Executive Search Expert Steven Pezim Explains the Secrets to Recruiting Top Talent   Whether you’re a rookie or veteran tech executive, having the right leadership team is the difference between being stuck on first base or hitting home runs.   So how do you attract and retain the right executives? Here are some key steps I have learned in my 30 years managing executive searches for tech companies:   Hire an Experienced Search Firm Can you dedicate an average of 300 hours and several staff to recruit the CFO you need? If you’re a start-up, do you have the experience and capacity to build a solid leadership team straight out of the gate? Then don’t waste precious time and resources. This is a multi-million dollar decision. The cost of an executive mis-hire is up to 30 times compensation. Focus on what you do best and hire professionals to find your key executives.   Scout the Competition & Their Talent To start, you need a Talent Management expert to scout your competition.  For example, we’re working with a tech firm that needs to triple in size in the next five years. We are analyzing their competitors in Europe and North America. That means building profiles on individuals in 100 companies, investigating their respective skills, experience and accomplishments, and culture fit, as well as looking at how these companies […]

As a CEO or Senior Executive, there will be many moments in your career where your success will be determined, at least in part, by your presentation skills.  Whether you’re interviewing for a new job, trying to close a big deal, speaking at a conference or inspiring your team, your vocal, verbal and non-verbal skill could make all the difference.   Recently, many of our members participated in a Presenting with Impact workshop with the President of Corporate Speech Consultants, Melanie Novis.  Melanie took our members through several exercises to pinpoint individual areas of improvement as well as tips that covered several areas of a presentation.  For those who couldn’t make it, here are some of Melanie’s presentation dos and don’ts:   First Impressions Are Everything Walk in with energy Before you speak, make eye contact (that’s your non-verbal hello). If you have a large audience, do a z-sweep across the room with your eyes. When you say your name, pause between your first and last. A good exercise to practice this is to punch the air once at your first name, then at your last.   Content When you start planning your presentation, ask yourself three questions: What is […]

Imagine starting a web design company in the mid-1990s when not only was there no social media and no e-commerce, most people did not know what a website was, yet alone own a computer.  I was spending my days in front of my house, drawing pictures on the road with sidewalk chalk while Shaul Kuper founded Destiny Web Designs.  “It was difficult. No one knew what a website was. It was way ahead of the curve”, recalls Shaul in an interview with Sramana Mitra, “I had an instinct that this was where the future was going. I remember my father telling me that I was crazy”. Shaul Kuper is an AceTech Ontario CEO member and is the founder and CEO of (what is now) Destiny Solutions.  What set Destiny Web Designs out from the crowd in the early days was that they did not provide textual websites – their sites had a real purpose and an ROI.  One of Shaul’s first big clients was the University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies and in 1997, they became the first university in the world to do online enrollments.  However, the company still had its work cut out for them. Shaul explains […]

Last night, AceTech Ontario hosted our final event & Quarterly Dinner of 2016, and in my personal opinion, we finished the year off with a bang!  Cocktail hour started the night off with just under 100 movers and shakers in the technology space – all AceTech Ontario members, sponsors and guests. The night continued with a presentation by our talented & energetic CEO, Jodi Kovitz in which she shared with us her vision for the organization.  She has plans for AceTech to grow, but grow in a smart, thoughtful and intelligent way.  Needless to say, there will be lots of exciting news to come in 2017!  Jodi also shared with us highlights from her technology innovation trip to Israel with Toronto Mayor John Tory.  (You can read more about her takeaways from the trip here).  Jodi was joined on stage by AceTech members Sheetal Jaitly, Vuk Magdelinic and guest Robert Douglas who also spoke about their highlights and lessons from the trip.  Lastly, we presented Denise Roy, one of our 2017 Leadership Initiative Winners, with her award.  Denise, along with other winners Daneal Charney and Mark Miller, will all be presenting workshops on their winning topic to AceTech members in the coming […]

You’re the CEO of a software company looking to grow faster and smarter. There is great opportunity before you, but also more decisions on how to achieve that growth than ever before. “I think what you have seen over the past two years is this obsession with growth in software companies,” states Hasan Askari, Managing Partner at K1 Investment Management and AceTech Ontario Sponsor. “But it is growth at all costs – let’s just take a bunch of money and throw it at Sales and Marketing and assume it is going to have some results.” In this growth-obsessed market, many companies will inevitably seek funding as money continues to be one of the cheapest commodity available. However, a large number of these businesses that have raised capital on their search for growth have come up short and have found themselves in a weakened, confused state wondering what went wrong. As an increasing number of fallen unicorns make the headlines, selecting the right capital partner is more important now than it’s ever been before. There are two important principles to keep in mind when selecting considering a capital raise. Primarily, not all money is the same. You’ve put your blood, sweat, […]

Contribution by AceTech Ontario CEO Member Mark Miller of Volaris Group. You have worked hard to grow and develop your software company. Perhaps your success has attracted some attention; or maybe you are feeling that it’s time to move on. One way or the other, selling is on your radar. Of course, you’re ready for this next step. But there are several things you probably didn’t expect – unforeseen factors that could affect you and the acquisition process.

Recently, AceTech Ontario sponsor KPMG in Canada partnered with the C100 Association to compile a research report that dives into the minds of several Canadian technology company founders to gain their insights on the Canadian ecosystem and the biggest challenges they are facing with their companies.  This report, Entrepreneur Rising, surveyed a select group of 52 Canadian entrepreneurs to discuss their experience, their tips and what keeps them up at night. In this blog, we will provide an overview of some of the items discussed in this research report. Many of us have heard Toronto referred to as “Silicon Valley North”.  While we may not yet have the opportunities that Silicon Valley does, several Canadian entrepreneurs believe that Canada’s technology ecosystem has a lot to offer business owners.  In fact, 86% of founders surveyed agree that the Canadian growth company/innovation ecosystem has improved significantly over the last 5 years. Not only have we seen a shift in Canada’s ecosystem, but we have also seen a shift in the Canadian entrepreneur.  “What we are seeing is the emergence of a new class of serial entrepreneurs; they know how to bring a great idea to market and they are using those skills […]

Bill Gates said that “[he will] choose a lazy person to do a hard job. Because a lazy person will find an easy way to do it”.  According to Larry Wall and several others, one of the greatest virtues of a developer is their inherent laziness. Since their early days, SoCast Digital has used this to their advantage.  Sanford Liu, Co-Founder, CTO & AceTech Ontario member, explains “I know it sounds terrible, but I think it’s a great way of thinking about it; programmers develop code so they can do less work in the future. One of my goals when I bring new developers onto the team is to make their work easier and less complicated”. One of the benefits of being a technology company is that if there isn’t a workflow software out there that suits your needs, you can task your programmers with either developing one that does, or adding to an already existing software.  SoCast has taken that opportunity and combined it with internal in-person meetings between teams for seamless communication within the company.  “I think one of the things developers dislike doing the most is having to report on the projects they are working on,” explains […]

Believe it or not, the idea of customer success is not a new concept.  The work of Customer Success Managers (CSM) have been around for a long time, but it was never formally named. The concept has really come into fruition with the development of the SaaS model, however people are still struggling with the concept.  So we sat down with Jamie Cappelli, VP Client Success at 360insights to gain a better understanding. Under the traditional sales model, customers pay a large License and Service fee upfront to own and implement software.  This model usually includes a Support and Maintenance contract for 3-4 years and unfortunately tends to promote a culture that typically only engages with customers when it comes time to discuss renewal. Under a SaaS model, the customer rents the software paying less upfront, but has higher recurring payments.   With the cost of customer acquisition, a SaaS company will only break even after the first year of a customer contract and turn a profit in the second year. Since contracts with a SaaS company are typically year to year, or even month to month, customer retention is vital in order for the company to cover the cost of sale. […]

Contribution by AceTech Ontario CEO Member Mark Miller of Volaris Group Either through acquisitions or expansions your company has gone global. You now have opportunities in additional markets, but also face a new set of challenges. These challenges may be cultural challenges, such as adapting to a wide range of business environments, and operational challenges, such as setting up lines of communication which allow your company to function as a global company, rather than just a company that happens to have a lot of offices in different locations. Some of the common challenges that companies face when establishing a global footing are as follows: Human Resources and Talent Management Companies need to focus on having the right people in the right place when executing a global strategy; as human capital is at the core of driving a successful global business. This requires providing ongoing coaching to your executives and leaders, so they can adapt to the different cultural environments, while working on their business management and leadership skills. At Volaris, we recognize that cultivating the next generation of leaders is essential to continued growth and sustainability. Hence, we encourage our leaders to develop a long term perspective, and provide them […]