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VA Calgary Stampede Breakfast & Poker

July 8, 2016

VA Angels Calgary monthly July forum is preempted for a very special VA Angels Stampede Party! We will kick it off with breakfast at Grey Eagle Casino, followed by poker then afterwards members are invited to attend the Collins Barrow Stampede Party!


  • Networking: 9:30 am
  • Breakfast starts at 10:00am
  • Poker starts at 11am:
    • per AGLC 5% of each final winning hand will go to the Casino
    • Poker games will be $2/$4 limit game, buy-in is included in the ticket price.

$10 from each ticket goes to CMNGD – COMMONGOOD a social enterprise employing homeless people through a linen laundry service customized for the hospitality industry and is being headed up by our very own VA Angels Team Member: Hannah (& Dave) Cree. Help them meet their $10k goal by Monday on their Alberta BoostR Campaign!

Ticket sales ends Tuesday at 9 am.

Location: Grey Eagle Casino, 3777 Grey Eagle Dr, Calgary, AB

Join National Angel Capital Organization (NACO) in Calgary

April 19, 2016

Join National Angel Capital Organization (NACO) in Calgary on May 24th 2016 for its first Western Regional event!

This full day event aims to bring together the Angel Investor community in Western Canada to discuss topics important to the region including topics such as building a collaborative ecosystem, policy and fund structures. The day will start with a NACO Academy Workshop on Structuring Deals and Term Sheets with Pieter Dorsman. NACO Academy is a newly launched investor education program designed to develop higher levels of knowledge and skill among Angel investors across Canada.


7:45 AM – 8:00 AM NACO Academy Registrations

8:00 AM – 11:45 AM NACO Academy Workshop

11:45 AM – 12:00 AM NACO Western Regional Registrations

12:00 PM – 1:00 PM Lunch with Keynote on Building a Collaborative Ecosystem

1:00 PM – 2:30 PM Panel Discussion on Policy

2:30 PM – 3:00 PM Networking Break

3:00 PM – 4:30 PM Panel Discussion on Fund Structures

4:30 PM – 5:00 PM Closing Remarks

5:00 PM – 8:00 PM Reception

Location: The event will take place in The Commons in Calgary Alberta

Early bird tickets start at $69 for NACO Members and expire May 1, 2016.

Please register here now!

Events Across Western Canada for Entrepreneurs & Investors

March 14, 2016


Entrepreneurs: It’s more than pitching your business to an investor.

Investors: It’s more than writing a cheque to an entrepreneur.

Whether you are an entrepreneur or investor, these events are the place for you to learn, network and dive deeper into the world of private investing.  

Investors – why attend?

  • Quality deal flow
  • Exclusive access
  • Investor education
  • Networking opportunities

Entrepreneurs – why attend?

  • Refine your pitch
  • Access to capital
  • Entrepreneur education
  • Networking opportunities

Form connections with influencers and active investors in the Western Canada investment and entrepreneurial communities.

VA Angels Chapters are holding special events across Western Canada in March.  Limited spots, register today!

Click on the city you wish to register for:

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*These events are an intro to our BaseCamp workshops.  

In partnership with: 


Venture Alberta Angels2                Print


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VA Angels Announces Gender Diversity Initiative

February 29, 2016

VA Angels is pleased to announce a new initiative to increase the number of women angel investors and women entrepreneurs served by the group.

“VA Angels is a place where female entrepreneurs can expect to be taken seriously and funded accordingly,” says Randy Thompson, CEO of VA Angels. “We are working hard to ensure that when women-led companies do present at the form, they encounter an aware and diverse group of investors.”

Kristina Milke, President of VA Angels, leads the Deal Screening committee. “We are looking for great scalable business to present to our members. We would love to see more female-led ventures applying.”

Currently only four percent of venture capital goes to women in North America. If women were financed to the same degree as male-led companies, it would create six million jobs in the next five years in North America.(1) Venture capital firms with women partners are more than three times as likely to invest in companies with female CEOs.(2)

“The research is very clear that diverse groups make better decisions and out-perform non-diverse groups”, says Rosalee Gordon, Director of Diversity for VA Angels. “In VA Angels, individual angels make their own decisions on whether to invest each company and for how much. Yet we discuss each deal together and we do influence each other’s decisions. It’s very important to have female investors at the table.”

“The time is right for a focused effort on improving gender diversity in the angel community,” says Rosalee Gordon. “As we roll out this initiative at each of our chapters, I am encountering a groundswell of support from both our male and female members. Many of our angels are already working this issue in their own spheres of influence – in academia, in business, in professional organizations. We don’t like the statistics we are seeing. We don’t like the pace of change. We have daughters, we have sisters, we have strong female role models in our lives. For many of us we care, and we care at a very personal level.

For more information about the Diversity initiative at VA Angels, please contact:

Rosalee Gordon
Director of Diversity
VA Angles

1 SheEO Fact Sheet: Radical Generosity
2 Babson College Study 2014 “Women Entrepreneurs 2014: Bridging the Gap in Venture Capital”

A Case For International Mentoring

February 20, 2016


In 2002 I had just finished my biggest failure as an Entrepreneur, Khyber Pass Entertainment. I can write about that at another time, but the intention is to set this as a seminal moment in my career. I wasn’t used to failure at this time, and I was pretty sure it wasn’t my fault.

  • It was the ecosystem I lived in,
  • It was the lack of access to startup capital,
  • and of course the inability to get from Western Canada into major markets.

I set about fixing the above. With the support of the Government at the time- which was working on a similar thesis- we started the Alberta California Venture Channel (ACVC) and went to Silicon Valley, to see how the big dogs did it.

To say we were well received is an understatement. It wasn’t the thesis we were exploring, or any of the work we were doing, it was because we met  a number of really class people. In the first draft of this article, I listed them all. But I would have missed too many, or taken too much space as if this was some kind of Oscar acceptance speech.

They included a former Valley “Angel of the Year”(who has become a dear friend and lifelong mentor), a plethora of VC’s- Canadians and Americans, Telecom professionals, a passionate capacity builder and ex pat, a truly unique personality and a classic old school networker who was building Angel networks, economists and academics, and countless others who should be offended that they werent mentioned!

They gave willingly of their time, came to Western Canada, went to Banff Venture Forum, and introduced me to formal Angel Groups, specifically Randy Williams at Keiretsu Forum. “K4” also became a huge support, mentoring local Canadians who thought they might want to finance startups , but hadn’t financed any at that time.

We started a small Keiretsu group in Calgary, then Edmondton (again I have taken out the names, but you know who you are- heroes of the early formal angel movement) and started showing deals. In the first six meetings our Valley friends were in attendance. Other deals were getting done outside the formal angel space that led to big exits for those local angels, which also made the ecosystem healthy.

I learned a ton. None of you will be surprise to hear Khyber Pass was totally my fault, and I lost some investors money even though I said I couldn’t find any locally.

What was a surprise, at least to me, was that all the issues we needed to solve in Western Canada had the answers and resources readily available and accessible locally. Many of you have heard me say that money is the easiest thing to find when you are a good deal, and that was true here at home. I think the issue in a lot of these communities is that while the resources are readily available, tying them together, creating community leadership, and ensuring confidence has to be “sparked” from somewhere! There is a lot of work being done currently in this space, specifically read Brad Feld’s “Startup Communities.”

We spent time teaching entreps not to suck, the government and the Start up community emerged as deal generators and market access partners, and voila! the investors showed up. I also saw how poor our local deals were, as the Silicon Valley cohort mentored local companies about what it meant to be “Valley ready”.

That was 14 years ago.

Alberta currently has at least four Angel Groups, at least five VC firms (although we have lost some momentum on this front) and an active industry association, a mentoring group in the A100, and healthy startup communities in Calgary, Edmonton, and now Medicine Hat. VA Angels has funded $40m in deals, the VCs have done a similar amount, and we have had some interesting exits, which is developing a new generation of internal mentors, investors and capacity builders. It’s a healthy ecosystem. Maybe this would have happened on its own, but some of the local investors needed some coaching on startup investing, a lot of the entrepreneurs continue to need coaching on how to become investment grade, and the startup communities have stolen liberally from the Brad Felds, etc of the world- more mentoring!

But here is the point of the article – in communities outside of the big seven or eight (San Fran, New York, Boston, Vancouver, add your own if you think your healthy) I hear there isn’t a startup mentality/ecosystem, there isn’t local capital, and there isn’t access to customers, problems we have started to overcome in Western Canada. I’ve worked in 30 communities in five countries and this is a standard message.

So we have started a program to “Pay it Forward”. We are going to take North American and European Angels into communities that want to work on the forementioned issues. So far we have 9 invites from communities in the Global economy that would like YOUR mentoring, your talent and your fearless adventuring DNA that led you to be an entrepreneur and an investor in your community.

It feels like we have hit a nerve, but I remember how hungry I was early on to do it right.

I know the world changes. I’m not sure if formal Angel Groups make sense in the established communities, I’m not sure the VC model is healthy, and I’m certainly not sold on matching sites and crowdfunding. But these are “first world problems” for communities that graduated through the “Community 101” program. There are still places that don’t know how a Series A works, even though they know what it is by looking it up on Google. They just don’t have any colleagues that have practical experience with the technical aspects of growing a scalable business into corporations.

I’m looking forward to the opportunity to being on the giving end of info now. If your interested in joining us, please reach back to me via email. The thought is to go into those 9 communities with up to 10 mentors per community, which means we are trying to recruit 90 extraordinary people who’s experience, talent, and capital can make the kind of difference our mentors, now friends, from the Valley gave to us early on.

I’ll never forget those of you who took their time to get my home ecosystem to a place where its our turn to be useful to others.

Learning Opportunity: Winning Innovation Grants

February 19, 2014

For all startups and technology companies who are thinking of applying for grants, we wanted to share this great event we heard about Winning Grants in 2014! Learn More About Winning Innovation Vouchers, put on by Strategic Timelines.

Are you running a technology driven company that is developing an innovative product and planning ahead for commercialization? If so, there are number of grant and contribution programs that can provide support along the way. To significantly increase the odds of receiving grant funding, it starts with learning more about these programs. In this 1 hour session, you’ll learn about the various grant programs available, your company’s eligibility, when to access the programs, and pointers on how to write the AITF – $15k & $50k Innovation Voucher applications. Just grab at coffee or pick up lunch at the lunch bar and you are set. Seating is limited – register early to get a seat!

Take Away: Receive a 20+ page write-up summarizing all of the latest Provincial & Federal Grant & Contribution programs supporting innovation in Alberta.

Parking: Lots of parking space available be sure to bring your license plate number to the front desk to sign in.

To sign up or find out more about this event, please visit


TEC Edmonton and VA Angels Edmonton Chapter to merge

February 5, 2014

EDMONTON: Feb. 4, 2014

Two of Canada’s largest angel investor networks, TEC Edmonton and VA Angels Edmonton Chapter, are merging to become TEC Venture Angels.

TEC Venture Angels will build a bigger investor network, offer investment services and streamline connections between Northern Alberta angel investors and regionally-based early stage tech companies. A more sophisticated entrepreneur class and a healthier innovation ecosystem in Northern Alberta will result.

TEC Venture Angels will be run by not-for-profit innovation business incubator and accelerator TEC Edmonton. TEC Edmonton will initially screen, then assist start-up companies wishing to approach TEC Venture Angels for investment capital. No government money will be invested. Start-up companies will pay no fees or commissions to TEC Venture Angels.

Angel investors are so termed as they are usually the first providers of capital to early-stage companies.

In the last two years, operating independently, TEC Edmonton and VA Angels Edmonton have helped early stage companies raise more than $100 million.

VA Angels Edmonton leader Randy Thompson will be Director of TEC Venture Angels.

The bottom line is that deserving regional companies will access badly needed early-growth capital.

Please join  Alberta Deputy Premier and Minister of Innovation and Advanced Education, the Honourable Dave Hancock, City of Edmonton Mayor His Worship Don Iveson, TEC Edmonton CEO Chris Lumb and TEC Venture Angels Director Randy Thompson for more details on this unique public-private investment merger, believed to be the first of its kind in North America.

Date: Wednesday, February 5, 2014
Time: 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. (A light lunch will be available)
Place: The Westin Hotel, Manitoba/Saskatchewan Room, 10135 100 St., Edmonton