C100's NEW CEO IS RAY NEWAL!
Ray joins the C100 with a wealth of experience in tech entrepreneurship, working as a founder, operator, mentor, investor, and ecosystem and community builder. In addition, he has worked and lived in multiple countries, giving him the experience, insights, and connections to support C100’s global expansion.
Most recently, Ray lead the Ecosystem and Capital team at MaRS, supporting ventures in Health Sciences, Cleantech, and Enterprise Software sectors. He also led the expansion of Techstars into India, where he served as Managing Director and led the launch of the Techstars Bangalore Accelerator, which went on to become one of the most active seed acceleration programs in South Asia. Earlier in his career, Ray co-founded a venture-backed mobile video startup that became a market leader in South Asia before being sold in 2013. He also led business development teams at DoubleClick, Microsoft, and Yahoo.
Importantly, Ray shares a deep passion for supporting Canadian entrepreneurs and embraces the give-first, community-centric values of C100. He is committed to advancing Canadian entrepreneurship and building a strong, worldwide community of Canadian tech leaders.
Hear directly from Ray below on this next chapter for C100.
It is an incredible honour to announce that I’ve been appointed CEO of the C100!
A venerable community-based organization that galvanizes thousands of Canadian tech entrepreneurs, operators and investors around the world, C100’s mission is to support, inspire, and advance Canadian tech entrepreneurship.
I’ve closely followed the C100 from the other side of the world for quite a few years. Yet, it wasn’t until 2020 in conversation with RBC’s John Stackhouse, on the eve of the release of his book Planet Canada (which dedicates a whole chapter to the C100), that I was able to fully grasp how intertwined my passion to make Canada a global tech leader is with the founding purpose and mission of the C100.
To understand what feeds my passion, let me shine some light on my past:
My interest in technology has been global in nature from the very beginning. As an undergrad economics student in the mid 1990’s, I believed that the Internet would eventually serve as a democratizing force for information, closing the wealth gap between the developed and developing worlds. A hunch that online advertising would fuel the path to global scale, sparked my decade long adventure as a business development executive with DoubleClick, Microsoft and Yahoo. This rich and wonderful time allowed me to build an intimate familiarity with New York, Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles that made these cities like second homes.
In 2009, realizing that the Internet was still largely Western in reach and impact, I embarked upon a journey to bring the ‘rest’ of the world online. Through deal making, vision and a knack for building teams, I found myself on a one-way ticket to Mumbai, India as the CEO of Jigsee, a mobile video startup focused on serving the emerging market masses. Although I have Indian ancestry, I would be the first in 5 generations to return to the country. My instincts which served me well in North America, were wonky and uncalibrated in India. Without an inner circle of mentors to guide me, this 5-year experience as an entrepreneur would be one of the biggest challenges of my career.
While I was fortunate enough to successfully exit my startup, the win was hard-fought, and cemented my deep appreciation for founders and the amazing mentors who stand behind them. This led me to become a mentor myself, and resulted in an opportunity to expand Techstars, one of the top global accelerators, into India to establish a fund and program in Bangalore. In this role, I put my founder intuition and market knowledge to work, investing in great founders from India, Nigeria and Sri Lanka, and set out to build a village of great mentors to support them. Here’s what I learned: The best mentors, those that are purely focused on giving back, are like needles in the haystack. When discovered, they are worth their weight in gold.
With the pandemic upon us in 2020, many of us were confronted for the first time with the tangible consequences of global calamity. This fueled my curiosity about areas I had long been interested in, but hadn’t been able to explore. In my role as leader of the ecosystem and capital team at MaRS, I was able to apply my ecosystem building experience into the areas of cleantech and the life sciences. With the knowledge, experience, and honed intuition of a team which possessed deep sector and program development expertise, we set out to assess the true potential for these sectors. The convergence and availability of specialized STEM talent is a major competitive advantage for Canada, and is resulting in ground breaking technology innovation and research. My work over the last couple of years has only reinforced my belief that Canadian entrepreneurs have the potential to solve important global problems at scale.
Yet, even with the most advanced technology and research, achieving global scale can be fraught with challenges. Whether it is our highest potential clean technologies, our most promising biotherapeutics research, or even our fastest-scaling fintechs, Canadian founders on the path to scale need the kind of advice and experience that only a small, hard-to-find, harder-to-connect -with group of people possess.
Now for the reveal: These people who have the kind of knowledge and experience I’ve described are out there, and one particular group of them are keen to support Canadian founders. Many of these folks reside outside of Canada, but their situation in the world is what makes them such a valuable resource. They share a strong will to give back to a country that has given them so much.
This is the power of the C100 community, a Canadian tech diaspora spread out across more than 34 cities around the world. Our members have scaled global companies, possess deep trusted international networks, and empathize with high potential founders. They care deeply for their connection to Canada, so much so that they are willing to devote a portion of their time, knowledge and networks to founders who need them.
I’m excited because in my role as CEO of the C100, I will have the opportunity to work with this incredible, highly-engaged global community of needles-in-haystacks, our very supportive partners and Canada’s highest potential founders. With this combination, we have everything we need to help Canada assert its position as the global technology powerhouse we know we have the potential to be.
Ps. I’d love to hear from you. Please feel free to write me at email@example.com