GTAN Announces 6th Annual Pauli Award Winners

On Tuesday, June 20th, GTAN celebrated seven years of unprecedented success for its members and our community when presenting the three winners of the 6th annual Pauli Awards at Bingemans in Kitchener.  The Pauli Awards is a celebration of GTAN’s many successes, including its Angels committing more than $35 million in capital, resulting in over $62 million of capital infusion into our local, early-stage companies. Presentation of the awards was preceded by panel discussions between the nominated members, in which they debated reasons for joining GTAN, favourite investments and why they’re passionate about the angel network.

Recognizing members for their outstanding efforts over the past year, the distinction of Angel of the Year was awarded to Brian Hunter, the honour of Company of the Year went to Top Hat and the David Borges Community Builder of the Year awarded to Benton Leong.



Company of the Year 2017: Top Hat

In classrooms everywhere, students’ attention is split between the lecture and their smartphones. When educators host lectures on Top Hat, those same devices become learning tools, ensuring students are fully engaged. What’s more, with Top Hat you’re able to find customizable course content in the Top Hat Marketplace and easily create challenging and confidence-building. Connecting educators and students with Top Hat, students stay immersed in lectures and educators instantly gauge comprehension and understanding. We congratulate Top Hat’s co-founders Mike Silagadze (CEO) and Mohsen Shahini (CAO). Under their leadership and vision, Top Hat has become the market leader in student engagement software, and is used by millions of students at three-quarters of the 1,000 colleges and universities in North America. Mohsen Shahini, Top Hat CAO, accepted the award.




David Borges Community Builder 2017: Benton Leong

Look up indelibility and you’ll find a photo of Benton. He has permanently imprinted onto GTAN the principles of education, partnership and opportunity. Benton serves on the GTAN Board of Directors and is Chair of the Selection Committee, responsible for choosing companies that present to GTAN. He coaches many of these companies on how to pitch well to investors in just under 15 minutes. Benton is also on the NACO Professional Development Committee and the presenter of NACO Academy Module 101: Angel Investing Overview. His background includes research and teaching at the University of Arizona and the University of Waterloo in computer science. Along with fellow researchers at UW, he co-founded MapleSoft, which produces Maple, a premiere tool for math research. He also founded Radical Flow, a company that produces interactive curriculumware for the for the sciences and engineering. His expertise covers strategic planning, global market development, and user product design. Benton is on the Board of Directors for Viafoura and DossierView, two of the GTAN member-funded companies. Congratulations Benton!




Angel of the Year: Brian Hunter 

Brian has more than 35 years of experience in providing debt and equity financing to private and publicly held businesses in Southern Ontario. He began his career with Roynat Capital, Canada’s leading private merchant bank and later became Director and District Manager of the Kitchener office. Brian has assisted hundreds of entrepreneurs with their long term capital needs for growth, acquisition, working capital and liquidity. In 2009, Brian co-founded NorthSpring Capital Partners, a private equity fund specializing in providing junior capital to small and medium sized enterprises by way of second lien, high yield, mezzanine and minority equity financing. Brian has been a member of GTAN since 2012 and is consistently active in all aspects of the organization including a willing and active lead in multiple due diligences throughout the year which has led to multiple investments in GTAN companies. His experience and quiet leadership has led many of our members to hold him with respect and high esteem. Brian is very active in community activities. In 2014 he was named a Paul Harris Fellow for 20 years of service to the Kitchener-Conestoga Rotary Club and the community including acting Chairman of the Dream Home Lottery, Lobsterfest and as President. Congratulations Brian!


Congratulations to all the nominees and winners of the 2017 Pauli Awards! Thank you to our Pauli Awards sponsor, Vehikl.







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