ScaleupFest is…

an exclusive gathering for founders past the initial seed round, growing the foundational team and ready to take everything to the next level. Share your experience on the startup rollercoaster while ScaleupFest illuminates what is often unaddressed – candid war stories, hard advice, the science and art of startup growth and more.


  • Hana Abaza

    Head of Marketing,

    Shopify Plus

    Derrick Fung



  • Dax Dasilva

    Founder & CEO, Lightspeed

    Founder, Never Apart

    Eva Wong

    Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer,


  • David Byttow

    VP of Product / Engineering,


    Mohannad (Mo) El-Barachi

    General Manager, SweetIQ

    Senior Vice-President, ReachLocal

  • The Honourable Bardish Chagger

    Leader of the Government in the House of Commons Minister of Small Business and Tourism

    Julie Lacasse

    Co-fondatrice et Vice Présidente des Opérations,


  • Craig Buntin

    Co-founder & CEO,


    Lennie Moreno

    CEO & Founder,

    Sofdesk Inc

  • Senia Rapisarda

    Managing Director, 

    HarbourVest Canada

    Richard Reiner

    Executive Chairman,

  • Ivana Lochhead

    VP of Growth,

    Global Skills Hub

    Sylvie Pinsonnault

    Vice President, Strategic Initiatives and Management Committee Advisory Services,

    Investissement Québec

  • Emily Key


    Shiny Objects

    Michael Denham

    President and Chief Executive Officer,


  • MC Heather Anne Ritchie



    Alyssa Harvey Dawson

    General Counsel and Head of Legal, Privacy and Data Governance,

    Sidewalk Labs

  • Warren Levitan




Time Session Title Description
10:00 AM - 10:10 AM Welcome Run down of the day
10:10 AM - 10-30 AM Catching Lightning in a Bottle David Byttow gives real world examples of why attempting to catch lightning in a bottle is an existential threat to your startup.
10:30 AM - 10:50 AM A startup story SweetIQ’s Mohannad (Mo) El-Barachi will take you through his story - the transition through 3 CEOs, the struggles between perception and reality, the big bets and gambles that led to substantial growth and scale, and the crazy story that was their unplanned, but meticulously manoeuvred and ultimately very successful exit.
10:50 AM - 11:10 AM IP for Scaleups Stay tuned for more information!
11:10 AM - 11:30 AM Support systems as you scale Scaling from a startup into a real grown-up business is like transitioning from your teenage years into early adulthood. You have to start doing things you used to say were a waste of time or downright against your principles. Like an older brother who has gone through it all before, seasoned entrepreneur Warren Levitan will guide you through the strategies and support systems you need to embrace growth without sacrificing your values and culture.
11:30 AM - 11:50 AM This is a marathon, not a sprint! When you're gearing up for that Series A raise, you're focused on executing on short-term goals – you need to hit those metrics month over month, and hire someone for that new role ASAP. But are you aware of the impacts your short term outlook is having on your company? And will you successfully raise that Series A, only to realize you've built your company on a bunch of short term decisions that you'll have to spend precious time, energy and resources fixing (if they're even fixable)? Eva will chat about 4 things to be aware of so you're not just building for short-term success, but long-term too.
11:50 AM - 12:20 PM How to build your revenue engine for Series A Understanding how to scale growth in SaaS and can make (or break) your ability to boost revenue. It comes down to three things: people, process and tools. How do you structure your marketing and sales teams? What are processes do you need? What tools should you use? How do you measure impact? Key takeaways for this session include: a) Three phases of building a team and how to structure your funnel at each stage; b) How a tight marketing ops process can be a competitive advantage; c) How to bridge the gap (or avoid it in the first place) between marketing & sales; d) What key metrics show the efficiency of your funnel operations
12:20 PM to 1:20 PM LUNCH LUNCH
1:20 PM - 2:00 PM Raising You have a first meeting. You're sure it went great; you follow up diligently. But after a couple of weeks, the investor has probably forgotten who you are; they've seen dozens of potential investments. How do you keep the flame alive? Raising money is a series of contradictions: The investor reduces risk the longer they wait, while the founder wants to get back to work. The investor wants clear predictions while the founder is still searching for product-market fit. Here's your chance to ask questions about the opportunities, pitfalls, best practices and faux-pas of fundraising, from experts who have the cap tables and battle scars to prove their knowledge.
2:00 PM - 2:20 PM Scaling your startup: Determining the metrics that matter Description coming soon!
2:20 PM - 2:40 PM Hiring in the C-suite As you grow, you'll need to hire. You may even need to replace yourself as CEO which can be a difficult transition. This session will focus on hiring C-suite employees: what you need to think about, what you need to avoid, and how you mitigate expectations.
2:40 PM - 3:20 PM Growing at Lightspeed Lightspeed has raised more money for a tech startup, that any other company in Canada's history. Through 7 years of bootstrapping, growing the team, building the culture and the customer base, raising... Dax has done it all and he's done it all really well. What can you learn from his decade of scaling Lightspeed? Dax takes us behind the scenes, in conversation with Investissement Quebec's Sylvie Pinsonnault, who's been with him from the beginning.
3:20 PM - 3:40 PM Advisors Startups need advisors, they need board members and they need mentors who can help them along their respective journeys. What's the best way to engage (and compensate) top tier independent advisors and board members? How do you get them to care about you and what you're doing? And once you get them, how do you make sure you keep them?
3:40 PM - 4:00 PM BREAK BREAK
4:00 PM - 4:55 PM Lightning Pitch Round Have you honed your elevator pitch? The somewhat mythical explanation of what you are and why someone should care that can take no longer than a brief elevator ride with your dream investor? Then a minute should seem like an eternity! At the Lightning Pitch round, you get a minute to tell investors why they should find out more about you. The room's full of VCs and experts. They're eager to discover the next great thing. But the pressure's on: Can you pique their interest in a flash, and leave them begging for more?
4:55 PM - 5:00 PM Closing remarks
5:00 PM Startupfest Kick-off Party Brought to you by Skyy Canada and Montoni Group