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The Team

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Jonathan is a successful serial entrepreneur with two exits under his belt. He  is passionate about helping those who are taking the entrepreneurial path to start, build and grow companies.  

Prior to GrowLab, Jonathan Bixby was the CEO and a co-founder of Strangeloop Networks, creator of the first network appliance and cloud service for accelerating dynamic web applications. Under Jonathan’s leadership, Strangeloop raised over $21M in financing, including a Series A round of $11.5 million, one of the largest rounds of private Series A financing for a technology start-up in Canadian history. 

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Strangeloop was selected the Best Employer in British Columbia for a record five straight years (2008 to 2013). In February 2013 Strangeloop was acquired by Radware (RDWR). Read more here.

Prior to forming Strangeloop, Jonathan co-founded IronPoint Technology, the largest content management company in the country. As chairman of the board, Jonathan led IronPoint from start-up to successful acquisition by The Active Network (ACTV) in 30 months. Read about it here.

Jonathan also served as vice president of sales, at NTS Internet Solutions and helped that company enjoy a five-year growth rate of more than 600 percent and earn placements on the Deloitte & Touche Fast 50 and Fast 500 as well as Profit Magazine’s Profit 100 lists.

Jonathan sat on the board of the Vancouver Enterprise Forum, the final jury for the New Ventures BC competition and is a Social Venture Partner (www.bcsvp.com), Jonathan sits on the board of Energy Aware. He is a Business in Vancouver Top 40 Under 40 award recipient.  Follow him @jonathanbixby.


boris_wertzBoris Wertz, Founder & Principal

Boris Wertz is an Internet entrepreneur, investor and the founder of Version One Ventures, a Vancouver-based angel fund that has made over 20 investments in early-stage Consumer Internet companies. He is also a venture partner with Munich-based Acton Capital, a large late-stage Consumer internet fund.

Previously, Boris was the Chief Operating Officer of AbeBooks.com, the world’s largest marketplace for books, which sold to Amazon in 2008. Boris joined AbeBooks in 2002 after the company acquired JustBooks, which he co-founded in 1999. He successfully finished his PhD as well as his graduatestudies at the Otto Beisheim School of Management (WHU), Koblenz, with a major in Business Economics/Business Management. 

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Boris was named the Pacific Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award winner in 2005, and BC angel investor of the year in 2011. Key investments include Edmodo, Flurry, Frank & Oak, GoInstant (acquired by Salesforce), Indiegogo, Indochino, Summify (acquired by Twitter), and Wattpad.


debbie_landaDebbie Landa, Founder & Principal

Debbie Landa has been an entrepreneur for more than 20 years. In 2000, she built Dealmaker Media, a network of innovators from early-stage start-ups to some of the most influential leaders in the world. Debbie is considered a curator of innovation and has become one of the most influential connectors in Silicon Valley. Over 500 leading companies from LinkedIn, Admob, Pandora, Rightscale to Box.net have presented at her conferences.

Prior to founding Dealmaker Media, she ran business development for venture “catalyst” firm focused on accelerating growth for emerging start-ups.

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Before Debbie’s technology days, she spent 10 years in the fashion industry working with various clothing manufacturers, designing and developing private-label programs for major retailers. Furthermore, she is a flag-waving Canadian who grew up in the tundra, or as we call it, Saskatoon.

Debbie has invested in SimpleGeo, Legacy Locker and is an advisor at Perch.


Leonard Brody, Founder & Principal

Leonard is a highly respected entrepreneur, venture capitalist, best-selling author, and a 2-time Emmy nominated media visionary. Leonard has helped in raising millions of dollars for start-up companies, been through one of the largest Internet IPOs in history, and has been involved in building, financing and/or sale of five companies.

Much critical acclaim has followed him in his endeavours. At Onvia, where he was part of the initial executive, the company was voted Canada’s number one start-up in 2000 and subsequently closed a $240 Million IPO on NASDAQ.

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In 2004, Leonard co-founded, and was CEO of NowPublic.com, which is a a pioneer in the field of citizen journalism. The company was named as one of the top 50 websites in the world by Time Magazine. NowPublic.com was also inducted into the Newseum in Washington and was recently acquired by the Anschutz Corporation. Currently, Leonard holds the title as President of the Clarity Digital Group that is responsible for overseeing one of the largest online news conglomerates in the world, including Examiner.com and NowPublic. The two combined share over 20 million unique visitors a month and exceed 200,000 contributors.

Leonard also acts as an advisor to venture capital funds in the US, Europe, and Asia. Throughout his career, he has advised several companies including the Associated Press, Alliance Atlantis, Derby County Football Club, Coventry City Football Club, and MTV Enterprises. In addition, Leonard was the Senior Technology Advisor to the Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs & Internationl Trade. Currently, he is a Senior Advisor to the Canadian Ministry of International Trade and a Director of Canada’s largest technology Association, CATA.

Leonard holds an Honour Bachelor of Arts from Queen University, a law degree from Osgoode Hall, and is a graduate from the Private Equity Course at Harvard Business School.





A life long entrepreneur, Mike has established and invested in technology companies for over 20 years. Mike invests in smart people with big ideas and he thrives on helping entrepreneurs turn a napkin sketch into a prosperous business. Mike is the President and CEO of LX Ventures, a Canadian-based publicly traded technology company that launches, integrates, and acquires high growth technology companies around the world.  

He was the Executive Director at GrowLab where he took an active role in steering GrowLab companies towards rapid growth and success.

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True to his vision to ignite Canada’s startup community, Mike co-founded Launch Academy in 2012, a pre-accelerator program that helps entrepreneurs execute on their ideas and business plans.

Previously, Mike co-founded Initio Group, an early stage venture capital fund, and AreaConnect, a localized search directory, which was sold to Marchex in 2006 and provided a significant return to its shareholders. He also co-founded InternetStudios, one of the first companies to exploit the digital revolution in the marketing and delivery of filmed entertainment, and Urbandig, the source for off the beaten path experiences delivered to your iPhone.

Mike has a keen eye for entrepreneurship and has been named the 2012 BC Angel Investor of the year. Since March 2010, Mike has invested in over 50 companies including Punch’d (sold to Google in July 2011), Artsicle, Summify (sold to Twitter in January 2012), LaunchRock, Loverly, Skyscraper, Dave McClure’s 500 Startups venture capital fund, and many more.

As a National Advisor for Startup Canada and a team member of Startup Visa Canada, Mike is actively involved in growing and supporting the Canadian startup community and connecting local entrepreneurs with the right investors, mentors, and influencers in Silicon Valley, New York, Europe and Asia. In addition, Mike currently serves on the Board of Directors for HackHut, Loverly, and Strutta.

When he’s not building companies, advising, or meeting with entrepreneurs, Mike can be found hanging out with his family in Whistler. Mike is an avid cyclist and athlete who has participated in several Ironman competitions.



jason_baileyJason Bailey, Founder & Principal

Jason has built a handful of successful Internet businesses over the past 15 years. As the founder of KITN Media, he bootstrapped Super Rewards from zero revenue to a 100mm run rate in just over 12 months. In July 2009, he successfully sold the company to Adknowledge, one of the largest online advertising marketplaces.

Jason has invested in and is mentoring many local companies including DES Games, Compass Engine, PayPhone App, CrowdFanatic, and OverInteractive Media. He is also an LP in Real Ventures and Bootup Labs and is currently working on his new startup, L33dr.ly.



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Mark Relph, Entrepreneur in Residence

Mark is a technology evangelist, experienced business leader, team builder and Microsoft veteran. His 20 year track record in tech includes executive leadership, technology evangelism, marketing, sales, business development and product management. Mark has deep roots in the Canadian tech community and most recently ran Silicon Valley VC and startup engagement for Microsoft.

Mark spent 15 years at Microsoft in a variety of roles in Canada and the US. He was VP of Developer & Platform Evangelism for Microsoft Canada where he focused on the early adoption of the Microsoft platform with developers.

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Mark and his team drove business development for high profile projects like the Winter Olympics, partnerships with app developers and he had responsibility for the dev tools business in Canada. Mark was also part of the executive team for Microsoft’s Canadian subsidiary.

Mark then joined the Windows group in Redmond leading the Ecosystem Product Management team. This experience gave him exposure to a product that touches the lives of hundreds of millions of people every day. Mark and his team was responsible for building a rich ecosystem of hardware and developer partners for Windows. He was critical part of the launch of Windows 7 and the planning team for Windows 8.

Most recently, Mark lead the Emerging Business Team which focused on venture backed startups, the venture capital community and providing an “ear to the ground” on key trends in the startup market. In Silicon Valley, Mark’s team orchestrated Microsoft’s relationship with the top VCs and investors. He also worked directly with key startups to align them with Microsoft product groups and connect them to commercial opportunities.

As a proud Canuck, Mark is a Charter Member of the C100, an organization dedicated to supporting Canadian technology entrepreneurship and investment. Mark also sits on the board of the Neil Squire Society, a national not-for-profit organization that empowers Canadians with physical disabilities through technology.


CharlyneFothergill-headshotweb2Charlyne fothergill, program director

Charlyne Fothergill has a background as a Human Resources Generalist with a proven track record in recruiting and hiring top technical talent. Charlyne manages the day-to-day operations at GrowLab and is responsible for the execution of the GrowLab Cohort program. She enjoys enjoys sharing her expertise in HR and GrowLab with startups, students and the community. Follow her @char_growlab



lynn_growlabLYNN SHINTO,

Lynn is passionate about community development and engaging with startup entrepreneurs. She holds a degree in Communications from Simon Fraser University and had previously ran a not-for-profit organization called One Big Movement, mentoring youth living in the DTES. As the Social Media/Marketing Coordinator and latest addition to GrowLab, Lynn can be found connecting with entrepreneurs at meetups, tweeting at local events, and engaging with the media to promote the GrowLab Cohort Program. Follow her @lynnshinto

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