In the face of volatile times ahead, start-up entrepreneurs need to be thinking differently. Join Canadian Club on January 25 for a discussion on the tech fundraising and scaling environment. What should startup entrepreneurs be thinking about and prioritizing? What advantages do we have being in Canada?
Our expert panelists will discuss what they’re observing, how they’re adjusting strategies, and the uniquely interesting challenges and opportunities facing women-led companies. This conversation will be moderated by April Fong, Executive Editor of The Logic and will feature:
Rhiannon Davies – Co-founder and Managing Partner, Sandpiper Ventures
Lisa Melchior – Founder and Managing Partner, Vertu Capital
Eva Wong – Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer, Borrowell
Rhiannon’s background is in turnaround and scaling businesses in the specialised nutrition, medical device and consumer space. She joined Numico B.V, which neared bankruptcy in 2003, as VP Operations, part of the leadership team that turned it into a high-growth/high-margin company, sold to Groupe Danone in 2007 for $17 Billion.
In 2012, she became the COO of GrandVision, a PE backed eyecare company that began as a group of acquisitions spread across 25 markets. The company entered another 20 countries, purchasing both retail space and eyecare adjacent technologies. Rhiannon built the corporate backbone entity from scratch including common brands, product, marketing and supply, into an internal buy-sell subsidiary which ultimately generated $2B in revenue and hundreds of millions in operational savings. Rhiannon ultimately became CEO of this subsidiary operation. In 2015, they took GV public on the Amsterdam Stock Exchange, raising $1.5 billion.
Rhiannon has served on corporate boards of tech start-ups, publicly traded multi-nationals in the medical technology, consumer products, and retails industries, crowns and not for profits. Her current Board activities include CDL, Volta Labs, Emera IdeaHub, Ecology Action Centre, Coloursmith Labs, DeNova Inc.
Lisa has extensive experience across a variety of industries and stages with a focus on growth equity and buyouts in the technology sector. As a strategic thought partner to CEOs, Lisa brings sound judgment, a global network, and a steady hand to support the achievement of a company’s long-term goals.
Lisa Melchior, founder of VERTU Capital, is an experienced private equity professional with a 20+ year track record of building businesses and successful investment outcomes. Prior to founding VERTU, Lisa led the North American Technology Group at OMERS Private Equity and started her career at CIBC World Markets.
Over the course of her career, Lisa has invested nearly $1.4B in over 20 companies across various sectors through multiple cycles. Her technology sector experience spans application software, HCIT, cleantech, and tech-enabled services, to industrial technology. Her investments have included growth capital, buyouts, and public to privates.
While Lisa’s orientation is as a long-term owner of businesses, she has successfully managed changes in ownership at critical strategic stages, both by taking companies public and en bloc sales. Outside of VERTU, Lisa sits on the boards of Real Matters (REAL.TO), a leading mortgage lending technology company, as well as The Toronto Biennial of Art. She is also Chair of the Canadian Women in Private Equity Mentorship Program and serves as a director of the Canadian Venture Capital and Private Equity Association (CVCA).
Lisa’s previous board experience includes various public and private companies, including technology companies in Canada, the U.S. and U.K. Lisa holds an MBA from the Schulich School of Business at York University and a Bachelor of Arts (Economics) from the University of Western Ontario.
Eva is Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer at Borrowell, a financial technology company dedicated to making financial prosperity possible for everyone. Borrowell offers free credit scores and reports, AI-driven financial product recommendations and credit building products, including the newly launched Rent Advantage. With over two million members, Borrowell is one of largest consumer fintech companies in Canada.
Borrowell has won numerous awards, including being named one of the top 100 fintech companies in the world by KPMG and ranking 4th on the Deloitte Technology Fast 50™ list of fastest growing companies in Canada.
Eva is an EY Entrepreneur Of The Year® winner in Ontario, and was named one of the Standout 35 on the global Women in FinTech Powerlist. She serves on the boards of the Smith School of Business and World Vision Canada. Eva holds degrees from the Kennedy School at Harvard University and the Smith School of Business at Queen’s University.
April Fong joined The Logic from BNN Bloomberg, where, as senior digital producer, she oversaw the editorial content of its digital platforms. Prior to that, she worked as a digital producer at the Financial Post, where among other things she helped turn FP Tech Desk into one of the Post’s most popular verticals. She also spent four years in Shanghai as an editor for China Economic Review and Talk Magazine. In-depth reporting is capital and resource intensive, we kindly ask you to support it.