LaunchYU Team

Sarah Howe

Director, Innovation York

Sarah is a business development professional with extensive experience fostering innovation and developing strategic business operations.

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Over the past six years, Sarah has successfully created an innovation office at York University that provides a myriad of services across the university and has grown the team to 17. She has created and grown a pan-university educational entrepreneurship program, developed and manages two start-up incubators; and developed and manages an 8000 square foot innovation centre, YSpace, as a strategic step in the development of a new campus. In addition, Sarah is co-lead for the strategic development of innovation and entrepreneurship across the York University campus.

Nilay Goyal

Entrepreneurship Manager

Nilay is the Entrepreneurship Manager at York University and manages York University’s Entrepreneurship program: LaunchYU.

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Previously, Nilay was the Founding Associate Director of the Creative Destruction Lab accelerator at University of Toronto, he founded the semiconductor verification product division at e-Infochips Inc. and led its acquisition by Cadence Design Systems, and led the Canadian operations for SkyQuest Technology Group, a global IP-based accelerator, research & investment bank. He has also worked as a management consultant in various industries including technology, healthcare and fashion and luxury goods. He has worked with various startups while helping them with their long term strategy, fund raising, and scaling operations.

Diana Senwasane

Marketing & Events Coordinator

Diana is a creative leader with over 9 years of expertise in marketing and communications; including two years of experience managing an office independently.

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She has successfully coordinated and managed almost 250 events across Canada, designed and developed strategic marketing and communication campaigns, and has created communication pieces aimed at telling compelling brand stories. In 2008, Diana graduated with a BA in Communications and Psychology from York University, as well as a Diploma in Creative Advertising from Seneca College. Diana is responsible for coordinating and marketing LaunchYU events and programs, contributing to the overall look of the brand, as well as providing marketing and event support for Innovation York.

LaunchYU Coaches

Aïko Thurlow

Aïko is the founder and CEO of InFounders, an organization that runs masterminds for entrepreneurs. She is also the Program Director for SHAD, an award-winning enrichment and entrepreneurship program for youth.

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Aïko has been active in the New York and Toronto startup space, building her own ventures and mentoring entrepreneurs. She is closely knit to the local startup community, lecturing at universities, speaking at meetups, and participating in the organization of events such as Propelify (one of the largest NY innovation events), Startup Weekends, and the Women Techmaker Conference. She is also a startup mentor and the founder of Toolmuse, a tech startup.

She previously worked as a consultant with Accenture as well as in banking, with a special focus on small businesses.

Chris Carder

Chris Carder is a Serial Entrepreneur with more than 20 years of experience in the Digital/Technology Sector and a sought-after Startup Advisor, Investor and Advisory Board Member.

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Chris serves as the Entrepreneur in Residence with Schulich School of Business & organizes The Schulich Startup Night Competition (now in its 10th Edition).

Chris also serves as Board Chair of Kinetic Companies (holding interests in startups such as Kinetic Commerce, AdvisorStream, Wirkn, SkyMotion and Massive Damage).

He is the past President & Co-Founder of ThinData (Canada's largest email marketing services provider) - acquired by TC Media (Transcontinental) in 2018. His Volunteer work in the Non-Profit Sector includes serving as Chairman of the International White Ribbon Campaign & he has been recognized as the Canadian New Media Awards Volunteer (and Employer) of the Year.

Elliott Atkins

Elliott is Co-founder of Opilio Labs, a new company capitalizing on the growth and excitement around the Internet of Things.

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His passion for entrepreneurship and education allows him to split his time between helping organizations grow their people and revenue and developing our leaders of the future. Elliott is also a Professor in the School of Marketing at Seneca College focusing on Sales, Marketing and Entrepreneurship. He currently helps young entrepreneurs start and grow their new businesses as a Business Coach and Lead Mentor at HELIX, Seneca’s on-campus business accelerator program.

Elliott founded and built a place-based media business, AddMirror, which has grown to include locations in Montreal, Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver. He has over 10 years of experience working with Agencies and brands across Canada. Prior to founding AddMirror, Elliott held sales and sales leadership positions at leading technology companies including Microsoft, Dell and Sprint.

Elliott holds an MBA in Marketing from the Schulich School of Business and a BASc in Electrical Engineering from the University of Waterloo.

LaunchYU Mentors

Ehsan Mirdamadi

Ehsan obtained his BSc in Computer Science from York University and has been an active entrepreneur Since 1999.

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Throughout his 18 years of experience, he has founded and led couple of successful ventures in Cloud Computing, Big Data & Biotech, in Canada and United States. He is also an active angel investor and advisor dozens of ventures, both for technology and venture development.

Mick Bhinder

Mick Bhinder is the CEO & Founder of IAmI Authentications, Inc. (“IAmI”), a Canadian based cybersecurity company.

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After many years of experiences, having worked in the financial services sector (Amex, Discover Financial Services, Visa and TD Bank), Mick began his entrepreneurial journey over 7 years with two prior startups before IAmI. Bhinder has always been front and centre at the crossroads of modern technologies and securing private & sensitive data.

Over the years, Bhinder has excelled in developing a deeper set of knowledge and experiences in the prevention of cyber threats & risks, fraud and cyber data exploits. Bhinder prides his newest initiative around completely changing user experiences - through instinctive intelligent empowerment.

Navin Kaminoulu

Navin Kaminoulu is the Co-founder and Chief Operating Officer for Inc.

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He leads the strategic direction and operations for the construction industry’s first artificial intelligence powered start up. The company is headquartered in San Francisco with R & D in Toronto. He is an experienced serial entrepreneur who previously led various Internet and technology early stage organizations to accelerated growth. He has deep industry expertise in software, product development and operations.

Navin co-founded and prior, he held the position Head of delivery and partnerships at GreenOwl Mobile where he was responsible for scaling the firm 2 – 25 employees, 50+ enterprise clients, and 300% revenue growth within 2 years. He has also held senior leadership roles in banking, finance, management consulting, and the public sector, which has helped him master a broad spectrum of domain and corporate experience.

He is a graduate of the University of Western Ontario with degree in Mathematics and liberal arts. He also has been a project management professional (PMP) for nearly 15 years.

Patrick Heffron

Patrick has more than 20 years of ICT leadership experience with an expertise in both operations and finance.

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Highlights of his career include roles as the COO and CFO for Esna Technologies where he helped achieve the successful exit of this enterprise communication software company and he was COO of Clickfree, a consumer product that was #1 in the Deloitte Fast-50 in 2010.

Patrick has experience in both SMB and Enterprise solutions as well as consumer focused businesses. He has extensive channel experience across multiple segments. Patrick is also very adept at financial and business modelling. Before entering the startup world in 2009, Patrick held various executive roles at IBM and Bell. He is also currently a facilitator with the Entrepreneurship Programs at MaRS.

Portia Asli

Portia Asli is a 3-time entrepreneur and engineer with 10 years of professional and leadership experience.

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She has built businesses from the ground-up in healthcare, online education and digital marketing. Portia has served as a startup coach at IdeaSpace Incubator/Accelerator in the Philippines working with technology Founders to transition from idea to prototype and then to revenue stage.

She has been a speaker on startup related content at conferences hosted by USAID, the Asian Development Bank and featured on live TV talk show. Prior to pursuing her entrepreneurial ambitions, Portia provided design engineering services to multinational clients such as Costco Wholesale on multi-million dollar geographic expansions across Canada and engineering project management services on high profile multi-billion dollar transit development for the Government of Canada. A visionary leader, Portia is known as a people-influencer and for strategic talents coupled with a 'can-do' and 'go-getter' attitude to deliver results. Portia is a licensed professional engineer and holds an MBA from Cambridge University.


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Aird & Berlis

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Ontario Centres of Excellence

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