The $100k Investment prize: Meet the judges

For years this has been the most coveted prize at Startupfest. We bring together a group of fantastic angel investors that make up this investment. Meet the 2020 judges here:

Heather Adelson

Ms. Adelson has been investing in growing companies for the past 30 years. With over 15 angel investments over the past 8 years, as well as investments in numerous funds and funds of funds, Ms. Adelson’s contributions to the startup community have touched nearly every industry in the Quebec startup ecosystem. With a degree in Commerce from McGill, Ms. Adelson brings her skills in finance, strategy and behavioural elements of business into every deal she explores. Her ability to identify critical success factors and obstacles have led her to a career of interesting investment opportunities and ongoing business relationships.

A consummate “student of investing”, she keeps current with the latest business and technological developments, hones her analytical skills and polishes her professional skepticism through attendance of trade conferences, reviewing business plans and communication with various professional advisors. She is an active member on several boards of both for profit businesses and non-for profit organizations.

Ms Adelson is extensively involved in philanthropic ventures, an area close to her heart. She always seeks opportunities to use her skillset and relationships to amplify the efforts of socially minded organizations. Ms. Adelson has been recognized for these efforts as the recipient of several awards highlighting her invaluable contributions to society.

Francis Baillet

Francis Baillet was Vice President of Human Resources at Ubisoft Divertissements from 2007 to 2013.  Since April 2013, Francis is Vice President, Corporate Affairs. The organization currently employs over 5,000 people in its studios in Canada: Montreal, Quebec, Saguenay, Piedmont, Halifax, Toronto and Winnipeg.

Francis has twenty years of experience in human resources management. He was Vice President, Human Resources and Corporate Affairs at Bell Business Solutions (previously known as Nexxlink Technologies). He also was Director of Global Compensation for North America at Rexel, Director of Benefits at Westburne and a pension consultant at Towers Perrin.

Francis is a board member of Conseil du patronat du Québec, Montréal International, KnowledgeOne, Entertainment Software Association of Canada, Alliance numérique and The 7 Fingers Foundation.

Cary Goldwax

Now a veteran Judge at the festival, Cary has been working for over 25-years to bring companies to the next level as a hands-on Angel Investor, seasoned C-Level Executive, active Board Member and a very outspoken accelerator program Mentor.
After co-founding and successfully bringing Web APM company Coradiant to exit, he’s managed several prosperous ventures, including Stack8, where he currently leads operations for the global leader in Unified Communications solutions. He has over 300 million dollars in exits under his belt and is a strong proponent of boosting Canada’s tech scene on the world scale.

Nathalie Marcoux

Nathalie Marcoux, CPA is vice-president of Capinabel inc, a private holding company, since 2001. Mme Marcoux is president of the advisory committee of HEC’s Remi Marcoux Entrepreneurial track and a member of the advisory committee of Tandemlaunch. Since 2014, she has been a member of many juries such as the one of Startupfest, of 25 Emerging Entrepreneurs supported by the Claudine and Stephen Bronfman Family Foundation at C2 Montreal and of the EY Entrepreneur of the Year.

Phil Telio

Phil may have an engineering background, but this seasoned entrepreneur got a taste of the startup world fresh out of university. His journey started in the early 90s pre-internet era when he joined Public Technologies Multimedia—a startup that grew from a handful of people, to hundreds of people in just a few short years. Although he launched his career as a programmer, Phil was quickly drawn into the business side of startups and has pursued this vocation ever since. From PTM he joined Locus Dialogue, who was eventually bought by InfoSpace (another startup that grew quickly). In 2003 Phil decided to start his own chapter with Embrase, a business-consulting firm centered on bringing innovation to the enterprise market. Despite his 20+ years of executive experience driving strategic business development, his heart was always in startups so he created a series of events that have now come to be the largest events in Canada for entrepreneurs. Phil is also a board member of the Osmo Foundation and is the President and Chairman of the Montreal Startup Foundation. As the Founder of Startupfest, and the Elevator World Tour, Phil has invested in every one of the investment prizes- including Paris, and Tel Aviv.

Gary Pudles

Gary A. Pudles is a “serial entrepreneur” who focuses on helping organizations execute better and become more profitable all while having fun. He is the Founder and CEO of AnswerNet, and the co-founder of TextGen, SA Billing, Splendtastic, and Subout. He is a winner of the SmartCEO Best-Run Companies award and the prestigious “Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year” for business service providers and has led AnswerNet to the 21st spot on the Inc. 500. He also teaches Entrepreneurship at the University Of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School Of Business and is a regular participant in Startup Camp and the Intl’ Startup Festival. Pudles’ philosophy is that every project he is involved in must be with the intent of helping companies run their businesses more efficiently and profitably. However, it must be according to their unique style – not by forcing them into a predetermined template, but by replicating proven processes and adding that custom twist unique to their needs.

Michele Bertrand

Michèle Bertrand founded BLVD Creative Agency in 2011, after a ten year run in project management for world-class accounts.

Specializing in marketing, communications and events in the corporate field, the agencies clients include Embrase, Coca-Cola, Devimco Immobilier, Bud Light, Les Alouettes de Montréal, Charton-Hobbs, Budweiser and many more. 

Her role as Associate, Leader Operations and her passion for challenges has allowed Michèle to oversee and execute several projects simultaneously, making her an essential professional in the field, attentive to her clients’ needs and challenges. 

Alongside her company, she became a professor for the ACS in the organization of events and conventions for the ITHQ where she was initially trained and passed on her knowledge and experience to the students of the 2019 program. 

Her creative and pragmatic approach, sense of thoroughness, ability to surround herself with experienced partners and her unfailing dedication to her clients allow Michèle and her agency to go beyond expectations by constantly reinventing themselves.

Josh Felker

Josh is the founder and managing partner at BoxOne Ventures, an asset management firm whose VC activities are focussed on early stage companies across several sectors including fintech, applied ML/AI, synthetic biology/biotech, crypto/decentralized finance.Prior to BoxOne, Josh Felker was the co-founder of the Montreal based proprietary trading firm Vigilant Global. A leader in the most latency sensitive and technology driven areas of trading, Vigilant was an early pioneer in the use of FPGAs and wireless communication technologies in financial markets. Vigilant was acquired by proprietary trading firm DRW Trading in 2012. As partner at DRW, Josh helped oversee a highly diversified global trading firm spanning liquidity provision operations, risking-taking/directional trading, real-estate, venture investing as well as cryptocurrency trading.Josh has a degree in Genetics from Western University and is a father of three.

Beshoy Sidrak

Beshoy Sidrak is a University of Toronto graduate with a degree in Management & Information Technology. In 2016 he got his first opportunity to start investing in Canadian startups and has been doing it ever since.

In early 2020 he formalized his practice by establishing Lo Ventures, with the goal of making pre-seed and seed investments in early stage B2B, ICT companies. In particular, cross-industry AI, IoT and Blockchain projects.

Notable Angel Investments: Kepler Communications, Ledn

Tuyen Vo

Managing Director and Head, Technology and Innovation Banking, Commercial Banking, National Bank of Canada

Tuyen Vo has been working with successful entrepreneurs for nearly 20 years.  A seasoned executive in commercial banking, corporate finance and technology banking, Tuyen joined National Bank of Canada in February 2019 as Managing Director and Head of Technology and Innovation Banking.   Her team specializes in tailoring non-dilutive financing and cash management solutions to fast growing startups and mature companies in every hub of the Canadian innovation landscape.

Prior to joining NBC, Tuyen spent time at two other major Canadian banks, where she held leadership roles within retail and commercial banking.  She is most proud of the strong and engaged teams she’s built along the way.

Tuyen holds a finance degree from HEC Montréal, including a stint at the Institut d’Études Politiques de Paris (Sciences Pô).

Tuyen is involved with many causes aligned with her convictions on education, the fight against poverty and the integration of immigrants.  Having lived on three continents, Tuyen is fluent in three languages and can order a drink in five more.

Jamie O’Hara

Partner at Bluemont Associates

Grise Global actively seeks investments across a wide mandate. Other investments include Montreal based WAVO, GuestDriven,, and Toronto based OneClass. Jamie is a Patron of the Signature Theatre Company and an active fundraiser for the Mount Sinai Hospital Benefit Committee, NYC.