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April 24, 2017

Canada’s most active Angel network continues leadership talent expansion

(25 April 2017 – Edmonton, Alberta) VA Angels is proud to announce that effective today Sandra Spencer, well-known for shaping the entrepreneurial ecosystem at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT), becomes the Executive Director of VA Angels BaseCamp Inc.

“We’re excited to have Ms. Spencer join our leadership team to drive further success in our renowned BaseCamp offering,” said R. Stewart Thompson, CEO and Founder of VA Angels and 2014 Startup Canada Investor of the Year. “She has demonstrated her passion for entrepreneurial initiatives and commitment to helping entrepreneurs become successful throughout her career and we look forward to leveraging her expertise and drive at BaseCamp.”

VA Angels BaseCamp Inc is an exclusive investment seminar for startups where Mr. Thompson and other experienced investors provide insight from an investor’s perspective about how to successfully raise the right type of capital at the right value. In 2016 alone more than 78 companies and an additional 175 entrepreneurs attended BaseCamp seminars in Canada and a further 150 companies and 75 additional participants joined sessions in Puerto Rico, Nepal, Burma, Santiago and Argentina. BaseCamp is part of the VA Angels umbrella organization with a robust Angel investment network at its core. The network boasts more than 130 members in five chapters (Edmonton, Calgary, Winnipeg, Kelowna and Medicine Hat) and has invested over $44 million in 150+ deals since 2003.

Ms. Spencer, CEO of her own company Nimble Strategizing Inc., was named a 2016 Top Entrepreneurship Professor by 3 Day Startup, an international, student-driven organization with the mission of activating entrepreneurial potential in students of all kinds through experiential education and a global entrepreneurship ecosystem. She holds a Bachelor of Business Administration – Accounting (with distinction) degree from the JR Shaw School of Business at NAIT.

“I have long admired the work Mr. Thompson and VA Angels have done in supporting the development of entrepreneurs and startup ecosystems at home and around the world,” said Ms. Spencer. “I welcome the opportunity to work along side the VA Angels team in helping even more entrepreneurs develop the skills and networks required to build enduring success.”

For more information contact:

– 30 – Executive Director, VA Angels BaseCamp Inc 780-722-6663

R.Stewart (Randy) Thompson CEO / Founder, VA Angels

Sandra Spencer
Executive Director, VA Angels BaseCamp
(780) 722-6663

New Chapter President

March 29, 2017


Most active angel network in Canada adds leadership strength to Okanagan network

(27 March 2017 – Kelowna, BC) Effective 24 March 2017 local software executive and veteran investor
Grant Lawrence takes the reins of the Kelowna chapter of VA Angels, bringing angel investors
together with prescreened early-stage business proponents along the length of the Okanagan Valley.

A successful real estate investor Mr. Lawrence is also 20+ year veteran in the enterprise B2B
software space who has worked internationally with some of the world’s largest organizations.
Pertinently he has participated in software acquisitions, spin-offs, start-ups, an IPO and made
investments in hi-tech and other sectors.

R. Stewart (Randy) Thompson, CEO and Founder of VA Angels and 2014 Startup Canada Investor of the
Year is the outgoing Kelowna chapter president. “We are privileged to have such an experienced
investor leading the charge in the Okanagan,” said Mr. Thompson. “His subject matter expertise,
sharp insight and honest feedback will be invaluable to the regional startup community.”

The VA Angels network has more than 130 members in five chapters (Edmonton, Calgary, Winnipeg,
Kelowna and Medicine Hat) and has invested over $44 million in 150+ deals since 2003.

The Kelowna chapter has a great track record having provided 17 capital injections to seven
companies since 2013. Two of the success stories emerging from Kelowna VA Angels are WTFast – a
private network that optimizes internet connections for online gamers and Forbidden Spirits –
distillers of vodka hand crafted from the finest BC apples.

“I’m excited to work closely with the Okanagan angel and entrepreneur community to build upon
recent success in marrying experienced local investors with entrepreneurs looking to bring their
commercial and social pursuits to market,” said Mr. Lawrence. “What I relish most about VA Angels
is that it’s as much about experienced business people helping guide these entrepreneurs and giving
the benefit of their experience as it is about funding and creating new employment and wealth
generating opportunities in our community.”

The Kelowna chapter is very active with regular participation from a cadre of notable
Okanagan-based angels like Alex Miller (CEO Visland Media), Sheila Livingstone and Peter White
(experienced investors with deep background in business and health administration), and Mark
Ameerali CFA (author of
personal finance books Common Cents and Perfect Cents).

“Grant is a great choice to lead the Kelowna chapter,” said Mr. Ameerali. “I have no doubt his
experience and energy will rub off on the angels and entrepreneurs alike.”

– 30 –

For more information contact:
R. Stewart (Randy) Thompson
CEO / Founder, VA Angels

Grant Lawrence
Kelowna Chapter President, VA Angels

Guayacan Demo Days

December 13, 2016

VA Angels, Vario Ventures, and the Angel Resource Institute (ARI) joined 40 other location and international
investors at the largest investor event ever held for tech companies in Puerto Rico. As partners in Demo Day, the three groups were asked to look at investing beside the $50,000 cash prize that was awarded by local organizer Grupo Guayacán (Guayacán).

“For Guayacán, Demo Day is always a special occasion that allows us to connect the graduated companies of our business development programs with a diverse group of investors and other capital providers,” said Grupo Guayacán Executive Director Laura Cantero. Early stage companies were showcased from the SPRINGBOARD program, which focuses on provided knowledge, tools and resources to build investable ventures. Growth stage companies were showcased from the Guayacán Venture Accelerator (GVA) program, which focuses on established companies, evaluating their business models, and developing strategies for accelerating their growth.

Through entrepreneurship, important innovations find their way to market, leading to new products, services and processes. Randy Thompson, President of VA Angels, says “Groupo Guayacán has been instrumental when it comes to supporting its entrepreneurs in respect to business formation, expansion, and growth which has a net positive effect, stabilizing and growing economic activity.”

Doc file here

OKR Financial

September 24, 2016

Old Kent Road Financial provides investors and start-ups with opportunities through a new Canadian fund

Building on the past success of an investment by the VA Angels, Old Kent Road Financial (OKR) is a new technology and digital fund providing opportunities for investors and entrepreneurs. OKR Financial lends capital to companies that need growth capital long before their public sector commitments will be available to them.

In its first few months of operation, Old Kent Road Financial has raised $6 million in a first close of a targeted $20 million fund. The technology and media debt fund is a lending vehicle for Canadian startups that have access to federal government programs such as Scientific Research and Experimental Development Credits, the Digital Media Tax Credit, and others.

“We saw a need and we are happy how the fund has created a win for both investors who are getting quarterly yield, and the companies who get early access to capital they can’t get anywhere else,” said one of OKR’s Managing Partners,R. Stewart Thompson, who also runs one of the largest formal Angel Groups in Canada. “For our portfolio companies in VA Angels as well as other early stage ventures, we have been successful by adding a debt product so these entrepreneurs have the option of giving up equity or taking on high interest debt.”

The fund is set up as an RRSP/TFSA eligible investor vehicle, and will be seeking additional capital between now and December 31, 2016 to get to the targeted
$20 million of capital under management.

Former EY Entrepreneur of the Year, and Managing Partner of OKR Financial, Jason Neale explains, “Old Kent Road is a mature version of what was initially a smaller fund, specifically Acheson Mobile Investments, where we did 26 loans like this with 100 percent debt return and an audited 41 percent IRR. We firmly believe we can get close to this with the OKR fund structure.”

Old Kent Road Financial has already provided capital to six companies since July 2016, with an additional 32 companies currently being reviewed.

“What makes us unique is that the fund is run by former entrepreneurs who understand the balance between risk for the investor and achievable milestones by the entrepreneur,” said Mr. Neale. “Our track record to date over nearly 40 investments proves we have the expertise for another successful venture.”

For more information on Old Kent Road Financial visit the website at

  1. 30 –

For an interview contact:

R. Stewart Thompson

Chairman and CEO

VA Angels

SMS 403 383 0106

The founders of OKR Financial believe that investors deserve low risk, high return opportunities. OKR is focused on financing companies that are applying for, or have been approved by the Canadian Government’s Scientific Research and Experimental Development Credits tax credit and/or grant program.

VA Angels is an investor only membership group committed to building Western Canadian industry through early stage angel investing.


LAUNCH Summit 2016

August 19, 2016


LAUNCH Summit 2016:

● Thursday, September 22, 2016, 9am5pm
● Host Location: Ecole Superior des Affairs (ESA), Clemenceau, Beirut
● CoOrganizers: Techstars, AltCity, Smart ESA, Torch, BootcampLB
● Target Audience: 500+ people selected by application, from across the innovation landscape in Lebanon and MENA

The Lebanese and MENA startup ecosystem has come together to create the first forum that
focuses on the early-stage innovation and startup process. Our goal is to create a simple and yet
holistic roadmap that will guide entrepreneurs in their journey from coming up with an
innovative idea to finding their first customer or first investor. Successful entrepreneurs and
mentors will guide participants through different tracks and sectors, facilitating meetings with
investors, accelerators,support institutions and industry experts. This ensures that every
participant will get maximum benefit from the event to launch them on their way to a strong and
growing startup. All community partners are tapping into their extensive networks of
professionals from all sectors to ensure a powerful day-long conference, and ongoing engaging
and impact long after Sep 22nd. Join us!

    The LAUNCH Summit 2016 key dates:

  • September 20: Techstars Community Leaders MENA Summit, 2016
  • September 21: Startup Campus: Innovate Your Campus 1-Day Academy
  • LAUNCH Summit 2016: September 22, 9am-6pm


Event website:
Event facebook page:
AltCity Bootcamp program,: Website

Video link: AltCity & Bootcamp celebrated the Lebanese ecosystem with this video

A few interesting links about the country…
… third most expensive, 10th according to quality of life in MENA, 180th globally … interesting ironies here.

If you would like to know more about the trip and the program, please let us know. We are planning a google hangout with the local representatives to talk about the program and answer any questions you may have. Even if you are unable to travel with us, but are still interested in the types of things The Seed is doing internationally this is a perfect opportunity to get engaged. Contact Luke Krueger: