Virtual Event: The State of the Innovation Agenda
Kim Furlong, Andrew Graham, Neha Khera, Michele Romanow and Kirk Simpson, moderated by David Skok
” How Will Canada’s Innovation Economy Fare? “
Apr 23, 2020
What does COVID-19 mean for Canada’s innovation agenda? Join Canadian Club Toronto and The Logic for a virtual discussion with some of the country’s leading investors and entrepreneurs about how the innovation economy is faring, where investments are going and what recovery might look like.
This expert panel will be moderated by David Skok, founder & editor-in-chief of The Logic and will feature:
• Kim Furlong – CEO, Canadian Venture Capital Private Equity Association
• Andrew Graham – Co-founder & CEO, Borrowell and Immediate Past President, Canadian Club Toronto
• Neha Khera – Partner, 500 Start Ups
• Michele Romanow – “Dragon”, CBC Dragons’ Den and Co-Founder & President, Clearbanc
• Kirk Simpson – Co-Founder & CEO, Wave
Co-Founder and CEO, Borrowell and Immediate Past-President, Canadian Club Toronto
Andrew Graham is co-founder and CEO of Borrowell, one of Canada’s largest financial technology companies, with over 1 million users. Borrowell helps consumers find financial stability and make great decisions about their money. It was the first company in Canada to offer credit scores for free and recently launched Boost, which helps consumers track and pay bills. Borrowell has won numerous awards, including being named one of the top 100 fintech companies in the world by KPMG, one of the five fastest growing technology companies in Canada by Deloitte and top 50 “Best Workplaces in Canada” for the past two years.
Andrew holds an MBA from Harvard Business School. He was named EY Entrepreneur of the Year (Emerging Entrepreneur category) for Ontario in 2019. Andrew served as President of Canadian Club Toronto for the 2018-2019 season.
Chief Executive Officer, Canadian Venture Capital and Private Equity Association
Kim Furlong is the Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Venture Capital and Private Equity Association (CVCA).
She joined the CVCA in January 2019 after a decade in the corporate world, leading external affairs for Amgen Canada; a world-leading biotechnology company. Prior to Amgen, she held the position of Vice President Federal Government Relations for the Retail Council of Canada.
Ms. Furlong has an expansive background in the public sector and held the position of Director of Communications to Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister, the Hon. Pierre S. Pettigrew. Prior to joining Minister Pettigrew’s office, Ms. Furlong was an advisor for the Honorable James. S. Peterson, Canadian International Trade Minister on trade policy issues such as aerospace, intellectual property, and emerging markets.
A strong believer in solid public policy dialogue, Ms. Furlong is a member of the Canada 2020 Advisory Council, a nonpartisan progressive think tank and is a member of Equal Voice, a multi-partisan action committee devoted to the idea that more women must be elected to every level of government in Canada. She also sits on the Advisory Council of Ivey Centre for Health Innovation.
Ms. Furlong is also the former President of the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs Alumni Association where she received a Masters degree in Trade Policy and Global Finance. She is also an alumnus of McGill University, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in American history.
A Quebec native, Furlong was born and raised in the picturesque town of Percé on the Gaspé Peninsula. She currently lives in Toronto with her husband Howie and her twin boys, commonly known as the peanuts.
Partner, 500 Startups
Neha Khera is a Partner with 500 Startups, a Silicon Valley-based venture capital firm that is one of the most active in the world. Based in Toronto, Neha leads the firm’s investments in early-stage startups across Canada. She has been immersed in the technology industry throughout her career, starting off as a software programmer at a startup and making her way to leading tech innovation at one of Canada’s top banks. Prior to 500 Startups, Neha was with the MaRS IAF where she invested in and managed a portfolio of early-stage startups. Neha is a strong supporter of women in technology, having launched and run Girls in Tech Toronto and a TEDx Women conference for a number of years. Neha obtained an Electrical Engineering degree from the University of Waterloo and an MBA from the Richard Ivey School of Business.
“Dragon”, CBC Dragons’ Den and Co-Founder & President, Clearbanc
Michele Romanow is the co-founder and President of Clearbanc. Clearbanc has invested over $1B in over 2,200 ecommerce companies. Michele started five companies before her 33rd birthday and exited two before her 30th. She previously co-founded SnapSaves which was acquired by American tech giant, Groupon in 2014 and was also the Co-Founder of Buytopia.ca, which acquired ten competitors including Shop.ca and WagJag. In 2015, Michele became the youngest judge on CBC’s Dragons’ Den (Canada’s Shark Tank), and has been a ‘Dragon’ for the last five seasons.
A prolific investor and serial entrepreneur, Michele was recently named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum and one of Canada’s Most Powerful Women. She was the winner of Angel Investor of the Year award.
Michele has created digital solutions for many of the world’s leading brands, including P&G, Netflix, Starbucks, and Cirque du Soleil. She began her career as the Director of Strategy for Sears, where she led apparel growth — a $2.5 billion category at the time.
In the media, Michele’s work has been profiled in Forbes, Wall Street Journal, Fast Company and The Globe and Mail.
During her Civil Engineering undergrad at Queen’s University, Michele founded The Tea Room, the first zero-consumer-waste coffee shop. At Queen’s, she was given the Queen’s Tricolour — the highest honor awarded by the university — and, after completing her Queen’s MBA, she founded Evandale Caviar, a vertically integrated commercial fishery.
Michele is a director for Vail Resorts (NYSE: MTN), Freshii (TSX: FRII), League of Innovators, Queen’s School of Business and Shad International – a transformational program that develops the entrepreneurial potential of exceptional Canadian youth. She is a previous director for Whistler Blackcomb (TSX: WB) She also co-founded the Canadian Entrepreneurship Initiative with Richard Branson.
Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Wave
In 2010, Kirk co-founded Wave, and has since led the company through tremendous growth to 400,000 active small businesses, 280+ people on the Wave team, and over $100 million in funding raised from investors around the world. Wave was acquired in June 2019 by H&R Block for over $537M – the 7th largest tech exit in Canada since 2001. Under Kirk, Wave has won numerous awards for leadership, culture, and innovation, including the Deloitte Fast 50 and Growth 500, the KPMG Fintech 100, Great Places to Work Canada and a 2 time recipient of Canada’s Most Admired Corporate Cultures. In addition, Kirk was honoured as one of Canada’s Most Admired CEOs in 2019. He has served as an advisor to the Next 36, the Rotman Creative Destruction Labs and provides mentorship to young entrepreneurs and startup visionaries.
CEO & Editor-in-Chief, The Logic
Before founding The Logic, David Skok was the associate editor and head of editorial strategy at the Toronto Star. Previously, he served as the managing editor and vice-president of digital for the Boston Globe, where he led the organization’s digital transformation, and as the co-creator and director of digital for Global News. David is a leading thinker on digital transformation who has co-published with Harvard Business School professor Clayton M. Christensen. He was the 2012 Martin Wise Goodman Fellow at the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University. David has served as a juror for the Pulitzer Prizes in journalism.