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The 2nd annual Canadian Crowdfunding Summit (#CCS2016) on March 3, 2016 brought together a diverse crowd of companies, investors, providers, industry experts and leaders in the crowdfunding, fintech and altfi sectors. Over 440 attendees were in attendance, including 75+ speakers, 30 sessions and 12 pitching companies.


View the #CCS2016 photo album

2016 Canadian Crowdfunding Summit

Now in its second year, the Canadian Crowdfunding Summit (hosted by the National Crowdfunding Association of Canada) is Canada’s only national event on crowdfunding, alternative finance and fintech that brings together Canadian and international industry experts, leaders and innovators in the fast growing and lucrative crowdfunding alternative finance industry. With the newly released equity crowdfunding regulations across Canada and the emergence of marketplace lending and investment bank 2.0 platforms, 2016 is anticipated to be a year of exponential growth.

This year’s Summit was officially opened by Ontario Finance Minister Hon. Charles Sousa, who endorsed the emerging industry, which helps build on the province’s plan for economic growth and job creation.

Master of Ceremonies Michael Brancroft (Executive Producer of Bloomberg Canada TV and co-host of The Feed with Amber Mac on Sirius XM), Tim Jackson (EVP Corporate and Community Development, MaRS) and Craig Asano (founder and Executive Director of the National Crowdfunding Association of Canada) kicked off the summit at 8:30 am, with Hon. Charles Sousa ringing the opening bell.


Amar Njjar (CEO, R2CROWD), Tim Jackson (EVP Corporate and Community Development, MaRS), Hon. Charles Sousa (Ontario Finance Minister) and Craig Asano (Founder & Executive Director, NCFA Canada)


Hon. Charles Sousa with the media.

Following the official opening came the Summit’s keynote speaker Bill Morrow (founder and CEO, Angels Den), who discussed what it takes for a crowdfunding ecosystem to thrive in a country, and not just exist based on over 8 years of insight from having operated Angels Den in the UK and internationally. There is an implied assumption from most crowdfunding platforms that startups “just” need cash to get up and running… but cash is only #3 on most angel investor’s list of important factors to consider, after passion / excitement about the company, and altruism.

Following the keynote were a number of shorter TEDx-style talks and presentation on diverse topics covering Canadian and global market data and trends; the sharing economy; trust and transparency in the internet of money, diversity in crowdfunding; P2P lending and the future of banking; virtual reality; equity crowdfunding’s impact on private and public markets, and marketing to millennials.

CF160302-219Teri Kirk (CEO, Funding Portal)

CF160302-248Ted Graham (Innovation Leader, PwC)

CF160302-271Bernd Petak (Founder and CEO, Finstripe) CF160302-286Amy Cortese (founder and editor, Locavesting)

CF160302-299Cato Pastoll (Co-founder and CEO, Lending Loop)

CF160302-343Christopher Charlesworth (Co-founder and CEO, HiveWire)
CF160302-357Peter-Paul Van Hoeken (CEO, Frontfundr)


CF160302-366Sophie Nicolaou (Head of Marketing and PR, Lending Arch) and Ryan Laidlaw (FinTexpert, Lending Arch)

Next came the much-anticipated panel ” Fireside Chat with Crowdfunding Rockstars” moderated by Mark Evans (Principal, ME Consulting) with panelists Daniel Blumer (CEO/Co-founder, Revol Technologies Inc, whose raised over $2.6 million USD for their Revols product – Bluetooth earphones that mold to the contours of a person’s ears, earning them the new record for Canada’s top crowdfunding campaign; Behrouz Hariri (Co-founder, Smart Nora), raised more than $1 million USD in pre-orders for Nora, the non-invasive and smart snoring solution and Judeh Siwady (CEO/Founder, Spacefy), who recently raised capital through equity crowdfunding for Spacefy, which gives creators access to unique and under-utilized spaces while allowing space owners to further monetize their spaces.

Finally, the morning session wrapped up with an industry experts panel on Regulatory Perspectives: What to Expect in 2016 with securities lawyers, the Ontario Securities Commission, an founders of leading crowdfunding and crowdlending platforms moderated by Alixe Cormick (President, Venture Law Corporation) and panelists Daryl Hatton (CEO, Sponsifi & FundRazr), Monica Kowal (Vice Chair, Ontario Securities Commission), Jason Saltzman (Partner, Dentons Canada LLP) and Kevin Sandhu (CEO, Grow).


Then comes the mad dash to the buffet tables as lunch time rolls around! Several guests avoided the lines by going to R2CROWD’s Lunch & Learn in the green room: How to Achieve 8-12% Annual ROI in Commercial Real Estate through Crowdfunding.

After lunch, the crowd chose from 5 concurrent afternoon streams of workshops, panel sessions and live pitching. Here’s a look at the highlights from the Main Stage (Auditorium B+C), where the following sessions took place:

    • 1:15 PM: The Emergence of Fintech in Lending: What it Means for Banks and Main St. [Moderator: Sarah Efron (Small Business Editor, The Globe and Mail), Panelists Kevin Clark (Co-founder and President, Lendified), Tabitha Creighton (CEO/Co-founder, InvestNextDoor) and Jeff Mitelman (CEO, Thinking Capital)]
    • 2:00 PM: Investment Strategies: Why Leading Angels/VCs are Joining the Crowd [Moderator: Sunil Sharma (Managing Partner, Extreme Venture Partners), Panelists Janet Bannister (General Partner, Real Ventures), Karen Grant (Executive Director, Angel One Investor Network) and Jim Orlando (Managing Director, OMERS Ventures)]
    • 3:00 PM: Market Makers: Equity Crowdfunding’s Impact on the Innovation Economy [Moderator: Megan Cornell (Founder & CEO, Momentum Law), Panelists Sandi K. Gilbert (Founder & CEO, SeedUps Canada), Rubsun Ho (CEO, Crowdmatrix) and David Shore (Director, Investor Relations, OurCrowd)]
    • 3:45 PM: Hot Vertical: Real Estate Crowdfunding, an Emerging New Asset Class [Moderator: Brooks Barnett (Manager, Government Relations & Policy, Real Property Association of Canada), Panelists Ann Kaplan (CEO, Brix RCR), Amar Nijjar (President & CEO, R2Crowd) and Hitesh Rathod (CEO, NexusCrowd Inc.)]




Highlights from the Tactical Stream (Auditorium A), where the following sessions took place:

    • 1:15 PM: Big Data Investment Trends and Digital Finance Technologies [Moderator: Asier Ania (Co-Founder, HiveWire), Panelists Steven Dryall (Principal, Incipient Technologies), Craig O’Neill (CEO & Director, Versapay) and Angela Wang (Associate Director, Big Data, North America, UnionPay Smart)]
    • 2:00 PM: How Dubuc Motors, Canada’s first EV car, is raising $25M in the US?[Moderator: Carlos Pinto Lobo (Chief Compliance Officer), Panelists Alixe Cormick (President, Venture Law Corporation), Mario Dubuc (Co-Founder & CEO, Dubuc Motors) and Mike Kakogiannakis (Co-Founder & COO, Dubuc Motors)]
    • 3:00 PM: The Marketplace Lending Opportunity for Banks and Institutional Investors [Moderator: Dr. Sean Geobey (Assistant Professor at the School of Environment, Enterprise and Development, University of Waterloo), Panelists Jeff Brown (Vice President, Community Banking, Meridian), Tabitha Creighton (CEO/Co-founder, InvestNextDoor) and Colin Kilgour (Co-founder, First Marketplace Group)]
    • 3:45 PM: Making the Most of Every Dollar Raised: Financial Planning for SMEs [Presenters: Darryl Irwin (Tax Partner, PwC) and Alan Lio (Senior Tax Associate, PwC)]




Big Data Investment Trends and Digital Finance Technologies panel.




Highlights from the Tactical Stream (CR2), where the following sessions took place:

    • 1:15 PM: Crowdfunding Best Practices: Pre, Launch, and Post Campaign [Moderator: Christopher Charlesworth (Co-Founder and CEO, HiveWire), Panelists Bret Conkin (Founder & CEO, Crowdfund Suite), Khierstyn Ross (Founder & Podcaster, Uncut Entrepreneur) and Jaimy Warner (Executive Director, Raindance Canada)]
    • 2:00 PM: The Longest 40 Days of Your Life: AMA (Ask Me Anything) [Moderator: Sunny Shao (Advisor, National Crowdfunding Association of Canada), Panelists Gareth Everard (Co-founder, Rockwell Razors), Viktor Grabovskyy (Co-founder, Forever Spin) and Corey Herscu (President, Herscu and Goldsilver)]
    • 3:00 PM: Protecting Yourself, Your Business and Your Crowdfunding Investment [Moderator: Jeff Musson (President, Dynamite Network), Panelists Chantal Cipriano (Lawyer / Manager, Compliance, BMO Private Banking), Marvin Huberman (Barrister, Mediator, Arbitrator, Marvin J. Huberman) and Monica Tigleanu (Financial Institutions Underwriter, AIG)
    • 3:45 PM: Community Capital and Locavesting [Moderator: Amy Cortese (Founder & Editor, Locavesting), Panelists Jennifer Bryan (Community Investment and Marketing Manager, SolarShare), Trish Nixon (Director of Investments, CoPower) and Adam Spence (Founder & Director, The SVX, MaRS Centre for Impact Investing)


Highlights from the Meet & Greet (Green Room), where the following sessions took place:

  • 1:15 PM: Meet & Greet with Dentons: Crowd Financing Options for Start-Ups [Kris Miks (Senior Associate, Denton and Jason Saltzman (Partner, Dentons Canada LLP)]
  • 2:00 PM: Presentation & Discussion by OSC: Ontario’s Crowdfunding Regime (MI 45-108) [Maria Carelli (Senior Accountant, Compliance and Registrant Regulations, Ontario Securities Commission) and Rick Whiler (Senior Accountant, Corporate Finance Branch, Ontario Securities Commission)]
  • 3:00 PM: Hosted by NexusCrowd: Crowdfunding Real Estate Primer for Accredited Investors [Hitesh Rathod (CEO, NexusCrowd Inc.)]
Meet & Greet with Dentons: Crowd Financing Options for Startups

Meet & Greet with Dentons: Crowd Financing Options for Startups

Meet & Greet with the Ontario Securities Commission.

Meet & Greet with the Ontario Securities Commission.

And last but certainly not least, highlights from the Live Pitching stream (CR3) where 12 startups pitched in front of a panel of judges and the crowd for “Front of the Line” Golden Tickets to CBC Dragon’s Den auditions.

  • 1:15 PM: Live Pitching Live Pitching 1 – Session Lead: DMZ (post-revenue)
    Pitchers: Pinnguaq (Ryan Oliver), SmartHalo (Xavier Peich), Riipen (Richard Tuck)
    Judges: Bill Morrow (Angels Den), Sherif El-­Tawil (DMZ), Kathryn Wortsman (MaRS)
  • 2:00 PM: Live Pitching Live Pitching 2 – Session Lead: Founder Institute (pre-revenue)
    Pitchers: Vizwik (Simon Gauvin), Flipd (Andres Moreno), Rna Diagnostics (John Connolly)
    Judges: Kamal Hussein (IncMind), Dr. Marat Ressin (YEDInstitute), Russell Samuels (Whitecap Venture Partners)
  • 3:00 PM: Live Pitching Live Pitching 3 – Session Lead: Startup Canada (post-revenue)
    Pitchers: Stashbelt (Jonah Brotman), Comfable (Neda Ghazi), The Sharing Depot (Ryan Dyment)
    Judges: Sean Burke (Frontfundr), Jim Orlando (OMERS Ventures), Sean Wise (Ryerson University)
  • 3:45 PM: Live Pitching Live Pitching 4 – Session Lead: MaRS (3:45 PM pre-revenue)
    Pitchers: Yirego (Megan Savage), NERv (Amr Abdelgawad), Eye-LIVE (Murray McKercher and David Baker)
    Judges: Ben Zlotnick (INcubes), Mark Skapinker (Brightspark Ventures), Anthony Lipschitz (Thinking Capital)

Richard Tuck pitching Riipen.

Ryan Oliver pitching Pinnguaq.

Ryan Oliver pitching Pinnguaq.


Xavier Peich wins the first live pitching session with SmartHalo.

Simon Gauvin pitching Vizwik.

Simon Gauvin pitching Vizwik.

Andres Moreno pitching Flipd.

Andres Moreno pitching Flipd.

John Connolly wins the 2nd live pitching session with Rna Diagnostics.

John Connolly wins the 2nd live pitching session with Rna Diagnostics.

Jonah Brotman pitching Stashbelt.

Jonah Brotman pitching Stashbelt.

Neda Ghazi pitching QTempSmart, Comfable's flagship product.

Neda Ghazi pitching QTempSmart, Comfable’s flagship product.

Ryan Dyment wins the 3rd live pitching session with The Sharing Depot.

Ryan Dyment wins the 3rd live pitching session with The Sharing Depot.

Amr Abdelgawad pitches NERv Technology.

Amr Abdelgawad pitches NERv Technology.

Murray McKercher and David Baker pitch Eye-LIVE Media.

Murray McKercher and David Baker pitch Eye-LIVE Media.

Megan Savage wins the final live pitching session with the Drumi, Yirego's flagship product.

Megan Savage wins the final live pitching session with the Drumi, Yirego’s flagship product.

The crowd gathers back in the main auditorium for the closing panel, closing keynote and closing remarks for the day, including a power panel of experts discussing the future of crowdfunding and the democratization of finance moderated by Erin Bury; a look at P2P decentralized networks by Anthony Di Iorio, who raised over $18 million for his Ethereum crowdfunding campaign (the 5th largest crowdfunding campaign in the world, also partially funded by bitcoin); and finally closing remarks by Adam Nanjee, Head of Fintech at MaRS.

Big thanks to everyone who attended this year’s Summit and all the sponsors, speakers, community partners and volunteers who helped make this event possible! We hope to see you again in 2017!



View the #CCS2016 event website

View the #CCS2016 photo album


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