Get the latest news on Venture Connection - from venture success stories to events and more! 




Canada has recently launched an ambitious plan to drive national innovation and growth, a large part of which is reimagining and transforming the innovation ecosystem into an optimal place to not only start, but also scale companies to earn millions in revenue and employ thousands of Canadians. However, getting to scale takes many steps and missteps – from developing the flexible entrepreneurial mindset to taking the plunge with your first crazy idea.

At Coast Capital Savings Venture Connection, we understand the value of cultivating the scale-up mentality at ideation. We are bringing together experienced scale-up artists who will weigh in insights areas crucial to the Canadian economy and global society. This series is open to all – from new founders to seasoned, serial entrepreneurs.

Sign up for mentoring sessions with experts: To maximize engagement and value for our community, the Scale up from Start-up series allows event participants to sign up for mentoring sessions with our expert panelists and Venture Connection mentors to learn from the best in the sector.

Gain insight from the best: Following the mentor sessions, our featured guests will tackle key challenges and share hard-won insights in a panel discussion, followed by audience Q&A and networking opportunities.


Upcoming Event:  Scaling Up Social Ventures




2017 Speaker Series

Scaling Up Past 100 Million on the West Coast (Sept 28)

Growing a company from zero to $100 million in Canada isn’t an easy feat, but growing more of these companies is an ambitious goal in Canada's new Innovation Agenda. However, there are great examples to learn from in our own backyard, and they are willing to share!

In this panel, founders will share their stories of scaling to become hundred-million dollar businesses and provide expert insight on harnessing the uniqueness of the West Coast for growth, and what else needs to be done. Not only will they share with the audience, but a limited number of guests will also be able to sign up for short mentoring sessions with the panelists.

Panelists include: 

Virginia Balcom

Virginia Balcom is currently an Entrepreneur in Residence for SFU Venture Labs. Virginia brings more than 20 years experience introducing new products to enterprise customers and consumers to her role advising today's innovators.  A strong collaborator and leader, she’s led marketing teams in many sectors, including retail, clean energy, wireless, biotech, telecom, supercomputing, and most recently, big data and healthcare. Virginia is adept at helping founders and their teams clarify and communicate their value to customers and the market. 

Virginia has established a successful track record at a variety of companies, from start-ups to industry heavyweights. She was a key member of Abatis Systems, the Vancouver startup that made IP consumable and was acquired by Redback. Following Abatis, Virginia successfully positioned OctigaBay’s products as accessible supercomputers. When OctigaBay was acquired by Cray, Virginia led rebranding of the supercomputing giant, bringing three new products to market that year. Virginia went on to lead brand-building at another industry leader, Sierra Wireless, after Sierra acquired Wavecom and brought Wavecom’s M2M products under the Sierra Wireless banner. She gained Strangeloop recognition for their web performance product and positioned LightHaus in retail analytics. 

Andrew Harries

Andrew Harries is the Tom Foord Professor of Practice in Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Simon Fraser University’s Beedie School of Business and is a business advisor and corporate director. At SFU Beedie Andrewblends the latest in theory and practice in his entrepreneurship and innovation, product management and resourcing new venture programs. In his advisory practice Andrew works closely with companies on business strategy, financing, leadership and governance, and how to create viable, high growth business models.

Andrew chairs the board of directors at Bsquare Corporation (NASDAQ: BSQR), which delivers enterprise Internet of Things software solutions, and chaired the board at Contractually through its acquisition by Coupa Software in December 2015. He has also served on the boards of the Beedie School of Business Dean's Advisory Board and of Science World British Columbia, where he chaired the organization through the successful completion of a $38m renovation and expansion and a major capital campaign.

Andrew was a co-founder of Sierra Wireless Inc. (SW.TO, SWIR) where he served in a variety of executive roles. During his 11 years at Sierra Wireless the company grew from inception through IPO to over $200m in annual revenues. Subsequently Andrew co-founded Zeugma Systems Inc. where he served for six years as the President and CEO from its initial funding to the revenue stage. Tellabs acquired substantially all of Zeugma Systems in November 2010.  Prior to co-founding Sierra Wireless Andrew was a senior product line manager at Motorola Inc. He holds three US patents and an MBA from Simon Fraser University.

John Livingston 

Listening to customers. Creating a compelling value proposition. Innovating technology. Selling your ideas.  Building teams. Bettering the future.  Getting to break-even. Making money. That's what entrepreneurs live for. And that's what John pursued for 20 years as CEO and Chairman at Absolute Software. Absolute became an industry standard in PC tracking security, working with Dell, Lenovo, HP, Apple, Samsung and Toshiba. Absolute, headquartered in Vancouver,  is now a 450+ person company, with almost 100M in revenue. As a TSX listed public company, ABT reached a billion dollar valuation during 2007. Earlier in his career, John launched a couple of other start-up ventures and taught small business management and entrepreneurship at the BCIT School of Business.  John was born and raised in beautiful Vancouver, graduated from St. Georges school and earned an MBA (marketing and entrepreneurship) from University of Calgary. Today John as an angel investor, invests in start-ups he believes can scale and generate $100+ million in revenue.  John's portfolio companies are:  and

Paul Terry

Paul Terry joined the Providence Health Care Board in 2012. Paul provides the vision and technical leadership for PHEMI Systems, a software company bringing big data to healthcare and other industries. Paul was the CTO and founder of two highly successful start-ups, OctigaBay and Abatis. Over the last 15 years, Paul has become very involved in Canadian healthcare. For more than 11 years, he served as the Secretary/Treasurer and technology adviser for the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research, British Columbia’s health research support agency. Paul now serves on the Boards of Directors for Providence Health Care, Genome BC, Life Sciences BC, and Molecular You. Through this experience, Paul saw the need for better data solutions in healthcare. Now as the CIO of PHEMI, he is bringing those solutions to life. A tech entrepreneur and teacher at heart, Paul is working to educate a new generation in big data as an adjunct professor at Simon Fraser University. Paul has a B.Sc. and Ph.D from the University of Liverpool and an MBA from the Cranfield School of Management in the United Kingdom, and is a member of the Institute of Corporate Directors (ICD). In his spare time, Paul is a pilot, yacht master, a bridge life master and ski instructor.




Scaling Up for Social Ventures (Nov 20)

BC’s Lower Mainland is global hotspot for social innovation and social ventures. This sector is growing in influence and capabilities and may hold the key to improving lives around the world; however, entrepreneurs scaling social ventures face specific challenges around funding, replication, politics, and more.  How can ventures overcome these challenges to affect large-scale positive impact? 

Scaling Up Science Based Companies in Canada (Dec 6)

Science-based companies create lasting local advantage, transform industries and tackle key global challenges like disease, clean energy and climate change. They also take decades to develop, require substantial R&D investment and, often, substantial patient capital.  How do we scale-up science-based companies in Canada? 

Event Partners

Series Sponsors


Get the latest news on Venture Connection - from venture success stories to events and more!