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Meet our Advisors

Sumi Shan
Co-founder of TEx Ventures

Ms. Sumi Shan is a connector, a former politico, and co-founder of TEx Ventures, a California-based venture initiative aimed at accelerating diverse founders and social impact investing across North America. She is also the Principal & founder at Niche Strategies, a boutique agency that provides startups with communications and go-to-market strategies; and the Public Relations lead for Corporate Affairs at Microsoft Canada. Formerly, she was an advisor with AVM Equity and has held senior leaderships roles with various Cabinet Ministers in the Ontario Government. As a social doer, she supports various community organizations to help advance causes that include diverse participation in tech & politics, entrepreneurship, and health-related initiatives. Sumi holds a Bachelor of Arts, Honours from the University of Guelph.

Derek Lee
Counsel at Sun & Partners

Derek Lee, who was a Member of Canada’s Parliament for 23 years, serves Sun & Partners as counsel to the firm.

Born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Derek Lee obtained his law degree from Queen’s University (1973) and was called to the Bar of Ontario in 1975. He practiced law in Toronto, articling with the law firm of Stikeman, Elliot, Robarts and Bowman and partnering in his own firm of Stikeman, Lee and Chenoweth where he carried on a commercial/corporate/real estate practice.

In addition to the practice of law, Mr. Lee served as an advisor and assistant to federal and provincial cabinet ministers between 1982 and 1986. In 1988, he was elected to Canada’s House of Commons and served there as a Member of Parliament for 23 years.

George Smitherman

Mr. Smitherman had a long successful political career until 2010 when he returned to his pre politics roots as an entrepreneur. He is the founder of three companies and is an advisor to several others. Most recently a candidate for the Mayor of Toronto, Mr. Smitherman has previously been elected three times as a Member of the Provincial Parliament where he served as Ontario's Deputy Premier, Health Minister, Minister of Energy and Infrastructure as well as many other roles. Over a career spanning almost 25 years Mr. Smitherman has been active in all three levels of government

Louis Sapi
Chief Executive Officer & Office Managing Partner at HS + Partners

Mr. Louis Sapi has sat on numerous private, public and charitable boards. Mr. Sapi is a respected author and speaker, and is involved in numerous investment banking, mergers and acquisitions, corporate finance, and real estate projects. Mr. Sapi has decades of experience with entrepreneurial and corporate ventures, including founding and operating companies such as Belair Capital Markets (Ventures) Inc., Affinity Financial Group, and The Office Mover Ltd. He graduated from the Schulich School of Business with an MBA.

Dr. T. Nathan Yoganathan
President & Chief Scientific Officer of KalGene Pharmaceuticals Inc.

Dr. T. Nathan Yoganathan was the founder, and former Chairman, President and Chief Scientific Officer of Med BioGene Inc, a Canadian diagnostics company listed on TSX Venture Exchange. 

He has over 25 years of experience in scientific research in cell signaling and gene expression technology. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada and the Thyroid Foundation of Canada. He also serves as a mentor for the student biotechnology network (SBN) of British Columbia and also as an industry member on the CIHR Strategic Training Program in the Bioinformatics Advisory Board. He holds a B.Sc. (Honours) from the University of North London, a M.Sc. from the University of Sussex and a Ph.D. from the University of Oslo.

Ratheesan Yoganathan
Founder and Chairman of Lebara

Mr. Ratheesan Yoganathan is one of the founders of Lebara, the universal brand for the world’s migrant community, which helps people unite across borders, generations and cultures. Founded in 2001, Lebara is a privately held, award-winning telecoms business, offering products and services in communications, entertainment and financial services that make migrants’ lives easier.

He shared a vision to transform the international calling market, making it easier for ethnic and migrant communities to stay in touch with friends and family back home.

Ratheesan holds a BSC in Aeronautical Engineering from the University of Kingston. He is a passionate entrepreneur and his interests include organizational development, strategic planning, travel, cooking, playing tennis and golf.

Selva Chelliah
Vice President of Bids and Projects at Thales Canada

Mr. Selva Chelliah has over 20 years of Solid System engineering experience in development, deployment, and management of safety and mission critical systems. He has also deployed over 10 communication-based train Control systems in various countries. Currently, he is the Vice President of Bids and Projects valued from fifty million to over half a billion dollars at Thales Canada and responsible for project management and bids of over 20 multinational projects.

He is also on a special assignment as the Senior Executive Project Director to deploy the first driverless CBTC project in India on the Hyderabad Metro. He is working with Industry leaders Larson and Turbo, to commission the train system on March 2015. He graduated with an Electrical Engineering degree from the University of Waterloo, Canada.

Vijai Karthigesu
founder/CEO of Nudpam Inc. & Co-founder of Cloud Dynamics Inc.

Mr. Vijai Karthugesu is a global analyst, speaker/presenter, innovator, entrepreneur and visionary IT executive who has been helping organizations to create unique and ahead-of-the-curve technologies and IT strategies. His strategies have helped organizations adapt/ change, and lead major market transitions and achieve sustainable competitive advantage.

He has been a speaker at major technological events and has espoused the need for technology to be human-focused in the emerging Internet of Things era. Vijai is the founder/CEO of Nudpam Inc. and Co-founder of Cloud Dynamics Inc. He was the COO/CSO of Cloud Dynamics and Co-Founder / COO / CTO of SpectraVoice.

Vijai also held senior technology leadership positions in multi-billion dollar public and private sector companies in Canada. He holds an Electrical Engineering degree from the University of Waterloo and an MBA from Wilfrid Laurier University.

Dr. Shahram Shahbaz Panahi
Associate Professor at Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Ontario Institute of Technology Department of Electrical, Computer and Software Engineering

Dr. Shahram Shahbaz Panahi received numerous awards and recognition in his studies and research such as UOIT’s Junior Research Excellence Award and the NSERC Discovery Grant from 2011 to 2016. He has written many articles published in academic publications and has

He teaches undergraduate and graduate courses and oversees thirteen students, both in their Masters and PhD years studying in the Electrical Engineering field.

He received his PhD in Electrical Engineering, majoring in Statistical Signal Processing at Sharif University of Technology, Tehran, Iran.