Toronto’s 50 Most Influential: #40, John Ruffolo
CEO, OMERS Ventures
40Ruffolo manages the $470-million venture arm of Ontario’s gargantuan municipal pension fund. His job is to spot the next big tech company and inject enough cash to help it go global. So far, he’s invested in the social reading app Wattpad, the social media management tool Hootsuite and the online retail platform Shopify, which went public in 2015 with an IPO valued at $1.27 billion. Last year, Ruffolo teamed with Jim Balsillie to form the lobby group Canadian Council of Innovators. In March, they convinced the Liberals to scrap a tax hike on employee stock options, which, he argued, will entice tech talent to come to Canada.
He’s lobbying for speedier visa processing that will allow foreign tech students to more easily obtain permanent residency.