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The real team

Partner

"I make sure that great ideas — and arguments — are solid."

John searches for the insight behind an idea, and for the founder who can enact that insight. After having played leading roles in two successful startups in Asia Pacific, but being underwhelmed with the venture capital model, John transitioned from entrepreneur to investor, determined to give others a more rewarding experience. After a number of years angel investing, he cofounded Real Ventures in 2007, where he works with passionate entrepreneurs looking to use technology to pre-empt the status quo. John is an investor who daily resists the urge to get back to being an entrepreneur — but rather chooses to live vicariously through the founders in whom he invests. He knows that the path to success is uphill and it doesn’t have many signposts, but that an enquiring mind, an ability to inspire, a strong compass and dogged determination can enable entrepreneurs to find success in places others didn’t know existed.

Partner

"I believe that society’s success will come from strong ecosystems and great new technology."

JS is a hands-on investor and entrepreneur whose mission is to help creative and curious people to build great companies that have the potential to change the world. He primarily works with entrepreneurs who are using AI, blockchain technologies, AR/VR and synthetic biology to improve happiness, human creativity, and communication — and transform or disrupt the pillars of our society (health, education, food, energy, government, finance, work). His experience in all aspects of creating, building and growing tech companies has given him the confidence to follow his gut, and help passionate entrepreneurs realize their vision and find success in life and business. When he’s not working on reinventing the world, he’ll likely be found spending time with his five kids.

Partner

Alan MacIntosh

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Alan works with:

Algolux Bus.com OMsignal Swift Medical XpertSea
"You’ve only got so many days on the planet. While you’re here, you owe it to yourself to have the biggest possible impact."

Alan has been building, operating and investing in businesses at the intersection of wireless and the internet since the 1990s. After cofounding a number of notable venture funds including GSM Capital and Acta Wireless, he joined with John and JS to cofound Real Ventures in 2007. A dedicated mentor, Alan sees himself as a demanding yet empathetic coach: helping on important issues, highlighting strategic opportunities, and looking for possibilities for his portfolio companies to exit. He works primarily with startups using emerging software technologies (mobile, digital media, deep learning, preventative healthcare), and is also interested in creating new markets with connected devices. A native of Scotland, Alan is a keen cyclist and lifelong skier, and is also committed to improving the quality of life in the community, through his work as President of the OSMO Foundation and as a board director of the McCord Museum, the Quartier de l’Innovation (QI) and the Mobile Giving Foundation Canada.

Partner

Janet Bannister

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Janet works with:

Canvass GrowSumo Instant Kooltra League
"I really want to help people realise their dreams and aspirations."

Since her first entrepreneurial venture as a teenager, Janet has used her boundless energy and focus to build and shape companies. Part of the Real Ventures team since 2014, she has led investments in a dozen companies, and works actively to help them accelerate growth and create meaningful impact. Janet’s experience as a founder, and her work with industry leaders like Procter & Gamble, McKinsey & Co. and eBay, have given her great insight and practical knowledge, which she passes on to the teams she mentors. Given her background transforming eBay from a collectibles to a mainstream marketplace and launching and growing Kijiji into one of the most visited websites in Canada, Janet primarily works with entrepreneurs in consumer-facing businesses, marketplaces, e-commerce and fintech. A dynamic, high energy person, Janet has also competed internationally in triathlons, and loves spending time in nature and with her family.

Partner

"Great ideas can come from anywhere, so collaboration is key."

Mike (often called Shaver) brings 25 years of experience building software and software teams, including managing the development of Mozilla Firefox and leading engineering for Facebook’s transition to a mobile-first company. He loves to help entrepreneurs build things they didn’t know they could, from technology and products to organizations and leaders. Mike finds others’ passion and curiosity to be infectious. He believes that we need more diverse teams building the technology that shapes the world.

Partner

Sylvain Carle

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Sylvain works with:

Delve Labs Keatext Plotly Unito Vention
"A lot of people think it’s about technology – but first and foremost, it’s a people business."

Sylvain Carle has spent the last two decades living and breathing emerging technologies. Though he didn’t study computer science, Sylvain has been tinkering with computers for years, and spent most of his career as a startup entrepreneur at the confluence of media, technology and networks. A self-proclaimed nerd, socialist and pragmatist, Sylvain believes in technology as a means to change the world, and loves investing in ideas and people to transform industries. Before joining Real Ventures in 2011, Sylvain was CTO and co-founder at Messagia, Interstructure, Praized and Needium, and also worked as Senior Developer Advocate at Twitter in San Francisco. As a Real Ventures pre-seed partner, Sylvain plays a key role in nurturing the local tech ecosystem, and also works closely with our portfolio companies.

Partner

Isaac Souweine

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Isaac works with:

Luffa Sollum Spark Microsystems
"I help launch big ideas into the real world."

Isaac is a Partner at Real Ventures focused on pre-seed investments and the General Manager of FounderFuel. A newcomer to venture capital, Isaac has built a career as a product leader with a passion for company building and ecosystem creation. Past leadership roles have spanned high growth startups like Sonder and Frank + Oak and large technology companies like Yahoo and Scholastic. Isaac is also a dedicated mentor, public speaker, event organizer and connector, who believes deeply in paying it forward. A husband and father of two, he thinks Montreal might just be the perfect place to raise a family while building a world-class startup ecosystem.

Partner

Sam Haffar

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Sam works with:

MindBridge Sonder
"I get as much inspiration from them as I hope they do from me."

After nearly a decade in Silicon Valley, Sam joined the Real Ventures team with a great breadth of experience as a founder, strategizer and marketer. Having leaped into the startup world barely before he graduated from university, he joined the founding team at Chegg, a leading education technology company that went public in 2013. After Chegg, Sam led growth, marketing and sales teams at some of the top early-stage tech companies in the Valley. Combined, his startups have raised well over $200M from the world's best VCs. At Real, Sam works with founders on all aspects of their business from organizational development and product strategy to series A fundraising, growth and scale initiatives. After experiencing firsthand the extreme highs and lows of startup life, Sam has found that working with early-stage founders is his natural passion.

Partner

"I like to get to know people — get a sense of their capabilities and limitations — and then push them beyond that to help them achieve everything they can."

Mark is an engineer and entrepreneur who loves the creative, chaotic excitement of launching a new company. Growing up in the 1970s, he thought everything had already been invented — he even wrote to the patent office to ask what still needed to be created. With the advent of the Apple II, he jumped into his life as a creator, and decided to major in computer science with a focus on AI. After launching his career in the wireless industry, including roles in the founding teams at four startups, Mark co-founded Acta Wireless in 2004 with Alan MacIntosh, and was instrumental in Acta’s founding role in Montreal Startup and Real Ventures. Mark’s main interests today are blockchain technology, AI/ML, quantum computing, and the (imminent) return of analog. When he’s not encouraging founders to push harder, he’s helping them expand their teams so their companies can get to the next level.

Venture Partner

Charles Seely

"I like to tell people that anything is possible and to aim for the sky."

Charles is Real Ventures’ West Coast/Silicon Valley link. Given his entrepreneurial and investing experience, Charles assists our companies with US expansion, helping them navigate the landscape, strategically approach the market and craft their pitches to resonate with West Coast investors. In addition to his role as Venture Partner at Real, Charles is CEO and Founder of Pensar, a company powering the future of micro/personalized-learning and has led investments in 45+ early-stage companies.

Chief Operating Officer

Roula Zaarour

"When others see limitations, I like to look for the possibilities and find creative ways to make them happen…"

With a background in organizational effectiveness and restructuring, Roula was brought in to Real Ventures to help grow the firm and lay the groundwork and platforms for further success. A believer in limitless possibilities, Roula embarks on projects that she’s passionate about. Her work experience includes her role at the CBC/Radio-Canada as VP People & Culture under a major restructuring plan, and leading the implementation of the transformation plan at Aerolineas Argentinas, among other leadership positions for major corporations worldwide. Roula is a strong proponent for change driven by technological innovation. She joined Real Ventures because she believes in our commitment to growing and nurturing tech entrepreneurs and the Canadian tech ecosystem.

VP Finance

Stephen Osmond

"Once you’ve jumped, there isn’t much else to do but just enjoy the ride."

As the senior finance person at Real Ventures, Stephen plays a key role in the production of quarterly reports, tax reporting and the audit process. His fund-specific responsibilities include the production of investment valuation, quarterly fund valuation, financial statements production and investor reporting. Stephen believes that the energy you put into something corresponds with what you get out, and loves working in the high-speed atmosphere of Real Ventures, where he sees new challenges every day. Prior to joining Real Ventures in Montreal, 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. While Stephen’s work life is painstakingly well organized, he likes to select his vacation destinations the day before he leaves.

Director of Communications

Lauren Jane Heller

"You can achieve anything you put your mind to — but that’s not to say it won’t take a whole lot of hard work."

A passionate storyteller, communicator and connector, Lauren Jane thrives on adding value and making change in the world through her words and ideas. With a background that spans documentary film, journalism, copywriting, sponsorship and communications strategy, she brings a breadth of experience to Real Ventures that will help focus outreach initiatives and broaden our reach. She was catapulted into Montreal’s tech community in 2014 as the lead organizer for HackerNest, and has continued to play an important role in the ecosystem’s growth and visibility through her coverage of events and startup news for BetaKit. She is dedicated to building diversity in the tech community, and strongly believes in the democratization of new technologies.

Finance Team

Samuel Kaufman

"I’m excited about the power of technology to democratize knowledge and solve impactful problems."

Sam joined Real Ventures in early 2017 to support the investment team. His responsibilities include investment portfolio tracking and analysis, fund operations, finance, and regulation. Sam loves working at Real because it enables him to interact with entrepreneurs working on solutions to the world’s greatest problems. With a background in financial services and startup consulting, Sam also understands the struggles of early ventures and is therefore able help our portfolio companies when needed. While at university, Sam developed an event-based fundraising project in unique locations in Montreal called “One Night Stand” in support of local charities and foundations. He is an avid “bikepacker,” reader and traveller, and likes to wake up at 5am to get a headstart on his day.

Finance Team

Steffie Vincelli

"I love what I do (yes, accounting!) because I’m continuously exposed to new challenges."

Steffie is an outgoing and easily approachable member of the Real Ventures team. She works on portfolio evaluation and day-to-day accounting, and also gives input into investment strategy. Steffie loves accounting because she is continuously exposed to new challenges, and the scope of her profession gives her access to numerous fields of expertise. She likes to keep up with industry news, and uses her interpersonal skills to develop strong relationships with the legion of passionate people in the startup community. To maintain balance with her high-minded and number-crunching work, she maintains a physically-active lifestyle.

Events and Special Projects Manager

Adélaïde Andriot

"It’s about the little things I can do throughout the day that make the people I work with feel great..."

After moving to Canada from France to study a Masters of Law at McGill University, Adélaïde found her professional calling in Montreal’s tech ecosystem. Since joining the Real Ventures team in 2016, she has taken the lead on numerous projects, from running FounderFuel to planning events and building team happiness. Always looking for greater challenges and community-building initiatives to get involved with, Adélaïde is now also leading Product Hunt MTL. Adélaïde believes in spreading positive energy, and puts her attention to detail and leadership qualities to use on a daily basis.

Head of Platform

Thibaud Maréchal

"It’s easier to ask for forgiveness than it is to get permission."

Thibaud (or Thib) is a well-rounded French import who works on special projects for the firm and our portfolio. In 2015, Thib joined the Real Ventures team to run the FounderFuel accelerator after having proved his drive and vision in the creation of the McGill X-1 Accelerator — a program that turns academic research into market-ready products. While completing a Bachelor’s Degree in Information Systems at McGill, he participated in the MIT Global Founders’ Skills Accelerator in Boston, building an edtech platform. He then went on to work with startups at the McGill Dobson Centre, and was integral in the development of a McGill-wide tech ecosystem for engineers, scientists and young founders. A lover of triathlons, DIY projects and winter biking, Thib believes we should all go vegan (but can’t do it himself — he likes cheese too much).

Partner Operations Manager

Jordan Zipkin

"We live in a time of accelerating change, and the decisions we make today will shape our future; with RV I get to shape the world of tomorrow."

Jordan is Operations Manager for JS and works closely with his portfolio companies. Passionate about artificial intelligence, robotics, nanotechnology and cryptocurrency, he is now putting his operations experience in publishing, private equity, and health care supplies to work in the tech sector. Jordan graduated from from Washington University with majors in Mathematics, Economics, Operations/Supply Chain Management, International Business, Human Resource Management, and Entrepreneurship, and while at university, passed three actuary exams and founded two startups: one in the delivery business and the other in university management software. After operating a health care supplies firm with over 120 employees, he left on a solo backpacking trip around the world for 15 months where he visited over 40 countries.

Partner Operations Manager

Stephanie McGuinty

"Every day is different at Real, which is what makes it so dynamic and fun!"

Steph recently joined Real Ventures to manage the talent, strategy, and operations in Toronto, and to work closely with Janet and her portfolio companies. With a background in Digital Media and Human Resources strategy, she brings a combination of organizational effectiveness and communications savvy to the company. Steph loves meeting new entrepreneurs/companies and is also focused on developing new relationships within the Canadian tech ecosystem. While completing her Masters in Digital Media at Ryerson University, she launched an MVP as part of a 100-day startup project, and was also part of the DMZ and Zone learning. Steph is a former Team Canada, Team Ontario, and varsity volleyball player, and in addition to her role at Real, she is completing her Personal Training Certification through which she hopes to share her knowledge and passion for health and wellbeing.

Analyst

Richard Hendrix

"Technology is disrupting many fundamentals, but the constant thread over time is the people and their ideas. "

Richard Hendrix is a self-confessed crypto junkie who believes in a decentralized, democratized, and radically innovative future. He has been keenly interested in computers and technology since he could talk - he was one of those 6-year-olds who had a palm pilot to “manage his schedule”. Hailing originally from Atlanta, Georgia, USA, he studied political science and economics at Davidson College and the London School of Economics, and today is based in San Francisco, CA. In 2012 he discovered Bitcoin and caught the crypto bug, leading him to participate in the early days of many crypto projects including Ethereum. He has held operational roles in corporate finance, management consulting, cloud SaaS, and currently invests in crypto projects and advises Real Ventures on its crypto strategy.