Shawn Abbott, iNovia
A partner with iNovia Capital, Shawn Abbott has a passion for building communications and Internet start-up companies. Shawn is presently an investor and board member at Tynt, CoolIT Systems, SiXtron, Peraso and Reflex Photonics. He has played entrepreneur, investor, technical and general management roles at 15 technology start-ups on three continents over 20 years. His work pioneering Internet security as CTO, then president, at Rainbow Technologies (NASDAQ:RNBO) saw the company grow ten-fold in profitability before being sold to SafeNet (NASDAQ:SFNT) for nearly a half billion dollars. In the late 1980s, he established and built the AND Group, which pioneered the CD-ROM locking used on several million discs. Shawn is an accomplished public speaker, having presented at more than one hundred conferences on digital security and entrepreneurialism, and he has taught software design courses internationally. Shawn holds an early patent as one of the inventors of now-popular USB keys. His publications include a chapter on hardware cryptography in the ICSA Guide to Cryptography. Shawn earned his Bachelor of Science in physics at the University of Alberta and had done postgraduate study at the University of Calgary, Stanford, and UC Irvine. Shawn is also an active rotary wing pilot.
Rebecca Giffen, Executive Director, VCAA
Rebecca Giffen has over fifteen years of experience in the Canadian venture capital industry. Rebecca is the Executive Director of the Venture Capital Association of Alberta as well as a Board member. She is also the Director of Investments with Alberta Enterprise Corporation, where she manages a portfolio of new and existing venture capital fund investments. Before joining Alberta Enterprise Corporation and the VCAA, Rebecca was Director of Fund Investments for BDC Venture Capital, where she was responsible for managing an extensive portfolio of Canadian venture capital and private equity fund investments. Rebecca has a strong background in portfolio management, conducting industry research, performing financial analysis and undertaking due diligence. Rebecca also spent several years as an Investment Analyst with BDC's Information Technology group. Rebecca holds both MBA and Bachelor of Commerce degrees from Haskayne School of Business at the University of Calgary.
Michael McGee, Managing Director, Avrio Capital
Michael boasts an impressive record of investing in and amplifying businesses of all sizes. His experience spans from commercial banking and helping small businesses acquire loans to manoeuvring high-risk investments. He has served as Managing Director at Werklund Capital Corporation, Executive Vice President at Cavendish Investing Ltd., Managing Director at Bank of Montreal Capital corporation and Vice President/Director at Toronto Dominion Bank Capital.
Wally Hunter, Enertech Capital
Wally has been investing in energy and clean energy companies and projects for 15 years. Wally runs EnerTech's Canadian operations from Toronto. Before EnerTech, Wally was with RBC where he was managing director of the bank's private-equity fund and was responsible for the energy technology and advanced technology fund. Wally’s 20-year background in the venture capital business includes a series of successful IPOs, M&A and turnaround transactions.Wally currently sits on the boards of Filterboxx and Enbala Power Networks. Wally was also responsible for managing Enertech’s successful exit from Catch-the-Wind.
Brad Johns, Yaletown
Brad Johns brings 24 years of operating, business development, private equity and venture capital experience in the Information Technology and Energy sectors and is a Partner at Yaletown Venture Partners. He currently manages Yaletown's investment in Zanttz, a network security software company.As the Vice President of Business Development for Moneta Energy Services, a private natural gas storage and marketing company, Brad was responsible for identifying, negotiating and acquiring assets for conversion into natural gas storage facilities. Brad has also worked in private equity, as a Partner with Moneta Capital Partners and in venture capital as a Vice President of Launchworks.Brad brings significant IT and Oil and Gas experience to the team. As the Senior Partner at Moneta Capital Partners, he was responsible for the IT and Oil and Gas Technology portfolios. As part of the founding team at Calgary-based Launchworks, Brad contributed to the firm's strong performance returns in a challenging market environment. Brad also has extensive operational experience in the IT sector, including a decade as engineer and manager with Nortel, and as an executive with two technology startups.Brad has a Bachelor of Science Degree from Queen's University, a Masters in Engineering from McMaster University and an MBA from INSEAD, consistently ranked among the top ten business schools globally.
Brad J. Pierce, BLG
Brad is a partner in the Calgary office of Borden Ladner Gervais LLP, Canada’s largest national law firm. Brad practices in the corporate and commercial area with a primary focus on private equity and venture capital financings and mergers and acquisitions. He acts as counsel for several of the firm’s principal clients in the clean tech, information technology, oil and gas services and hospitality industries, advising them on a broad range of corporate and regulatory matters, including public and private financings, mergers and acquisitions and regulatory and environmental compliance. Brad has been a speaker on panels addressing legal issues for the Canadian Venture Capital Association, the Venture Capital Association of Alberta, Insight and The Canadian Institute. He is secretary of the Venture Capital Association of Alberta and involved as a director or counsel to some organisations supporting technology development and sustainable energy in Alberta.
Whitney Rockley, McRock Capital
Whitney Rockley is the co-founder of McRock Capital; a venture capital firm focused exclusively on the Industrial Internet. She brings over 15 years of investment, operating and strategic planning experience in large, established industries such as power, water and oil & gas. She is refreshingly real and passionate about women-in-tech and inspiring girls to get into STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) through her website whitvc.com. She currently serves on the boards of RtTech Software and mnubo in addition to being on the executive committee and board of the CVCA. She was one of the key investors behind RuggedCom, which was acquired by Siemens for almost half a billion dollars. She was an investor and board member of the Pressure Pipe Inspection Company (PPIC), which was sold to Calgary-based Pure Technologies. She was also a board member and investor in SpectraSensors, which was sold to Swiss-based Endress + Hauser. Before co-founding McRock Capital, she was a Partner with a Zurich-based venture capital firm and Nomura New Energy Ventures in London, England. She has extensive experience setting up and managing corporate venture capital programs.
Michelle Scarborough, Kensington Capital
Michelle Scarborough is a Kensington Senior Vice-President and leader of Kensington's Calgary Office. Michelle is an experienced Canadian Venture Capitalist, with a strong track record in the energy technology sector. A recognised leader in the investment community, Michelle is the Chair of the National Angel Capital Organization, the founder of the Women's Angel Network in Canada as well as an advisory member for Women in Energy and Private Equity. She also led the establishment of the Ontario Emerging Technologies Fund and founded some start-ups giving her a deep understanding of the venture capital ecosystem in Canada and the United States.
Before joining Kensington, Michelle was a Founder and Managing Partner of Fronterra Ventures, an oil and gas technology venture fund. An experienced entrepreneur, Scarborough has also served as the Managing Director and Entrepreneur in Residence of the Regional Innovation Centre for Ottawa and Eastern Ontario where her team worked with over 400 high potential companies raising close to $100 million for portfolio clients to support scalable global growth.
Michelle holds a dual B.A. (Science and Communications) from the University of Calgary.
Robert Simon, BDC Venture Capital
Robert Simon is a Managing Partner in the IT Venture Fund and joined BDC in November 2011. Mr Simon brings over 25 years of experience as a successful serial entrepreneur and venture capitalist in the field of Information Technology. He began his career as co-founder of T/Maker Graphics, a developer of Macintosh and IBM PC graphics and desktop publishing products. After founding and co-founding other high-tech businesses, in 1997, he moved into venture capital as a partner with Sierra Ventures, where he identified, sourced and evaluated business opportunities in the internet e-commerce and enterprise software sectors. During this time, he also founded DotBank, a direct competitor to PayPal, where he negotiated partnerships and sale to Yahoo for over $100 million. In 2000, Mr Simon became General Partner with Alta Partners, with an investment focus in internet infrastructure, enterprise software, network security and wireless. More recently, he has been the Managing Director/Venture Partner with Saints Dakota/Saints Capital, a portfolio of companies managed by Saints Capital. Mr Simon holds a BS and MS in Industrial Engineering from Stanford University.