“The breadth and depth of knowledge and leadership of our Advisory Board will now provide an amazing source of support and innovation to our donors and broader community”, said Rob Antoniades, Upside Foundation Co-Founder and Chair.
Each Advisor brings a unique perspective to the Advisory Board:
- Shirley Speakman is an investor at Cycle Capital Partners who has been involved with companies spanning the tech spectrum including cleantech, ag-biotech, life sciences, advanced manufacturing and materials.
- Stuart Browne is an investor who founded the Pycap group of companies (VC Fund, Private Equity Firm and Incubator) and has served on numerous government and multinational advisory committees.
- Jaafer Haidar is a serial entrepreneur having helped start and exit two companies and is now the founder of Mindstack.io and Penny, as well as an advisor to early and growth stage companies at Communitech and Garibaldi Capital Advisors.
“I feel it’s an inspiring way for emerging tech companies to connect with their communities in a way that can be meaningful without creating financing barriers or huge overhead costs,” said Shirley Speakman. Stewart Browne noted, “It’s a pleasure to team up with my VC colleagues to support The Upside Foundation and its innovative approach to help charities and startup entrepreneurs.”
Jaafer Haidar pointed out that “it’s important to remember that it is hard work but also our circumstances in life that factor into our ability to achieve success. No one truly makes it on their own and entrepreneurs know this better than most. The Upside Foundation makes it easy to give back and collectively have a big impact; whether it means a positive effect in just one person’s life or giving someone the chance to chase their dream and change the world, we’re all better for it.”
The Upside Foundation is a new platform that facilitates early-stage, high-growth companies to support local charitable efforts by donating stock options or warrants, not cash. When a liquidity event occurs, the Upside Foundation sells its options or warrants and donates the proceeds to relevant and leading edge Canadian charities focused on education, poverty, and technology.
Once start-ups are part of the Upside Foundation, Founders are able to reach out to like-minded entrepreneurs for feedback and support. In addition, since the team behind the Upside Foundation includes VCs, seasoned entrepreneurs, as well as our newly formed Advisory Board, donors have opportunities for informal discussions with experts in their ecosystem. For more information about, or to contact The Upside Foundation, please visit www.upsidefoundation.ca.
Shirley Speakman Bio:
Shirley Speakman is a partner at Cycle Capital Management and was formerly the Director of Investments for the MaRS Investment Accelerator Fund (IAF) and continues to contribute to the MaRS Investment Accelerator Fund as an advisor on its cleantech investment committee. Prior to joining the IAF, Shirley spent over 12 years advising biotech, ag-biotech and advanced manufacturing and materials companies in areas such as strategy, finance, negotiations and fund raising. She spearheaded numerous financings and M&A transactions and participated in the creation of a $40M cross border life sciences fund and the close of a Canadian based $40M ag-biotech fund. Shirley holds her ICD.d (University of Toronto), a MBA from Wilfrid Laurier University and a Bachelor’s of Economics from the University of Waterloo.
Stuart Browne Bio:
Stuart Browne is the CEO, Founder, and Managing Partner of the Pycap group of companies (Venture Capital Fund, Private Equity Firm & Tech Incubator). He is an Expert Review Panelist for the Ontario Government helping deploy investment capital into the tech sector. He has a background in Marketing, Finance and Strategy and has worked in North & Latin America, Asia, Africa and the Caribbean. He is an Advisor for the National Angel Capital Organization, finance/marketing manager for a publicly traded company and corporate advisor for an Investment Media company. He was a Roundtable advisor for the Federal Economic Development Agency and Immigration Canada and a Public speaker at the China International Technology Transfer Conference in Beijing, Cambridge House Investment Conference, Global Entrepreneurship Week, and the Business News Network (BNN). Stewart holds an MBA from the Schulich School of Business.
Jaafer Haidar Bio:
Jaafer Haidar is a serial entrepreneur having helped start and sell two companies, Carbyn (acquired by Synacor) and ScrapHD (acquired by Michael’s Stores Inc.). He is currently Founder at Mindstack.io, helping leading companies and investors accelerate innovation and growth, and voice of the customer app Penny (tellpenny.com). Jaafer is also an advisor to early and growth stage companies at Communitech and Garibaldi Capital Advisors. Prior to his entrepreneurial adventures, Jaafer was a management consultant with Accenture and holds a BSc. Computer Science from Western University.