Core management, investment screening and direct governance of investee companies is provided by our Managing Partners: two entrepreneurs with long and successful track records building technology startups. The core management team is buttressed by an experienced Investment Committee, a cadre of Canada’s top technical and business advisors, and a well-connected set of investors. Further leverage provided by the extensive set of professionals that is the MaRS network.
Tom started his career as a software renegade in high school. Then he went legit and founded Voice Courier Inc. (VCi) in 1991 to service the emerging Interactive Voice Response market. Tom led VCi’s expansion to over 100 employees in three countries, with revenue in excess of US$25 million annually. The VCi Group of Companies was profitable for each of the 12 years it was under his control, and was sold in the spring, 2005. Tom now focuses his efforts on carbon mitigation and is active in cleantech venture capital, technology incubation and commercialization, and public advocacy. Tom also developed Planet Traveler, North America’s lowest-carbon hotel in downtown Toronto, and has made a number of private investments in the cleantech sector. Tom is author of Kick the Fossil Fuel Habit (2009) and Waking the Frog: Solutions to our Climate Paralysis (spring 2014). Tom has a BASc (Elec Eng, U of Waterloo), MSc (Phil of Science, U of London), and an MA and Phd (U of Toronto).
Murray is an experienced startup CEO with a background in management consulting and finance. Prior to this, Murray worked with New York-based family office, RSL Investments (Estee Lauder family), to develop and execute a global investment strategy in the water sector. As an entrepreneur, Murray founded and built two successful venture capital backed startups, an innovative in-building wireless provider, Spotnik Mobile, which he sold to TELUS (one of Canada’s major telecom operators) and EnviroTower, a well-known Cleantech company in the water treatment sector. Murray has extensive international business development experience including his role with Upstream, a world leader in the telecom sector, where he built the global sales organization and led expansion into new regions in Asia, Eastern Europe and South America. Early in his career, Murray was a principal with the McKenna Group, a Silicon Valley-based management consulting group, where he developed growth strategies for large global technology companies and early stage ventures. Murray holds an MBA from the University of Western Ontario and is a former Olympian who represented Canada at the 1992 Games in Barcelona.
Greg Kiessling is one of Canada's most successful and creative entrepreneurs. Greg is Chairman and Cofounder of Bullfrog Power, Canada's leading renewable energy retailer. Bullfrog Power provides a renewable electricity and renewable natural gas choice to homes and to businesses across the country. Over 1,000 Canadian businesses and 10,000 homes are bullfrogpowered, helping build demand for new renewable generation in Canada. Greg is Founder of Up Capital Ltd., an investor in early stage clean tech, including Bullfrog Power Ltd., InMotive, Regen Energy and Simpa Networks. Greg was also CEO & Co-founder of Sitraka, which grew to be Canada's largest self-financed software company before it was aquired in 2002. Greg is chair of our Investment Committee.
Barry is one of Canada's most experienced venture capitalists. Barry is Managing Director of the Investment Accelerator Fund at MaRS which provies seed capital to new technology companies being established in Ontario. The Fund invests up to $500,000 per company and works to position them for further investment by Angels and VCs. Barry was Managing Director at Kirchner Private Capital Group, a boutique investment banking firm providing M&A and transition management services. Barry took on an interim CEO position for an aerospace components company for 16 months. Barry was also a Partner at Ventures West, an early stage technology venture capital fund. Barry was the team leader of IT sector plus made direct investment experience in CleanTech and medical device sectors.
Dr. Ilse Treurnicht
Dr. Ilse Treurnicht is the CEO of MaRS Discovery District, a leading innovation centre located in Toronto. She oversees both the development and operations of the MaRS Centre and its broad suite of entrepreneurship and innovation programs. Ilse joined MaRS in early 2005 from her role as President & CEO of Primaxis Technology Ventures, a startup-stage venture capital fund focused on the advanced technologies sector. Prior to Primaxis, Ilse was an entrepreneur with senior management roles in a number of emerging technology companies. Ilse holds a DPhil in chemistry from Oxford University, which she attended as a Rhodes scholar.
Dr. Bradley A. Saville
Dr. Brad Saville is a Professor of Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry at the University of Toronto. His research is focused on alternative energy, bioprocess technology, industrial applications of enzymes, economics, and life cycle analysis, with a particular interest in biofuels and bioproducts. Dr. Saville lends his expertise widely to a variety of organizations in the biofuels area, and has been a technical advisor and consultant to SunOpta BioProcess Inc., Mascoma, and various Government agencies. Brad has a B.Sc. and Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
Stu Porter is an internationally recognized biofuels expert with extensive experience in the biodiesel industry. Mr. Porter is now the Director of BBI Biofuels Canada and has co-authored a variety of biofuels studies, including marketing studies, feasibility studies, business plans, technical studies and due diligence for emerging biofuels technologies. Stu has specialized expertise with ‘green’ diesel processes and bio-jet (bio-SPK). Stu spent over 23 years with Suncor Energy. Stu chaired several ASTM petroleum and biofuels task groups over the past 12 years, coordinated many biodiesel Inter-laboratory studies, and co-authored several biofuels related ASTM test methods. In addition, Stu is the Chair for ISO TC28 SC7 on Liquid Biofuels for Canada and is also on the committee representing Canada for the ISO TC238 SC5 on Solid Biofuels.
Mike Bain, CFO
Mike Bain acts as CFO, providing financial oversight, governance and planning. Mike has a long history providing financial management to technology startups, including as CFO of MMB Networks, Director of Finance at Hunter Shaw Property Management Inc., Vice President of Finance at Clean Energy Developments Corp. and CFO at Voice Courier.
John Haffner is a strategy and policy consultant with extensive experience in cleantech and sustainability. As president of Haffner Group Limited, a Hong Kong company he founded in 2011, John provides strategic advice and execution services for clients in Canada and Asia. He has advised on projects related to agriculture, air pollution, climate change, energy, mining, and water.
Having lived and worked in Canada, China, Japan, and Southeast Asia, John brings an informed global perspective to his work. He has published articles on environmental business and policy, co-led a Yale University funded project examining renewable energy in India and the Philippines, and has more than a decade of experience in the electricity sector. A 2008 Yale World Fellow, in 2011 John was nominated as an Asia 21 Young Leader by Asia Society. He is proficient in spoken and written Mandarin.