The most successful angel investors almost always have a background in entrepreneurship. They start their own company and have success which provides them with a lump sum of capital to invest as well as plenty of lessons that they learned on their journey. Canadian angel investors are no different and many of the investors on this list are also successful entrepreneurs in their own right. We have no doubt that, even if you don’t recognize the investor, you’ll recognize the companies that they have helped to build.
This is our list of the top 36 angel investors in Canada for 2021.
Alex Norman had an impressive resume long before he got into venture capital. Some of his previous employers consist of the Lehman Brothers, McKinsey, SimplyBusiness (which sold for $400+ USD), as well as his own venture HomeSav. Currently, Norman is based in Toronto and serves as a General Partner for N49P which is the Canadian partner of the startup job board site AngelList. He currently has stakes in five companies including ContentFly, Finaeo, and Looka. He used to have a stake in a company called Every, a bank account designed for online businesses but has since exited his position.
Before getting involved in venture capital, Andrew Wilkinson started his own company called MetaLab. Since starting to invest in startups, he has made five angel investments in Letter, Pitch, Checkfront, Kiind.me, and MediaCore (which he has since exited). Wilkinson is also a co-founder in Tiny, which buys profitable internet businesses. He has had enough success through his business ventures to land features in Bloomberg, CNBC, and Yahoo Finance. Andrew Wilkinson is currently based in Victoria, British Columbia.
Anthony Di Lorio
Over the course of his life, Anthony Di Lorio has launched more than ten companies and invested millions of dollars across different industries. Most notably, he funded and co-founded Ethereum, the world’s second most popular cryptocurrency. He is an expert across a number of different industries including blockchain, crypto, and finance which is part of the reason why he serves on the board for 12 different companies within those industries. His current angel investments are almost all blockchain-related and include Qtum, StormX, RSK Labs, and VideoCoin.
Arlene Dickinson amassed her venture capital money during her time as the owner and CEO of Venture Communications, which is one of Canada’s largest independent agencies. She currently has five investments total including Vertical, Aku Spike, PilotsFriend West, Taynton Bay Spirits, and Growcer. She is based in Calgary, Alberta, and in addition to her investing has also found the time to write two best-selling books.
Aubrey Graham (Drake)
The name Aubrey Graham probably doesn’t ring a bell at first. However, almost the entire world would recognize him by his stage name, Drake. In addition to being honored as the Artist of the Decade during the Billboard Music Awards in 2021, Drake is also an avid angel investor. A few of his current investments include the financial services startup Wealthsimple, the apps-marketplace Omni, and the plant-based foods company Daring Foods. In addition to investing in startups, Drake also casually holds the record for most #1 hits on the Billboard R&B music charts. Drake is one of a few celebrities that has gotten started in angel investing after achieving success in their career. He is based in Toronto and can commonly be found on the sidelines of Toronto Raptors basketball games.
Boris Wertz, through his venture fund Version One Ventures, has made investments in 35 different startups across consumer internet, Saas, and mobile industries. On a personal level, he currently has about 60 companies in his portfolio. Just to name a few, he has invested in Abstract, Ada Support, Booster Fuels, Clio, Coinbase, Figure1, Jobber, Nexus Mutual, Shippo, Top Hat, Uniswap, and Wattpad. His initial success in business came when his company JustBooks, an online marketplace for selling books, was sold to AbeBooks. He rose through the ranks to become the COO at AbeBooks, which was eventually sold to Amazon in 2008. He is a resident of Vancouver, British Columbia.
If you want to become an entrepreneur but feel that you don’t have the experience or education, Dan Martell is a great person to learn from. Martell has a background in computer programming but never received any formal business training. However, this did not stop him from starting Spheric Technologies, which grew at a rate of 152% per year and raked in 3 industry awards before being forced to shut down operations during the 2008 Economic Crisis. These days, Martell likes to educate aspiring entrepreneurs and has invested in 9 different startups including Intercom, Getaround, Sprig, and LeadSift. He resides in Moncton, New Brunswick, and enjoys skydiving, snowboarding, and running.
Daniel Debow originally got started in business by founding Rypple, a social performance management platform. His startup was acquired by Salesforce in 2012, which paved the way for him to later become an SVP for Salesforce. He currently is a Vice President of Product at Shopify. As far as his angel investments, Debow has 12 in total including Spatial, Klue, North, Figure 1, and Taplytics. He’s a resident of Toronto where he teaches a course on exponential technologies at the University of Toronto (his alma mater).
Many angel investors are former entrepreneurs that transition into venture capital after having their own success. David Arnsdorf is no outlier and has started three of his own successful ventures including Neverblue, a performance marketing company, Landmark Investment Group, and a natural grocery company called Pomme Natural Markets. Arnsdorf has a lot of passion for helping aspiring entrepreneurs reach their goals and served several terms on the Board of the Victoria chapter of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization. As for his own angel investments, Arnsdorf currently has a stake in 6 different startups. These startups include Allocadia, CareGuide, CheckFront, and Social Nature. Arnsdorf currently lives in British Colombia.
David Tedman is an active investor in a number of different startups including Hack Capital, FutureEngine, Hazel, and Koho Financial. His early success in business came from playing a crucial role in developing the products for Memelabs and Hootsuite. His experience has mainly been in product development since then and he uses his experience to advise multiple companies (he is a board member for five different companies). Interestingly, Tedman attending the Vancouver Film School before deciding to go down the path of becoming an entrepreneur. Although he resides in Vancouver, he generally splits time in New York as well.
Dennis Bennie has been in the venture capital game for over 20 years and first got his start by founding the XDL Venture Capital Fund in 1997. His leadership has been instrumental in helping Mission Electronics, Ingram Canada, and Delrina turn into the companies that they are today. Bennie resides in Toronto where he plays a big role in the community by serving on the boards of multiple charities, including the Toronto Hospital Board. He currently has money invested in 6 different startups including Thriver, Thread, Validere, and Delphia. When he isn’t helping to run these companies, he spends his time with his wife and three daughters as well as serving on the World’s Presidents Organization.
If you have ever watched “The Dragon’s Den” on CBC or “I Quit” on the Discovery Channel then you are probably familiar with Harley Finkelstein as he makes a routine appearance on both. Before becoming a TV icon, Finkelstein made a name for himself by serving as the president of Shopify, one of Canada’s most valuable companies. He has served as the company’s president since 2010. Besides Shopify, Finkelstein has a stake in a few other companies including SoleSavy, Delphia, and Maple where he is an angel investor. In total, he has helped fund 7 different startups.
When it comes to investing in startups, many investors will only choose 4 or 5 so that they can focus their efforts on helping these few become successful. Jacky Chen has taken a different approach to angel investing and has over 30 companies total in his personal portfolio. Some of the companies that made the cut for Chen are ad Lightning, DarwinAI, and CalendarHero. Chen resides in Oakville, Ontario, and also holds an MBA from the prestigious Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania.
One of the biggest issues that smaller businesses and startups struggle with is keeping their books neat and orderly. This challenge is something that James Lochrie attempts to tackle as the Chief Product Officer at Wave HQ. Apart from trying to help startups with their accounting, Lochrie is also an avid angel investor and has stakes in about 6 companies. In his portfolio are startups such as Athennian, PayShepherd, Leankor, and Mikata Health. Lochrie currently resides in Calgary, Alberta and, according to his LinkedIn bio, he is “cooking up some things”. Apparently, Lochrie has a few more ventures that are in the works.
Jevon MacDonald currently serves as a Vice President at Salesforce, a position that he was able to negotiate after his startup (GoInstant) go acquired by Salesforce. His own success as an entrepreneur inspired him to start investing in other startups and he currently has a stake in 10 different companies. A few of the names that you might recognize are Spatial, Cape Privacy, Figure 1, and Dash Hudson. MacDonald currently lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and recently joined the Forbes Technology Council in 2017.
If you have ever bought something off of eBay then you have Jordan Banks to thank as he was one of the people responsible for bringing eBay’s services to Canada. After working at eBay, he served as the CEO of JumpTV for several years before becoming the Global Head of Vertical Strategy for Facebook in 2013. Currently, he is the president of Roger Sports and Media. As far as his angel investments, Banks currently has a stake in six companies including Hubba, TrackTik, and Integrate.ai. In addition to his success in business, Banks has also been successful in creating movements across social media. Specifically, he is the founder of a movement called A Million Tweets To Remember where users are encouraged to tweet about their experience with Alzheimer’s disease. Banks currently resides in Toronto.
Lance Priebe currently resides in British Colombia and is an angel investor in 3 different companies including Two Hat Security, PLAYR.gg, and WTFast. When it comes to his own startups, Priebe is the founder of Hyper Hippo, RocketSnail, Club Penguin, and OOMM Board Games. Most of his experience comes from his time spent as a Senior Vice President of Creative at Disney Interactive. He now uses this experience to create his own entertainment companies with his main focus currently being Hyper Hippo.
Lance Tracey is a resident of Vancouver, British Colombia, and currently has a stake in 4 different startups including Grow, TaloFlow, ShareShed. His LinkedIn page states that he has 50 years of business experience from real estate to blockchain. More recently, he became the president of Lanebury Growth Capital in 2017. Apart from this, there is not a lot of information out there on Lance Tracey as his LinkedIn page and a Google search both yield minimal results.
Marc Altshuller just recently took over as the president of the sales management performance software company Varicent in January of 2020. He also has extensive experience with technology as he worked in the $1 billion business analytics division of IBM for about 6 years. As far as his angel investing goes, he currently has a stake in 4 different startups including Ritual, Pump Up, Tacit Innovations, and Plasticity Labs. Altshuller attended the Schulich School of Business at York University and currently resides in Toronto, Canada.
While many entrepreneurs like to found a company and then sell it to a bigger company so they can move on to other projects, Marc Morin prefers to stay onboard for all of the companies he’s founded. His successful startups include Auvik Networks, Emporium Group, Sandvine, and Pixstream. He still serves as the CEO of the first two and the CTO of the second two. As if this weren’t enough, Marc currently has a stake in 10 different startups and his ventures include Miovision Technology, Dejero Labs, Nix Sensor, and Bonfire Interactive. Marc is a resident of Waterloo, Ontario.
If you’ve ever used the site Plentyoffish.com to find a date then you can thank Markus Frind for helping you out. Frind started the online dating site in 2003 as practice to help him learn a new language for coding. The site started to get lots of traction via word of mouth and he ran it independently as a full-time business for 4 more years before opening an office in Vancouver, British Colombia. He has since gotten into the angel investing game and has a portfolio of 4 companies that includes Symend, Cymax, Tastyry, and Grow.
Mickiewicz has been designing and building websites since he was in high school. He launched his first site SitePoint at the age of 14 and has also helped cofound Flippa, 99Designs, and Hired. His love for starting businesses inspired him to get into venture capital and he has helped fund 9 companies so far. His portfolio of companies that he has invested in includes Gusto, Appcues, Stronghold, and Incredible Health. Due to his success as an entrepreneur, Mickiewicz was named a 30 Under 30 Entrepreneur by Forbes and INC in 2011 as well as a Smart Company 30 under 30 in 2012.
Michael Hyatt is one of the most acclaimed entrepreneurs on this list and has received multiple awards including the Top 40 Under 40 and Deloitte’s Fast 50 (which he received 4 times). His success has mostly stemmed from founding and building the adaptive DNS company BlueCat. He has used this success to help lead others and is an angel investor in Second Closet, Ideal, and Bounce. Hyatt enjoys giving money just as much as he likes making it and is an avid donator to the charities Kiva.org, OneProsper, and Future Possibilities for Kids. Hyatt currently resides in Toronto.
Michele Romanow is one of the few female entrepreneurs on this list but that has not stopped her from founding 5 companies before she turned 33 and claiming a seat as a “Dragon” on CBC’s The Dragon Den. She has been featured on Forbes’ “Millenials On A Mission” list as well as WXN’s “100 Most Powerful”. One of the biggest companies that she has helped co-found is Clearbanc, the company that helps fast-growing eCommerce brands get access to funding. A few of her angel investments include RVezy, Trufan, and Endy. She currently resides in Toronto.
There are a few people on this list who fall into the category of “super angel investor” and with a portfolio of 35 companies, Mike Edwards makes it onto that list. A few of the companies that have made it onto Edwards’ radar are Food.ee, Wantering, and Artiscle. In addition to his portfolio of startups, Edwards also serves as the CEO of 4 different companies (Pioneer Media Holdings, Argo Blockchain, Creative Labs Management, and Mobio Technologies). These companies are located all over the northern hemisphere in Montreal, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Vancouver. However, Edwards currently calls British Columbia home.
Mike McCauley is a native of Ontario but spent a lot of time in Silicon Valley after his startup (BufferBox) was bought by Google and went through the Y Combinator program. McCauley is a big advocate for sharing his experience as a founder and shares his experience with the 5 companies that he has invested in. These companies are ReeBee, Boosted USA, CareGuide, Tulip Retail, and North. McCauley is also a member of the prestigious C100 community, which is a community of Canadians in technology who seek to connect with and support Canadian-led technology companies.
Paul Geyer is a very successful Medtech entrepreneur who founded Mitroflow and Medical Ventures. For Mitroflow, he was able to grow the company from 9 to over 125 employees and negotiate an exit from the company. For Medical Ventures, he served as a successful CEO for 7 years. Unsurprisingly, 3 out of 4 of Geyer’s angel investments are in the medical space. He has invested in Stoko Design, Blue Mesa Health, Arbutus Medical, as well as the financial advice startup Wealthbar. He currently resides in Vancouver.
Rasool Rayani currently resides in Victoria, British Columbia and has a portfolio of 5 companies that he is an angel investor in. These 5 companies are Allocadia, Defined, CareGuide, Checkfront, and Social Nature. Rayani’s initial success in business came from Metalogix Software, which he founded in 2001. Metalogix experienced triple-digit profitable growth for a few years and was eventually acquired by Permira in 2014. Rayani’s LinkedIn is incredibly approachable and he encourages you to reach out if you are “doing anything interesting”. He also claims that deploys about $500,000-$1,000,000 annually to early-stage startups.
If you’ve ever felt like your interests are divided then Ray Muzyka is a great example to learn from. Muzyka was originally in school to be a doctor and spent two years practicing medicine before co-founding BioWare, a video game development studio that emphasized story and characters. He served as the CEO of BioWare for several years until it was sold to Electronic Arts in 2007. He holds both a Doctorate of Medicine from the University of Alberta as well as an MBA from the University of Western Ontario. He currently lives in Edmonton and has an angel investing portfolio of 14 companies including Aura Health, Arbutus Medical, and Drug Bank.
The last name “Herjavec” is probably not one that you’d expect to find on a list of angel investors in Canada. This is mainly because Robert Herjavec is a first-generation immigrant who escaped the growing presence of Communism in Yugoslavia. Today, he is one of the most recognized entrepreneurs in Canada and won the prestigious Canadian “Entrepreneur of the Year Award” for technology as well as the Queen’s Jubilee Award for outstanding service. The number of companies in his portfolio is currently at 6 and includes Basepaws, Breathometer, and The Bouqs Company. Herjavec currently calls Toronto his home.
When it comes to diversifying the industries of your angel investments, Roger Martin sets a good standard. His portfolio of 5 companies spans across multiple industries including finance, artificial intelligence, email marketing, and career planning. The companies that he’s currently invested in are Wealthsimple, Borrowell, Taplytics, Kira Talent, and Rypple. In addition to his investing career, Martin has also spent plenty of time as the Premier’s Chair in Productivity & Competitiveness at the Rotman School of Management.
When you think of startups and angel investing, most people do not immediately think of utility or natural resource companies. Ross Beaty, however, appears to have made these types of startups his main strategy for investing and currently has a stake in K92 Mining, Lumina Gold, Osino Resources, North Arrow Mining, and Luminex Resources. Seeing as Ross Beatty founded the Pan American Silver Corporation and has about 37 years of experience in the international minerals industry, it should be no surprise that he has shown a preference for these types of startups. He currently resides in Vancouver.
And social media-savvy people reading this list might already be familiar with Ryan Holmes as he founded the popular social media tool Hootsuite. Ryan Holmes is credited with bringing Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram “out of the dorm room and into the board room”. Interestingly, he had two business ventures prior to starting Hootsuite which were a paintball company and a pizza restaurant. His portfolio of angel investments has reached an impressive 22 total companies including SoleSavvy, Gusto, Klue, and Procurify.
Stewart Butterfield is currently a resident of Vancouver and has an angel investment portfolio of 13 different companies including Etsy, Cozy, and Carta. If you have ever been employed for a major company then you likely use the software that Butterfield originally helped design: Slack. He still serves as the CEO for the popular messaging software and previously worked for Yahoo! Helping them launch Flickr.
Tobias Lutke is a resident of Ottawa and founded Shopify in 2004. Shopify helps merchants set up an eCommerce store in minutes and has grown to become one of the biggest companies in Canada. After achieving success with Shopify, Lutke has developed a passion for angel investing and has made investments in 12 startups. Among the companies in his portfolio are Neo Financial, Gusto, and Streamloots.
On his LinkedIn page, William Mougayar describes himself as an advisor, investor, and mentor to tech entrepreneurs. His main focus recently has been in cryptocurrency and blockchain development. He has written a book on the topic (The Business Blockchain) and serves on the board of multiple organizations that are focused on creating decentralized financial platforms. His investments have included Dapper Labs (creators of CryptoKitties and NBA Top Shot), OpenBazaar, Mattermark, Blockstack, Roll, Filecoin and Ethereum. Before getting involved in blockchain, Mougayar held senior positions at Hewlett-Packard, Cognizant, and Aberdeen Group. He also took a shot at entrepreneurship and founded 3 startups, CYBERManagement, Eqentia, and Engagio.