SWO3 – Meet some of your Mentors


MentorsIconAdvice is a precious commodity. Sometimes it seems that bad advice lurks around every turn, and quality insight that will help propel your business forward can be hard to come by.

There is no question that mentorship and high-quality advice from experienced entrepreneurs can do wonders for your fledgling business — and that’s why Startup Weekend has handpicked some of the best and brightest local entrepreneurs to help guide you through the weekend.

These mentors will be available to you on Saturday to answer your questions and provide you with advice based on their own wealth of experience. Be sure to take some time before the weekend to study up on each of the SWO mentors — this will help you decide who to focus your time and energy on over the course of the weekend.

But because we know that you’re all busy little hustlers, and because we think you’re pretty cool, we’ve gone ahead and developed a list of the awesome mentors that we’ve lined up so far for Startup Weekend:


andrew_draper Andrew Draper (Openera)

Andrew (@andrewdraper) is a designer and serial entrepreneur. He has been part of the founding team for several startups including Manpacks, Gijit, Scratchpad, Snapable and Boxseat and was accepted into startup accelerators in both the US and Canada raising Investment from such names as Dave McClure (500 Startups). These days, you’ll find Andrew playing foosball and working away as the Chief Product Officer at Openera. A designer by trade, Andrew will be a great source for all things product and design at Startup Weekend.

Harley-FinkelsteinHarley Finkelstein (Shopify)

Harley (better known to some as @hfizzle) is an entrepreneur, lawyer, and the Chief Platform Officer at Shopify. He has a background in startups and eCommerce, and started his first company at age 17 while a student at McGill. Harley also serves as a mentor and advisor to a number of entrepreneurial organizations and incubators, including Founder Fuel, Extreme Ventures, & Invest Ottawa.

Nazim Ahmed

Nazim Ahmed (CanvasPop)

Nazim (@nazimahmed) is the co-founder of CanvasPop and dna11 (both companies now serve over 150,000 cutsomers in 50 countries). Named to Ottawa’s Top 40 Under 40, Nazim is a born disruptor; he has a background in molecular genetics that he left behind to bootstrap dna11. Nazim is your go-to source at Startup Weekend for all things bootstrapping, customer service, company culture, and innovation.


Stephanie Liverani (Ooomf)

Stephanie (@stephliverani) is the co-founder and Head of Data at Ooomf, a Montreal-based online marketplace for creative talent. An actuary by training, Stephanie will be bringing a unique skill-set to Startup Weekend Ottawa. Don’t be shy to grab Stephanie for a chat about all things numbers, analytics and metrics.


Mikael Cho Mikael Cho (Ooomf)

Mikael (@mikaelcho) is the founder of Ooomf and an American living in Montreal. A participant in the 2012 Founder Fuel cohort, Mikael knows what it’s like to build a company from the ground up (and doing a major pivot along the way). An advocate of the Lean startup philosophy, be sure to get Mikael’s advice on product development, social media, launching, gaining media attention and traction, and general advice on how to kick-ass as a founder.


Excited yet? Ya, we thought so! Each of these expert mentors were chosen specifically for the unique skills and experience that they bring to the table. Each one has valuable lessons learned and insights that they will be able to share with your team to help overcome roadblocks and get you up and running by Sunday.

Be sure to stay tuned to the blog, as we will be announcing new mentors leading up to the day.