Here’s Mike:

Michael Volker is an Entrepreneur active in the development of new high technology ventures. A University of Waterloo Engineering grad, Mike started his own company (Volker-Craig Ltd) in 1973. After selling his company in 1981 he decided to work with entrepreneurs in building new companies. Recently he directed Simon Fraser University's Innovation Office. Presently, he is chairman of TIMIA Capital, [TCA.V] a public company that invests in young growth companies. He is CEO of WUTIF - the Western Universities Technology Innovation Fund - an "angel" fund for start-ups. Mike is President of the Vancouver Angel Network, VANTEC and the Vancouver chapter of Keiretsu Forum. He's chairman of New Ventures BC - an annual business competition. Mike was chairman of the Vancouver Enterprise Forum for several years.

Business Basics for Engineers is a series of notes prepared by Mike on business matters relating to technology companies. A guide for writing a Business Plan is featured.

Two other websites that Mike created are: www.hitechbc.com and www.moneylinks.ca.


Business Basics – Negotiating a Term Sheet

A “Term Sheet” is a document that summarizes the terms of an investment. It’s usually proposed by the investor(s) and spells out what they want in order to proceed with an investment. I’m not sure why it’s not called a “Terms Sheet” since there are many terms in it. Perhaps that came about because the terms offered by an investor were good for a specified term (time period).

Shares vs Stock Options

This article discusses the pros and cons of stock options vs shares for employees of Canadian – private and public – companies. The taxation issues are poorly understood and can be very confusing. Current tax regulations can make it difficult for companies to bring new employees and partners in as shareholders.

The Valuation Question

What’s my baby worth? Figuring that out is the biggest challenge entrepreneurs face when attracting investors. Many negotiations break down over this issue. The good news is that there are contractual mechanisms that can be used to resolve any disparities.

Making Canada Innovative

Innovation is a popular subject these days. It was raised by Obama in his State of the Union address as a major challenge for Americans. Here, in Canada, many think tanks, committees, interest groups, etc are rallying to the call for more Innovation.

Business Basics – Introduction

Over the years, I’ve written a number of articles to assist entrepreneurs, especially tech entrepreneurs, with an understanding of business matters. On the Simon Fraser University Website, much of this can be found at www.sfu.ca/~mvolker/biz.  These articles are in the process of being updated, with new ones added, and will gradually start showing up on this website.

Investing in Greentech Start-ups

At the October 28, 2010 Vancouver Greentech Exchange, Mike talked about investment options for investors, challenges for entrepreneurs, incentives and impediments to innovation and finally explained a new investment vehicle – GreenAngel Energy Corp – could benefit both investors and entrepreneurs. Here is a summary of Mike’s talk:


An Innovative Strategy

The Globe and Mail reported today (Oct 13, 2010) that a blue-chip panel of experts (including me, so maybe it’s not entirely blue-chip) has come up with recommendations to turn Canada into a “nation of innovators”. (see story). The complete report is available on this website by clicking here.

Angel investor returns

Recently  (Sep 28,2010) I went to a presentation in Bellingham by Rob Wiltbank of Willamette University in Oregon. Wiltbank does research on angel investing and the returns enjoyed by angels. He looked at 1000 “exits” in North America – i.e. companies that gave a payback to their investors (however large or small, including zero return for failed deals).

The HST Debate: The Outcome

BC’ers voted against the HST last week (Aug 26, 2011) in favor of re-instating a double tax system. According to many press articles, it appears that those who voted to keep the HST were better educated, more prosperous, and self employed business people. Did the others not get the big picture? Or did they vote against the HST because a haircut or MacDonald’s tab went up a little?

Here’s Mike:

Michael Volker is an Entrepreneur active in the development of new high technology ventures. A University of Waterloo Engineering grad, Mike started his own company (Volker-Craig Ltd) in 1973. He sold this company in 1981 and then decided to work with entrepreneurs in building new companies. Most recently, he was the director of Simon Fraser University’s Innovation Office. Now he is CEO of SF Univentures Corp. Check out his latest two projects: Greenangel Energy Corp, [GAE.V] a public company that invests in green technologies and WUTIF – the Western Universities Technology Innovation Fund – an “angel” fund for start-ups. To further encourage tech entrepreneurship, Mike runs the Vancouver Angel Network, VANTEC and he’s also quite active with New Ventures BC – an annual business competition. Mike was also chairman of the Vancouver Enterprise Forum for several years.

Business Basics is a series of notes prepared by Mike on business matters relating to technology companies. A guide for writing a Business Plan is featured. Mike has taught courses on entrepreneurship at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, B.C., the University of Waterloo and the University of  Toronto. Recently, he was the Entrepreneur-in-Residence at CERT in Abu Dhabi, the commercialization arm of the Higher Colleges of Technology in the United Arab Emirates.

In 2009, the National Angel Organization named Mike, the “Canadian Angel Investor of the Year”. In the same year, the B.C. Angel Forum voted him, the “B.C. Angel of the Year”.