Startup Grind Calgary is excited to present Sandi Gilbert and Mandy Balak on May 23rd!
Sandi Gilbert is the Founder & CEO of SeedUps Canada and the Board Chair of Canada’s organization of Angel investors. Sandi started her career in investment banking in Calgary, raising private capital for junior oil and gas companies. Her entrepreneurial ventures include a start-up telecommunication firm in USA and a document process outsourcing company in Canada which grew to $33M in revenue with four facilities across the country. In 2012, she turned her focus to broadening early stage companies access to private capital by introducing technology to make the capital raising process more efficient, compliant and accessible.
Mandy Balak is a leader in creating powerful brand connections and storytelling to millennials through events, content and unique experiences. She is the founder and CEO of It's Date Night (72.5k followers on Instagram) and The Ace Class as well as being the Executive Director of Best of Calgary.
We will also be featuring elleBiz, a network of female entrepreneurs who empower one another to be leaders in their industry, learn new ideas from each other and engage through events and discussions.
Join us for cocktails/snacks, community and these exciting premier fireside chats.
National Angel Capital Organization
Chair of the Board of Directors
It's Date Night
Founder & CEO
Sandi is a strategic, visionary entrepreneur focused on developing and deploying technology solutions for the private capital markets. She is the Founder of SeedUps Canada, a Fintech platform that helps innovate companies prepare, present and execute capital raises through an investor network of individuals, angels and early stage venture capital firms that come together to discover, evaluate and collaborate to invest in growing companies.
She is passionate about stimulating economic growth and business development in Canada. These passions position her well in her mission to develop and deliver financial technologies and services that help Canada companies access capital and achieve traction and scale.
Sandi started her career in investment banking in Calgary, raising private capital for junior oil and gas companies. Her entrepreneurial ventures include a start-up telecommunication firm in USA and a document process outsourcing company in Canada which grew to $33M in revenue with four facilities across the country. In 2012, I turned my focus to broadening early stage companies access to private capital by introducing technology to make the capital raising process more efficient, compliant and accessible.
In 2014, she launched a Fintech platform that supported Canada’s first online investment in a private company. SeedUps has since helped numerous companies navigate Canada’s complex world of private capital by preparing them to become investor ready and access the capital they need to grow and scale. Last year, Sandi took on the role of chair of the Board of NACO Canada, the organization that supports angel investing, incubators and accelerators across Canada.
Mandy started her entrepreneurial career in 2012 as the result of a university project where her first business, Date Night YYC was born. Fuelled with a desire to make relationships better through experience, this led her to create the go-to guide for planning a date in Calgary. Mandy’s second business launched in 2014, Branded Magazine - a popular lifestyle magazine for millenials. Branded printed 12 issues over two years before closing its doors. Mandy’s experience of failure with the publication has motivated her to have an open discussion about the hardships that entrepreneurs face daily and has led her to create a third business, The Ace Class.
ACE being an acronym for Activate, Cultivate and Empower - the business’ mission is to change the way that women connect with other women. Balak recognized a gap in vulnerable and real conversations, events and community for women and responded with a solution, The Ace Class, which has now expanded nationally. Mandy’s work-life philosophy is built on the cornerstones of hard work, empowerment and providing experiences that build relationships and connection.
Mandy has been awarded Young Entrepreneur of the year in 2014 by Startup Canada and in 2016 was recognized as one of Alberta’s Top Young Innovators.
Meagan is the co-Founder of elleBiz, are a network of female entrepreneurs who empower one another to be leaders in their industry, learn new ideas from each other and engage through events and discussions.
Startup Grind Calgary
Chapter Director, ChairmanSee Bio
Chad Ford is the founder of the Startup Grind Calgary Chapter. From his leadership, Calgary has become one of the most successful chapters of Startup Grind’s 600 cities around the world. He has interviewed some of Canada’s most prolific entrepreneurs including: W. Brett Wilson, Bruce Croxon, Manjit Minhas, Walker McKinley, Dan Themig, Nicolas Beique and Sandi Gilbert. He is a strong believer that successful entrepreneurship is the key to a vibrant economy and culture.
A prolific volunteer, in addition to his work with Startup Grind Calgary, he is also a Board Member of the Calgary Combative Sports Commission and mentor at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology's Energy Asset Management program.
A passionate entrepreneur himself, Chad founded Sunexo Solutions, a software company which developed the industry leading IRIS software. IRIS has been used by over 500 energy, resource development and infrastructure projects across North America.
The primary focus of his career has been based around regulatory and stakeholder engagement for major projects. He has worked directly with many of the largest resource development, infrastructure and energy companies in North America by helping them improve their stakeholder engagement efforts with technology. Additionally, he has direct on-the-ground engagement experience including being the main company representative in an indigenous community for a contentious energy program in northern British Columbia for almost a year.
In recognition of his contributions to improving the energy industry in both his professional and volunteer work, he was awarded the Rising Stars award for 2019 from the Daily Oil Bulletin.
He is also a veteran of the Canadian Forces where he served in the infantry which included a tour of duty in Afghanistan in 2006