Experts

Entrepreneurship Program

Entrepreneurship programming is designed for entrepreneurs with product or services based businesses who would like to start or grow.

Antoine Carriere
Business Advisor

Antoine is an entrepreneur with experience stemming from a wide range of sectors including coaching, training, strengths development, facilitation, consulting, events, government, and real estate. A self-proclaimed generalist, Antoine is comfortable advising all types of businesses. Antoine is fully bilingual and works with entrepreneurs to help them define their focus and lay out next steps.

Karla Briones
Business Advisor

Karla Briones is a Mexican-Canadian serial entrepreneur with retail, food and beverage, and e-commerce businesses. 

In her consulting role, Karla coaches new immigrants on how to become successful entrepreneurs in their adopted country. Karla provides business advisory to immigrant entrepreneurs and female entrepreneurs who are building main street businesses from ideation through growth stage.   

Karla hosts Immpreneur Canada, a podcast that interviews successful entrepreneurs about their journeys of building successful businesses as immigrants.  

She is the recipient of 2018 City of Ottawa Immigrant Entrepreneur Award, given to an immigrant who has made an impact in local economy and entrepreneurship ecosystem. 

She is also a business mentor for Futurpreneur Canada and for several local community groups.

Marc-André Clément
Business Advisor

Marc-André has acquired a large array of skills and competencies which allow him to easily navigate through most business type challenges and effectively apply solutions. A seasoned entrepreneur in a variety of service type sectors including music, dance and sound production, fitness, event management, education, coaching, network marketing, non-profits and real estate, he has led all aspects of business from initial conception, to idea development, implementation, marketing, sales, budgeting, human resources, and evaluation. He can help a business with training, research, marketing, recruitment, customer service, public relations, partnerships, service or product delivery and financial management. Marc-André’s desire to help others grow allows him to focus on each client’s personal and professional developmental success. 

 

Mark Sutcliffe
Business Advisor

Mark has been a leading figure in Ottawa’s business community for more than 25 years. A serial entrepreneur, he has been involved in several successful business launches. He co-founded the Ottawa Business Journal in 1995 and remains the co-owner and CEO of its parent company Great River Media. Mark is a partner in Sutcliffe+Whalen, a strategic business consulting firm that helps small and medium enterprises achieve their growth objectives. He is also a shareholder in Sportstats, a global sports timing company. Mark has been an outspoken advocate and activist for economic development in Ottawa and Canada. For more than a decade, he wrote a weekly column about local business for the Ottawa Citizen. He was the chair of the Ottawa Chamber of Commerce and served on the board of Invest Ottawa and Algonquin College. Mark has created many of Ottawa’s major business events, including Ottawa’s Forty Under 40 awards and the BOBs, the annual Best Ottawa Business Awards. Mark is also a frequent MC, moderator and panellist at business events and economic development functions.

 Early Stage Tech Programming

Early-stage programming is designed to support entrepreneurs who are at the ideation stage of building a technology startup.

Julia Elvidge
Early Stage Tech Advisor

As past President of Chipworks, Julia Elvidge has extensive experience growing a company in the high tech industry. Her strengths include industry experience with Intellectual Property (IP) issues, international sales, strategic planning and product management best practices. Julia retired after the sale of Chipworks to its largest competitor, TechInsights, in June 2016. Chipworks and TechInsights are Ottawa based companies that sold or sell technology and patent related intelligence products and services to large Asian, American, and European electronics companies. Prior to joining Chipworks, Ms. Elvidge worked at LSI Logic Canada, a company that designed and manufactured semiconductor chips.   

Julia is an electrical engineering graduate of University of Waterloo and a member of the Canadian Institute of Corporate Directors, and has attained the Institute’s ICD.D designation. Her interests include leadership skills development and mentoring girls and women in STEM careers or business growth.

Laurie Davis
Early Stage Tech Advisor

Laurie has many years of experience in technical and business management as well as technical expertise in hardware and software development.

Laurie graduated from the University of Alberta with a Masters degree in Electrical Engineering. Upon graduation, he joined Bell-Northern Research (BNR), where he specialized in the development and introduction of new products. He held increasingly more senior positions within BNR, and later Nortel Networks, ultimately becoming Vice-President responsible for a number of new products.

Laurie was initially involved in the development of voice switching products. In the early 90’s he took a leadership role in Nortel’s entry into the optical networking business, holding positions in both Canada and the United Kingdom. In the late 90’s he was involved in the development of data communications products.

For the past 15 years, as a member of Purple Angel and a founder of both the Ottawa Angel Alliance and the Capital Angel Network, Laurie has been an active angel investor, investing in many local companies. He has also spent many years acting as a business advisor at Invest Ottawa and L-Spark, a business accelerator.

Laurie has recently been the Chief Operating Officer and then the Chief Executive Officer of The Better Software Company.

Pablo Srugo
Early Stage Tech Advisor

As a young two-time startup founder, Pablo brings with him a wealth of experience, having founded both MyTutor, which was acquired in 2014, and GymTrack, where he continues to work today. Pablo has successfully raised over $3M from various sources, including VC funding and angel investors. Pablo’s extensive experience ranges from prototyping and finding product-market-fit, to conducting over 500 job interviews and managing teams of over 30 people.

Rob Lane
Early Stage Tech Advisor

A serial entrepreneur, Rob Lane has been involved with building four startups. He has built B2B, B2C and SaaS companies in sectors including technology, retail e-commerce, digital media and consumer goods. Prior to becoming an entrepreneur, Rob held positions in several Fortune 500 companies in North America and Europe. 

Rob has proven leadership experience throughout all phases of the business lifecycle, from ideation through growth to company sale. Rob has practical experience in digital marketing, sales and demand generation, product management, partnership/channel development and business analysis. 

Rob Lane has a BS in electronics engineering, a post-graduate diploma in marketing, and a master’s degree in business administration (MBA).    

When not building or mentoring companies, Rob splits his time among family, running, biking, and doing charity work through Care and Sharing Exchange.

 Accelerator Program

The IO Accelerator Program is designed to rapidly and systematically accelerate the development and commercial success of innovative technology startups through a phased and milestone-based approach.

Adrian Salamunovic
Specialist, Earned Media & PR 

Adrian Salamunovic is the founder of DNA11 and CanvasPop, which he bootstrapped to 8-figure sales and also helped to launch MyFax.com, which sold to J2 Communications for over 200M dollars He is also a start-up advisor, investor, and PR expert who is passionate about helping entrepreneurs amplify their companies. Adrian has strategized the launch and continued success of many businesses, helping both his own and his clients’ companies generate hundreds of millions of free media impressions. He is a global mentor for San Francisco based 500 Startups and is the #1 rated advisor with a five-star rating on Clarity.fm 

 

Adrian has attained massive exposure to launch brands into mainstream success. His companies have been featured in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Today Show, Good Morning America, The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch, CNN, MSNBC, TechCrunch, Mashable, Fast Company, Forbes, The Verge, and WIRED. Adrian even had an episode of CSI: New York written around one of his products.

Arlen Bartsch
Specialist, B2C Sales

Arlen is a dynamic business development leader with 30yrs experience building businesses, mentoring sales, marketing, and business development personnel in global private and public sector organizations. 

Arlen is passionate about growth and has a proven track record for campaign management and product launch activities. He is a specialist in: start-up & market launch, campaign design, client relationship management, marketing & business development; global partnership development, and strategic planning.

Brock Murray
Specialist, Digital Marketing & SEO

Brock is a full-stack digital marketing specialist, who brings to the table 15 years of experience with web design, web development, graphic design, and online marketing. As Co-Founder and COO of seoplus+, a leading international digital marketing agency, Brock has helped businesses across Canada and the US establish and maintain a strong online presence.

Chris Johnson
Mentor, Marketing

Chris helps companies develop marketing plans that are metrics orientated and lead generation focused to build marketing funnels that enable accurate forecasting. With a passion of helping startups succeed, Chris has mentored more than 100 founders. Chris was the founder and CEO of dna13, a SaaS business which he grew and sold to PR Newswire in 2010. Chris brings more than 25 years of experience in finance, operations, and strategic management from some of the world’s most prominent brands including: Starbucks, RBC, Scotiabank, AEGON, Bell, HP Billiton, Alcan, EnCana, and Walmart. He provides virtual COO (operations) and CMO (marketing) consulting services via his company, Face Strategic.

Areas of Focus: SaaS marketing, corporate strategy & management, technology evaluation

Dane Bedward
Specialist, Life Sciences

Dane possesses extensive global commercialization experience in the biopharmaceutical and medical device product sphere, having held executive leadership positions with Johnson & Johnson and Genzyme Corporation, among others. After a successful career in corporate management, Dane launched and continues to run the life sciences strategic advisory company, NBot Inc. Dane has also served on a number of for-profit and not-for-profit boards. 

Dane’s EIR specialities: Medical devices, biopharmaceuticals

Donna Ronayne
Specialist, Marketing

Donna is a marketing executive with a 30-year track record of helping high-tech companies achieve market leadership and high growth. Donna recently retired as CMO from Halogen Software, where she fueled double-digit growth for over 12 years, taking this SaaS company from a start-up to a publicly-traded market leader. Before Halogen, Donna was VP of Business Development at BitFlash, and led the marketing team at QNX Software.

Heidi Hauver
Mentor, Human Resources, Leadership & Culture

Heidi is a transformational HR leader passionate about business & the field of human resources. She provides executive leadership in human resources, mentorship and coaching to rapidly growing innovative companies that either lack HR expertise and capability in-house or require augmentation of their current HR function. Heidi was named as one of Canada’s Top 25 Human Resources Professionals by the Canadian HR Reporter in 2017 and is a previous recipient of Ottawa’s forty under 40 award.

Areas of focusTransformational HR, executive coaching, recruiting

Jacques Renaud
Mentor, Product Management

Jacques is a technologist, entrepreneur, and maker. With more than 25 years of leadership experience in multiple industries, Jacques thrives at the intersection of business and technology. Twenty years after founding and leading Privasoft Corp. (sold to CSDC Systems), Jacques turned his focus to helping startups and established B2Bs achieve success, and to building Ottawa’s product development community.

Areas of Focus: Hardware, internet of things (IoT), enterprise software 

Janet Whitley
Specialist, Regulatory Affairs, Medical Devices

Janet Whitley is a biopharmaceutical regulatory consultant with a specialty in products that treat rare diseases (‘orphan drugs’) and underserved patients (HIV in the developing world). She has 20 years of both government (US Food and Drug Administration Agency, FDA) and industry (BioMarin, Gilead Sciences) experience. Janet worked on marketing approvals of Vimizim®, Brineura™, drisapersen, Truvada®, Viread®, and Atripla® in the US and global markets. While at the FDA, she was a reviewer for the approval of orphan drug applications and applications for humanitarian use devices. Janet is from the Philadelphia area and earned her PhD in neurochemistry at Indiana University.  

Coaching specialty: pharmaceutical development, regulatory strategy, US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), European Medicines Agency (EMA), orphan products/rare disease

Jeff Bennett
Specialist, Client Experience

Jeff is an accomplished Client Experience Executive with a 20-year track record for delivering repeatable and scalable methodologies to grow revenue, reduce churn and create memorable customer experiences that propels organizations into the next stage of growth. He is a strategic thinker, who has the energy, talent and passion needed to attain ambitious corporate objectives and solve highly strategic business challenges. Jeff is very passionate about contributing to the success of Canadian tech companies and works hard to ensure that they each become the best version of themselves.

Jeff’s coaching specialities: Client experience, business development, strategic planning, executive leadership, SaaS

John Duff
Specialist, Technical Product Development

John is a seasoned software developer and consultant with expertise in Rails, iOS development and engineering leadership. Prior to that, John spent six years at Shopify in progressive roles as a developer, team lead and director of engineering. While at Shopify he was responsible for APIs, payments, product development, site reliability and data engineering. When he isn’t hacking on a project John is usually spending time with his wife and two kids out in the snow, hiking or playing at the park.

Rob Lane
Specialist, Fundraising

A serial entrepreneur, Rob Lane has been involved with building four startups. He has built B2B, B2C and SaaS companies in sectors including technology, retail e-commerce, digital media and consumer goods. Prior to becoming an entrepreneur, Rob held positions in several Fortune 500 companies in North America and Europe. 

Rob has proven leadership experience throughout all phases of the business lifecycle, from ideation through growth to company sale. Rob has practical experience in digital marketing, sales and demand generation, product management, partnership/channel development and business analysis. 

Rob Lane has a BS in electronics engineering, a post-graduate diploma in marketing, and a master’s degree in business administration (MBA).    

When not building or mentoring companies, Rob splits his time among family, running, biking, and doing charity work through Care and Sharing Exchange.

Ron Gagnier
Specialist (UX/UI)

Ron is an expert in design thinking, customer experience, product design, and customer research. He has 20+ years of experience in a diverse range of industries including data analytics, telecommunications software, medical software, and HR systems. Ron is recognized for teaching teams to use design more effectively to achieve their business goals, to drive innovation, and to increase customer satisfaction.

Rudy Richman
Mentor, Sales

Rudy has a successful track record in the development and execution of sales team strategies. He is a habitual builder of revenue generating sales engines, profitable, scalable models with predictable results. This unique expertise has guided companies to efficiently scale and monetize their sales activity. Rudy was a member of, or advisor to, the executive management teams that engineered the successful acquisitions of Protus in 2010, Granite Networks in 2013, Privacy Analytics in 2016 and 360pi in 2017 – with total exit value of more than $300M

Areas of Focus: Building revenue engines, sales team strategies, acquisitions 

Stephen Beamish
Mentor, Marketing

Stephen brings proven industry marketing best practices to technology entrepreneurs across Canada and helps them develop result-driven marketing and partnership strategies. A seasoned marketing executive with more than 25 years experience in the industry, Stephen developed an impressive track record delivering hands-on quantifiable marketing results. As VP of Global Marketing and VP of Strategic Partnerships at Mitel for almost a decade, Stephen created a number of successful SaaS marketing initiatives, including developing a software channel partner ecosystem that ultimately drove more than 50% of Mitel’s revenues. Stephen now provides virtual CMO services via his company, BlackTusk Business Solutions.

Areas of Focus: Marketing leadership, new product distribution, channel strategies, strategic partnerships

Susan Robbins Parsons
Mentor, Finance

A previous recipient of Ottawa’s forty under 40 award, Susan is a senior financial executive with extensive practical experience. Having held executive positions with GAL Power Systems, International Datacasting Corp and Kinaxis, she has garnered expertise in financial analysis, business valuations, acquisitions, budgets, as well as compliance for private, non-profit and public organizations. A seasoned mentor for technology startups, Susan has helped companies raise over $50M in venture capital fund.

Areas of focus:  Financing, cash management, international business   

Scale-up Programming

Scale-up programming is designed to help high-growth technology firms scale their businesses globally through the development of custom growth plans and introductions to valuable networks.

Donna Ronayne
Growth Coach

Donna is a marketing executive with a 30-year track record of helping high-tech companies achieve market leadership and high growth. Donna recently retired as CMO from Halogen Software, where she fueled double-digit growth for over 12 years, taking this SaaS company from a start-up to a publicly-traded market leader. Before Halogen, Donna was VP of Business Development at BitFlash, and led the marketing team at QNX Software.

Heidi Hauver
Growth Coach

Heidi is a transformational leader, passionate about business and the field of human resources with a range of experience in the tech sector, most recently as VP, Human Resources for Pythian. As an accomplished specialist in her field, Heidi has received countless awards and accolades for HR leadership, including being named on the 2016 Hot List of Who’s Who in HR for HR Director Magazine. Heidi is currently Managing Director of Harrison O’Sullivan Consulting, an HR services company.

Jeff Bennett
Growth Coach

Jeff is an accomplished Client Experience Executive with a 20-year track record for delivering repeatable and scalable methodologies to grow revenue, reduce churn and create memorable customer experiences that propels organizations into the next stage of growth. He is a strategic thinker, who has the energy, talent and passion needed to attain ambitious corporate objectives and solve highly strategic business challenges. Jeff is very passionate about contributing to the success of Canadian tech companies and works hard to ensure that they each become the best version of themselves.

Jeff’s coaching specialities: Client experience, business development, strategic planning, executive leadership, SaaS

Paulina Yee
Growth Coach

Paulina Yee is a seasoned financial professional with a 30-year track record of providing strategic financial advice and guidance to CEOs. She is a clear thinker with the capability to de-construct complex problems and issues to find creative and innovative solutions. As a trusted member of executive management teams, she provides strategic financial advice and guidance to facilitate discussion and decision making. She works with early stage startups, as well as established small and medium enterprises.

Rudy Richman
Growth Coach

Rudy is a Senior Sales Executive with a talent for building revenue generating sales engines and delivering profitable, scalable models with predictable results. Drawing on over 20 years of experience as VP Sales, and advising over 30 companies, Rudy has helped numerous high-tech companies transform their stale sales environments and scale their businesses. He’s also advised a significant number of companies prior to consequential equity and acquisition events, making him a sought after vCSO.

Rudy’s coaching specialities: Sales, strategic planning, revenue engine development, scale-ups, CSO coaching, acquisitions

Tyler Nelson
Growth Coach

Tyler Nelson is a seasoned technology sector operator who’s 25-year career has centered on value identification, creation and transformation across early and growth stage businesses. He has achievements in mobile wireless software, hardware, high tech marketing, and strategic business development and management. Tyler currently works in an advisory capacity to venture and private equity firms as well directly with early stage and start-up executive leadership teams participating in the data analytics, mobile security solutions, enterprise data governance and IOT markets.

Tyler’s coaching specialities: Partnership development, channel selection and development, product market fit, “whole product” management, partnerships and alliances