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Advisory Council

Prior to Investment Committee approval, the Advisory Council will act as an informal sector and venture and technology advisor to the Fund management team as well as to individual portfolio investments. The Advisory Council has been carefully selected to include a mix of MaRS staff and external experts in the sectors of cleantech, health, and education and employment as well as technology and venture experts. The Advisory Council is subject to change over the course of the Fund.

Cleantech

Jane Kearns

Jane Kearns
A senior advisor with MaRS Cleantech, Jane is a recognized leader in sustainable innovation, and has extensive experience growing companies at the intersection of business and sustainability. She co-founded, grew and profitably sold a full-service renewable energy company, Clean Energy Developments, and leverages over 15 years of experience in the environmental finance, cleantech and sustainability sectors to help build businesses that matter.

Murray McCaig

Murray McCaig
Murray McCaig is an experienced startup CEO with a background in management consulting and finance. He most recently managed the New York City–based private equity group RSL Investments Corporation, where he was responsible for leading a global business acquisition strategy in the water sector. He has extensive international business development and licensing experience, including his role with mobile marketing solution company Upstream, where he built the global sales organization and led the expansion into new regions in Asia, Eastern Europe and South America.

Peter Ventin

Peter Ventin
Peter has 20 years of experience in the project/program management of both infrastructure and facilities development programs on a global basis. His roles have included project/program management, financial analysis, administration of staff and specialty sub-consultants, technical leadership, site supervision, participation in public consultation and schedule/quality management. Peter has extensive experience in consulting engineering, packaged gas, drilling and underground services and real estate development. He currently is a Partner at Kelso Industrial Group, an infrastructure services company.

Stacey Fruitman

Stacey Fruitman
Stacey has been involved in sustainability, marketing and corporate social responsibility for over 15 years. Most recently, she led the CSR efforts for Tridel, Canada’s largest builder of green condominiums.

In 2007, Stacey produced the Tridel EcoSuite, which incorporates innovative sustainable products inside a high-end designed space. In 2015, she turned her attention to sustainability in the fashion industry, launching Style with Substance. Since this industry has been noted as the second largest polluter in the world, Stacey’s mission is to connect the investor, innovation and fashion communities to help reduce the negative impact of fashion on the environment.

Stacey’s previous experience was in interactive marketing and brand management. Her MBA is in luxury brand management from ESSEC (France), and she also holds an HBA from Western University.

Education and Employment

Krista Jones

Krista Jones
Krista is the senior advisor and lead of the EdTech cluster at MaRS. She has been a passionate innovator and builder of technology-based businesses since 1988. She has worked in both large public companies and in startups. She is an engineer, entrepreneur, mentor and an expert at solving ambiguous problems.

Magnus Sandberg

Magnus Sandberg
Magnus currently serves as Vice President and General Manager of Social Capital Partners. SCP is a social finance organization focused on solving the challenge of Canada’s employment barriers. SCP’s approach to driving large-scale systems change combines collaboration, entrepreneurial spirit and action-based learning.

Health Sector

Stephen Cornish

Stephen Cornish
Stephen is the executive director of Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) Canada. During more than 10 years of field experience Stephen managed several major MSF humanitarian interventions in locations that include Chechnya, Sierra Leone, Georgia and Peru. He has successfully negotiated humanitarian access to vulnerable populations in conflict settings across the globe and has played a lead role resolving aid-worker abduction crises and other emergencies. He sat on MSF Canada’s board of directors before serving as executive director. He also worked with the Canadian Red Cross as manager of programs for countries in armed conflict, and for CARE Canada as a policy and advocacy advisor. Currently, he is director of the board for Youth Challenge International and is an honorary director of Canadian Physicians for the Environment. His work has been published in academic and policy journals, including the Journal of Military and Strategic Studies and Policy Options.

Lahav Gil

Lahav Gil
Lahav is the CEO and founder of the Kangaroo Group, a Toronto-based industrial design and technology innovation hub, specializing in medtech. Kangaroo operates a services arm as well as a private technology innovation accelerator, leading and managing design, innovation and the development of medical technologies and science into commercial-grade medical devices and investable, market-ready companies.

Zayna Khayat

Zayna Khayat
Zayna Khayat is the Director of MaRS EXCITE. She plays a critical role in helping MaRS clients to get their innovations adopted by healthcare systems in Ontario and around the world. Zayna was previously director of development at the Ivey International Centre for Health Innovation, where she is also currently an adjunct faculty member. Prior to her time at Ivey, Zayna had an 11-year career in strategy consulting in the global health and life sciences sector, first with the Boston Consulting Group’s Toronto office from 2001 to 2010, and then as an associate principal with SECOR Consulting (acquired by KPMG in 2012).

Melanie Mahtani

Melanie Mahtani
Dr. Melanie Mahtani is a human geneticist and serial entrepreneur, a native of Toronto and big fan of BOTH the Raptors and Warriors. She’d like to see them both in the playoffs. Melanie is MaRS Chief Science Advisor (“MaRS’ spy in Silicon Valley”), and also Cofounder, COO and CSO of a new, noninvasive liquid biopsy startup in the Bay Area.

Melanie completed her PhD at Stanford and postdoc at MIT/Broad where she led whole-genome efforts to dissect the complex genetics of human disease.

Over the past 20 years in the Bay Area, she has led a variety of efforts and companies to develop and commercialize advanced technologies and diagnostics in genomic medicine, including Amersham Biosciences, an $800M business (acquired for $9B by GE Healthcare), Affymetrix, and NIPT companies Verinata (sold to Illumina for $450M) and CellScape, a whole fetal cell prenatal dx company. She is currently developing a novel, noninvasive approach for breast cancer detection.

Melanie has advised dozens of companies in the Bay Area, in Canada, and elsewhere on ways to link great technology strategy with winning market trajectories. Her focus has been on life sciences, precision medicine, and digital health – and most excited by the potential of genomics-guided population health.

Melanie thrives in the startup environment, and fantastically optimistic about the role Canada can play in addressing healthcare challenges today and in future.

Venture Capital

Andrew Bridge

Andrew Bridge
Andrew is co-founder and CMO of BrandProject. After more than 20 years building brands across the globe, Andrew’s drive for creativity, innovation and out-of-the-box thinking led him to co-found BrandProject, “The Consumer Disruption Company” and the leader in rapidly scaling early stage consumer businesses with founders. Before BrandProject, Andrew brought the Virgin Mobile brand to life in Canada as the Brand Director, providing strategic direction, marketing communications and development of product and service innovation. After Virgin Mobile was acquired by Bell Canada, Andrew became the Managing Director, overseeing the business through a period of substantial scaling and profitable growth. Andrew started his career working in a range of marketing roles at Cadbury Schweppes across North America. He later joined Diageo where he held a variety of strategy and brand management roles in spirits and wine, including Global Marketing Director for the Smirnoff Brand. Andrew received his bachelor’s degree from Queen’s University and his MBA from Southern Methodist University. He is a passionate trustee of Virgin Unite and is an advocate of the “business as a force for good” philosophy – leveraging corporate resources to make positive change.

Barry Gekiere

Barry Gekiere
Barry manages the MaRS Investment Accelerator Fund, a seed fund that helps early stage technology companies in Ontario bring their products and services to market. He has over 25 years of experience in senior management positions in venture capital, private equity and operations. Prior to joining MaRS, Barry was with Kirchner Private Capital Group in its transition management practice, where he undertook a CEO assignment with an aerospace components company. Before that, he was a partner at Ventures West, making early stage technology investments in IT, communications, cleantech and medical device companies. He has served on the board of the Canadian Venture Capital & Private Equity Association and the Investment Accelerator Fund. Barry has a BA from the University of Western Ontario.

JS Courneyer

JS Cournoyer
JS is a Partner of Real Ventures. Real Ventures is currently managing its third fund of $89 million, based out of Montreal with offices in Toronto. Real Ventures was launched in 2007 to focus on building an entrepreneurial community to create sustainable businesses in Montreal. At the same time, Real launched FounderFuel, a top-tier mentor-driven accelerator that helps early stage web, mobile and software-as-a-service startups raise seed capital. Mentors for FounderFuel include entrepreneurs, angels, CEOs, CMOs and partners from Rho Ventures, Golden Ventures, iNova Capital, BDC and Trico Capital.

Daniel Klass

Daniel Klass
Daniel is an experienced private equity investor with a BSc in Mathematics, MBA in finance/accounting and a CPA. Daniel practiced accounting for a few years and then spent 10 years at TD Capital and EdgeStone Capital Partners (two of Canada’s largest merchant banks) before raising his own fund. As a result of his true passion for the lower end of the mid market, Daniel created Klass Capital. He thrives on working closely with his portfolio partners and helping them to build successful, sustainable and scalable businesses. Klass CapitalFund I LP, founded by Daniel in 2010, is driven by integrity, imagination, partnership and entrepreneurial spirit.

Rehana Nathoo
As Founder and Principal of Spectrum Impact, Rehana currently serves as an advisor to a range of organizations that are looking to expand their impact investing footprint. Previously, Rehana led the Impact Investing portfolio at the Case Foundation as Vice President of Social Innovation. Her work at the Case Foundation focused on empowering others with the tools, resources and, ultimately, expertise to bring in more capital to the impact investing sector. A proud Canadian and forever New Yorker, Rehana also worked at Bank of New York Mellon to support the design of the firm’s social finance program. She worked closely with the wealth management business to build internal expertise around social finance. While at BNY Mellon, Rehana also created a prototype for the firm’s first impact investing donor advised fund. Prior to BNY Mellon, Rehana was a program associate at The Rockefeller Foundation within its impact investing and innovative finance programs, and supported partnerships and fundraising at the UN Capital Development Fund. Rehana serves as an Adjunct Faculty Member at Georgetown University’s Global Human Development Program, and previously served as an Adjunct Professor at NYU’s Wagner School of Public Service.

Salim Teja

Salim Teja
Salim is the EVP Ventures for MaRS, where he leads the overall strategic direction of MaRS’ three venture services areas: health, ICT and cleantech. He is an experienced entrepreneur and active early stage technology investor, with deep industry expertise in software and digital media.