At Best Startup Canada we track over 100,000 Canadian startups and over 500,000 people who hold key positions in these companies. We use this directory of startups to highlight top employees, founders and board members we think deserve more appreciation than they are currently getting.
This list showcases the top Alberta based Partner operating in the Venture Capital space. If you think a Partner is missing from this list, feel free to contact our editor on [email protected].
The individuals on this list have been included because of exceptional performance in one of the following categories:
- Innovation – Operating as a key part in an extremely innovative business or startup.
- Growth – Operating as a key figure in the growth and upscale of a market leading business or startup.
- Management – Showing exceptional management skills.
- Societal impact – Putting their business on the map for their positive societal or environmental impact.
Our Data – We source our data from OSINT (open source intelligence) and public directories such as Crunchbase, SemRush and many more. The data from these sources should be treated with a degree of caution and verified yourself.
Partner, Head of North American Infrastructure of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts
Brandon Freiman (Calgary) joined KKR in 2007 and leads KKR’s Canadian Energy and Infrastructure team. He currently sits on the boards of Energy Future Holdings, Samson Resources, Veresen Midstream, Accelerated Oil Technologies, Fortune Creek Midstream, Westbrick Energy, Torq Energy Logistics and Bayonne Water JV. During his time at the firm, he has also been involved in the firm’s investment in El Paso Midstream Investment Company, and has had portfolio company responsibilities for Rockwood Holdings. Prior to joining KKR, he was with Credit Suisse Securities in its energy investment banking group, where he was involved in a number of merger, acquisition, and other corporate advisory transactions. He holds a Bachelor of Commerce, with a Joint Honors in Economics and Finance, from McGill University.
Follow Brandon Freiman:
About Kohlberg Kravis Roberts: Kohlberg Kravis Roberts is a global alternative asset manager focusing on private equity, fixed income, and capital markets.
Special Limited Partner of Yaletown Partners
Brad Zumwalt has been growing technology companies for over 20 years. In 1989, he joined Image Club Graphics and led the Company until in 1994 when it was acquired by Aldus Corporation, which in turn was acquired by Adobe Systems. Over the next four years he led Adobe’s worldwide visual content team through sustained revenue growth exceeding $40 million dollars. In 1998, Mr. Zumwalt founded EyeWire.com, an on-line visual content and design company. Eyewire was successfully acquired by Getty Images. In 2000, Mr. Zumwalt was a founding partner of Social Venture Partners Calgary, a unique non-profit funding partnership that combines a venture capital approach with local philanthropy. In 2001, he founded Veer Incorporated where he is Chairman and President. In 2007 Veer was successfully acquired by Corbis, a privately held company of Bill Gates. Mr. Zumwalt is also a founding member of the A100.
Follow Brad Zumwalt:
About Creative Destruction Lab (CDL), Yaletown Partners, Zinc Ventures: Yaletown Partners specializes in investing in emerging-growth technology companies such as software, data, and device technologies.
Special Limited Partner of Yaletown Partners
A serial entrepreneur and founder of OmniLogic, MapleMusic and Ideaca, Evan curates the science of Knelf. A certified executive coach, Evan combines his passion for neuroscience, psychometrics, human value systems and their implications for executive coaching, leadership development and behavioral change with over 20 years of enterprise software development experience.
Follow Evan Hu:
About Creative Destruction Lab (CDL), Hitachi Solutions, Knelf, MapleMusic, OmniLogic, Platform Calgary, The A100, Yaletown Partners: Yaletown Partners specializes in investing in emerging-growth technology companies such as software, data, and device technologies.
General Partner of Yaletown Partners
Brad Johns is a Partner at Yaletown Partners and manages Yaletown’s investment in Chaordix, nFluids, Pretio Interactive, and Zanttz. He brings 24 years of operating, business development, private equity, and venture capital experience in the Information Technology and Energy sectors to Yaletown. As the Vice President of Business Development for Moneta Energy Services, private natural gas storage, and marketing company, Brad was responsible for identifying, negotiating, and acquiring assets for conversion into natural gas storage facilities. Brad has also worked in private equity, as a Partner with Moneta Capital Partners, and in venture capital as a Vice President of Launchworks. Brad brings significant IT and Oil and Gas experience to the team. As the Senior Partner at Moneta Capital Partners, he was responsible for the IT and Oil and Gas Technology portfolios. As part of the founding team at Calgary-based Launchworks, Brad contributed to the firm’s strong performance returns in a challenging market environment. Brad also has extensive operational experience in the IT sector, including a decade as engineer and manager with Nortel, and as an executive with two technology startups. Brad has a Bachelor of Science Degree from Queen’s University, a Masters in Engineering from McMaster University, and an MBA from INSEAD, consistently ranked among the top ten business schools globally.
Follow Brad Johns:
About Yaletown Partners: Yaletown Partners specializes in investing in emerging-growth technology companies such as software, data, and device technologies.
Partner of 500 Startups Canada
Patrick Lor is a PanacheVC Partner and 500 Startups Canada Partner Previously, Patrick co-founded iStockphoto, which was sold to Getty Images in 2006. More recently, he co-founded Dissolve and headed North American operations for Fotolia, which Adobe acquired in 2014. Patrick is also an active angel investor and LP in a number of venture capital funds including iNovia Capital, Version One Ventures, and Garage Ventures. He is also a consultant and mentor for a number of technology incubator programs and a charter member of thea100.org and thec100.org.
Follow Patrick Lor:
About 500 Startups Canada, Creative Destruction Lab (CDL), Panache Ventures: Geo-fund of the world-wide 500 Startups fund
General Partner of Inovia Capital
A partner with iNovia Capital, Shawn Abbott has a passion for building Internet & communications start-up companies. Shawn is an investor and board member at Top Hat Monocle, CoolIT Systems, Peraso and Reflex Photonics. He has played entrepreneur, investor, technical and general management roles across two dozen technology start-ups in three continents over two decades. His work pioneering internet security as CTO, then President, at Rainbow Technologies (NASDAQ:RNBO) saw the company grow ten-fold in profitability before being sold to SafeNet (NASDAQ:SFNT) for nearly a half billion dollars. In the late 1980s, he established and built the AND Group, which pioneered the CD-ROM locking used on several million discs. He is an accomplished public speaker, having presented at more than one hundred conferences on digital security and entrepreneurism, and taught software design courses internationally. He is chair of theA100.org, past chair of the Banff Venture Forum and on the Venture Capital Association of Alberta executive. He holds an early patent as one of the inventors of now popular USB keys. His publications include a chapter on hardware cryptography in the ICSA Guide to Cryptography. Shawn earned his Bachelor’s of Science in physics at the University of Alberta and has done postgraduate study at the University of Calgary, Stanford, and UC Irvine. Shawn is also an active rotary wing pilot.
Follow Shawn Abbott:
About Creative Destruction Lab (CDL), Inovia Capital: Inovia Capital is a full-stack venture firm that invests in tech founders.
General Partner of District Ventures Capital
Dickinson, owner and CEO of Venture Communications, a company she grew from a small, local firm to one of the largest independent agencies in Canada, is also the CEO of District Ventures and Youinc.com. Companies all aimed at helping market, fund and grow entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial companies. She is a two times best-selling author, accomplished speaker and is best known to Canadians as one of the venture capitalists on the award-winning CBC series’ Dragons’ Den.
Follow Arlene Dickinson:
About District Ventures Capital, District Ventures Plus, Venturepark, Venturepark Voice: District Ventures Capital is a venture capital firm that invests in food & beverage with health & wellness sectors.
Managing Partner, Relay Ventures Founder & Executive Chair, MobSquad
Irfhan is a Managing Partner with Relay Ventures, an early-stage venture capital firm with over US$700MM of assets under management. Additionally, Irfhan is the Founder & Executive Chair of MobSquad, a Relay Ventures incubated start-up that ensures high-caliber software engineers with US work visa challenges remain working with their current company, but near-shored from Canada. MobSquad also forms near-shored teams of software engineers in Canada for North American clients on an exclusive, long-term basis.
Irfhan has prior experience at McKinsey & Company, Birch Hill Equity Partners, Onex Corporation (TSX:ONEX) and Parkland Corporation (TSX:PKI).
Irfhan is presently Board Chair of The Organic Box, Alberta’s largest organic food hub, offering home delivery as well as click-and-collect grocery services. Additionally, Irfhan is Board Chair of Activate, a partnership between the Government of Canada, private investors and the Heart & Stroke Foundation of Canada aimed at reducing the incidence of stroke; Activate represents an innovation in social finance as Canada’s first social impact bond. Irfhan is also a Director of Sage Properties, a Calgary-based real estate investment corporation, is Board Chair of The Logic, a digital media publication focused on the innovation economy, is a Director at Alate Properties Inc., an early-stage property technology investment firm, is a Director of PBA Land & Development, a Calgary-based Western Canadian property development firm, and is a Director of Canadian Western Bank (TSX:CWB), a Schedule I Canadian bank focused specifically on business owners.
Irfhan is actively involved in civic affairs as a Member of the Canada Council for the Arts, Past Chair of Glenbow Museum and co-Chair of the $175MM Glenbow Reimagined capital campaign, Board Member of the Institute for Canadian Citizenship, Board Member of Business and the Arts, Board Member of Venture for Canada, Board Member of the Aga Khan Museum, and Board Member of CIFAR. Additionally, Irfhan serves as Chair of the Heart & Stroke Foundation’s Impact Fund Advisory Committee, as an advisor to the Canadian government’s Impact and Innovation Unit within the Privy Council Office, and as a member of the New Economy Advisory Committee of the Alberta Securities Commission. Irfhan is also on the National Advisory Committee of The Walrus, and is an Advisor to the Canadian Urban Institute, as well as Platform Calgary.
Previously, Irfhan has served on the boards of the Heart & Stroke Foundation of Canada (Board Chair), the Harbourfront Centre (Director, Treasurer), imagiNation150 (Director, Treasurer), the Harvard Business School Global Alumni Board (Director), Creative Calgary (co- Founder and co-Chair), Chatter Research (Director, sold to Stingray Media, TSX:RAY), and member of and Finance and Investment Sub- Committee Chair of the Calgary 2026 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games Bid Exploration Committee.
Irfhan holds an MBA with High Honors from Harvard Business School where he was a Baker Scholar, and also holds a BCom with Honours from the University of British Columbia where he was a Wesbrook Scholar. He is a recipient of The Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, the Heart & Stroke Foundation’s Award of Merit, the Sauder School of Business’ Teaching Excellence Award, Business and the Arts’ Arnold Edinborough Award, and is a member of Canada’s Top 40 Under 40 (2017).
Follow Irfhan Rawji:
About Creative Destruction Lab (CDL), MobSquad, Relay Ventures, The Logic, The Organic Box, Totem Capital, University of British Columbia: Relay Ventures specializes mainly in startup, seed and early stage investments and provides support throughout the lifecycle of a startup.
Managing Partner of Sprout Fund LP
Mark Benning is a managing partner at Sprout Fund LP and executive advisor at BDC. He is also the CEO and founder of Founderly.co.
Follow Mark Benning:
About Founderly.co, Sprout Fund LP, Sprout.vc: Sprout Fund is an Alberta-backed Micro-VC focused on investing in early-stage ICT companies.