Speakers & Guests

Keynote Speakers:

(More to be announced!)

Jim Hayhurst Sr.

Founder of The Right Mountain Inc.
Discussion Topic: Keynote Speaker
Travelling from: Toronto, ON

He is an internationally-recognized inspirational speaker who has helped millions to unlock their career and life potential.

Career and Motivational Expert. Philanthropist. Two-time best-selling author. Ad man. Mountaineer. For more than fifteen years, Jim owned and ran one of Canada’s largest advertising agencies, which he sold to Saatchi & Saatchi in 1985. Since then, his career help centre and corporate consulting group have helped thousands of individuals and hundreds of organizations around the world define and achieve success.

Jim’s first book, The Right Mountain: Lessons from Everest on the Real Meaning of Success, was the product of his 1988 Mount Everest climb. The book is now available in seven languages and was a bestseller in several countries, including Canada.
Jim is incredibly passionate about helping people find fulfillment and success in their lives. In 1992, he co-founded Trails Youth Initiatives, a program for youth-at-risk, now a fully-accredited 4-year program and school located north of Toronto from which over 200 youth have graduated.

His book, Where Have I Gone Right?, published in 2004, provides career help, combining powerful stories from his Everest and business experiences with a practical, engaging career workbook.

Contact Jim directly at jim@therightmountain.com.

Reggie Watts

Brooklyn-based comedian and musician
Discussion Topic: Private show
Travelling from: Brooklyn, NY

Reggie Watts, internationally renowned vocalist/ beatboxer/ musician/ comedian/ improvisor, wows audiences with his unpredictable performances which are created on-the-spot using only his formidable voice and looping pedals. Blending and blurring the lines between comedy and music with his unique lyrical style, LA Weekly calls Reggie ”the most wildly inventive new talent of the past five years.”

As a solo performer, Reggie was handpicked by Conan O’Brien to open nightly on Conan’s sold out North American “Prohibited From Being Funny on Television” tour. Reggie was crowned “Hot Comedian” by Rolling Stone, named SPIN Magazine’s “Best New Comedian” and “Best of CMJ” 2010, and a featured profile in GQ’s Man Of The Year issue 2010. Reggie released his debut comedy cd/dvd ‘Why $#!+ So Crazy?’ on Comedy Central Records in May 2010. He has a new album recorded at Jack White’s Third Man Records entitled ‘Reggie Watts Live at Third Man Records’ now available in limited edition vinyl. Reggie recently performed at NYC’s Central Park and that show was filmed for a Comedy Central special and cd/dvd release (release date tba).

As a musician, Reggie was invited to join LCD Soundsystem as guest onstage at the final NY shows Spring 2011. He also sang on Regina Spektor’s “Dance Anthem of the 80s” and contributed two tracks to DFA Records’ Spaghetti Circus. As the frontman for Seattle rock outfit Maktub, Reggie and his band released five albums. Reggie recorded original music featured on Louis CK’s show on FX and performed the theme song for Kristin Schaal’s “Penelope Princess of Pets” show. In the Spring of 2011 he recorded an original session for the hugely popular Daytrotter series.

On screen, Reggie has appeared on The Conan O’Brien Show, Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, HBO’s The Yes Men Save The World, Comedy Central’s Michael and Michael Have Issues, Iceland TV, UK’s “Funny Or Die,” and PBS’ Electric Company.

“Deliciously strange” – LA Times
“Spectacularly original” – New York Magazine
“Do yourself a big favor and go see him on tour now.” – MTV
“Musician, comedian, stand-up-surrealist-beat-boxer-force-of-nature” – Radiolab


Seminar/Workshop Speakers:

(More to be announced!)

Basil Peters
M&A Advisor – Exit Coach – Angel Investor
Discussion Topic: To be announced

Basil Peters is an M&A advisor, exit coach and angel investor. After being an investor for a couple of decades he finally realized that successful investing requires two things: making the right investments and getting your money back. The most fun Basil’s had as an entrepreneur, and an investor, are when companies are successfully sold.

Dr. Peters is the principal of Strategic Exits Corp, a firm specializing in optimum exits for technology companies. He is also fund manager for Fundamental Technologies II - an angel fund. Basil founded a venture capital firm and a hedge fund, and has been a CEO in Vancouver and Silicon Valley.

Basil writes a blog on exits at www.Exits-Blog.com and one on angel investing at www.AngelBlog.netHe recently published his first book: Early Exits - Exit Strategies for Entrepreneurs and Angel Investors (But Maybe Not Venture Capitalists). Basil is an Entrepreneur in Residence at Simon Fraser University where he helps students and faculty spin-off research into promising technology companies.

He has a Ph.D. from the University of British Columbia in Electrical and Computer Engineering and has received the Entrepreneur of the Year Award, Canada Awards Silver Medal in Entrepreneurship, BC Science and Engineering Gold Medal and Business Leader of the Year Award.

For more visit: www.BasilPeters.com.

Cliff McCollum
Software Engineering Manager at Abebooks/FillZ.com
Discussion Topic: Johnny Bunko & the Art of Career Planning

Cliff loves working at the interface between domains. He is most interested in that strange place where business-processes and software-development meet. As a veteran software development manager and system-architect, he finds it particularly exciting when these two worlds come together and click. That’s when the magic happens.

Cliff is also the creator and author of LeadingSoftware.ca, a blog for leaders and managers of software developers and other technical groups. If you are responsible for technical workers, please check it out.

Cliff has many years of professional experience as a System Architect, Software Engineer and Software Development Manager. He currently works as the Software Engineering Manager for FillZ.com, a subsidiary of Amazon.com and AbeBooks.com. At FillZ they are developing cloud-scale distributed software used by hundreds of sellers worldwide.

He has personal experience designing, writing, and managing dozens of large and small software projects, including the successful launch of multiple new software products. Cliff has more than eight years experience directly involved in creating large distributed-computing systems for the Telecommunications industry, and over four years experience developing Enterprise software for the Life-Sciences industry.

He is a passionate person who cares about technology and who’s areas of focus include: agile software development, distributed software systems, mobile software, engineering process improvement, human interface design, and intelligent integration of business strategy with engineering.

Dan Pontefract
Head of Learning & Collaboration in corporate sector at TELUS
Discussion Topic: The Connected Leader

Currently, as Senior Director / Head of Learning & Collaboration at TELUS (www.telus.com), Dan is responsible for the overarching learning and collaboration strategy for the company. He has driven a philosophical and cultural shift in the way TELUS views and experiences learning and leadership called “Learning 2.0”; the shift to a social, informal and formal learning and collaboration model for all 35,000+ team members, bringing TELUS to the forefront of learning leadership. In addition to these actions, Dan founded and chairs the TELUS 2.0 Adoption Council; a cross-functional group of leaders aimed at helping drive a culture of collaboration and engagement across the organization.

Dan is a passionate leader in the learning, Enterprise 2.0, leadership and collaboration space. He is uniquely skilled to ensure an organization can move from traditional cultures of engagement, leadership and learning to one that embraces non-traditional forms that embody the unique integration of open leadership, Enterprise 2.0 technologies & processes along with a formal/informal/social modes of learning.

Dave Olson
Community Wrangler at Hootsuite
Discussion Topic: Tops Down, Bottoms Up

Dave Olson truly enjoys creating and publishing content to an audience using web tools – and he enjoys teaching others how to share their musing and creations with like-minded enthusiasts the world over (perhaps you’ve caught his shtick at SXSW, Northern Voice, WordCamp Whistler or various media outlets?)

Since his earliest days, he’s created fanzines, newsletters, chapbooks and audio programs. When Olson “discovered” the web living on the island of Guam in 1995, his jaw dropped as he learned anyone can post words and pictures, in color, for free or cheap. The next day, he began publishing his essays, stories and collections on the web and never looked back. A barrage or citizen reporting, podcast documentaries and a Twitter stream-of-consciousness all followed suit.

In previous professional incarnations, he’s used HootSuite as, well … a user, so in his brief tenure, he’s shared ideas about features, tune-ups and tweaks to add even more functionality.

Make sure you catch Dave Olson and Greg Gunn’s collaborative seminar.

Dave Thomas
Senior Partner with Rocket Builders
Discussion Topic: To be announced

Dave Thomas is a Senior Partner with Rocket Builders. He was the General Manager of the Canadian Financing Forum, matching North American Corporate and VC investors with serious entrepreneurs looking to build world-class technology companies from 2003 to 2010. He is an executive, business consultant and advisor for a number of technology companies and manages the Rocket Builders ‘Market Readiness Program’. Recent positions and projects include; Mentor in Residence at Simon Fraser University and a guest lecturer at the New Ventures BC program.

Thomas has worked with a series of start-ups over the past decade and was a member of the management team for four venture backed tech companies. He is currently an advisor to companies, an entrepreneur, an angel investor and a shareholder in angel seed funds.

He has an MBA from UBC and was a member of the coaching staff for Canada’s Olympic Sailing Team on four occasions. An enthusiastic sailor, Thomas is a partner in two sailing schools, one at Jericho in Vancouver and a second initiated in 2010 in Shenzhen China.  

Elisha McCallum
Vice President, Corporate and Public Affairs at Edelman Vancouver
Discussion Topic: Driving Trust in the Tech Sector: A Global Window into Gaining Social License to Lead

Elisha has 15 years’ experience in media, corporate communications and public affairs, providing guidance for companies ranging from crown corporations to publicly-traded and private sector developers in resource and energy development and technology industries. Specialty areas include issues and crisis management, media relations strategy and community engagement.

Elisha’s background includes work as a journalist covering daily news in BC, then moving to issues management for the Vancouver Aquarium. From 2000 to 2007, she managed critical issues at BC Hydro, a highly-regulated regulated crown corporation serving more than 1.6 million customers, on topics ranging from union negations and strike action, to allegations of market manipulation, employee fatalities and infrastructure destroyed by natural disaster. Just prior to joining Edelman Vancouver, Elisha worked with BC’s largest Independent Power Producer, Plutonic Power Corporation, during a time of uncertainty related to private power production. At Edelman, Elisha provides direct guidance and strategy support to clients in the natural resource, energy and oil and gas sectors, including Chevron, Canpotex, Vale, Ontario Graphite, and HDI. Elisha also has expertise in developing communication strategies to navigate and interpret the complex energy policy and regulatory environment as well as experience in building and maintain the social license to operate through the development and execution of grassroots campaigns.

Elisha leads the natural resource and energy practice for Canada, focusing on best practice guidance for mining, natural resource, energy and technology clients and provides insights on Canadian trends to the global Edelman Energy team. Elisha also provides media training, coaching and guidance to clients across multiple sectors. 

Greg Gunn
VP Business Development at Hootsuite
Discussion Topic: Tops Down, Bottoms Up

Greg Gunn launched the HootSuite Enterprise Sales team and currently heads up partnerships, integrations and international expansion for the social media dashboard leader. His passion for people, technology and data has driven his career towards developing successful SaaS business solutions where the three intersect.

Greg earned both a BCOM from the University of Victoria and an MBA at the Richard Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario. Combining practical experience with comprehensive research, Greg was the lead on projects focused around digital strategy, online commerce and hybrid business models. Outside of his professional endeavors Greg can be found enjoying basketball, photography and is a “semi-professional” wedding MC.

Jim Hayhurst Jr.
Executive, Board Member, Advisor
Discussion Topic: LEGO, Logging & Leadership: Tales from a Global Entrepreneurial Observer

Jim Hayhurst Jr. is an executive, board member and advisor with more than 20 years of international experience in cleantech, emerging markets and social entrepreneurship. From 2005 to 2012, Jim was a member of the executive team at Triton Logging, a Canadian company that reclaims forests flooded by hydro dams. Jim helped expand the company’s operations on four continents; raise more than $30M in angel, venture and private equity capital; and achieve global media recognition including Forbes, Fortune, the Wall Street Journal, NBC, and the Discovery Channel.

Prior to joining Triton, Jim worked with global clients in management consulting. He also co-founded an award-winning program for inner city youth in Toronto. Jim is currently an investor, board member or advisor to companies and organizations, including Rewards Den Ventures; the Lester B. Pearson College of the Pacific; the Power To Be Adventure Therapy Society; the CRD Roundtable on the Environment; the Peter B. Gustavson School of Business at the University of Victoria; and Sequentia Environics. Jim is also a past Governor and Trustee of Upper Canada College.

Jim has presented at numerous global conferences from Malaysia to Brazil. He is also a veteran of international expeditions including the 1988 Canadian Mount Everest climb and 1990 trans-Arctic youth expedition. He graduated with honours from the University of King’s College in Halifax.

Mike Volker
Angel and Innovator
Discussion Topic: To be announced

Michael Volker, BASc(‘72), MASc(‘73) University of Waterloo, P.Eng., is a high-technology entrepreneur and investor involved in the development of technology-based businesses. He is Director of Simon Fraser University’s Innovation Office (since Dec’96) and President and Founder of WUTIF Capital (VCC) Inc – the Western Universities Technology Innovation Fund and Greenangel Energy Corp.

In 1966, as a student entrepreneur, he was awarded the National Junior Achievement President-of-the-Year award. He received the University of Waterloo Alumni Achievement Medal in September, 1995. He served two terms as a Governor of the University of Waterloo from 1987-1993. After graduation, he co-founded CKWR-FM, a community radio station in Kitchener-Waterloo.

His business career started in 1973 when he founded Volker-Craig Ltd., a computer terminals company that was acquired in 1981. Since then he has been active in various early stage businesses as a founder, investor, director, and officer. Mike was the first Chairman of Shad Valley in 1980. He frequently writes and speaks on management and technology issues and is active as a member of various charitable and educational boards. In 1988, he moved to British Columbia to serve as the first full-time Executive Director (1988-1991), and later as Chairman (2001-2003), of the BC Advanced Systems Institute, an organization dedicated to technology development and technology transfer. From 1991-1996 he was Chairman & CEO of RDM Corporation (TSX:RC), formerly Mindflight Corporation), a publicly-listed company he founded in 1987. From 1996 to 2001, he was Chairman of the Vancouver Enterprise Forum and continues to manage the Vancouver Technology Angel Network (VANTEC).

Mike is very active on the B.C. high tech scene, serving on the non-profit boards of New Ventures BC, Canadian Listed Companies Association and the Auditing and Assurance Standards Oversight Council as well as various private company boards. Just for fun, Mike was a “performer” in the 2010 Olympics closing ceremony. He was a “moose wrangler”. In 2009, Mike was named Canadian Angel Investor of the Year by the National Angel Organization as well as B.C. Angel of the Year by the B.C. Angel Forum.

Ralph Turfus
ACETECH Growth Strategy Program Developer
Discussion Topic: To be announced

Ralph Turfus developed the ACETECH Growth Strategy Program, one of the core program of ACETECH today.  The Growth Strategy Program includes three modules – Market Validation, Market Penetration, and Market Expansion.  Each module provides strategies, tools and mentoring to take companies to the next level.

Ralph is an accomplished technology entrepreneur who has spent three decades in the IT sector.  Most recently, he was founder and CEO of Class Software, a leading developer of software for municipal government.  In 2004, Class was acquired by California-based Active Network in a private equity-financed transaction.  An engineer/MBA, Ralph’s passion is developing the marketing and sales capabilities of entrepreneurial technologists.  He is a highly-regarded speaker on the topic and is a hand-on angel investor and mentor who is active with the founders of numerous next-generation technology companies emerging on Canada’s west coast.  In recognition of his business success and industry contributions he was named the B.C. Technology Industry Association’s “Person of the Year” in 2006.

Rasool Rayani
Owner & VP Operations at RDL Health, Start-up Investor
Discussion Topic: To be announced

In 2001, Rasool Rayani co-founded Metalogix Software, which won North America’s largest new venture competition (2002), experienced triple digit organic and profitable growth and took on private equity financing (2008). Metalogix is now a leading provider of enterprise collaboration and infrastructure solutions to the fortune 5000.

In 2009, he invested in and joined the board of Backstage Software, a rapidly growing social media gaming company in Victoria, BC that was acquired by Real Networks in 2010.

Rayani currently serves on the board of a start-up that provides mobile social experiences. He’s also an owner and VP of Operations for a well established retail health business in Victoria, BC. Rayani is interested in early stage investing and start-ups and act as an advisor and investor in technology companies in Victoria, Vancouver and San Francisco.

His current investments are: Bet Smart Media, Tingle, Solegear, Chatterblock, Unbounce, Mediacore, and Tapstream.

Steve Traplin
Sales Consultant
Discussion Topic: Selling for the CEO

Steve is in the business of helping technology company CEOs increase overall sales efficiency, acquire new customers, expand into new markets, build the sales team and execute on growth strategies.

Steve is an independent management consultant acting as a hands-on mentor and delivery partner to technology company CEOs. Steve brings to bear proven methodologies and decades of direct management experience to help company leaders gain insight, establish clarity and focus and take decisive action. Steve’s consulting practice focuses on helping technology companies achieve their revenue goals through practical, repeatable marketing and sales processes. Having co-founded, financed, grown, and profitably exited a number of companies, Steve can relate personally and professionally to the challenges faced by the technology company CEO. With over 30 years of senior sales, marketing and management experience spanning a broad spectrum of markets and technologies, Steve brings to his clients an accumulated wealth of lessons learned – the insight that comes only through hands-on experience in many ventures over many years. Where appropriate, Steve puts his experience to work by assuming short-term virtual sales and marketing management roles to jump-start the sales engine.

Local Hosts:

(More to be announced!)

Art Aylesworth
Chair, SendToNews.com, and the VIATeC Board of Directors

Art Aylesworth is an experienced entrepreneurial businessman with over twenty five years of leadership in the technology sector. He has the rare ability to make things happen and to create positive inertia in companies trying to establish themselves as market leaders.

Art joined Carmanah Technologies as President and CEO in 2000 and led the company’s rapid transformation from a research and engineering start up with 12 employees and $1M revenues into one of the world’s fastest-growing renewable and energy efficient technology manufacturers with over 250 employees and $60M in annual revenues. He successfully identified market opportunities and nurtured a strong and dedicated team to bring Carmanah’s core solar LED lighting technology to several vertical markets. He led Carmanah’s transition to a public corporation through a reverse takeover as well as two subsequent rounds of financing. Under his direction, the company won more than fifty industry awards for business excellence and environmental leadership, while maintaining exceptional average annual growth in revenues of 80%.

Named the “Ernst & Young 2006 Entrepreneur of the Year” for the Pacific Region and the Vancouver Island Advanced Technology Centre’s “2005 Executive of the Year”, Mr. Aylesworth is one of British Columbia’s most recognized technology executives. He is the Chairman of Viatec and a director of the British Columbia Technology Industry Association (BCTIA).

Colin How

Growth Stage Executive, Terapeak

Most recently Colin led Terapeak as COO, then subsequently Interim President/CEO to record revenues, reducing churn by more than half, international expansion, mitigated their data supplier dependancy, and successfully redefined the product strategy around customer segments and personas.

He has built startups, pivoted SME’s for growth or profit, and driven entrepreneurial expansion within larger software enterprise.

Colin has 15 years of software leadership experience primarily building new products and forming and leading new teams. 


Dan Gunn

Executive Director, VIATeC

Dan initially joined VIATeC in 2000 and prior to taking on the role of Executive Director he managed VIATeC’s marketing, communications, event management, policy and member relations. Since that time, he has been a part of creating many of VIATeC’s most successful events and services including the VIATeC Awards, the VIATeC 25, Island Tech, Peer Round Tables and this online platform for VIATeC members.

Dan’s diverse background includes a mix of communications, computers and politics. He has owned and operated a publishing company, a computer consulting company, worked as a newspaper editor and served as an on-air radio correspondent for the CBC. He was once an avid golfer having played four consecutive years of Varsity golf on the Ontario University Tour and also enjoys kayaking, playing poker and occasionally performing with local bands.

At the age of 23, Dan was elected to City Councillor for the Town of Georgina, Ontario, shortly before he enrolled in political science undergraduate studies at Trent University in Peterborough, Ontario. In 1994, Dan established an Electronic Town Hall for constituents to ask questions and raise issues which was likely the first of its kind in Canada.  After visiting Victoria for the first time in 1998, Dan transferred to Royal Roads University where he first discovered the Greater Victoria technology sector.

Dan is a graduate of Leadership Victoria and holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree in Entrepreneurial Management from Royal Roads University. He has served as the Chair of the Braefoot Activity Centre, as a Big Brother Mentor and as a United Way Corporate Account Representative. In 2006, Dan was selected as one of ‘Vancouver Island’s Top 40 under 40′, an award designed to reward and recognize the brightest young minds on Vancouver Island and in 2010 he received the same distinction in Business in Vancouver’s annual Top 40 under 40. He also serves as the Chair and CEO of the British Columbia Regional Science & Technology Network, a society whose members work within their regions to enhance the application of science and technology to aid the growth and development of innovative businesses in regional BC.


Elton Pereira

President, ParetoLogic

Oh, he’s also Co-founder/CEO of BamPoker.com, Co-founder/Director of RevenueWire Inc and is an investor in a large handful of technology startups. How’d he do it?

Born and bred in Victoria, B.C., Elton Pereira eschewed conventional assumptions that successful competition in the high tech market cannot be achieved from a small community. Taking the industry by storm with the meteoric success of his company, ParetoLogic, Elton has steered the company to phenomenal growth. Realizing astounding revenue of $3.5 million in its first year to $7.0 million in its second year, ParetoLogic’s staffing has increased from 6 employees to over 100. 

A Bachelor of Commerce degree from UVIC, and professional designations in Certified Financial Planning and Professional Financial Planning, equipped Elton with the tools required to succeed in the financial industry, but it was his drive and passion that led to his phenomenal success and acclaim. Earning 3 consecutive CIBC Annual Achievers Awards for providing exceptional financial advice and service to over 300 high net worth clients, Elton managed $60 million in assets while employed at CIBC.

Not content to ride the wave of his success in the financial industry, Elton chose to leave his lucrative career behind and plunge into the uncertain field of High Tech, developing and marketing an Internet security software application that was embraced by the Internet community. In partnership with family members, Elton incorporated ParetoLogic in 2004, committed to providing the very best Internet security solutions possible to computer users.

Elton Pereira is an inspiration for every person who dreams of setting their own course without compromising their loyalty to their community. Elton believed in his family, his employees and his community and in doing so has contributed to the prosperity and recognition of Victoria’s considerable IT talent.

Greg Bobolo

CEO, SendToNews.com

Greg is a senior executive and entrepreneur with nearly 15 years of experience and leadership in the media/communications and information technology industries.

Prior to his appointment at SendtoNews, Greg was Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Seeker Solutions, where he was responsible for global sales and marketing strategies that resulted in a focused, recognized brand in the semantic, contextual-based search and machine learning (AI) industry. Greg also handled strategic planning and communications, as well as value-added OEM and reseller partnerships. He worked with clients and partners in Canada, the US and throughout Europe.

Previously, Greg was Managing Director for the recruiting firm The Mergis Group, running its British Columbia operations out of Vancouver. He also founded and led two businesses, BPG – Bobolo Publications Group Ltd. and Dream House Publications Ltd. Greg led Dream House from startup in 2001 to a multimillion dollar operation in seven years, earning him a 2006 ERNST & YOUNG Entrepreneur of the Year Award finalist nomination.

Purvi Rajani

Executive in Residence, Accelerate Tectoria

Purvi Rajani brings Accelerate Tectoria more than 18 years experience developing and launching new technology products into international markets. Purvi has held a variety of business development, product marketing, strategy and general management roles at venture-backed startups and public companies including Tele Atlas, MobileAria, SignalSoft and Mobile Systems International. She has also founded or acquired several web businesses in areas such as daily deals, online dating, ecommerce, travel and recruiting. Purvi has launched more than a dozen technology products and has deep expertise in location-based services, wireless telecommunications, mobile apps, ecommerce, enterprise software, online marketing and social media. Purvi received a BBA in marketing and an MScEng in transportation engineering and planning from the University of New Brunswick. She also has an MBA from the Yale School of Management.

Purvi loves to make obscure movie references while advising founders and thinks that films such as The GodfatherStar Wars and Glengarry Glen Ross can teach us a lot about management, strategy and leadership. In her spare time, Purvi enjoys golf, sailing, kayaking, hosting films festivals and travel. She has visited more than 70 countries and all seven continents.  Her bucket list including circumnavigating the world on a sailboat, climbing Mt Kilimanjaro and following Earnest Shackleton’s footsteps across South Georgia Island. 

Robert Bennett

Program Director, Accelerate Tectoria, VIATeC

As a result of starting 3 companies and investing in 3 others, Rob brings direct, first hand experience in the challenges and opportunities facing early stage entrepreneurs. He has built a successful service company with 75 staff that supplied services to the provincial government, and then built a successful product company that supplied GIS systems to local governments around North America. As Rob scaled both companies, he had to deal with the problems and opportunities facing tech companies today: customer definition, product definition, go-to-market strategy and financing. The journey took him to all corners of North America in building out a distributed remote sales force, providing the right kind of space for 55 dedicated professionals to work and grow, spinning out a SaaS product based on the salesforce.com platform, and eventually taking the company public.

Growth and development of others has always been one of Rob’s core values. He has been a board member and board Chair for VIATeC, has been on the advisory board in bringing AceTech to the Island (High Tech CEO conference), and in participating in dozens of guest panels and lectures at the University of Victoria, Royal Roads University and Camosun College. More recently, Rob was a CEO-In-Residence with BCTIA’s Centre4Growth program, providing coaching and mentoring to early stage companies throughout British Columbia, as well as running VIATeC’s LaunchPad program providing advice and coaching to 64 startup and early stage companies. Rob is an accredited Lead Mentor with the BCIC Mentor Program, and provides mentorship through other programs offered locally. He also received the VIATeC Colin Lennox Award for Technology Champion in 2010.

Rob is passionate about providing insight and assistance to our local tech companies, at any stage of growth, knowing how important it could have been if it was there for him when he was building his companies. He now manages VIATeC’s Venture Acceleration Program, designed to assist technology companies in various stages of growth, on various strategic and tactical issues. As a 35-year veteran of Greater Victoria’s tech community, Rob leverages all of his experience, knowledge and contacts to assist our entrepreneurs. 

Tony Melli

Executive in Residence, Accelerate Tectoria

Tony has spent the last 12 years investing in and mentoring early stage companies in Victoria and has over 25 years of system development, product management and entrepreneurial experience. Tony was the President and Founder of Bfound.com, a Victoria based Location Based Services (LBS) company that was sold to SignalSoft Corporation of Boulder, Colorado, a NASDAQ-listed company. After SignalSoft Tony was an angel investor in and served as Executive Chairman on the board of Triton Logging Inc., a world leader in the design and manufacture of underwater logging equipment and the management of large-scale international reservoir timber harvesting projects. Tony also co-founded Zumer where he led the led the development of the Zumer Information Portal. Most recently Tony served as the VP Operations, and Director of Product Managment at Terapeak, a leading eCommerce analytics company.

Over the past 12 years Tony has mentored many Victoria start-ups, invested in a couple of them and was available for many coffee and napkin discussions with local would-be Tech entrepreneurs.

Tony has a BSc in Computer Science from the University of Toronto, was a member of the National Research Council of Canada’s (NRC-IRAP) Industry Advisory Board, was formerly on the board of Directors for VIATeC (Vancouver Island Advanced Technology Centre) and a former board member of AceTech Vancouver Island (High Tech CEO conference). In 2011 Tony received the VIATeC Colin Lennox Award for Technology Champion.