving as CEO or other senior executive, particularly in the early stages of each company's development. Prior to founding Hargan Ventures, he was a strategy consultant with Mercer Management Consulting where he was involved in a number of industries and advised Fortune 500 companies on corporate strategy. Sam has also held general management and technical development roles at NCR, where he led the deployment of enterprise-grade information technology systems. He holds a Bachelor of Engineering from McGill University and an MBA from the John Molson School of Business at Concordia University.
Tom Little is President and CEO of VisualSonics responsible for setting the strategic direction of the company and managing its successful short and long-term operations. Mr. Little joined VisualSonics as President and CEO in July 2002. Focusing the company on the life sciences market, he led the commercialization of the VisualSonics' in vivo imaging system, drove global sales growth and maintained a high level of customer satisfaction. Before joining VisualSonics, from 1995 to 1999, Mr. Little was a founder and Executive Vice President of Dicomit Dicom Information Technologies, a technology company for medical imaging device manufacturers worldwide. He hired and motivated a strong and effective team and led the company from startup to sale. From 1990 to 1999, he was Vice President at OMD, a distributor of medical devices in Canada. From 1986 to 1990, Mr. Little was an Investment Manager and then Partner of VenGrowth Capital Funds responsible for identifying and making equity investments in growth companies. Mr. Little has an H.B.A. (Ivey School of Business, University of Western Ontario) and is a Chartered Accountant. He was recently awarded Ernst and Yong’s Entrepreneur Of The Year™ 2005 Award (Ontario Region Life Sciences).

Carly Biggart
Strategy and Business Development, Motorola Ventures
Mel Gaceta
Investment Manager, Motorola Ventures
Motorola Ventures:  An Overview of Corporate Venture Capital"
August 2006

Motorola Ventures is the global, strategic investment arm of Motorola, dedicated to creating sustainable growth through external investments in new technologies, new businesses and exceptional talent. Motorola Ventures helps turn great new ideas into thriving businesses, seeking exciting outside technologies that complement Motorola’s goal of Seamless Mobility.  Motorola Ventures focus’ on discovery and strives to make each investment a strategic alliance encapsulated by vision, creativity and business acumen.

Motorola Ventures invests about $100M each year into new start-up companies and existing portfolio companies.  These investments help accelerate access for all of Motorola to emerging markets; disruptive technology and new talent. 

So what is so different about Corporate VC investment versus more Traditional VC investment?  

Carly Biggart, Strategy and Business Development for Motorola Canada will be joined by Mel Gaceta, Investment Manager, Motorola Ventures to speak about Motorola Ventures diversified portfolio, typical investments and of course the mergers and acquisition strategy of Motorola Inc.

Robert Imrie
President/CEO, DemandCast Corp.
Kevin Leflar
President & CEO, The Official Community Corp.
Celebrating the “VICTORS”, featuring the Canadian Venture Forum 2006 Winners
June 2006

“Best Seed Deal”, DemandCast Corp.
“Best CPC Qualifying Transaction”, The Official Community Corp. 
Moderated by: Rick Segal, JL Albright Venture Partners Inc., CVF Selection Committee Member

A new awards program, called the VICTOR awards was launched this year at the Canadian Venture Forum.  This program recognizes winners who have the highest probability of future success as chosen by members of the Canadian investment community.  Come and see the best of the best present their company presentations and find out first hand what makes a VICTOR award winner. 

A group of over 150 investors reviewed more than 70 companies selected to present at CVF 2006.  Selection of award winners and finalists was based on deal characteristics including: ROI opportunity, differentiated technology, management team leadership and market potential.  Join us and learn how these successful companies are building their business, pitching for capital and attracting the attention of key funding sources.

Charles Chi
Partner, Greylock Partners
"Entrepreneurs, Venture Capitalists, and Rising Tides"
April 2006

Entrepreneurs jibe venture capitalists for being on the “dark side”.  Charles Chi a General Partner with venture capital firm Greylock, has been on both sides of the table, previously as an entrepreneur, operating executive and even recently as an interim-CEO for a Greylock funded start-up.  Charles will discuss starting and developing technology based companies, and reasons for their successes and their failures, from both points of view.  Offering a further dimension to this particular discussion, Charles is a native of Ottawa but is a resident of San Francisco.

Greylock is an early stage venture capital firm investing for over 40 years with over $2B under management.  Greylock invests in technology start-ups globally, with investments in the United States, Canada, Israel, Europe and Asia.

Charles joined Greylock in 2000. His area of focus is systems, semi-conductors and related software for communications, computing and storage for the enterprise, service provider and consumer markets.

Prior to Greylock Charles held executive positions in the communications sector that spanned both service providers and equipment suppliers. He joined Greylock from CIENA Corporation where he was vice president of marketing. Previously Charles had co-founded and led marketing at Lightera Networks, Inc., a market defining optical core switching company acquired by CIENA. Before Lightera he held marketing, sales engineering and engineering roles at Cisco, StrataCom, AT&T Canada and
Bell Canada. During his tenure he developed and launched a number of new products and services based on new technologies.

Charles represents Greylock on the boards of Aquantia, Espial, Quorum Systems, SiTime and ZeroG. Charles' previous investments include Sanera Systems (acquired by McDATA) and Siliquent (acquired by Broadcom).  He earned his Bachelor of Engineering in Systems and Computer Engineering in 1988 from
Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada.

Andrew Burgess
President, Somerset Entertainment Income Fund
“Financing For Growth” Growing Your Business through an Income Trust
March 2006

Somerset Entertainment Income Fund generates a reliable stream of distributable cash through the production and distribution of specialty music. Somerset's 19 labels include Avalon®, Reflections, Solitudes®, Platinum Legends®, Fisher-Price™ and Hallmark. These lines target mature consumers and feature a diverse offering of genres including World, Jazz, Classical, Children's, Nostalgia, Latin, Relaxation and more. A network of more than 28,000 interactive displays in a variety of non-traditional retailers, including mass merchants, specialty chains and gifts stores, provide consumers with multi-track sampling of the music.

The National Post recognized Somerset Entertainment as one of Canada's "50 Best Managed Companies" in 2004.The market for Somerset music has expanded over the past decade with three major trends in the music industry: 1) increased music purchases by consumers over 35 years 2) rising sales of specialty music and 3) growing dominance of non-traditional retailers in music distribution (these retailers now account for over 55% of all music sales).   Since 1995, Somerset has grown at a compounded annual rate of 32.6%. In fiscal 2004, Somerset's revenue grew 28.8% to $68.4 million. 

Andy Burgess is a co-founder of Somerset Entertainment and has served as President since Somerset’s inception in 1994. From 1992 to 1994, Mr. Burgess acted as Director of General Merchandise for Loblaws of Toronto. His experience also includes serving as Vice President, Strategic Planning for Joniff Corporation and as a business analyst with McKinsey and Company. Mr. Burgess received a Bachelor of Arts degree with Honours from Princeton University and a Masters of Business Administration degree from INSEAD, Fontainebleau.

Rick Segal
Partner, JL Albright Venture Partners
“Looking Around the Corner –  The VC Secret… (revealed!)”
February 2006

2006 is off to an amazing start with a successful Consumer Electronics Show completed and next generation Internet developments under way.  How do Canadian Entrepreneurs, Angels and Venture Capitalists get an edge, get ahead, and ride a wave of new innovation, ideas, and money without repeating busts of the past?  TVG invites you to join Rick Segal, a partner at JL Albright Venture Partners, for a look at what's here now, coming, and the resulting opportunities from both. 

ick, having walked the CES floor and having talked with lots of companies of all sizes and from all parts of the globe, will take you on a quick tour highlighting the best of the show and more importantly, give you a "look around the corner" as to what's coming next.  Rick will demo, live, a number of new applications, products, and services, with an eye on what these things can do for the venture industry as well as the opportunities being created for Canadian entrepreneurs. What will we fund now? What should you build and ship now? 

From Blogs to Wikis, the Web 2.0 hype machine is in full swing. Convergence of every device doing everything is starting to happen. Rick's fast paced and demo packed talk will give you immediate tools and ideas as well as busting some current myths about the "new new thing."  There are hundreds of opportunities that the Canadian Venture community can jump on to ensure Canada leads the way with successful companies as we enter the next phase of the computer revolution.  A well known TVG speaker who consistently receives high marks for his entertaining and informative style, you won't want to miss Rick's talk and your chance to get an edge on that next idea.

Mark Skapinker
Co-Founder and Managing Director, Brightspark Capital
“Early-Stage VC Funding Does Exist”
January 2006

An Overview of the Early-Stage Venture Capital Environment in

Raising venture capital for an early-stage technology company can be a frustrating and time-consuming process.  Mark Skapinker, Co-Founder and Managing Director at Brightspark, analyzes the early-stage venture capital landscape in Canada, what it takes to successfully raise seed capital, and what to do with the seed capital, once secured, to set yourself up for a successful Series A round.

Joining Mark will be Randy Busch, VP Products at Tira Wireless.  Randy is a veteran of technology startups, having been part of the senior management in several companies where he participated in the securing of venture funding and building of companies from early-stage through to exit.


John Nemanic
Chairman, Inc.
“Perogies and Maple Syrup: Outsourcing, The Ukraine and Other Tall Tales of Adventure”
December 2005

Think globally, act locally, is an often heard business mantra. But how do you make money from it? For Canadians, operating a business within today's global economy requires more than opening a sales office in the US. Growth opportunities, and threats, outside of North America are greater than ever, and as Canadians we ignore the outside world at our peril. Multi-billion dollar opportunities are being created overnight as over two billion people are freed from communism. We are in the midst of the most exciting revolution of human economic history.

ho will be the ultimate winners and losers in this grand game of global economic chess? We believe the Canadian business and investor success stories of tomorrow will come from the firms currently building a global logistical network capable of operating 24/7 anywhere in the world. Global operational excellence will be a critical success factor for thriving in the global economy. 

With this in mind Hostopia’s leadership team decided to experiment with outsourcing software development to the Ukraine. Early on, we recognized the opportunities and challenges posed by skilled software and IT engineers located in India and China and decided that the best way to compete was to develop our own capability for offshore software development.

John Nemanic, Chairman, Inc., will present his thoughts and experiences of operating in the Ukraine — with some of the smartest and brightest people in the world.  John will also detail his past experiences with earlier start-ups, notably Internet Direct Canada and Tucows Interactive, discussing entrepreneurial life after co-founding and exiting 2 successful businesses.  If your firm is considering outsourcing services offshore to increase quality and reduce costs, then this presentation is for you.

Osama Arafat, CEO, Q9 Networks Inc.
Joined by panel speakers: Sanjay Nakra, Managing Director, Head of the Technology Group, Investment Banking TD Securities, Graham Matthews, General Partner, VenGrowth Private Equity Partners Inc., Raymond King, Senior Manager, Toronto Stock Exchange (Moderator) 
“Tech IPO Lessons Learned from a VC Turned Entrepreneur”
November 2005

Q9 Networks Inc. (TSX:Q) was one of very few tech IPOs in the last two years, listing on Toronto Stock Exchange in April 2004. Hear from CEO Osama Arafat on why the timing was right to go public and to raise $32 million. Arafat will talk about the company's history and his strategy to grow the company to its current market cap of over $200 million. This VC turned entrepreneur will also reveal his war stories from the going public process and provide key learnings for those looking to follow Q9's steps.

Then hear from the key players who made the deal happen. TD Securities was one of the lead investment banks and VenGrowth Private Equity Partners was a significant venture capitalist investor. Learn how the team worked together to grow this Canadian company into a leading provider of outsourced Internet infrastructure and related managed services.

Christian Zabbal
Partner, ghSMART & Company, Inc.
“Winning with A players - the art of Topgrading management teams"
October 2005

Most investors and entrepreneurs know that one of the most important – if not the top – criterion for success of companies is building a top-notch management team. Come and hear Christian discuss the top methodology for finding, recruiting, and managing world-class talent.

This is easier said than done, however – there have traditionally been few tools readily available to build world-class talent within an organization, and so this has tended to be a greatly under-used lever for both CEOs and investors. Imagine, though – what could you do if all of the senior team in your company, from the CFO to the VP of sales, was world-class? What about if all of their direct reports were world-class as well?

Come and hear Christian discuss the top methodology for finding, recruiting, and managing world-class talent. Topgrading, as described in the best-seller of the same name, refers to the practice of looking at talent in a structured, fact-based way, and continuously upgrading and growing the talent pool of a company. This Breakfast Meeting will introduce the core tools of Topgrading, as developed in companies like GE or Danaher, and focus on practical things that you can do to introduce Topgrading within your companies.

Christian is a partner at ghSmart, a consulting firm that focuses on talent management within private equity companies, and has spoken at many conferences and industry gatherings. He is in charge of both Canada and New York for ghSmart. He has also been a CEO and a junior partner at McKinsey, and is promising that his presentation will be both entertaining (with tasteful but funny anecdotes drawn from all of his background) and very practical. He is expecting twins in December, so this will be his last public session for a while. Catch him while you can!!!!

Speaker Panel: Burns & Levinson LLP, Standard & Poor's, Needham and Company
"Going Public in the U.S. - When, Why, How & Impact"
September 2005

- When should a Canadian company go public in U.S.
- Strategy in approaching the
U.S. market
- U.S. Public Offering - Dual listing
- Ongoing Disclosure
- Impact of Sarbanes – Oxley

Burns & Levinson
Speakers:  Moderator - Leonard Gold, Managing Partner, Burns & Levinson Canada, Partner, Burns & Levinson, LLP, Josef Volman,
Partner, Burns & Levinson LLP

Burns & Levinson Canada Co. provides cross-border consulting services to both U.S. and Canadian companies, including guidance regarding venture capital financing, strategic planning, government relations, and regulatory compliance.  BLC is located in Montreal, QC and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Burns & Levinson LLP, a Boston-based law firm.  In addition, through Burns & Levinson LLP, it provides venture capital, SEC compliance, licensing, finance, mergers and acquisitions, and intellectual property legal services. 

Needham and Company
Speaker: David S. Schechner, Managing Director, Head of Biotechnology Investment Banking, New England

Needham & Company has become a leading investment bank providing emerging growth companies with a broad range of services. Our growth is accelerating and the improvement in capital markets has brought continued success.   The firm's development is due to our expertise in providing a higher standard of service to our clients.  We have experienced strong momentum with technology transactions and have already completed many financing and M&A transactions this year.  Our expertise in the software, telecommunications, biotechnology and semiconductor industries has enabled
Needham to become a leader in raising capital and providing strategic advisory services for emerging growth companies.

Standard and Poor's
Speaker:  David M. Blaszkowsky, Senior Director, Equity Research Services, Standard & Poor's

Standard & Poor's is the world's foremost provider of independent credit ratings, indices, risk evaluation, investment research, data and valuations.   Standard & Poor's Equity Research Services is used by major securities firms, banks, insurance companies, corporations and libraries and is produced by more than 100 equity analysts in North America, Europe and Asia, offering investment advisors, investors and institutions an authoritative voice issuing clear, actionable opinions and commentary. As the world’s largest independent investment research firm, our rigorous analysis, timely and objective opinions, and proprietary methodologies offer our clients the confidence they need to make better-informed decisions. 

Leonard J. Brody
Speaker, Entrepreneur, Author, Director, Infowave, Venture Partner, GrowthWorks Capital
“Everything I needed to Know About Business…I Learned from a Canadian"
August 2005

Why we are poised for greatness over the next decade, why we are the best entrepreneurs, and what we can learn from some of our best and brightest.

Over the last 15 years, Canada has gone through one of the most dramatic economic turn-arounds in modern western history.   From a nation riddled with deficit and debt in 1993 to today, being the only country in the G-8 to have produced a surplus budget 8 years running.  The reason for the comeback?  While there are many pieces to the puzzle, and macro-economists could spend hours listing them off, one of the most critical building blocks is this country's entrepreneurial community. 

Long criticized for not having the depth of management and entrepreneurial expertise to play in the big leagues, Brody demonstrates why this is view of ourselves is no longer reflective of reality.  He believes that we are host to quite possibly one of the greatest entrepreneurial nations on the planet.  

As an advisor to the Ministry of International Trade, he has spoken on behalf of Canada in 17 countries arguing this very position.  Having co-authored two books on the subject, he has interviewed and profiled some of our AAA players.  Come see why he believes we are on the verge of the Canadian decade, learn why our business DNA makes us different than our neighbours to the South and what best practices you can take away from our best and brightest.

Rick Frasch
Managing Director, KLM Capital Group, Silicon Valley, California
"Silicon Valley Looks Asia:  Venture Capital Investment in China"
June 2005

Rick Frasch is a managing director for KLM Capital Group, an international venture capital firm with offices in Silicon Valley, Austin, Texas, and Hong Kong.  Its operations are focused on synergistic high technology direct investments (primarily in the communications, information-technology and semiconductor industries) in the US and Asia.

As Managing Director, Rick is responsible for structuring investments in Asia and exiting venture capital investments worldwide as well as reviewing and evaluating new venture capital investment opportunities.  Rick has recently been involved in establishing an investment partnership with Tsinghua University in Beijing.  Tsinghua is often characterized as the MIT/Stanford of China and is located in the heart of China’s Silicon Valley.  In addition, Rick has been instrumental in structuring a joint venture between a US technology company with a Taiwanese company that will establish a manufacturing company outside of Shanghai.  Rick will share some recent developments in Silicon Valley and focus on venture capital investment opportunities available for North Americans in China’s booming market.

Ivor Royston
Managing Member, Forward Ventures
"Go Forth and Commercialize": San Diego's Mantra for Building a World-Class Biotech Hub
May 2005

San Diego has emerged as one of the world’s leading centers for biotechnology and is a role model for other cities seeking to build a thriving life sciences industry. San Diego’s success is due to the convergence of a unique set of assets, including strong research institutions and universities, a rich management talent pool and well developed support services. However, the most important ingredient for San Diego’s biotech success is attitude. 

In San Diego, researchers are imbued with an entrepreneurial zeal that is fostered by management. “Go forth and commercialize” is the mantra for San Diego’s researchers and academics. But it wasn’t always that way. In 1978, Dr. Ivor Royston was working as an oncologist and professor at the University of San Diego at California Medical School when he was inspired to start San Diego’s first biotech company – Hybritech – with $300,000 in seed money from out of town investors. He generated a storm of controversy as an academic entering the world of business. But he persevered and today many of San Diego’s biotech companies trace their genealogy back to Hybritech.

In 1990, Royston founded Forward Ventures, the largest Southern California venture fund focused exclusively on the life sciences. He has been a founding investor in more than 15 biotech companies and his partners have started scores more.  As an oncologist, academic researcher, biotech entrepreneur and venture capitalist, Royston offers valuable insights on how to start and sustain a robust life sciences industry.

Lucas Skoczkowski
CEO, Redknee
"From $500 to $40M in five years... true story of hard work, sweat and tears..."
April 2005

San Diego has emerged as one of the world’s leading centers for biotechnology and is a role model for other cities seeking to build a thriving life sciences industry. San Diego’s success is due to the convergence of a unique set of assets, including strong research institutions and universities, a rich management talent pool and well developed support services. However, the most important ingredient for San Diego’s biotech success is attitude. 

In San Diego, researchers are imbued with an entrepreneurial zeal that is fostered by management. “Go forth and commercialize” is the mantra for San Diego’s researchers and academics. But it wasn’t always that way. In 1978, Dr. Ivor Royston was working as an oncologist and professor at the University of San Diego at California Medical School when he was inspired to start San Diego’s first biotech company – Hybritech – with $300,000 in seed money from out of town investors. He generated a storm of controversy as an academic entering the world of business. But he persevered and today many of San Diego’s biotech companies trace their genealogy back to Hybritech.

In 1990, Royston founded Forward Ventures, the largest Southern California venture fund focused exclusively on the life sciences. He has been a founding investor in more than 15 biotech companies and his partners have started scores more.  As an oncologist, academic researcher, biotech entrepreneur and venture capitalist, Royston offers valuable insights on how to start and sustain a robust life sciences industry.

Robin Louis
President, Ventures West Management Inc.
President, CVCA
"An American Model for the Canadian VC Industry"
February 2005

The VC industry in the U.S. is a model that Canada would do well to emulate.  The U.S. industry is the driver of technology innovation worldwide, has made huge contributions to the U.S. economy, and has created vast wealth—for entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and investors.

The Canadian VC industry is smaller, less mature, and lacks the track record of success of it’s U.S. counterpart. 

The differences between the Canadian and the U.S. VC industries provides interesting insights for Canadian VCs and entrepreneurs and the talk will discuss:

·       Issues related to building a company in Canada that entrepreneurs must overcome
·       Challenges related to investing in Canadian companies that VC investors must overcome
·       Differences in industry structure where Canada might benefit from a more U.S. like approach
·       Divergences in style where Canadian VC investors may benefit by taking a more U.S. like attitude

John Abele
Founder Chairman, Boston Scientific
"Big Company Innovation and Other Oxymorons"
January 2005

·         Defining moments in BSC history
·         Power of corporate culture
·         Innovation and pseudo innovation
Disruptive technologies
·         The power of convening
·         FIRST Robotics

John Abele is the Founder Chairman of Boston Scientific Corporation (BSX on NYSE), a 14,000 employee, $6 billion world wide company that is a pioneer and leader in the field of “Less Invasive Medicine,” offering a broad range of products used to treat diseases or injuries of the heart, brain, digestive tract, urinary system, lungs, and vascular system.  A physics and philosophy graduate of Amherst College, John started in the medical device business in 1960 with a small company that pioneered several laboratory instruments (flame photometer, osmometer) and distributed the first implantable pacemaker.

Abele is one of the pioneers of less invasive medicine.  In 1969 he joined with an inventor in a company called Medi-tech to develop, manufacture, and market a steerable catheter, which became the platform for a family of interventional “alternative to surgery” products.  The concept of developing technology and products that reduce risk, trauma, cost, and recovery time was counterintuitive in the 1970’s and strongly resisted by the surgical establishment.  Over the next two decades, however, with the use of innovative conferencing and training techniques, this concept transformed the practice of medicine.  John holds numerous patents and has published and lectured extensively on the technology of various medical devices and on the technical, social, economic, and political trends and issues affecting healthcare.

His major interests are science literacy for children, education, and the process by which new technology is invented, developed, and introduced to society.  Current activities include chair of the FIRST Foundation which works with high school kids to make being science-literate cool and fun, participation on many other non-profit boards, and development of Kingbridge Centre and Institute, a conferencing institution whose mission is to research, develop, and teach improved methods for interactive conferencing: problem solving, conflict resolution, strategic planning and new methods for learning.

Steven J. Frank
Partner, Testa, Hurwitz & Thibeault, LLP - Boston, MA
"Hopping the US Border Without Tripping Over IP"
December 2004 

What issues should a Canadian company consider as it prepares to address the United States market?  What are the “hot button” issues of greatest concern to US investors and development partners when it comes to intellectual property (IP)?  We’ll focus on three topics:  technology transfer, IP strategies, and open-source issues. 

Canadian research institutions continue to develop world-class technologies, and have adopted forward-thinking policies to get those technologies into the marketplace.  US institutions had an earlier start thanks to the Bayh-Dole Act of 1980.  As a result, US investors and development partners, such as big pharma companies, have grown accustomed to the practices that have developed over the last quarter-century in the US.  In particular, US investors expect clear institutional ownership of IP and enough flexibility in license terms to give the fledgling company a chance to succeed.  They look for a clear IP strategy that will build on what has been licensed and recognizes the values, and limitations, of IP.  US partners will closely examine the scope and geographic extent of IP protection, as well as the potential existence of “blocking” rights.

Open-source issues arise in, and can dominate, virtually every US investment or acquisition even remotely involving software.  Open-source software is so easy to obtain that companies may not even know it’s in their products, much less have familiarity with the obligations it imposes.  But even a smidgeon of open-source software can compromise proprietary rights in an entire product suite, requiring, for example, complete disclosure of source code.   Knowing this, US investors and acquirors sometimes overreact to the presence of open-source components.  Often it’s fully justified as a business matter, but it’s up to the company to make the case.

Keith L. Crandell
Managing Director, ARCH Venture Partners - Chicago
"Changes in the Marketplace; What's Happening from the US Perspective"
November 2004

A leader in early stage investing, Mr. Crandell is a co-founder and Managing Director of ARCH Venture Partners.  Under Mr. Crandell’s leadership, ARCH manages six funds totaling over $1 billion and has invested in the earliest venture capital rounds of more than 110 companies.  Mr. Crandell has appeared in Crain’s Chicago Business in the �� under 40”.  Mr. Crandell and ARCH Venture Partners investing style has been featured in Fortune in addition to having two Harvard Business School cases written on ARCH’s work.  Mr. Crandell holds a M.B.A. from The University of Chicago, a M.S. in Chemistry from the University of Texas at Arlington, and a B.S. in Chemistry from St. Lawrence University.

Keith Crandell, Managing Director of ARCH Venture Partners will discuss changes in the marketplace and what is happening from the U.S. perspective in investing.  Mr. Crandell will describe the changing environment and the direction of investing in early stage technology.  He will explain how ARCH has grown despite the difficult economic environment, and provide insight into the future of investing in the U.S.

ARCH Venture Partners is a premier provider of seed and early stage venture capital for technology firms, with a special expertise in co-founding and building technology firms from startup.  ARCH invests primarily in companies co-founded with leading scientists and entrepreneurs, concentrating on bringing to market innovations in information technology, life sciences, and physical sciences. We enjoy special recognition as a leader in the successful commercialization of technologies developed at academic research institutions and national laboratories.

Bruce Croxon
CEO, Lavalife
"Sex, Love, Relationships:  The Lavalife Story"
October 2004

In the late 80’s, a little known brand called Telepersonals broke some new ground by using an old hardware (the telephone) with a new software (Interactive Voice Response….think voicemail) to hook people up for sex, love and relationships.

From a small start up in Toronto (4 guys, some computers and some phones), to Lavalife, a global leader in what has become the #1 on-line category. Bruce will share the trials and tribulations of start up, Venture Capital funding, building a company for success and ultimate exit.

“We even got a few dates along the way!”

Michael P. Mueller
President & CEO, MDS Capital
"Financing Biotech...The Next Big Thing"
September 2004 

MDS Capital is a leading North American venture capital firm focused exclusively on providing financial support and other services to help build emerging life science companies.  With over $1 billion under management, MDS Capital has invested over $750 million in 150+ companies since its inception in 1988 and invests on behalf of some of Canada’s leading institutional pension funds.

MDS Capital has been an innovative provider of venture capital to the life science industry using both traditional and non-traditional financing terms.

Mike will speak about the current state of the life sciences industry, future opportunities in emerging biotechnology companies and how MDS Capital is adapting to this rapidly changing industry.  He will look at the new model for structuring biotechnology deals and what affect it is having on the industry.  In addition, Mike will examine the role of strategic partners and their ability to provide valuable resources, to help emerging life science companies create greater value faster.

Mike is the President and CEO of MDS Capital and a member of the Board. His primary responsibilities include overseeing the investment strategy, driving profitable growth initiatives, expanding geographic capabilities and building a team of high performing life science professionals. Mike has been involved in the financial services industry for over 20 years, with extensive management and business building experience in the United States, Canada, Europe, Asia, Latin America and Australia.

W. Daniel Mothersill

President & CEO, Ciris Group of Companies  
"Where Angels Fear to Tread"                 

August 2004

W. Daniel Mothersill, Chairman & CEO of the Ciris Group of Companies.,"Angels invest more in start-ups companies that all venture capital firms in Canada, "he said. "However, there remains a serious funding gap for emerging companies in this country. In order to foster greater Angel participation, these investors required some serious tax breaks.

Daniel Mothersill is President-Elect of the National Angel Organization and will take office at the NAO Summit in September and a member of the Toronto Angel Group.

Daniel Mothersill is the founding partner of the Ciris Group of Companies, and is an investor-relations professional with more than 25 years’ experience in industries ranging from telecommunications, to oil and gas, to the service sector. Prior to forming Ciris, Daniel was head of investor relations for Northern Telecom Limited (now Nortel).

As Ciris" managing partner, Daniel today provides business and financial communications solutions to such Canadian and international companies as Northampton, Avalanche Networks, and the BFI Canada. His special areas of expertise include high-level IR strategy and tactics, crisis management and communications, proxy and takeover defenses, and merger and acquisition strategy. His go-to-market bootcamps, held in conjunction with Ernst & Young, have been presented to more than 500 companies and 800 individual participants. In the last two years, more than $220 million has been raised by the emerging companies Dan has trained.


Stephane Boisvert
President, Sun Microsystems of Canada, Inc.   
"The Sun is Rising on Canadian Venture Capital"                          

June, 2004

The continued evolution of technology as a business driver, and the increasing convergence of technologies continue to create valuable business opportunities across Canada; however, success in the Canadian venture capital market demands experience and a sense of opportunity, tempered with a vision for long-term results. 

Sun Microsystems is an active player in Canadian business and technology markets. Stéphane Boisvert, president of Sun Microsystems of Canada, has leveraged his ability to look several steps ahead and to advance through a career from computer science and economics student, to venture capital manager, to country president of one of the world’s leading technology innovators.

Mr. Boisvert will share relevant experiences from his career, including:
·         His tenure managing the VC fund at IBM Canada, where he revitalized a behind-the-times program to create a VC powerhouse;
·         His move to a smaller, more agile company, and how it impacts VC strategy;
·         Sun’s vision for innovation and success, and the company’s uniquely Canadian VC initiatives; 

He will also draw from these experiences to deliver valuable advice, such as:
·         What it takes for Canadian entrepreneurs to make it onto the radar screens of larger companies, and
·         What’s hot in the VC market and what larger companies are looking to acquire.


Michael D. Moskowitz
President & General Manager, palmOne Canada Inc.    
"palmOne's Wild Ride"   

May, 2004 

Staying the world’s #1 handheld computer maker is no easy task in the face of stiff competition. Neither is operating a business in the shadow of your U.S. parent company – especially during a challenging tech climate.    

From the very first model introduced in 1996 to the recent Treo 600 smartphone, palmOne handhelds have provided an easy, intuitive way for Canadian consumer and business users to access and manage the information that's important to them. Yet, as the technology market began to soften mid 2001, palmOne Canada was forced to turn its efforts to projects producing the highest return back to the corporation while managing costs to weather the economic downturn. 

palmOne Canada President Michael Moskowitz will candidly speak about Palm’s wild ride since going public.  He will address successes – as well as setbacks suffered – post IPO. He will share business strategies and tactics created by palmOne Canada to maximize resources, minimize operational overhead and expenses, and focus on penetrating a wider range of consumer and business markets. And he will cover off lessons learned that have helped to keep palmOne on top in Canada.

David Ossip
President & CEO, Workbrain                                                         
April, 2004

A visionary in the field of labor management, Mr. Ossip has served as Workbrain's Chief Executive Officer since 1999. Under his leadership Workbrain has been selected as a 2003 winner of Canada's 50 Best Managed Companies and recognized by Profit Magazine as the 2nd fastest growing company in Canada. In December 2003, Workbrain became the first Canadian technology company to complete an initial public offering in over three years. Mr. Ossip is a member of the Young President's Organization, and holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and a B.A. from the University of Toronto.

David Ossip, President and CEO of Workbrain Corporation, will discuss the origin and ascendance of Workbrain.  Mr. Ossip will describe the early stages of development, the rigors of effective financing, and the decision process that led to the Toronto Stock Exchange's first technology IPO in years.  He will describe how Workbrain managed to grow despite a difficult economic environment, and provide insight into the future development of the Company.

Workbrain develops, markets, implements and supports software that helps large organizations optimally deploy and manage their workforces. Customers such as The TJX Companies, Smurfit-Stone Container Corporation and British Airways have chosen Workbrain's industry-focused workforce management solutions to automate labor forecasting, employee schedule optimization, time and attendance, employee self-service, and workforce analytics.

Workbrain Corporation trades on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol WB.


Rick Segal
Partner, JL Albright Venture Partners  
"A Loonie Arrives With a Toonie"                                                    

February, 2004

After 'retiring' from a small software company in Redmond, Washington, Rick was enticed to leave the province in the south and come to Toronto to design, implement and manage Chapters Online, Canada's largest online book retailer. Rick will provide a colorful history of the challenges associated with creating the online store and discuss the how the bleeding edge then is the norm now. In addition, Rick will talk about how the capital markets have changed with respect to technology and internet investments. He will provide insight on what some of the 'bleeding edge' opportunities exist today. 

Prior to joining J. L. Albright Venture Partners, Mr. Segal was President and Chief Executive Officer of Microforum (TSE:MCF), a leader in providing integrated e-business solutions in a wide array of industry verticals. During his tenure at Microforum Mr. Segal lead the company successfully through the beginnings of a very aggressive change agenda and realignment process that focused the business on Internet solutions; divesting the company of any business which was not core to that strategy. Mr. Segal joined Microforum in July 2000 from Chapters Online Inc. (TSE:COL), a leading Canadian e-commerce company, where he held the position of President and Chief Operating Officer (1997-2000). Mr. Segal began working with Chapters Inc. in 1997, as a consultant on the technical development of, the company's first e-commerce venture. Based on this successful collaboration, he was named the President of Chapters Online in August 1998. In this role, Mr. Segal was responsible for the entire e-commerce operations of Chapters Online. After his appointment, Mr. Segal led the company through the development of its second web site. This site was taken from a concept to a bulletproof online operation faster than any e-commerce project in Canadian history. Today continues to attract millions of Canadian shoppers and was recently named Site of the Year by Internet World Canada for its positive impact on the lives of Canadians. At, Canadian shoppers have access to millions of book titles as well as a wide selection of music CDs, videos and DVDs and software.  

Prior to joining Chapters Online, Mr. Segal worked at Microsoft Corporation in Redmond, Washington from 1992 until 1996. His most recent position at the company was the Director of technical services for the Internet Customer Unit, managing a group of 40 technical specialists. He was responsible for the 1st generation development of such notable websites as and Barnes&, among others. As the Director of Educational Initiatives for Microsoft, Mr. Segal created regional and national educational software and web site programs.

Mr. Segal is also the author of four books on Network Management and Windows software development. Mr. Segal serves as a director of Edeal Services Corporation and Sirit Inc.

Ian McKinnon
President & CEO, Certicom Corporation    
Claude Vachet
Director IT Portfolio, Innovatech Montreal
"Turnaround Strategies"                                  

January, 2004  

Ian McKinnon was appointed President and Chief Executive Officer of Certicom in March of 2002, and is a member of the Certicom Board of Directors. He oversees the operations of Certicom with responsibility for establishing, communicating and successfully executing the Certicom vision and growth strategy.

McKinnon is a high technology veteran who was with Digital Equipment Corporation from 1981 to 1995 in various sales and senior management roles in both Canada and Singapore. Prior to joining Certicom, he was CEO with a number of software company turnarounds and completed Canada's largest private equity financing in 2001.

He received the Globe and Mail Investor Relations Award in 1997 and the Ernst & Young "Entrepreneur of the Year" award in 1998, based on his work with Toronto-based Promis Systems Corporation (TSE: PSW).

Ian McKinnon has an Honours BA from McMaster University and attended the European Institute of Business Administration - INSEAD.

How has the venture capital community in Quebec managed through the recent difficult investment climate? How has this affected early-stage company investment and development in Quebec and how has this differed from the experience of VC's and early-stage company investments elsewhere in Canada? Come out on January 14th to hear Claude Vachet of Innovatech provide us with this status report on Quebec's VC community. Claude will also elaborate on how Quebec's VC community is collaborating with the Toronto Venture Group to bring it's annual venture fair - GoNorth - into TVG's VentureFair 2004 taking place on March 3rd and 4th.

Claude Vachet heads the Information Technology and Communications unit of Innovatech. Mr. Vachet represents Innovatech on the boards of several investee companies, including LxSix, Simpler Networks, ObjectWorld, SkyPoint Capital and GTI Capital. Claude earned an M.B.A. in Finance from l’École des Hautes Études Commerciales and a Bachelor of Engineering degree from l’École Polytechnique de Montréal. Before joining Innovatech, he served as a business financing specialist with his own consulting firm and worked as an applications engineer for a subsidiary of Lyonnaise des Eaux. Mr. Vachet is also the Chairman of GoNorth, Quebec's leading venture fair and is on the board of directors of Reseau Financier Montreal

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