District Ventures and IBM Innovation Space Team
Natalie Arseneau – Manager, Programming & Sponsorships
Natalie is the Manager of Programming and Sponsorships for the District Ventures and IBM Innovation Space, where she is responsible for leading program development, building leading industry partnerships, and ensuring entrepreneurs have the resources they need to grow and succeed.
Prior to District Ventures, Natalie spent 5 years with Innovate Calgary, one of Canada’s leading post-secondary technology-transfer and business-incubation centres, where she advised incubating companies on all aspects of their company’s business development, including: product strategy, competitive intelligence, intellectual property, corporate and capital structuring, sales, and marketing. Natalie has also served as a Research Analyst at Viewpoint Capital, and as a Research Biologist with the provincial and federal governments, and academia. She has also tried her hand as an entrepreneur as the co-founder of a food-tech startup, Kitchen Collective.
Natalie has a Master of Business Administration from the University of Calgary, a Bachelor of Science in Biology from the University of Victoria, and a Diploma in Advanced Management Studies from the University of Aarhus, Denmark.
Alex Davoli – Community Coordinator
Alex is the Community Coordinator for the District Ventures and IBM Innovation Space, where she serves as the local social media guru.
Prior to District Ventures, Alex served as a Communications Intern at the Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Centre where she was responsible for a wide range of communication-related tasks including fundraising and event planning, as well as building the Centre’s social media platforms.
Alex has a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Mount Royal University and a Bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies from the University of Calgary.
Rob McMurtry - Innovation Executive for IBM West
Rob is responsible for IBM's partnership with District Ventures as delivered through the District Ventures and IBM Innovation Space in Calgary. Rob's focus is on enabling early stage entrepreneurial companies with IBM technology to address key industry challenges across our client base. This demand based approach to innovation is targeted to accelerate these companies on their journey to market success.
Prior to this role Rob spent several years with IBM in Calgary leading their Natural Resources Solution Centre, a unique team of industry consultants focused on bringing solutions to Oil & Gas and Mining across Canada. Leveraging the IBM Global capabilities, our growing Partner Ecosystem of large industry players and smaller niche providers, and delivering new capabilities to drive down costs and transform the business was central to this role. Prior to re-joining IBM, Rob spent a number of years developing entrepreneurial tech startup companies, bringing forward software-as-a-service solutions and industry change consulting to address critical business gaps. This included a period of five years at ATCO where he managed a large portion of the spin-off technology company I-Tech. Prior to these years Rob delivered client solutions and helped drive IBM's services growth in Western Canada.
Rob has a BComm from the University of Manitoba, certification in project management, and a Masters in 'life lessons' from his three talented kids. And loves his commute to Canmore!
District Ventures and IBM Innovation Space Mentors
Andreas Wissman – Health & Life Sciences
“The world would be a better place if we could all bring our dog to work.”
Andreas is an entrepreneur, executive and recovering scientist working at the interface of business, technical and operational responsibilities. He is passionate about startups, technology development, commercialization and knowledge dissemination related to the life sciences, medical and health & wellness sectors. Andreas has been involved with a number of Calgary tech startups since 2003.
Craig Elias – Pitch Coach
Craig Elias is an award-winning entrepreneur, author and a sought-after pitch coach. His first pitch won him a $1,000,000 prize in a Global Billion Dollar Idea competition and within 12 months his company was twice named by Dow Jones as one of the 50 most promising companies in North America. Craig is the top Canadian on LinkedIn's list of top 50 B2B Sales Experts, is an advisor to the founder of a company that was sold to Oracle for $957 Million, and is currently the Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Bow Valley College.
Dan Giurescu – Energy & Blockchain
“Having your first customer write a cheque in market validation will de-risk your business for everyone else to follow.”
Dan is a serial entrepreneur with demonstrated success identifying and capitalizing on market opportunities. With a depth of well-rounded energy industry experience, Dan leverages his financial acumen, regulatory knowledge, and technology expertise to increase organizational efficiencies, mitigate risk, and maximize profits. Dan thrives on the challenge of commercializing new concepts, guiding teams and inspiring action through the creation of a motivating environment where taking risks in pursuit of success is encouraged. Dan was a founding partner of Caledonia Solutions, a technology firm focused on the development and delivery of software solutions for hazardous substance data management for the O&G sector. Caledonia Solutions was acquired by Payload in 2016.
Dee Naidoo – Energy & Strategy
“A good idea is like an uncut diamond – there’s a process to shape it into a gem of a business!”
Dee has 20 years of technical, commercial, business development and management experience in the energy industry. That experience has been with both operators and clients in the upstream (E&P), investment banking (IB) and software/IT sectors. Dee’s analytical expertise is grounded in portfolio reviews, corporate and asset evaluations, competitor analysis, market research, and customer data. In addition, Dee has a solid reputation for originating and executing projects successfully, and the ability to influence decision-makers, bridge functional boundaries and build productive partnerships. This approach underlies a focus on strategies that optimize growth, mitigate risk and create value through innovation and technology.
Peter Fenwick – Health & IT
“Create your opportunity.”
As a health executive and corporate entrepreneur, Peter has worked inside GE Healthcare, Infonaut, and Alberta Health Services. Peter is an Alberta A100 member and is known for driving big change across health systems through citizen based re-invention and re-design. He is now working with two founders from the first cohort of District Ventures Accelerator to scale a clinical IT and e-prescribing platform for medical cannabis.
Ryan Lailey – Sales & Finance
"Strategy is important but execution and flexibility is critical."
Ryan has 20 years of executive experience that spans all aspects of business. Ryan is currently Chief Technology Officer of DocVue, a leading provider of enterprise content management and workflow solutions for the Oil and Gas sector. Previously, Ryan was a founding member of the management team at Cortex Business Solutions serving in multiple roles, including VP of Sales & Marketing and Investor Relations, VP of Business Development & Corporate Strategy, and Senior VP of US Operations & Business Development. Ryan began his career at a major Canadian financial institution gaining skills in corporate finance, M&A and Investor relations.
Mike Brown – Blockchain & Digital Marketing
“Don't only seek wisdom from those around you - seek to understand your own internal truths and wisdom.”
As Director of Innovation within ATB Financial, Mike and the Innovation team are reimagining the future of ATB and how it can serve Albertans. Mike brings 20+ years of broad business and technical experience to ATB’s Innovation team. His background includes managing various technology-focused initiatives in both the energy and digital marketing sectors, supported by degrees in engineering and computer science from the University of Saskatchewan and an MBA from Queen’s University.
Scott Garvey – Sales & IT
Scott is a retired Information Technology executive with over 32 years of experience in the Information Technology field, the first 8 years focused primarily on hardware and software sales, followed by 20 years in executive leadership roles focused on business development, sales, building high performance teams, and then more broadly into large scale IT operational responsibility and P&L accountability. For a 1 year period, Scott held the CIO role for an Alberta based conglomerate. Scott has a Bachelor of Commerce in Finance from the University of Alberta.