June 11, 2020
ventureLAB is proud to announce that it has welcomed several new directors to the board at its Annual General Meeting on June 4. Also at its AGM, ventureLAB recognized outgoing board members Janet Beed, Anthony Gallo, Peter Pekos and Andy Wilkes for their dedication and leadership over the years. Paul Bradley, past executive at Johnson & Johnson and Andy Taylor, CAO at the City of Markham, Canada’s most diverse city, were reappointed to the board as Chair of the Board and Treasurer of the Board, respectively.
Paul replaced Karna Gupta in 2019, former executive of several global technology organizations, whose maximum term expired in the last 12 months. ventureLAB greatly appreciates Karna’s leadership over the years and looks forward to his continued engagement as past chair.
Joining ventureLAB’s Board of Directors are several founders and senior executives in leading tech firms, ranging from homegrown Canadian successful enterprises to global multinationals. The new directors will join a dynamic, passionate board of founders, entrepreneurs, public sector leaders, and industry leaders, who will work together to elevate York Region as Canada’s second-largest tech cluster and destination of choice for globally competitive tech titans who are born global and built-to-scale.
Joining ventureLAB’s Board of Directors are:
Steven Astorino, Vice President of Development, Data and AI and Canada Lab Director, IBM
Steven Astorino is the Vice President of Development, Data and AI and Canada Lab Director. He is a development executive with proven transformational leadership and expertise in leading large enterprise development teams and an experienced change agent with a proven track record to drive improvements and efficiency. Early in his career, Steven has spent several years working with network testing technologies for the telecom Industry and played a key role in providing VoIP testing solutions and has extensive experience with data technologies such as data movement and transformation from his days at DataMirror. He has a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science with a strong business background.
Andrea Baptiste, Global Strategic Startups, Amazon AWS
Andrea Baptiste is an accomplished Senior Executive and Entrepreneur with more than 25 years of success in enterprise, B2B and B2C software, SaaS and telecommunications networking. She has been a founding member/CEO at four tech startups, in both Canada and Silicon Valley. As part of these startups, Andrea has led corporate strategy, raised financing rounds, participated in merger and acquisition, product-market fit, and an IPO. She has scaled companies globally, establishing new markets and channels. Her broad areas of expertise include vision and strategy, product management, business development, strategic partnerships, start-ups, cloud computing, and venture capital.
Mark Miller is the Global CEO of Volaris Group and Trapeze Group. In addition, Mark is the Chief Operating Officer at Constellation Software – Volaris Group’s parent company. He began his career as a software developer and it was during that time that he co-founded Trapeze Group in 1995. Mark has a passion for software technology and building innovative businesses that last forever. His goal is to help intrapreneurs and entrepreneurs surround themselves with a great team so that they can be leaders in their industries. Mr. Miller received a B.Sc. in Statistics and a B.Sc. in Mathematics from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. In addition, Mr. Miller has attended the Executive Marketing Program at the Ivey Business School at the University of Western Ontario.
Yalda Riahi, General Counsel, Mircom Group
Yalda Riahi is General Counsel to Mircom Group of Companies, a Vaughan-based global designer and manufacturer of life safety and building automation systems. She is also currently serving as a volunteer member of the Board of Directors of the Mackenzie Health Foundation and member of the Board of Trustees of Toronto Montessori Schools. Yalda is co-owner and member of the boards of directors of various private enterprises that are active in a range of industries including real estate and pharmaceuticals. Prior to her current vocation, Yalda practiced law for several years, with extensive experience in corporate law, commercial leasing, commercial litigation and employment matters. In addition to her legal career, Yalda has consistently been an active member of the community, where she has volunteered her time and expertise in support of hospitals, schools, community centers and the legal community. Yalda is an alumnus of University of Windsor, University of Detroit Mercy, York University and Ryerson University, where she studied law (Canada and the USA), philosophy and commerce.
Jason Tham, Co-Founder and CEO, Nulogy
Jason Tham is the CEO and co-founder of Nulogy, a globally recognized software company that connects consumer brands with their external suppliers to bring customized consumer products to market with agility and reduced waste. As the heartbeat and driving force behind Nulogy, Jason spearheads the company’s strategic direction and product vision. Under Jason’s leadership, Nulogy has become one of the fastest growing technology companies in North America winning prizes for 2019 Best Workplace for Technology, Inclusion, Women, and Mental Health among others. For over a decade, Jason has championed for the advancement of agile, interconnected supply chains. As a distinguished thought leader, he has presented his vision and strategies at industry conferences around the world, serves on several industry association boards and actively advises several technology companies. In 2018, Jason was named a Finalist for EY’s Entrepreneur of the Year, in recognition of his growth-driven spirit and leadership. Jason graduated from the University of Waterloo with an Honours degree in Systems Design Engineering.
Harry Zarek, President and CEO, Compugen
Harry Zarek first developed an interest in computers as an engineering student. In 1981, the same year IBM launched the personal computer, Harry started a small business in the basement of his Toronto home, building and selling PCs and setting them up for customers. He called the company Compugen, short for computer generation. Under Harry’s stewardship, the small basement-based company has grown to become one of Canada’s largest IT solutions providers, with a track record that consistently exceeds the industry average. Harry holds an undergraduate degree in Engineering Science and a Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Toronto. He is an active investor and a member of the board of directors for a number of early stage technology companies in Canada and the US.
“We are delighted to welcome these industry leaders to ventureLAB’s Board of Directors. Their experience, coupled with their connections to the Region will be a driving force in elevating ventureLAB and York Region as Canada’s second largest tech cluster,” said Paul Bradley, Chair of the Board, ventureLAB.
“Our incoming board members bring decades of experience as global leaders and founders of multinationals and scaling Canadian titans in foundational areas required to build global enterprises: capital investment, talent retention, technology development, and customer acquisition. I look forward to working with our entire board of public and private sector leaders in advancing the voice and scalable success of tech founders who have bold ambitions of commercializing at global scale. Together, we will build a sustainable generation of Canadian anchor companies who are Built-to-Scale and go global,” said Melissa Chee, President and CEO, ventureLAB.
The full list of ventureLAB Board members appointed for the 2020-2021 term are:
For more information or media inquiries, please contact:
VP, External Relations and Communications
ventureLAB is a leading innovation hub located in Markham in York Region, Canada’s second largest tech cluster. Through its programs focused on capital, talent, technology, and customers, ventureLAB has supported over 2,000 tech companies and entrepreneurs, including 100 companies that have raised over $115 million and created 3,900 jobs. Each year, ventureLAB supports over 400 growth and scale tech companies, including 45 companies and partners who employ over 300 people located ventureLAB’s innovation hub based in Canada’s most diverse community. At ventureLAB, we grow globally competitive tech titans who are born global and build-to-scale in Canada.