The BetaKit Keynote Stage

SAAS NORTH is excited bring back our partnership with BetaKit for another year! Re-introducing, the BetaKit Keynote Stage!

BetaKit is known for sharing cutting-edge, timely insights on Canada’s tech ecosystem – The BetaKit Keynote Stage is where you’ll see the people that are building and financing Canadian SaaS.

Check out the keynote sessions that SAAS NORTH + BetaKit have in store for 2023!

More speakers to be added, schedule subject to change.

Conference Co-MC’s

Welcome to the 7th Annual SAAS NORTH!  Join seven-time host and MC Aydin Mirzaee with colleague Manuela Barcenas on a B2B SaaS growth journey! The 2023 BetaKit keynote stage is overflowing with tactical advice and lessons learned from grizzled veterans and the ecosystem players that have seen it all.

Aydin Mirzaee

CEO & Co-founder

Manuela Barcenas

Head of Marketing

A Bootstrapped Journey: From Zero to 100M$ ARR

Successful bootstrapped companies are very uncommon in the tech world. In this keynote, Simon De Baene explains how he grew his small IT service company into Workleap, an employee experience SaaS generating more than 100M$ ARR without any outside funding. It is a humble story about courage, mistakes, pivots and a lot of patience. It will show you how it’s possible to go against the current, forge your own path and do extremely well.

Simon De Baene

Co-founder & CEO

Workleap (formerly GSoft)

Why SaaS Metrics are Broken: Time for the Next Era Metrics Playbook?

SaaS metrics helped us understand the power of SaaS business models. With the right inputs, we could predict a company’s future (and invest accordingly).

We’ve now grown accustomed to the traditional set of SaaS metrics as just part of how to operate a SaaS business. It’s hard to conceive of what to do without metrics like CAC payback, LTV:CAC, average ACV, or the magic number.

Here’s the thing: the traditional SaaS metrics playbook can be extremely misleading when it comes to managing a vertical SaaS, PLG, or usage-based company. How do we benchmark our CAC payback period, for example, if growth comes from our R&D investments rather than from sales & marketing? Of what value is LTV:CAC if we see 150%+ net dollar retention, making our LTV essentially limitless?

Kyle Poyar from OpenView will unpack the metrics playbook for this new era of software – and what you should aim for at each stage of growth.

Kyle Poyar

Operating Partner

OpenView Venture Partners

Engineering Scalable Growth & Perfecting Product-Market Fit

Join Wealthsimple and Paper – two iconic Canadian SaaS companies as they discuss growth, headwinds, AI and more.


Anne Steptoe

VP of Platform Engineering


Roberto Cipriani

Founder & CTO/COO


Rogayeh Tabrizi

Founder + Chief Executive Officer


7th Annual PitchFest- Day 1 Finalists

Hear from our finalists: Carbon Neutral Club, Foqus Technologies, Bug Mars, and Bidmii!

They will pitch their SaaS company live at SAAS NORTH in front of our audience of SaaS investors and entrepreneurs.

Jack Bruner


Carbon Neutral

Sadegh Raeisi

Co-Founder and CEO

Foqus Technologies

Natalie Duncan

Co-Founder & CEO

Bug Mars

Jon Christensen

Co-Founder & CEO


PitchFest- Day 1 Judges

James Povitz

Principal NAventures

National Bank Of Canada’s Corporate Venture Capital Arm

Melissa Allen

Executive Director

League of Innovators

Russell Samuels


Whitecap Ventures


Patrick White

Managing Director


Insights from Mark Ghermezian, Software Titan and Investor

In the dynamic and overcrowded world of B2B enterprise software, rising as a market leader is a monumental achievement. Join us for an engaging fireside chat with Mark Ghermezian, the former CEO and co-founder of Braze, who currently serves as the General Partner at m]x[v Capital and concurrently holds the position of CEO of Gynger and Tildei. With a wealth of experience from both his ventures in enterprise software and investments this session will share insight and strategies on how to approach building a successful and long-term value business.

Mark Ghermezian

Founder & General Partner

m]x[v Capital

Sean Silcoff

Business Writer

The Globe and Mail

SheBoot Winners Unveiled

SheBoot is a national investment-ready program for early-stage women-led tech and tech-enabled companies that culminates in a pitch competition for $300,000 from 30 women investors! After an intensive six-week bootcamp, one-on-one coaching, and weekly pitch practices, the 2023 cohort winners will be announced on stage at SaaS North, by SheBoot co-founders Julia Elvidge, Jennifer Francis, and Sonya Shorey.

Julia Elvidge

Chair & Co-Founder


Sonya Shorey



Jennifer Francis



Investing with Impact

This session will explore the world of women-led tech companies and the unique challenges they face in securing funding. Our speakers will share their expertise and insights into the complexities of funding women-led tech ventures. Gain insights into the strategies, successes, and roadblocks faced by women leaders in tech. This session is a must-attend for entrepreneurs, investors, and anyone passionate about advancing women in tech and innovation. Be inspired by these trailblazing women as they discuss the challenges, opportunities, and future of women-led tech companies.

Helen Kontozopoulos

Co-founder & Chief Tech Evangelist

ODAIA Intelligence Inc.

Michelle Scarborough

Managing Partner, Thrive Venture Fund

BDC Capital

Yvette Wu

CEO & Co-Founder

Yield Exchange

Douglas Soltys



No More “Closed Lost” to the Competition

Fewer deals in the pipeline. Greater budget scrutiny. More due diligence during RFIs.

It’s the perfect recipe for much more competitive deals. Not a shocker.

The problem? Businesses don’t have the strategies and processes in place to effectively beat the competition. In this session, Jason Smith, CEO and Co-founder of Klue, will share the tactics you need to squeeze every dollar of pipeline into your pocket, and not your competitors.


Jason Smith

CEO & Co-founder


Scaling Up and Achieving Success

When it comes to taking your company to the next level, scaling up comes with its own set of challenges and roadblocks. Overcoming these obstacles is imperative to achieve long-term success. One important aspect to consider is maintaining a strong company culture. Rapid expansion can often dilute a company’s values and principles, so taking steps to prevent this is vital to ensure continuity.

Additionally, adopting a customer-centric approach is a game-changer. Prioritizing your customers’ needs and preferences is crucial in building a loyal customer base and achieving sustainable growth. Lastly, building high-performing teams and embodying effective leadership qualities is vital for a successful scaling journey. Doing so can set you up for success and achieve your growth goals.


Louis Tremblay



Tuyen Vo

Head – Technology & Innovation Banking

National Bank

Founder Story: From Idea to Product-Market Fit

Peter Carrescia and Kirk Simpson have a long history together, starting in 2011 when Peter led the seed round at Kirk’s startup Wave Accounting (later known as Wave Financial) while managing director at OMERS Ventures. Peter later joined Wave and worked closely with Kirk through the successful sale of the company to H&R Block in 2019 for $537 million.

In early 2022, while casually discussing whether to invest in a startup, the idea for portable identity emerged, which led to the launch of Qui Identity in August with Kirk and Peter at the helm and initial seed funding of $8.5 million. In this talk, Peter will share details of how Qui raised funding for their initial idea and built a strong core team to help bring it to life. He will share how, through continuous market research and rapid prototype iterations, the company has moved closer toward product-market fit. Finally, Peter will share where Qui stands today, and the challenges and opportunities ahead as the company begins to scale.

Peter Carrescia

Co-Founder & Head of Strategy and Business Development

Qui Identity Inc.

7th Annual PitchFest- Day 2 Finalists

Hear from our finalists: Medibanx, Strucwise, Enurgen and Align Software!

They will pitch their SaaS company live at SAAS NORTH in front of our audience of SaaS investors and entrepreneurs.

Ian Taylor

Co-Founder & CEO


Fatemeh Dastourian

Founder and CEO


Kibby Pollak

Co-Founder & CEO


Dan Sperring


Align Software

PitchFest- Day 2 Judges

Danielle Gifford

Executive Director


Prashant Matta


Panache Ventures

Jacques Perrault

General Partner

Brightspark Ventures


Patrick White

Managing Director


The BetaKit Podcast: LIVE from SAAS NORTH

Join Douglas Soltys and Rob Kenedi on the BetaKit Podcast as they share a unique Canadian perspective on both local and global tech. The series features interviews recorded live from SAAS NORTH, where they delve into the latest news and insights on the Canadian tech scene. Don’t miss out on this exciting opportunity to stay informed and engaged with the tech industry.

Satish Kanwar

VP Product Acceleration (former)


Katy Yam


Real Ventures

Douglas Soltys



Rob Kenedi

Co-host & Co-creator

BetaKit Podcast

Firehood Angel Camp Winner Announcement

The Firehood’s savvy Angel investors will be onsite at this year’s conference – looking to unearth your SaaS/tech gem and deploy $100k in SaaS funding + mentorship! This is your chance to meet women angel investors from across Canada.

Claudette McGowan


The Firehood

Danielle Graham


The Firehood

Navigating Enterprise Sales in the AI Era: Startup Lessons from Success and Failure

In today’s challenging economic landscape, enterprise sales present formidable hurdles. When it comes to marketing AI-based technology, the stakes are even higher. This presentation delves into the intricate world of selling AI solutions to enterprises, offering essential do’s and don’ts to successfully navigate this complex terrain and achieve sustainable growth in an evolving market.


Kelly Cherniwchan

CEO & Founder

The whisper effect: How to find your customers in an age of noise

Every smart business leader is asking the same question right now: How do I find my customers when they, uh, don’t want to be found?

AI is flooding the internet with mediocre content, new competitors are popping up out of thin air every day, and your customers are turning on privacy settings to shut out the noise. And there is so much noise. Only a vanishingly small number of companies will be thoughtful and inventive enough to break through. In this eye-opening talk, Sarah Stockdale uses research and stories to show you how to sidestep the clamour to find your customers in places your competitors aren’t looking so you can build a brand that actually matters to them.


Sarah Stockdale

Founder and CEO