Avonova hosted a panel with 3 of Canada’s most inspirational technology business leaders who have been successful in turning an idea into a business and a business into a success. Our panelists shared stories about challenges and rewards of their own ventures, as well as answered questions from the audience. Speakers included Carol Leaman, CEO of 17muscles, Randall Howard, Executive Chair at Verdexus portfolio investments and Kurtis McBride, co-founder and CEO of Miovision Technologies.
Carol Leaman is the CEO of 17muscles, one of Waterloo’s most recent and promising technology startups. Carol is a Chartered Accountant with a 10 year history of successfully running venture-backed technology companies in a variety of industries after raising capital and doing M&A transactions for a Canadian public company in the mid-90s. She most recently sold PostRank to Google after growing the company in 2007 from a cool, free web tool, to a unique, customer-centric social media play in 2011. Prior to PostRank she ran RSS Solutions (enterprise class manufacturing software – sold to Visiprise 2006) and Fakespace (high-end virtual reality company – sold to Mechdyne 2003). Carol was also the first Communitech EIR leading to what is now a Venture Services group comprised of 8 individuals. Carol sits on numerous boards and has been advising early stage companies for many years.
Randall Howard is a senior serial technology executive and a “hands-on” Executive Chair at Verdexus portfolio investments. From its acquisition in May 2004 to April 2006, Randall served as CEO of portfolio company, Coreworx (sold to Acorn Energy). Returning to Canada from his first US startup, Coherent, in 1984, he founded MKS one of Canada’s leading enterprise software vendors, leading its growth to $45 million revenue and 375 employees worldwide, including seven acquisitions. In 2011, MKS was sold to billion dollar Boston-based software company, PTC for US$304 million. To help jumpstart the Waterloo investment scene, he helped launch Golden Triangle AngelNet where he serves as Board member and chair of the Selection Committee.
Kurtis McBride , co-founder and CEO of Miovision Technologies, a Waterloo success story that has grown rapidly, acquiring over 200 customers in 6 years and recently opening a European office. Kurtis and his team have been able to solve the labour intensive process of collecting, analyzing and reporting accurate traffic data and is doing so in 5 continents. Kurtis was recently named to the “Top 40 under 40″ list.