Entrepreneurship and Technology – Bios
Nora Young is the host and the creator of Spark, CBC’s national radio show and podcast about technology and culture. She was the founding host of the CBC Radio show Definitely not the Opera, where she often focused on new media and technology.
As a journalist, author, and speaker, Young explores how new technology shapes the way we understand ourselves and the world around us. Her book, The Virtual Self, on the explosion of data about our behaviours, opinions and actions, is published by McClelland and Stewart.
Marcus Daniels is a digital product entrepreneur, seed capital investor and innovation platform architect who helps Canadian start-ups win in global markets.
Co-founder and CEO of Highline, a VC-backed acceleration platform that helps digital start-ups supercharge growth and secure institutional capital. Focused on delivering “speed to seed” through specialized accelerator products, timely investments and programming in Vancouver, Toronto, New York and San Fransisco. Highline’s foundation is derived from the Extreme Startups-GrowLab merger and financially backed by top institutional investors whose funds under management exceed $two-billion.
Daniels is the founder and executive chairman of MeshSquared Ventures, an investment and education company focused on evolving digital products. He is an investor in Highline and owner of the Toronto Standard, a conversational media and marketing company.
Prior to Highline, Marcus was the managing director of Extreme Startups, a venture capital-backed start-up accelerator. He was the chief operating officer of trendhunter.com, the world’s number one trend-spotting website with over two-billion views and an innovation partner to Fortune 500 brands. He also served as the vice-president of operations and product at Frameworks. He founded the e-learning division at AME Learning, a global financial education company. A digital native, Daniels started out by hacking together ventures in 1989, which led him to co-found Fluid eNovations, an award-winning Web marketing agency.
He has significant board of director experience that includes Highline, Extreme Startups, Youth in Motion (Canada’s Top 20 Under 20), Canadian eLearning Enterprise Alliance and SDEVM. Daniels is active in the community as a frequent mentor and judge. He sits on the advisory council for the Dell Center for Entrepreneurs and the board of advisors of Venture for Canada, and co-chairs the Toronto chapter of Enactus. He’s a frequent speaker on growing digital start-ups, seed investing and venture capital, and corporate innovation accelerators. He has also developed digital strategy curriculum for the University of Toronto.
Marcus holds an MBA from Queen’s School of Business, and a BA in psychology and economics from McGill University, and completed the Venture Capital Executive Program at Haas School of Business, UC Berkeley.
In his role as managing director of OMERS Ventures, Jim Orlando is responsible for leading investment activities in the North American market focusing on high-growth companies in the technology, media, and telecommunications sectors. With more than 14 years of experience in the venture capital and private equity sectors, Orlando has a strong track record of finding deals and closing investments, and in working with strong founders, CEOs and management teams on the ongoing development and growth of their businesses. He is responsible for OMERS Ventures’ investments in BuildDirect.com, Ranovus, Shopify and Wattpad.
Prior to joining OMERS Ventures, Orlando was a managing director at OMERS Private Equity, which directly owns and actively manages a diversified, multibillion-dollar portfolio of investments in North America and Europe. Orlando was involved with direct investments in the software, mobile telephone and retail sectors.
Prior to that he held key roles with Bell Canada Capital and Battery Ventures in Silicon Valley, and he has ten years of operational experience in the telecom industry.
Orlando holds bachelor of computer engineering and management, and master of electrical engineering degrees from McMaster University.
Mark Ruddock has over 20 years of experience at the helm of venture-backed technology start-ups, including two successful exits. Ruddock is currently the managing director of international consumer lending at Wonga, one of the world’s fastest-growing digital finance companies. His responsibilities include overseeing all of the consumer and e-commerce businesses outside of the U.K. These include operations in Germany, Poland, Spain, South Africa and Canada, amongst others.
Before joining Wonga, Ruddock was CEO of the Canadian wireless software company Viigo, which won numerous awards and was often regarded as the most highly used app on a Blackberry after email. Viigo was acquired by BlackBerry in 2011.
Prior to that, Ruddock was the founder and CEO of INEA, an enterprise software company that became a strategic partner to many of the world’s leading financial institutions, including RBC, Scotiabank, RBS, JP Morgan Chase and Mellon amongst others. INEA had been deployed in over 44 countries by the time the company was acquired by Cartesis (now SAP) in 2005.
Ruddock has a B.Sc. from Trinity College, University of Toronto. His most dubious accomplishment is having flown over a million miles, for which he was awarded a small plastic plane that he is irrationally proud of.
Vicki is a serial entrepreneur, passionate mentor and advisor to the next generation of change-makers, and a leading advocate for entrepreneurship as a way of creating positive transformation in the world.
Saunders is the founder of SheEO. SheEO supports women who create businesses that build new models, new mindsets and new solutions for a better world. SheEO is building out a global platform to accelerate, finance and celebrate women-led ventures on their own terms.
Saunders has co-founded and run four ventures in Europe, Toronto and Silicon Valley, including Zazengo (an online platform for consumer and employee engagement for Fortune500 companies focused on sustainability), KidsNRG/The NRG Group (which went public on the Toronto Stock Exchange in 2000) and Impactanation, a global consulting firm focused on engaging youth to tackle the grand challenges we are facing.
Most recently, Saunders’s passion to create a strong ecosystem for social entrepreneurs in Canada has had her advising at the Office of Social Enterprise with the Ontario government, Ryerson University, and TheNext36, with the aim to drive wealth creation and positive social change in Canada and beyond.
In 2001, Saunders was selected as a Global Leader for Tomorrow by the World Economic Forum. She has spoken regularly at events around the world, including the World Economic Forum in Davos, Women of Influence Series in Canada, Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurs events and the Tallberg Forum.
David Stein is an entrepreneur, an investor and a board member who has successfully co-founded, grown and sold two technology companies.
The first company, Workbrain, is a developer of enterprise workforce management solutions. It was founded in 2000 and was acquired by Infor for $227 million in 2007. The second company, Rypple, develops sales performance management solutions. It was founded in 2008 and was acquired by salesforce.com in 2012.
By challenging the status quo and taking advantage of emerging trends, both Workbrain and Rypple grew very quickly against established competitors and delivered game-changing solutions for their customers.
He currently serves as vice-president at salesforce.com, and enjoys family time, golf, cycling and wine. In his spare time, he invests in and advises a select group of technology companies. David holds a B.Sc. in computer science from McGill University.