Bootup Garage – Mentors

Office Hours

Mentors schedule their own office hours, and any Garage Member is welcome to sign up to meet with them during that session. The scheduled office hours are in a Google Calendar, and we email the upcoming schedule to all Members at the beginning of each week.

Signup Process

Sign up to meet with a Mentor on this shared spreadsheet.

Upcoming Office Hours

Our Mentors Rock

We at Bootup are immensely proud of our all-star cast of mentors, which includes angel investors, startup founders, industry and market experts, and seasoned coaches. Facilitating access to these mentors is one of the most valuable things that we can do for our Garage Members.

  • Boris Wertz
    Boris Wertz is the Founder and CEO of W Media Ventures, one of the most active early-stage consumer internet investors in the Pacific Northwest.

    Boris Wertz is the Founder and CEO of W Media Ventures, one of the most active early-stage consumer internet investors in the Pacific Northwest. He is also a venture partner of Acton Capital Partners from Munich / Germany, a large consumer Internet fund that is focused on later stage companies with an established track record of revenues and profitability.

    Before founding W Media Ventures, Boris was the Chief Operating Officer of, the world’s largest marketplace for new, used and rare and out-of print books which was sold to Amazon in 2008. Boris joined the company in 2002 after JustBooks, the German company he co-founded in 1999, was acquired by AbeBooks. He successfully finished his PhD as well as his graduate studies at the Graduate School of Management (WHU), Koblenz, majoring in Business Economics / Business Management. In 2005, Boris was the Pacific Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year award winner.

  • Danny Robinson
    Danny is the CEO of the BC Innovation Council, and has been starting and advising early stage technology companies for over 15 years.

    Danny has been starting and advising early stage technology companies for over 15 years. In this time, he has closed more than $100M over 9 rounds of venture capital financing. Prior to joining the BCIC in 2010, Danny was a director of Bootup Entrepreneurial Society and a co-founder and Managing Partner at Bootup Labs. Danny also co-founded Strutta, a platform that enables anyone, from a small publisher to the world’s premier brands, to easily create online promotions centered around consumer generated content and social media. As an accomplished entrepreneur, Danny works to promote Vancouver as the tech center he believes it can be by connecting local entrepreneurs with Silicon Valley-based VCs, co-organizing the popular tech mixer, Launch Party, speaking at local and international tech events and serving on the Science World Equity Committee. Danny is also a member of the Board of Directors for Strutta and Suite 101.

  • Stewart Butterfield
    Stewart Butterfield is the president and co-founder of Tiny Speck, developer of the web based massively multiplayer game, Glitch, to be released late 2010.

    Stewart Butterfield is the president and co-founder of Tiny Speck, developer of the web based massively multiplayer game, Glitch, to be released late 2010. Prior to Tiny Speck Stewart co-founded Flickr and was the president of its parent company before Flickr’s acquisition by Yahoo! in the spring of 2005. Until July 2008, he oversaw the development of as its General Manager inside Yahoo! where it has grown to one of the largest web sites in the world with over 80 million unique visitors a month.
    In 15 years working on the web, Stewart has had a distinguished career as a designer, entrepreneur, and technologist, named one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World by Time Magazine and one BusinessWeek’s Top 50 Leaders.

    Butterfield graduated from the Universities of Victoria and Cambridge, with degrees in philosophy and retains interests in cognitive science, the history and philosophy of science, and economics. He lives in Vancouver.

  • Jason Bailey
    GM Virtual Currency, SuperRewards

    GM Virtual Currency, SuperRewards

  • Ryan Holmes
    CEO, HootSuite

    As founder of Invoke, Ryan’s experience combines diverse management skills with solid industry and technical knowledge. Since 2000, Invoke has grown to a talented 26-person powerhouse focused on new media disciplines such as online advertising, viral campaigns and social application development. As CEO, Ryan has been active in all aspects of Invoke operations, focusing on strategy, business and product development and technical and social networking trends.

    Ryan gained valuable experience in entrepreneurial and startup ventures, business management, and marketing as owner of a restaurant chain, a tourist adventure business, and online store with 3m+/year revenues.

  • Milun Tesovic
    Founder & CTO – Metroleap Media /
    Tesovic started MetroLeap Media at 15, following an early passion for technology that led him to create, the most popular online lyrics property in the world. Today, Tesovic is an award-winning, 24-year-old business student and CTO of MetroLeap Media. He continues to evolve with innovative lyrics applications and services that appeal to the site’s large user base.
    Tesovic began his entrepreneurial career in high school with an Internet hosting business, and, by following market trends, learned that song lyrics were one of the most popular search terms on the Internet but not well represented for consumers. He then developed a script to create a powerful and comprehensive database of song lyrics, sold his hosting business, and began focusing his technical skills on MetroLeap Media and

    Today, Tesovic combines his role as CTO of MetroLeap Media with his work as a student at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, British Columbia. He was named the 2009 National Student Entrepreneur Champion by Advancing Canadian Entrepreneurship (ACE) Canada, and received the Simon Fraser University Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 2008. MetroLeap Media has been recognized as a Red Herring Canada Top 50 company, and was awarded the Burnaby Business Excellence Award in 2008.

  • Dan Martell
    Co-Founder, Flowtown

    Co-Founder, Flowtown

  • Boris Mann
    Senior Platform Analyst, iQmetrix

    Boris Mann has been blogging and using web tools for over 10 years. What began as an exploration of digital tools became a career building startups and web solutions.

    Boris has a passion for engaging communities, from distributed open source teams to the local innovators in Vancouver. He is one of the founding organizers of Northern Voice, the first Canadian blogging conference. He also is active in many developer communities, helping put on BarCamps, DemoCamps, and the Open Source CMS Summit on multiple continents. He holds a BSc in Computer Science from the University of Victoria, where he went after a coin flip made him choose between university and becoming a professional chef.

    Boris acts as an official advisor to the following companies:

    • Foodtree, a platform for food information “beyond the label”, creating the world’s largest repository of semantic data about foods
    • Strutta, a hosted contest-as-a-service platform.
    • Mobify, a hosted service to help publishers create and monetize mobile views of their desktop websites.
    • He also plays an advisory role with the Bootup Labs portfolio companies
  • Lyal Avery
    Chief Marketing Officer, Overinteractive Media

    CTO Strutta, Co-founder, Outcome3 Marketing, acknowledged social and viral marketing mastermind, and now the CMO of Overinteractive Media, the makers of the dimeRocker social game platform.

  • Deb Landa
    Founder & CEO, Dealmaker Media
    Debbie Landa has been an entrepreneur for more than 20 years. She is the founder and CEO of Dealmaker Media which was launched in the fall of 2000. Her conferences bring together leading executives looking to discover the next great startup and partners that can accelerate their growth. Over 500 emerging startups from Linkedin, Admob, Rightscale to have presented at her conferences. She is considered a curator of innovation and has become one of the most influential connectors in Silicon Valley. Before starting Dealmaker Media, she ran business development for a venture “catalyst” firm focused on accelerating growth for emerging startups. Prior to that, she spent 10 years in the fashion industry working with various clothing manufacturers, designing and developing private-label programs for major retailers. She is Canadian and grew up in the tundra, or as we call it, Saskatoon.
  • Martin Ertl
    Founder, Contractually
    Founder, Contractually
  • Bernd Petak
    Entrepreneur, Advisor, Executive
    Bernd Petak is an entrepreneur, advisor, leader, senior executive, consultant and change agent with a strong technical grounding and three decades of professional experience. He is currently a consultant providing M&A and change related services to technology-based clients. Bernd founded and exited MLI, a bootstrapped Vancouver-based developer and publisher of computer games for affinity groups. MLI produced Freeriders: North Shore Spirit, a fully 3D game targeted at the mountain bike community. In addition, Bernd was an equity partner in technology, strategy and operations at Deloitte where he spent several years in Silicon Valley. He has also acted as CEO for OA Solutions, a British Columbia-based technology service provider with clients through out North America.

    His LinkedIn profile is available at .

    Bernd has fully consumed the lean startup coolaid, and advises Internet and Mobile startup entrepreneurs.

  • Dennis Pilarinos
    Site Director, Microsoft Canada
    Spent a number of years building and leading engineering teams create developer frameworks. Focused on understanding consumer and enterprise trends and building software that addresses their needs. Most recently working on Software plus Services at Microsoft as part of the Azure Services Platform.


  • Jason Smith
    President, Product Innovation, Vision Critical
    Jason has over 15 years of Internet, strategy, marketing and product innovation experience. Before joining Vision Critical, Jason worked for interactive entertainment leader, Electronic Arts (EA), as Vice President, Special Projects. Prior to EA, he co-founded Columbus Group Communications, a leading Interactive and Web Applications agency which was acquired by TELUS in 2001.

    Jason is the recipient of an Ernst & Young Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year award, BDC’s Young Entrepreneur of the Year award, and is one of Business in Vancouver’s Top 40 under 40. He has a Bachelor of Commerce, Honours, in Marketing from the University of British Columbia and studied at the IAG School of Management in Brussels, Belgium.

  • Dean Prelazzi
    Director, BCIC
    As Director of ICT, Wireless & Digital Media, Dean (@deanprelazzi) is spearheading the development of programs to support technology entrepreneurs and startups in BC. An operator in four technology startups and one mid-sized software company over the past 13 years in Ottawa, Washington D.C., Silicon Valley and Vancouver, Dean also has significant experience in sales, business development, marketing, product management and business strategy.

    As founder and principal in Management Adventures Corporation, he has consulted with and advised many tech startups. He has a diverse technology background and has spoken at numerous technology events throughout North America including Canada 3.0, Telemanagement Forum, The Software Industry Information Association, Business in Vancouver Breakfast Series and BCIC CONNECT.
    Dean is a member of BCIT’s Commercialization Advisory Committee and the Canadian Technology Alliance’s Action Committee for Entrepreneurship and has been a BCIC-New Ventures mentor for the past four years. He is also a technology marketing instructor at BCIT and a Board Member with the Kids Up Front Foundation. He earned an Executive MBA from the University of Ottawa in 1997, specializing in technology sales and marketing.

  • Shahrooz Nabavi
    Lawyer, Fasken Martineau
    Shahrooz Nabavi is an associate in the Technology and Securities Group. His corporate practice focuses on representing private companies on formation and reorganization of corporate structures, debt and equity angel and venture capital financings, and general corporate matters. Shahrooz also advises and represents clients in the technology, clean technology and health care industries with respect to a wide variety of commercial transactions including acquisitions and dispositions of assets and shares, information technology and e-commerce transactions, outsourcing, strategic alliances, procurement of goods and services, and commercialization of intellectual property.
  • Harry Chemko
    Founder & CEO, Elastic Path
    Harry Chemko’s passion for entrepreneurship started at a young age when he co-founded Elastic Path in 2000, fresh out of university. With a $15,000 start up loan from a non-profit organization, Harry’s optimism and energy drove the business forward. Through long days, hard work, and cheap pizza, the co-founders were able to successfully grow the business the old fashioned way – through profits and persistence, and without outside investment.
    Today Harry is responsible for leading corporate strategy for Elastic Path and Elastic Path Services, the company’s ecommerce outsourcing division. His extensive experience in international business, sales, general management and operations with companies in the ecommerce sector has allowed him to succeed. For the second year in a row, PROFIT magazine listed Elastic Path as #25 in its annual ranking of Canada’s fastest growing companies. Harry expects Elastic Path to change the way enterprise ecommerce software is developed and delivered.
  • Trevor Orsztynowicz
    Product Director, Joyent; Founder, Layerboom
  • Andrew Charland
    CEO, Nitobi
    Andre Charland is the co-founder and CEO at Nitobi Inc. He’s been at the forefront of Web 2.0 software development for almost a decade and is an expert on the next generation web. Andre is an advocate for usability and user experience and speaks regularly about how to keep users engaged and active on websites or web-based application. Most recently Andre presented on the Adobe AIR Tour throughout Europe. He’s also been a speaker at the Voices That Matter web design conference, Adobe MAX, JavaOne and AjaxWorld. Andre is the co-author of “Enterprise Ajax”, published by Prentice Hall last summer and is the lead blogger for O’Reilly’s

    You can read Andre’s blog at

  • David Ascher
    Mozilla Messaging
    Mozilla Messaging
  • Geoffrey Shmigelsky
    Startup founder and investor

    Geoff founded and exited CADNet, one of Canada’s most successful ISPs. He was involved in founding Singularity University and invests in new ventures that involve technology and genetics.

  • Kris Krug
    Photographer, technologist, author.

    Photographer, technologist, author.

  • Dave Olson
    Community Marketing Director – HootSuite
    Dave Olson (@daveohoots) is the Community Marketing Director for social media dashboard maker HootSuite. Working in the Internet space since 1996, Dave was a partner is two successful ISPs plus worked with start-ups including ecommerce software, open source web development, and a green business directory. He frequently presents at events including SXSW and Northern Voice, and appears in the media discussing technology, art, hockey and culture.

    A graduate of Evergreen College in Inter-disciplinary Studies, Dave’s work is published in magazines and journals on topics ranging from Japanese agri-history to Telco de-regulation. A chronic documentarian from his earliest days, Dave creates visual art, writes essays and produces podcasts and led a ground-breaking project for social coverage of the Vancouver Olympics. After living and traveling worldwide, Dave now enjoys exploring his local North Vancouver mountains and forests.

  • Angela Baldonero
    SVP People, Return Path
    I have the greatest job in the world as Vice President of People at Return Path. This simply means that I am responsible for making Return Path the best place to work in the industry. I do this by nurturing Return Path’s most important assets- our employees. By driving company-wide initiatives that support the company’s culture and team environment, we have built a high performance organization that is committed to Return Path’s mission and to building its legacy.

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