CBC Dragons Den investor Vincenzo Guzzo (aka "Mr. Sunshine") will be a guest speaker for Pycap CEO Stuart Browne's MBA class at York University's Schulich School of Business. The course 'Venture Capital & Private Equity' teaches business students about the VC and PE industry as well as how to manage a portfolio, evaluate investment opportunities, and the parameters involved in a transaction.
Vincenzo Guzzo is a Canadian entrepreneur, philanthropist and television personality. He currently serves as CEO of Cinémas Guzzo, Groupe Guzzo Construction inc., Guzzo Medical and Guzzo Hospitality. He has become also a restaurateur with the opening of a chain of Neapolitan pizzerias called Giulietta in Montreal. He and his wife raise money for charities through the Guzzo Family Foundation. Guzzo was a recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012, he was knighted by the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic and is a member of the Order of Malta.
Guzzo received national attention in 2018 when he joined the cast of the CBC Television business reality show Dragons' Den as one of the investor "Dragons" in season 13 and season 14.
Pycap Portfolio Company ‘Remote Buddy’ Launches Well-Being AI Chatbot Pilot with Schulich MBA Students
COVID-19 has changed the professional work place in which we operate, arguably forever. The remote worker founders of RemoteBuddy.io saw a gap in the corporate well-being market long before the pandemic hit.
Remote Buddy is a pro-active, well-being AI chatbot that checks in with remote employees on a daily basis to support their well-being and encourage positive habits. This will allow employers to see data on a rolling basis so they can make actionable improvements in real time to support their workforce's well-being.
An important stage in every new technology company is piloting the solution with arms length users who can give objective feedback on the product and business, pre-market.
The Schulich MBA Program, Venture Capital & Private Equity class began a pilot project of the Remote Buddy solution last week and will continue to demo the software over a two-week period. They will then give feedback on the product from a user perspective and from a VC/investment perspective on how the company can improve their viability in the corporate wellness market in North America. This is a unique opportunity for the students to get hands on experience with a real-life, emerging tech company for investment consideration.
“Remote Buddy’s technology has great potential to disrupt an industry for social good and corporate profit. If the well-being of people working at home can increase by having the proper supports in place then we will see more creative, productive, and loyal work forces arise at a time in history where innovation and cooperation are critical to the advancement of positive change. From a corporate culture standpoint, Remote Buddy brings hope to employees and employers transitioning to a remote work environment. It’s what good CEO’s should care about.” says Pycap CEO and Schulich Professor Stuart Browne.
Pycap is registered as a Designated Business Incubator for Canada's Startup Visa Program.
The Startup Visa Program, created by the Government of Canada, allows one of the fastest ways for foreign entrepreneurs, their business partners and families to immigrate to Canada. In order for entrepreneurs to qualify, they must be accepted into a Designated Entity such as Pycap.
In addition to facilitating a means for immigration, Pycap's Incubator provides an unparalleled opportunity for immigrant entrepreneurs to launch their company in Canada and access the entire North American market. Each company will receive hands-on support from Pycap’s dedicated team of investors, executive leaders, and analysts providing marketing, technology, financial management, industry research, business development, human resources and guidance on accessing capital.
Pycap Portfolio Company CHARGERQUEST further expands network in Ontario - Rolling out public EV charging stations in Toronto/ Mississauga
Mississauga, ON: In collaboration with Hyatt Place Toronto/ Mississauga Centre, CHARGERQUEST installs publicly accessible electric vehicle charging stations at this brand new hotel property. Located at 5787 Hurontario Street, in the heart of Mississauga's business district near Hwy 401, the property boasts modern decor and amenities including a restaurant and stateof-the-art conference facility. The hotel offers contemporary design and an energizing vibe that encourages travellers to connect, collaborate, and socialize over coffee and cocktails.
"Hyatt Hotels continues to provide services and facilities in line with our mission of Care. We care for the environment so that you can be your best! The addition of two EV charging stations bring advanced technology highly appreciated by our guests." - Celso Thompson, General Manager
ChargerQuest (CQ) is Canada's EV Charging Network. CQ owns and operates smart EV charging infrastructure hosted at premier real estate properties, businesses, parking lots and high-traffic hubs. CQ leverages the most innovative charging technology, placing electric vehicle charging stations everywhere YOU want to be.
Pycap Portfolio Company Be-Hive Finalist for China Innovation and Entrepreneurship Competition in Shenzhen
On November 9, 2020 Be-Hive Inc. competed as a finalist for the 4th China (Shenzhen) Innovation and Entrepreneurship Competition in Shenzhen. Out of hundreds of applicants from 20 different countries, put through a rigorous screening process Be-hive was within 13 candidates selected to present its technology and business model and compete for $230,000. Although Be-Hive did not win this round, it received an impressive score of 83.44/100 and has received interest from a Chinese institutional investor for further discussion and to explore possible synergies.
Be-Hive is an Internet of Things (IoT) platform company that monitors and tracks environmental conditions and assets for manufacturing, warehousing, food services, agriculture and, commercial building applications using sensors, edge computing and AI.
Be-Hive helps users wirelessly monitor temperature, humidity, critical assets, location and much more without changing your existing infrastructure in a simple, reliable and affordable way.
How To Increase Your Chances of Securing VC Funding E11
In this episode, Chris Yap featured the CEO of Pycap Venture Partners, Stuart Browne. Stuart described how his experience as a CFO of a multinational company prompted him to establish his own VC company were evaluating multiple investment opportunities excited him versus focusing on only one.
Stuart articulated what entrepreneurs need to be mindful of when trying to raise capital from Venture Capitalists. Stuart emphasized the importance of having revenue traction prior to pitching to VCs.
This episode will provide entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs looking to secure VC funding practical advice on how to increase their probability of success in raising capital.
Pycap Venture Partners is a venture capital and corporate finance firm providing financing and value creating solutions for early stage companies, administrative, investment and management services for venture capital and private equity investment vehicles, and educational courses for universities, incubators, events and conferences
Stuart Browne is the CEO of Pycap Venture Partners, a venture capital and corporate finance firm. Stuart is also interim CFO of numerous tech companies and an Investment Committee Member of a $350M Ontario Government backed Fund.
In addition, Stuart instructs courses related to venture capital, corporate finance and entrepreneurship at the Schulich School of Business, MBA and MFIN programs, as well as UofT School of Continuing Studies. Stuart has been featured in news outlets including BloombergTV, BNN, Globe & Mail, the Toronto Star, and Techvibes.
Connect with Stuart on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
About From Zero 2 RevenueFROM ZERO 2 REVENUE is an avenue for successful entrepreneurs around the world to tell their stories on how they transformed their vision into reality. We’ll learn about their products and services; and, the passion and character behind the leadership of the organization. The show is designed to inspire and encourage struggling and future entrepreneurs to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams.
At the end of each episode, our listeners can expect plenty of takeaways! As the late Stephen Covey said, “All things are created twice – first in the mind, then in reality”.
The Host Chris Yap is a seasoned BPO executive with over 17 years experience in the industry. Chris came to the US in 2005 to actively promote the Philippines, a preferred outsourcing destination of the world. In doing so, Chris was able to help generate over 40,000 jobs in the Philippines for companies like Dell, Covergys and West Teleservices, which are now consolidated with other large BPO companies in the world.
Chris has been happily married to Eizel for over 16 years and is blessed with 3 wonderful boys. In addition to his passion for business, Chris is also very passionate about helping to solve the child poverty problem. He is doing this by partnering with Food For The Poor where his company sponsors the feeding of children ages 5 and below on a monthly basis.
"Amazing weekend of filming for Pycap Venture Partners' new dystopian, dark comedy film series - inspired by the people and innovation we've seen in the VC and technology industries throughout the Americas, Europe and Asia. (Note: all crew members are tested for COVID-19 every 2 weeks as per industry requirements and are all negative)" ~ Stuart Browne, CEO of Pycap Venture Partners
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 29, 2020
ChargerQuest expands its EV charging network in British Columbia bringing public charging to the Kelowna International Airport region.
Kelowna, BC – Canada's EV charging Network, ChargerQuest, installs four (4) smart EV chargers at the doorway to one of BC's busiest airports - Located at the beautiful Four Points By Sheraton Kelowna visitors can re- energize their vehicles in the hotel's secure underground parkade. Simply scan, pay, and plug in while enjoying the incredible amenities at the property.
“We moved to ChargerQuest for their reliable customer service, as well guests appreciate the ease of operation and state-of-the-art technology” - Jason Guyitt, General Manager, Four Points by Sheraton Kelowna Airport
" We are so excited to add this remarkable property to the ChargerQuest EV charging network. The Four Points By Sheraton Kelowna Airport exemplifies every criteria EV owners look for when choosing a destination to plug-in their vehicle, stay the night, dine and travel. ” - ChargerQuest Team
ChargerQuest (CQ) is Canada's Electric
Vehicle Charging Network. CQ owns and operates smart EV charging infrastructure hosted at premier real estate properties, local businesses, parking places and high- traffic hubs. CQ leverages the most innovative charging technology, placing electric vehicle charging stations everywhere YOU want to be.
To learn more, please visit: chargerquest.com
On Thursday, August 27, Pycap portfolio company Be-hive began work on a pilot project at Naru Izakaya restaurant to monitor the environmental conditions of its food storage units. Naru Izakaya is a Japanese restaurant serving sushi and other dishes. Because of the temperamental nature of the raw fish used in sushi, being able to monitor how it is stored is critical to ensure customers are served healthy and fresh food.
Be-hive's solution provides real-time temperature and humidity monitoring inside coolers and freezers to prevent food spoilage and maintain food safety standards. In addition its' wireless sensors & Sensa Lync AI software platform will help monitor any fluctuations that happen in temperature or humidity levels and alert the staff before spoilage happens so appropriate actions can be taken in a timely manner.
On average Naru Izakaya stores $40,000 per month of food ingredients including raw meat, fish, and vegetables. With Sensa Lync monitoring in place, the restaurant can now digitally monitor its products 24x7. The system will also allow restaurant owner & staff to remotely monitor data from their homes during the times the restaurant is closed.
Globe & Mail Article features Pycap CEO Stuart Browne for Insights on Exporting SaaS amidst COVID-19
Software companies tap into export advantage amid COVID-19 restrictions
The COVID-19 pandemic hit at the worst time of year for Toronto-based agricultural technology startup Ukko Agro Inc.
Winter and early spring are when farmers make key decisions about what resources they need to plant, grow and harvest their crops in the coming months. It’s also an essential time for Ukko Agro to sell its digital tools that help farmers optimize pesticide, water and fertilizer usage to operate more sustainably.
“Agriculture is a high touch-point industry. A lot of farmers expect you to come to their fields, spend some time, explain what you do and then sign up,” says Ketan Kaushish, co-founder and chief executive officer of Ukko Agro, which has clients across North America and parts of Europe, specifically Belgium and Sweden.
With international travel complicated by the coronavirus and many farmers unwilling to take in-person meetings amid the pandemic, Ukko Agro – alongside many businesses – has been forced to shift its sales strategy online.
While online selling often isn’t the same as being there in person, businesses like Ukko Agro benefit from providing software that can be easily exported to new and existing customers around the world.
“The advantage is you don’t have to deal with export issues of physical product delays at borders, or stopped shipments,” says Stuart Browne, an instructor in the MBA and Master of Finance programs at York University’s Schulich School of Business.
Although many companies are spending less due to the economic uncertainty caused by the pandemic, Mr. Browne says there are more opportunities for Canadian software businesses at home and abroad given the global shift toward doing business online.
“They don’t have any borders, which means anyone can access them for the most part,” says Mr. Browne, who is also CEO of Pycap Venture Partners, a Toronto-based venture capital and corporate finance firm. “What good entrepreneurs should be doing is going into the market and finding problems and creating solutions,” both now during the pandemic and in general economic times.
Toronto-based Act Analytics Corp., which offers an environmental, social and governance (ESG) portfolio analytics platform for registered investment advisers in North America, the United Kingdom and Australia, has seen its sales strategy interrupted by the inability to pitch its product in person at conferences and other events.
However, the company is taking advantage of more businesses operating online during the pandemic, as well as the growing interest in sustainable investing.
“People have used the recent market volatility as an acid test for ESG investing – and sustainability has never been more discussed in light of COVID and the Black Lives Matter movement,” says Act Analytics co-founder and managing partner Mike Unwin. “On the marketing and sales side of things, a new virtual world and a new focus on IT infrastructure have played into the hands of many SaaS [software as a service] and e-commerce companies like ours.”
Not having to cross borders with a physical product “is a huge advantage for us being exporters of cloud-based software,” Mr. Unwin says. “There’s no limit to the places we’re getting interest from. It’s truly global.” He says the interest is coming from places such as the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Switzerland, France, Hong Kong and mainland China.
Mr. Unwin has also noticed increased interest from existing and potential clients around the online customer experience, including the ease of use of the company’s analytics tools. Act Analytics is working on expanding its digital presence, including marketing, distribution networks and partnership opportunities.
“We’ve seen a lot of people coming into our environment, purchasing and trying the product,” he says. “People are having to rely more on their technology …. I think, generally, people are more comfortable interacting and doing commerce over the internet, which is favourable to us.”
Still, Mr. Unwin is looking forward to the day when his team can meet clients in person again as part of their operations.
“We’d like to meet the people we do business with,” he says. “Once the world opens up again we can do more of that … I think there’s little substitute for meeting someone in person and generating a genuine relationship. I think that’s still something that people crave. It helps them become comfortable with a new business partner.”
When the pandemic is over and business returns to relative normal, Ukko Agro’s Mr. Kaushish expects to find a balance between selling his software in-person and online.
“We have to figure out [the right mix] between using digital tools and meeting farmers in-person,” he says. “It might take some time for farmers to use digital tools to get acquainted with and purchase new products, but it will eventually happen.”
In the meantime, Ukko Agro is hoping to capitalize on the growing interest companies have in using online products to run their business. The company is building up its online sales tools and both improving and expanding its products to help reach new international markets.
“[The pandemic environment] has shown us that we don’t need to be on the ground to enter new markets,” Mr. Kaushish says, adding that his company is having discussions with companies in Brazil and Argentina. It also has its sights on potential customers in other parts of Europe.
“The mindset is changing [around using technology], and hopefully we see the positive effect in the long term,” he adds. “If everything goes online, nothing stops us from working in South America and [elsewhere in] Europe … I believe companies that build simple and reliable technology-based products will be the ones that win in this new world.”