There is no time like the present. That’s why, in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic and whilst recovering from a life-threatening accident, John Ruffolo opened the doors on his newest venture with $500 million in secured investments.
Join Canadian Club Toronto on May 27 as John Ruffolo, Founder and Managing Partner of Maverix Private Equity, sits down in conversation with General Partner of District Ventures Capital and star of Dragons’ Den, Arlene Dickinson, to discuss what pivoting looks like during the pandemic, and the importance of resiliency at every stage of a business, and life.
Founder and Managing Partner, Maverix Private Equity
John is the Founder and Managing Partner of Maverix Private Equity. John’s focus is on guiding the strategy of the firm, Chair of the Investment Committee and is deeply involved with sourcing and leading opportunities particularly within the technology industry. John Ruffolo was also the Founder of OMERS Ventures and the Co-founder and Vice Chair of the Council of Canadian Innovators. Over the course of John’s leadership as Chief Executive Officer, OMERS Ventures had invested over $500 million of capital in over 40 disruptive technology companies across North America, including growth investments in Shopify, Wattpad, Wave, Hootsuite, Rover, Desire 2 Learn, Hopper, DuckDuckGo, TouchBistro and League.
During his tenure at OMERS, John also formed OMERS Platform Investments as its Executive Managing Director. He led investments in Purpose Financial, PointNorth Capital, District Ventures, OneEleven and ArcTern Ventures. Co-founded with Jim Balsillie, the Council of Canadian Innovators is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping highgrowth Canadian technology firms scale up globally. The Council is made up of CEOs from Canada’s most promising technology companies. The Council’s position is to promote, share, and collaborate with public policy leaders on key policy levers to optimize the growth of Canada’s innovation-based sector. John also currently sits on the boards of a number of leading innovative organizations including AI Partnerships Corp., engineering.com, Ether Capital, OneEleven, ArcTern Ventures, and Canopy Rivers. John has also previously served on the boards of Hootsuite, Wave, Desire 2 Learn, Purpose Financial, MMM Group, Continuum Residential REIT, Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE), Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC), Communitech and Deloitte.
In addition, John sits on the board of a number of not-for-profit organizations including the David Suzuki Foundation as Vice-Chair, the Royal Ontario Museum, Caldwell’s Top 40 Under 40 and The Dean’s Advisory Council for the Schulich School of Business. John was a Partner at Deloitte, as well as the Global Thought Leader, the Global Tax Leader and the Canadian Industry Leader for Deloitte’s Technology, Media and Telecommunications (TMT) practice. He was also a member of the firm’s Tax and TMT Global Leadership teams and a member of Deloitte’s Board of Directors. Prior to Deloitte, John was a partner with Arthur Andersen LLP.
In 2020, John became a Fellow of the Chartered Professional Accountants of Ontario (FCPA). In 2018, John was honored with the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic which made him a 5th Class Knight. It is the highest-ranking honour of the Italian Republic and is awarded for "merit acquired by the nation" in the fields of literature, the arts, economy, public service, and social, philanthropic and humanitarian activities and for long and conspicuous service in civilian and military careers. John was recognized as Canada’s #1 of 100 Most Powerful Business People as selected by Canadian Business Magazine in 2014 (#3 in 2015). John was also selected as one of Toronto’s 50 Most Influential People by Toronto Life (#16 in 2015, #40 in 2016, #26 in 2017). John was awarded with the Outstanding Progress & Achievement Award by the Schulich School of Business at York University in 2014. This is awarded to a graduate who has demonstrated outstanding career potential and achieved success and recognition in their field.
General Partner, District Ventures Capital
Arlene Dickinson is a serial entrepreneur and General Partner of District Ventures Capital, a venture capital fund focused on helping market, fund and grow entrepreneurs and their companies, in the food and health space.
She is a three-time best-selling author, podcaster and accomplished public speaker. Dickinson is widely recognized for her role as a Dragon/Venture Capitalist for over 12 seasons on the multi-award-winning CBC television series, Dragons Den.
Ms. Dickinson’s leadership has been recognized many times, including Canada’s Most Powerful Women Top 100 Hall of Fame, the Pinnacle Award for Entrepreneurial Excellence, as well as PROFIT and Chatelaine’s Top 100 Women Business Owners. She is a Marketing Hall of Legends inductee and a proud recipient of the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Award. Dickinson has served for many years as an Honourary Captain in the Royal Canadian Navy.
She sits on several public and private boards and is actively involved in supporting community and country.