Michael Volker

Mike Volker, voted top investor angel by his peers, has helped to launch 75 research spinoff companies as head of SFU’s University/Industry Liaison Office and financed hundreds of high-tech startups through his Vancouver Angel Network for Technology Companies.

Canada's top angel

November 5, 2009

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The National Angel Capital Organization (NACO) has named Mike Volker, executive director of SFU’s University/Industry Liaison Office (UILO), as its 2009 Canadian Angel of the Year.

NACO is Canada’s industry association for "angel investors"—typically affluent individuals who invest their own funds in promising business start-ups in exchange for a stake in the enterprise.

Volker is a high-tech entrepreneur who has spent more than 40 years developing early-stage technology-based businesses, as a founder, investor, director, officer and mentor.

In 1996, he became head of the UILO, which SFU created to commercialize the results of university-based research and technology. The office acts as "a matchmaker," says Volker.

"We do everything from creating companies and recruiting people for spin-off ventures to finding investors, raising money, assessing the commercial viability of new technologies, marketing, and finding businesses to which we can license university-developed research."

Since it began, the UILO has spun off 75 companies, of which more than 40 are still active. SFU also holds equity in more than 30 of the companies.

In his "spare" time, Volker holds seminars, reviews deals and runs VANTEC, the Vancouver Angel Network for Technology Companies, which helps start-up tech companies connect with mentors and investors. Over the past decade, he has built the network from just a handful to more than 500 local angel investors.

"We don’t have up-to-date numbers," says Volker. "But one could say that over 300 companies that presented at Vantec have raised capital, ranging from $500K to $1 million on their first round.

"If you add ALL the capital raised by these companies since their start, it is actually more than $1 billion. There are a few outliers in the crowd."

Volker says he received the angel of the year award "to a large extent because of my work in launching VANTEC, but also for launching angel funds for start-up companies such as WUTIF Capital—the Western Universities Technology Innovation Fund—which has invested in over 50 companies."

He adds: "SFU is an investor in both WUTIF and the Greenangel Energy Corp, a public angel company traded on the TSXV under the symbol GAE, to invest in merging clean energy technologies."


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Dr. Subhransu Sekhar Mohanty


I congratulate Mike wholeheartedly. He is a great guy, very proactive and immensely helpful. He did try to help me out in incubating my project immediately after I completed my MBA-GAWM program and talked to him. However, I had to leave Canada to work on some consulting project in Kuwait.

With all due regards and best wishes to Mike.


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