Investing in entrepreneurs from idea to exit

Real Ventures is Canada’s largest and most active seed venture fund. We look for inspiring entrepreneurs who exhibit unique insight and appreciation of their target market and industry.
You can be a first time entrepreneur or seasoned ; if you have passion, vision and a big opportunity we want to work with you.

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Real Ventures invests in ambitious entrepreneurs that are creating the Internet experiences of the future, or embracing the power of the Internet to disrupt existing industries or business models. We will invest pre-traction and have the team and networks to support entrepreneurs and propel their companies forward.

The best entrepreneurs do their homework on prospective VCs, and the best Canadian entrepreneurs want to be backed by Real Ventures.

  • 84 Portfolio Companies
  • 275K Average Initial Investment
  • 260 Founders Backed
  • 53 FounderFuel teams



  • John Stokes, General Partner

    John is an investor who has been able to resist the urge to get back to being an entrepreneur - and instead choses to live life vicariously through the entrepreneurs in whom he invests. He looks for the human insight behind an idea and for the person that can reveal and communicate that insight. He likes ideas that target the consumer and particularly ones that turn consumers into "community activists". He searches for ideas that can "prempt" the status quo - a compelling enough experience that "just makes sense" to do things a new way. John strives for perfection, but can live with pretty damn good. Based in Montreal but a citizen of the world, he's a lucky person who strives to find other lucky people to spend time with!

  • Alan MacIntosh, General Partner

    Alan has over 29 years of international experience in innovative technology related businesses starting in oil exploration with Schlumberger and later data networking with Hewlett Packard. In 2004 Alan co-founded Acta Wireless and led the firm’s investments in OZ Communications (acquired by Nokia), WaveMetrix, Millennial Media (NYSE: MM) and Cellfish Media. In 2007 Alan co-founded Montréal Startup. Alan is a director of the Mobile Giving Foundation Canada where Acta was a founding sponsor, a Trustee of the McCord Museum and President of OSMO Foundation (Notman House). A native of Scotland, keen cyclist and life long skier, Alan holds a BSc (Hons) in Offshore Engineering from Heriot-Watt University and MBA from INSEAD.

  • Jean Sebastien Cournoyer, General Partner

    JS is a husband and father of five wonderful children. He co-founded Montreal Start Up and Real Ventures, two seed funds based in Montreal. JS loves working with entrepreneurs and startups. He is an entrepreneur as well, having co-founded and operated a few startups along the way. He tries to live life by giving more than he takes and looks for people who share this principle. JS' life is a constant (good) struggle to find balance between spending time with his wife and kids, with the entrepreneurs he works with, his friends and taking care of himself, which usually means playing hockey, swimming, running or biking. As such, he tends to work with people he enjoys spending time with.

  • Yvan Deschamps, General Partner

    Yvan is Partner and CFO at Real Ventures and overlooks the development and operations of the funds. Prior to joining Real, he spent 8 years as VP of Corporate Development at multi-national company CAE where managed all corporate investments. Yvan also worked in private equity and mergers & acquisitions for Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec and Bell Canada. Intrapreneur at heart, Yvan focuses on making great things happen and helping others achieve goals. His international investment expertise is now accessible to founders in the portfolio companies to help them grow and exit their journeys successfully.

  • Janet Bannister, General Partner

    Janet is passionate about helping entrepreneurs and their businesses reach their full potential. She is a successful online entrepreneur herself. She launched and led to become the leading online classified destination and one of the most visited sites in Canada. She also led the Kijiji Global business, growing the business in North America, Europe and Asia. Janet worked at eBay in Silicon Valley where she led multiple product categories and helped transform eBay from a collectibles to a mainstream marketplace.Other career highlights include being CEO of The Coveteur where she scaled the business and grew it to become a leading online fashion destination, building her own successful consulting business, serving as an Engagement Manager at McKinsey & Company and working as a Brand Manager at Procter & Gamble. Janet is also an accomplished triathlete and mother to a wonderful son.

  • Sylvain Carle, General Partner, Real Ventures & General Manager, FounderFuel

    Sylvain Carle lives and breathes emerging technologies. For the last 20 years, he has thrived with marvel and fun at the confluence of media, technology and networks. Entrepreneurship, web software architecture, APIs, digital and social media as well as open-source software and open standards are all at the core of his competence and passion. He has been on many community technology group boards (Ile-Sans-Fil, Alliance Numérique and OSMO) and a serial entrepreneur, CTO and co-founder since 2000 (Messagia, Interstructure, Praized, Needium). Most recently he was Senior Developer Advocate at Twitter in San Francisco, helping strategic partners get the most of the blue bird’s APIs and technology products. Socialist, idealist and pragmatic, he is convinced that technology will change the world in this era of the networked society.

  • Sam Haffar, Principal

    Sam joins us from the Bay Area where he has actively been involved in starting and growing top tech companies for nearly a decade. Only six months after launching his first company while in college, Sam was offered a founding team role at Chegg, a leading education technology company where he drove many of the key growth initiatives and marketing strategies, Chegg went public in 2013. After Chegg, Sam was the VP of Marketing of Kno, an education technology company backed by Andreessen Horowitz that creates engaging digital learning technologies, later acquired by Intel. Before making the move to Montreal, Sam ran marketing and sales for EAT Club, a fast growing venture backed food tech company that provides enterprise catering solutions for companies. Following the lead of Alan MacIntosh and John Stokes, Sam relocated to Montreal where he happily resides with his wife.

  • Omar Dhalla, Principal

    Omar is a Venture Partner, helping to establish operations in Toronto/Waterloo. He recently built a venture-backed digital media company after a career in management consulting, where he worked with Accenture & McKinsey & Company. Omar holds an MBA from the Richard Ivey School of Business at Western Ontario and a B.Comm from the University of British Columbia (UBC). He also teaches corporate problem solving tactics in UBC's EMBA program.

  • Gabriel Sundaram, Director of Platform

    Gabriel is Real’s Director of Platform. He focuses on fund management, platform development, as well as supporting our portfolio companies with data and product analysis. Prior to joining Real Ventures, Gabriel spent seven years in the hedge fund industry leading product development and fund management at Capitalogix, a Dallas based software startup turned quantitative hedge fund. Recently back from the US, Gabriel has become an active member of the Montreal startup scene, instigating or organizing several community initiatives including Startup Drinks, Startup Open House, and the Notman House.

  • Charles Seely, Venture Partner

    Charles loves starting companies and working with entrepreneurs. He recently moved to San Francisco to start a Learning/Education business, having spent the past decade living & working in New York, London, and Stockholm, and almost a year exploring the mountains of Wyoming and South America. Previously Charles started & helped build online retail and telecom companies, led the financial restructuring of several private and public companies, and co-led the MBO of a public company. Along the way he's played a key role in the formation & funding of some well-known startups and been on the board of or a shareholder in companies/fields as wide ranging as astronomy, music, water, and film. Charles is happiest with his family, engrossed in a great documentary, climbing up hills on a bike or ascending a mountain with skis strapped to his back.

  • Mark McDowell, Venture Partner

    Mark is an engineer, entrepreneur and investment professional with 25 years of experience spanning telecom, media and education technology. Mark co-founded Acta Wireless in 2004 and led its investments in LaunchBox Digital, CardStar, Imagine K12 and Actium Advisors. Mark was also instrumental in Acta’s founding role in Montreal Startup and Real Ventures. Mark serves on the board of directors of the Mobile Giving Foundation, NextNav, Actium Advisors and Sweet Relish. Earlier in his career, Mark was part of the founding management team of four companies, including Telecorp PCS, which was acquired by AT&T Wireless Services. Mark served as an officer in the United States Air Force during the first Gulf War. He holds BSEE and MSEE degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Mark lives near Charlotte with his wife two children.

  • Stephanie Saheb, Marketing Manager

    Stephanie looks over the day-to-day operations at Real Ventures and ensures the company operates smoothly. Her role includes supporting investor and portfolio communications, looking after the growing team and supporting marketing initiatives. Startup supporter by day and yogi by night, Steph’s always looking to build initiatives that bring people together. Stephanie has a B.A in Marketing and completed a Co-op program at the John Molson School of Business.

  • Emma Williams, Program Manager, FounderFuel

    A native Montrealer, Emma is no stranger to the local tech and startup community. Having previously worked as the Community Manager at OOHLALA Mobile, she helped launch the app across North American and European campuses. It was there that she developed a passion for community building, a value she brings into her position as Program Manager of FounderFuel. Emma ensures that the day-to-day operations, event planning, marketing and social media initiatives all run as smoothly as possible, while also making sure the teams feel at home at Notman House

  • Stephen Osmond, Accountant

    Stephen looks after Real's accounting. He plays a key role in the production of quarterly reports, tax reporting and the audit process. Prior to joining Real Ventures, Stephen worked for Jabre Capital in Switzerland and BlueCrest Capital in the UK where he was responsible for setting-up and managing the fund accounting and valuation functions for hedge funds and investment management companies.