Seen & Heard at CCI's 2024 Capital Markets Summit

April 30, 2024

Investment capital is one of the vital ingredients for innovative companies to scale-up and compete globally. Promoting access to capital for homegrown Canadian scale-ups has always been a key pillar of CCI’s advocacy, but in recent years we have also started directly working to help innovators engage with the capital markets summit. 

Earlier this month, CCI hosted our second annual Capital Markets Summit in downtown Toronto. The day included investor meetings with a who’s-who of financial institutions and investment funds, along with panel discussions about the current state of the capital markets, and networking opportunities.

Here’s what innovators were saying throughout the day:

Next Pathway Co-Founder and President Clara Angotti was on a panel discussing growing your firm during volatile economic times, alongside Peter Haas, Partner at Maverix Private Equity, and David Rozin, Head of Roynat Capital and Vice-President of Technology and Innovation Banking at Scotiabank. The panel was moderated by Konata Lake, a Partner at Torys LLP, where the summit was taking place. Clara said that the current capital markets are challenging to navigate right now:

“As an entrepreneur, you’ve got to decide what's the right time to take the money, and is your company at the right time for a proper valuation.”

Dana O’Born, CCI’s VP of Strategy and Advocacy, hosted a panel on navigating public markets, with LeddarTech CEO Frantz Saintellemy, Electrovaya CEO Raj DasGupta, and leaders from the financial industry including Robyn Doritty,  Director at RBC Capital Markets, Scott Morrison, Founder and Chief Investment Officer at Wealhouse Capital Management, and Mike Lauzon, Head of Investment Banking at Canaccord Genuity. Frantz spoke about the human side of being a corporate leader, and how CEOs need to prioritize their own wellbeing, when leading a publicly traded company:

“I think people underestimate the psychological toll that is on the leadership of an organization — to keep an upbeat tone and to always be optimistic and have a plan, to have a solution, to manage the complaints of the board, the stakeholders, the customers, and always be strong. So, surround yourself with people that really care. Everything else doesn’t matter, because at the end of the day if you don’t feel confident and comfortable, if you don’t feel good, your company’s not going to be good.”

The afternoon of investment conversations ended with a panel about mergers and acquisitions, including FinanceIt Founder and Executive Chair Michael Garrity, alongside Olivia Steedman, Executive Managing Director of Teachers’ Venture Growth, Greg McElheran, Vice-President of Market Development at Export Development Canada, David Wismer, Global Head Technology Investment & Corporate Banking at BMO Capital Markets, and Jeff Tory, chairman at Pembroke Management. The conversation was moderated by Neil Desai, Chair of ClearRisk.

Garrity said that he had an aggressive M&A strategy for FinanceIt during the early years, but a clear narrative helped him access the capital needed to make deals.

“What we tried to do from an M&A perspective was just get as much of our target market as humanly possible. We developed a view that we're gonna beat you, or we're going to try to buy you, or we're going to beat you first and then try to buy you when you're cheap. And that's a lot of what we get as we grow up, we just had a distinguishing technology in our space. We started destabilizing some of the incumbents that were in that space and then we had a much more compelling story to the capital markets on why we needed capital. It wasn't because we were burning through capital really fast trying to prove our unit economics. We needed it because we were going to buy that guy and I think I can buy them cheaper than you would otherwise sell for. That became compelling, right? That was a much easier way to raise capital than to raise capital for a company that was still trying to prove what it was going to be when it grew up.”

Embark CEO Andrew Lo was one of the many scale-up CEOs at the summit taking meetings with potential funders and taking part in the panel discussions. At the end of the day, he said he left with good confirmation of his own assessment when it comes to the capital markets right now.

“I’m hearing people here are optimistic, but cautiously optimistic, in the sense that things are still going to be hard. High interest rates and the ability to lend or invest more conservatively is still very much the case. A lot of people talked about how money was flowing much more freely during Covid. There was lots of money to invest and lots of risk to take, but now, not so much. And I agree.”

CCI’s 2024 Capital Markets Summit was made possible by the generous support of partners in the ecosystem committed to helping to increase access to capital for high-growth innovators. Special thanks to our partners: Export Development Canada, BMO Capital Markets, RBC Capital Markets and RBCx, Roynat Capital Scotiabank, and Wealhouse Capital Management. 

For more information about CCI and our work on behalf of Canada’s fastest-growing companies, contact Sara Psenicka, CCI’s Director of Member Success. 


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