Canadian Financing Forum

Stay tuned for our 2020 Keynote roster! Sign up for our newsletter and be the first to keep up with our latest programming updates as they are announced! Check out some of our past keynotes below!


Build Your Dream Network

Gregg Cochran

Network Catalyst, Americas 

Gregg is the Network Catalyst for Techstars, a mentorship-driven seed stage investment program that dreams big and accelerates the growth of tech companies. Having been a founder and working with top companies from around the world, Gregg effectively translates the needs of both large Corporates and Startups.

A firm believer that a network needs love and attention, Gregg’s presentation will outline how you can build a diverse network that can actually help forge your career forward. Whether you’re focused on online or offline connections, his speech highlights valuable tips and tricks that every entrepreneur needs to know when it comes to networking effectively!

True Story: Why Startup Founders Make the Best VCs

Luther Poier

CFO & Head of Venture

Canadian-born investor, Luther Poier, has focused his career on helping expand Australian companies by setting their sights beyond the continent. As the CFO and Head of VC at Australian startup accelerator BlueChilli, he is responsible for the tactical and strategic financial management of BlueChilli as well as advising founders and startups on strategy, capital management and governance while connecting them with a broad spectrum of investors. He is also a General Partner at Pipeline Ventures, a Sydney-based early stage venture capital fund that focuses on bold founders with transformative ideas. Luther provides insight to entrepreneurs on the dos and don’ts of growth versus profit strategies, while effectively analyzing their market dynamics and how to ensure their startup is exactly what VCs are looking for!

As a decorated Naval officer, Luther holds more than two decades of experience within the Royal Canadian and Royal Australian Navies, and has a deep background in investment management, as well as corporate strategy, banking and private equity. As a startup leader, he has led and exited two finance startups, co-founded an online music startup and has acted as a founding advisory partner of Koda Capital, a well-known Sydney-based wealth management firm.

With no shortage of first-hand experience, this industry veteran has a lifetime of knowledge! You won’t want to miss him at #CFF2019 as he shares how his experience as a startup founder has led him to a successful transition into Entrepreneurial Advising and Venture Capital!


Inspiring Possibilities

Michelle Cameron Coulter

Olympic Gold Medalist, Entrepreneur & World Champion

Michelle Cameron is a born and raised Calgarian and grew up in a family of 10 children. She learned about team work, being resourceful and always finding a way very early on. She over came being a very sickly child and her extreme fear of the water to realize her dream and competed in the 1988 Seoul Olympics winning an Olympic Gold Medal in Synchronized Swimming.

Michelle is a six time World Champion and swam on the Canadian team for over ten years. She became the first ever Albertan to win a Summer Olympic Gold Medal, and was inducted into Alberta and Canadian Halls of Fame and International Aquatic Sports Hall of Fame. As an avid Entrepreneur, Michelle’s company “Gold Medal Inspirations” inspires all to embrace their full potential and has helped many companies and organizations step into their greatness locally and around the world for over 20 years. Don’t miss Michelle as she speaks openly about over coming challenges, digging deep and sharing tangible success tools at #CFF2018!

Scrutinizing the Modern Energy Pivot

Gianni Kovacevic

Investor, Author & Enlightener

Gianni is an internationally known investor and strategist who specializes in decoding complicated current events. He is a published author who draws from over 20,000 hours of research, and is a sought-after commentator related to wide ranging themes – from the divestment pivot in modern energy, to the rise of a new spending class in emerging markets. An avid proponent of realistic environmentalism, he has enlightened audiences around the world with his unique brand of storytelling that colourfully demonstrates how the environment and investment often go hand-in-hand.

His new book, “My Electrician Drives a Porsche?” was introduced to audiences by way of a one-of-a-kind coast to coast journey across America in an all-electric Tesla, now credited as the world’s first zero emission book tour.


Four Exits and a Funeral: How to Sell a SaaS Company for 20x Revenue Without Even Trying!

Barry Yates

Managing Director, e@UBC
Past CEO at Monexa, Past COO at Blast Radius

Scaling up companies is something that Barry is passionate about, not to mention extremely successful at! With over 25 years of entrepreneurial experience, he has been through the acquisition process multiple times, as President & CEO at Monexa which was sold to NetSuite in 2015, and as COO at Blast Radius, which was acquired by WPP. Passionate about building organizations and commercializing technology, now as newly appointed Managing Director of entrepreneurship@UBC, Barry is keen to help prepare the next generation of young entrepreneurs build and expand BC’s burgeoning innovation ecosystem.

Barry comes from more than 25 years of entrepreneurial experience spanning multiple sectors, including forestry, transportation, telecom, retail, software and industrial products. He has served in executive management positions for leading technology firms for the past 15 years, most recently as President & CEO of Monexa, which was acquired by NetSuite in 2015. Following the exit, he served as General Manager at NetSuite. Before Monexa, Barry was the Chief Operating Officer of Blast Radius, where he led the company’s global expansion to become one of the top digital marketing agencies with offices in Canada, the US and Europe.  Blast Radius was acquired by WPP, one of the world’s largest marketing services network.  Prior to Blast Radius, Barry was the President & CEO of Antarctica Systems and the Senior Vice-President of Worldwide Sales and Marketing for Delano Technology Corporation. Barry also brings a strong background in management consulting, having spent several years at some of Toronto’s top firms, including Bain & Company, BearingPoint (formerly KPMG Consulting) and Accenture.

The Finish Line is Just the Beginning: Finding Success After Founders, After Exit, After Acquisition

Michael Tamblyn

President & CEO

Michael Tamblyn is the President and Chief Executive Officer at Rakuten Kobo. Driving growth, profitability and international expansion in a fiercely competitive market, he combines a passion for reading with a deep focus on the hardware and software experiences that can make a customer’s reading life better.

A passionate and engaging presenter and commentator, Michael speaks internationally on digital media, publishing and mobile technology and has been featured in The New Yorker, Wired, Canadian Business, National Post, Globe and Mail and The New York Times. Additionally, he oversees Rakuten’s other eReading businesses including OverDrive, the world leader in ebook services for libraries, and Aquafadas, a world leader in interactive publishing. Michael has been a part of Rakuten Kobo’s executive team since its inception in 2009, and previously held the role of Chief Content Officer.

Prior to joining Kobo, Michael was the founding CEO of the supply chain agency, BookNet Canada and co-founded Canada’s first online bookstore,, purchased by Indigo Books & Music in 1998 to create, where he served as VP of Online Operations. Michael holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Western Ontario. A longtime musician, he holds a degree in classical composition from Wilfred Laurier University.

Alumni Speakers

The Intersection of Tech Companies, Venture Capital and the Future of Cities

Paul Singh

Managing Director

Paul is an entrepreneur, speaker and investor. Previously, Paul was a Managing Director at 1776 and a General Partner in 1776’s Seed Fund. Prior to 1776, Paul was the founder of Disruption Corporation (acquired by 1776) and general partner of Disruption’s post-seed venture capital arm, Crystal Tech Fund. Before that, Paul was a Partner at 500 Startups, an accelerator and venture firm headquartered in Silicon Valley that has invested in over 1,000 companies across 50+ countries. Paul has founded a few of his own startups (two successful exits and a number of failures in between) and spent some time at AOL, Carmax, PBworks and Symantec.



Sheeraz Haji


Mike Kwatinetz

General Partner

James Maiocco

Director of Microsoft Startups

Steve Munford


Yona Shtern




Ben Yoskovitz

Founding Partner at Year One Labs


Jason Cohenour


Mike Allman

Advisory Board, Bit Stew Systems