The Entrepreneurship Hatchery  ☰ 

Carol Leaman

Carol Leaman is the CEO of Axonify Inc., a disruptor in the corporate learning space and innovator behind the world’s most modern Frontline Learning and Communications Platform.  Axonify delivers a unique 3-minute a day learning experience that combines brain science, adaptive microlearning, gamification and predictive analytics to increase employee knowledge and the performance necessary for achieving targeted business results. Prior to Axonify, Carol was the CEO of PostRank Inc., a social engagement analytics company that she sold to Google in June 2011. Previously, Carol held CEO positions at several other technology firms, including RSS Solutions and Fakespace Systems, both of which she sold to strategic acquirers. Carol is a frequent speaker, a regular contributor to Fortune magazine and a well-respected thought leader, whose articles appear in various learning, business and technology publications.  She brings her experience and insight to numerous not-for-profit and for-profit boards and has won multiple awards, including the Waterloo Region Entrepreneur Hall of Fame Intrepid Award (2011) and the Sarah Kirke Award (2010) for Canada’s leading female entrepreneur.

Steve Hennig

Steven Hennig is Senior Counsel with Shopify’s Commercial Group. This group of lawyers provides guidance and support to internal clients across most of Shopify’s global service and product lines. Throughout his career, Steven’s professional focus has been the intersection of technology and the law. Steven started his legal career in-house at a Canadian software company, and moved on to work as an associate in McCarthy Tétrault’s Technology and Outsourcing Group.

Carolyn Hicks

Women in Entrepreneurship


Carolyn Hicks is co-founder and CFO/COO of Brill Power – a battery technology start-up from Oxford University. She is a Professional Engineer with degrees in engineering (BASc, MASc; U of T) and business (MBA; University of Oxford). Prior to being an entrepreneur, Carolyn worked in engineering, transportation economics and infrastructure finance in Canada and the UK.  Outside of Brill Power, Carolyn is a Director for Oxford Mutual Aid and is a 2x Ironman finisher.

Katya Shteyn

Y Combinator

About Katya Shteyn: Katya Shteyn is the Co-Founder and CTO of Biorender, a software platform that powers scientific illustrations. Before Biorender Katya worked at Dropbox and graduated from University of Toronto with a BA in Computer Science.

Priya Vijayakumar

Women in Entrepreneurship

Priya has over 15 years of experience creating and implementing global product strategy in Fortune 100, mid-cap and start-ups. She has successfully built and commercialized highly technical hardware and software product solutions through direct sales & channel partners.  Priya was the VP of Product & Marketing at two IoT start-ups, Cloudleaf & AeroScout Industrial (acquired by Stanley Black & Decker).  Priya has also held multiple product and engineering leadership roles at GE Energy & Pratt & Whitney.  She has a BS in Chemical Engineering from the University of Toronto and lives in San Francisco, CA.

Dalton Caldwell

About Dalton Caldwell: Dalton Caldwell was the co-founder and CEO of imeem (acquired by MySpace in 2009), and the co-founder and CEO of He has a BS in Symbolic Systems and a BA in Psychology from Stanford University.

About YC: Y Combinator is a startup fund based in Mountain View. Twice a year YC invests a small amount of money in a large number of startups. The YC partners work closely with each company to get them into the best possible shape and refine their pitch to investors. Each batch culminates in Demo Day, when the startups present their companies to a carefully selected audience of investors. Y Combinator has invested in over 2,500 companies including Stripe, Airbnb, Instacart, Dropbox, Reddit, Coinbase. The combined valuation of YC companies is over $150B.

Ryan Gilliam

Dr. Ryan Gilliam is a Venture Partner at 1955 Capital where he is focused on energy, sustainability, waste upcycling, materials innovations, and emerging technologies.
As a serial entrepreneur in the sustainability field, Ryan has developed electrochemical, catalysis, and chemical technologies for the beneficial reuse of carbon emissions, industrial waste reutilization, and production of building materials and chemicals.
In addition to serving as a Venture Partner at 1955 Capital, Ryan is the CEO and founder of two venture-funded start-up companies. The first, Fortera Corporation, is focused on the beneficial reuse of CO2 to produce a range of building material products that both directly capture and offset CO2 emissions. The second, Chemetry Corporation, is an industrial chemicals platform company redefining how commodity chemicals are made. Within these two companies and industrial areas, Ryan has successfully driven industrial scale-up of multiple technologies, a business development program resulting in strategic partnerships with Fortune 500 chemicals and engineering companies, commercialization efforts which led to an active presence in global markets, the development of a smart parts platform and set of enabling strategic supply agreements, and the building of teams consisting of world-class technical and business talent.
Ryan obtained his Ph.D. from the University of Toronto in Materials Science and Engineering. On his work in catalysis and electrochemistry, Ryan has 10+ peer-reviewed publications and has been an invited speaker at multiple international conferences. He is an inventor on 90+ patents in the energy, sustainability, products and materials spaces.

Derrick Fung

Derrick Fung is CEO and Co-founder of Drop – an intelligent mobile rewards app where consumers can earn points for every day spending on top of their existing debit and credit cards. Drop has ranked in the top 3 in the app store in both Canada and the US and currently boasts 3 million members. Drop has raised over $25m from VCs including NEA, Sierra Ventures, White Star Capital, CapitalOne Growth Ventures and angel investors such as Tina Sharkey (CEO of Brandless) and Dan Macklin (Co-founder of SoFi). Derrick began his career in Finance in Sales & Trading in Toronto and New York at various investment banks including Merrill Lynch, BNP Paribas and CIBC Capital Markets. Derrick was named in 2014 to the Forbes 30 Under 30 list in Music alongside Avici, Lady Gaga and Drake.

Tom Ritchie

Tom Ritchie is the President of Ample Organics and Akerna Canada, a leading provider of cannabis business solutions including Canada’s premier seed-to-sale software platform. With nearly a decade of cannabis cultivation experience and regulatory knowledge, Tom leads the organization and teams that work closely with the industry’s leading licensed producers of cannabis. In addition to his work supporting Ample Organics, Tom developed AmpleLearn and Teal Certifications, the cannabis industry’s first certification program designed to educate and empower industry participants using a seed-to-sale software platform.

Tom’s advocacy for a regulated cannabis industry, combined with his passion for education has made him a go-to source for post-secondary institutions looking to develop cannabis education curriculums. With a background in Asset Management, working for the world’s largest steel company, Tom continues to look for opportunities to increase efficiencies in cannabis cultivation to align more with lean manufacturing.

Naresh Bangia and Joseph Orozco: Fireside Chat

First Speaker Series for fall of 2020, joined by Naresh Bangia who is an entrepreneur and philanthropist as well as Joseph who is the executive director of the Hatchery. Naresh is the CEO & founder of AJB Software Design Inc., and prior to that he co-founded Connecting Solutions, a software solutions company specializing in the retail market. Naresh has been a lifelong entrepreneur and is currently active in providing value adding capital to early stage companies and their entrepreneurs. An industry leader and visionary over the past fifteen years, Naresh has architected a number of the innovative solutions used by North America’s most influential retailers and continues to work alongside his development team to provide guidance in the evolution of integrated retail payment tools and solutions in the global retail marketplace. Naresh has been a recipient of numerous industry accolades and awards and is an Engineering Science graduate from the University of Toronto.

Arash Zohoor

Arash Zohoor, a physician and entrepreneur, is a cofounder of Inkbot. He is motivated by his patients to create healthcare delivery solutions that leverage technology and data in innovative ways. Speaker Series on January 28th, 2020.

Jonah Midanik

An engineer by trade, Jonah has spent the last twenty years at the intersection of marketing and technology as a serial entrepreneur. Jonah has been lucky enough to have several different lenses on the founder journey from bootstrapping, launching new corporate divisions, and raising 8 figures in venture capital funding.
He currently splits his time as the Founder and Chairperson of Limelight Platform and as the Managing Director of Acceleprise.

Chris Grouchy

Chris is a co-founder of Convictional. Convictional is a B2B trade network that enables businesses to buy and sell physical products through modern technology. Convictional raised $3M in venture capital from leading investors including including Y Combinator, Jerry Yang (Alibaba Board Member, Yahoo Founder), and executives from Shopify and Stripe. Chris previously worked in sales at Shopify Plus.