2019 World Angel Investment Summit Calgary - A Total Recap

Posted by Johanna McFarland on June 21, 2019 at 4:40 PM

A few weeks ago, the team at NACO were in Calgary hosting the 2019 World Angel Investment Summit. Here's a total recap of the three days where attendees experienced impactful keynotes, engaging round table discussions, critical networking opportunities and so much more! 

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Photo by 2019 NACO Summit Photographer Chané Neveling

This year the theme of the World Angel Investment Summit (WAIS) was Investing for Success: Your Return on Innovation. The theme was certainly carried throughout the event. Day one kicked off in partnership with Inventure$ as WAIS 2019 attendees were able to attend Inventure$ and enjoy the rich content provided there. 

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Photos by 2019 NACO Summit Photographer Chané Neveling

The day was jam packed with Keynotes, Investor/Entrepreneur Speed Dating with our Top 30 Startups, and six NACO-hosted sessions. Temple Grandin's keynote at Inventure$ was definitely a highlight. In 2010, Temple Grandin was honoured by Time Magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the world. She shared her story, insights, and her advice which resonated with attendees. 

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Photos by 2019 NACO Summit Photographer Chané Neveling

We were blown away by the overflowing rooms during the NACO-hosted sessions at Inventure$. Attendees heard from great speakers including; Patrick Lor from Panache Ventures, Terry Rock from Platform Calgary, Sean Sheppard from GrowthX, Andrew Chau from SkipTheDishes, and many more. 

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Photos by 2019 NACO Summit Photographer Chané Neveling

Before heading into the evening activities NACO hosted one more session titled Leading Women in the Investor Landscape, sponsored by our partners at BDC. It was a great conversation led by five women leaders from across Canada in the investor landscape. They dove deep into conversation on the need for diversity in the industry and discussed how to better collaborate on these initiatives between regions. Meanwhile, our Top 30 Startups had their chance to meet with Investors from across the country. 

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Photos by 2019 NACO Summit Photographer Chané Neveling

After Day One wrapped up it was time to head into the evening activities. Starting at the Bank & Baron P.U.B for the Welcome Reception Pre-Party, sponsored by Valhalla. Attendees then migrated over to attend Inventure$ - Connect Alberta Factory Party! Both events were packed and great networking carried on throughout the evening.

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Photos by 2019 NACO Summit Photographer Chané Neveling

Attendees were up bright and early for day one of WAIS, content entirely hosted by NACO. We were thrilled to have Calgary Mayor Naheed K. Nenshi deliver the opening remarks, welcoming WAIS attendees. This was followed by our first Keynote Speaker Marcos Lopez who spoke about his journey with Solium - A Simple Idea and the Ingredients to Make it Happen. 

"I am particularly excited that NACO is partnering with the Inventure$ Conference to maximize the opportunity for entrepreneurs and investors, and to catalyze a more dynamic early stage capital ecosystem. There really is no better city to host these events than right here in Calgary. We have a quickly evolving innovation ecosystem across a number of sectors from life sciences to financial services, and many of Calgary's startups are ready to launch."

Calgary Mayor Naheed K. Nenshi 

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Photos by 2019 NACO Summit Photographer Chané Neveling

Later in the morning we hosted several break-out sessions that had the following themes: Innovative Financing, Investing Beyond Capital, and Building Returns for the Next Decade. 

Attendees gathered for lunch where they enjoyed our afternoon Keynote Rachel Mielke, CEO of Hillberg & Berk. She delivered The Story of Sparkle, her journey through creating a business and getting her break on CBC's popular show Dragon's Den. 

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Photos by 2019 NACO Summit Photographer Chané Neveling

Speaking of Dragon's Den, after enjoying more breakout sessions in the afternoon, attendees got to hear from former Dragon W. Brett Wilson as he shared his dynamic experience on the show and discussed the art of critical thinking in an Entrepreneurial world. Then it was time to breakout one last time before attendees got ready for NACO's Annual Gala Awards Dinner! 

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Photos by 2019 NACO Summit Photographer Chané Neveling

The Awards Gala was a great evening where we heard from our outgoing CEO Yuri Navarro, incoming CEO Claudio Rojas, and several awards were presented including Exit of the Year, Startup of the Year, and Angel of the Year.  

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Photos by 2019 NACO Summit Photographer Chané Neveling

"I am thrilled to have joined NACO as CEO to continue scaling Canada's vibrant and collaborative entrepreneurial ecosystem...Canada has all the ingredients to produce the next wave of global companies. While our ecosystem is rapidly evolving, critical areas of untapped potential have also emerged. For example, women founders are under-represented on the world-stage, investments in digital infrastructure are not evenly distributed across communities and regions, and economic prosperity continues to concentrate in a handful of cities. Overcoming these challenges is core to Canada's opportunity to both lead and prosper in a dramatically evolving global economy." 

Claudio Rojas, CEO of NACO. 

2018 Top Canadian Angel Group by Dollar Amount Invested Award, presented to Northern Ontario Angels. 

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Photo by 2019 NACO Summit Photographer Chané Neveling

2018 Top Canadian Angel Group by Number of Investments Award, presented to York Angels. 

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Photo by 2019 NACO Summit Photographer Chané Neveling

Startup of the Year 2019 Award sponsored by BDO and Panache, presented to Open Ocean Robotics. 

Startup of the Year

Photo by 2019 NACO Summit Photographer Chané Neveling

Exit of the Year 2019 Award sponsored by RBC, presented to COLO-D - CEO Patrick David and Angel Investor Mike Cegelsk. 

Exit of the Year

Photo by 2019 NACO Summit Photographer Chané Neveling

Angel of the Year 2019 sponsored by BDC, presented to Derrick Hunter. 

Angel of the Year

Photo by 2019 NACO Summit Photographer Chané Neveling

NACO's Lifetime Achievement Award, presented to Mary Long-Irwin. 

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Photo by 2019 NACO Summit Photographer Chané Neveling

Once the awards were given out for the evening, attendees heard from our evening Keynote Bruce Croxon. The team at NACO we're thrilled with how the evening turned out. Congratulations to all the winners and we look forward to next years Award Gala Dinner! 

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Photos by 2019 NACO Summit Photographer Chané Neveling

Before we knew it, it was time to kick-off the final day of WAIS 2019! First thing in the morning we released the 2018 Angel Activity Report. To present the findings, we had Professor Colin Mason deliver the first Keynote of the day. More information on this years report can be found here

In 2018, a new trend emerged around syndicate deals, and the national data indicated that these types of deals have more than doubled since 2015. Total investments from syndicate deals in 2018 was $262.7 million. This trend is directly related to the evolution and increased sophistication of the angel investment asset-class in Canada over the past 10 years. Larger syndicated deals and follow-on investments serve as the necessary bridge capital for companies looking to scale and generally amounts between $500,000 to $3 Million in funding. The trend shows that angel capital plays a critical role in the bridge financing stage of the innovation ecosystem allowing scaling companies to focus on building their businesses and avoid early exits.

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Photos by 2019 NACO Summit Photographer Chané Neveling

Following the first Keynote presentation, attendees attended breakout sessions that followed the themes of; Angel Investment Basics, Angel Funds, Super Angels, and Accelerators & Incubators. After receiving feedback from our previous World Summits the team at NACO developed a different format for the breakout sessions this year. As opposed to a moderator leading a panel at the front of the room, with limited time for questions from the audience, we presented Round Table discussions where the audience had the opportunity to engage with the experts. Attendees also had a chance to sit with our new CEO Claudio Rojas for a feedback and engagement session. 

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Photos by 2019 NACO Summit Photographer Chané Neveling

We took a few moments in the afternoon to present two more awards. We honoured two individuals for their outstanding contributions to the Canadian early-stage ecosystem. Presented to Pieter Dorsman from Angel Forum and Frank Audino who's from too many angel groups to name (yes, we put that on the presentation slide). Shortly after these presentations our final keynote hit the stage! Hans Knapp delivered his incredible journey with Exit of the Year 2017 company Daiya Foods. 

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Photos by 2019 NACO Summit Photographer Chané Neveling

Shortly after Hans Keynote was done, attendees headed into the final portion of WAIS 2019, NACO Academy. This year we hosted two NACO Academy sessions; How to Launch an Angel Fund and Adding Value Through Due Diligence. 

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Photos by 2019 NACO Summit Photographer Chané Neveling

A very special Thank You to all attendees for joining us, our partners, and the City of Calgary for another successful World Angel Investment Summit. We'll see you in 2020! 


Hear what they had to say on Twitter! 

"Hanging at ⁦⁩ conference where we all spoke. From ’sDen we have Rachael and Bruce and Brett. And our coach Keith. Great event." - @WBrettWilson


"Thank you @NACOCanada for organizing such a great #keynote with @WBrettWilson" - @ValhallaAngels

"#NACOWorldSummit - one year, sounds definitely well worth attending! #Investing#VentureCapital #angelinvesting #Entrepreneur" - @TRDMToronto

"Great to hear the story of ⁦@RachelMielke⁩ and the growth of ⁦@hillbergandberk⁩ - timing, perseverance, preparation and passion, plus a great first investor were key. ⁦@NACOCanada"⁩ - @jearthy
"Celebrating with past Angel of the Year award winners . I was happy to present Derrick Hunter the 2019 Angel of the Year Award." - @BrendaSlauko
"Congratulations to the amazing for winning lifetime Achievement Award for all of her dedication to developing the ecosystem in Northern Ontario." - @jessajoss 

"Thanks team NACO, , and thanks (you really surprised me this morning!) for some very productive and fun days in Calgary ." - @PieterDorsman 

See more @NACOCanada or #NACOWorldSummit! 

Read more about our Award Winners for 2019!

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