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. In B.C. he spent a number of years as Executive Director of the BC Advanced Systems Institute, and then as Director of Simon Fraser University's Innovation Office. He founded TIMIA Capital as a public company that invests in young growth companies. Today 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 a director and past-chairman of New Ventures BC - an annual business competition. Mike was also 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: and

Making the Business Case

Thinking about starting a business? Why? Can you explain what the business opportunity is and how you will make money? I hear hundreds of pitches every year from budding entrepreneurs. Their main challenge is making the business case.

Capital Prohibitions and Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding Gains Momentum

The U.S. Senate has passed legislation (March 2012) that will essentially legalize crowdfunding in startups by practically anyone. The “CROWDFUND Act” was passed earlier this month so that companies would be able to use SEC-approved crowdfunding platforms to raise money from “small-dollar investors. And, what are we doing here in Canada?

The Importance of a Shareholders Agreement

A company is owned by its shareholders who, in turn, appoint a board of directors and officers. The person (or persons) who have more than 50% of the voting shares determine who the directors and officers will be. These officers and directors will then run the company. A Shareholders Agreement is essential in giving minority shareholders certain rights and in defining how a company will be governed.

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  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.