PET Tower Defense 2021

In May 2020, I participated in a weekend game hackathon and created a clone of my favourite arcade game, Williams Defender, for my forty year old 8-bit Commodore PET computer. Programming the game was a tribute to Chuck Peddle, the inventor of the 6502 processor who had recently passed away. The 6502 chip essentially launched the personal computer industry and was the processor in the early Apple, Atari, Nintendo, Commodore and most other 8-bit machines (think of it as the “Intel inside” for the 8-bit era, although it was made by a different company called MOS which eventually got bought…


Paulette Goddard, The Crystal Ball, 1943

It has been my tradition for the last five or six years to spend some time looking backwards and forwards at trends shaping the Information, Communications and Technology (ICT) venture capital and startup sector here in Canada.

A review of my 2020 predictions is here (I scored 13 out of 19). What we saw is that, despite COVID, the Canadian venture capital and startup ecosystem not only survived, but thrived. In general most tech companies continued business as usual — their coders working from home, and marketing / sales functions simply moving to Zoom. While overall investments levels into Canadian…


At the beginning of each year, I try to spend some time looking backwards and forwards at trends shaping the Information, Communications and Technology (ICT) startup sector here in Canada. My year-ago review of my 2019 predictions is here (I scored 9 out of 16), and my guesses as to what 2020 would bring are here. I didn’t predict a global pandemic so I am guessing I will be off base on much of what happened; here are the results from my actual predictions from a year ago:

Canadian Venture Capital Financing Environment Predictions

My two main 2020 venture financing predictions were that:

  • Overall funding in…


Bram Sugarman (r) and I at the NYSE, May 21, 2015 for the Shopify IPO. Bram joined Shopify later that year.

Five years ago today I was at the New York Stock Exchange to witness the Initial Public Offering and first day of trading of Shopify. For about 18 months prior to the IPO, I was fortunate enough to have been involved with the company as the OMERS Ventures board observer. It was an amazing experience to be involved with the management team and the other investors at that stage in the company’s life.

One of the best things about the experience has been understanding and appreciating the many things that make Shopify a unique business through its people and leadership…


Defender on a Commodore PET (hardware 1981, software 2020); Williams Defender (1981 Arcade Version)

In the past I participated in an annual weekend game programming jam here in Toronto called TOJam. An amazing event where incredible gamers, coders, artists, etc create video games from scratch over a long-weekend. This inspired me this weekend to go 8-bit “retro” and complete a version of my favourite arcade game, Williams Defender (released in 1981) on my original Commodore PET home computer (also from 1981).

Commodore PET

I am always intrigued by the unsung behind-the-scenes technology and people. There are many famous people from that 8-bit computing era (notably Bill Gates and Steve Jobs), but many others were involved as…


In my review of 2019, we saw that 2019 was a record year for both new venture funding and exits of Canadian Information and Communications Technology (ICT) companies. Some guesses for 2020:

Financing Predictions

Prediction 1. For this year, I believe that global political uncertainty and the Softbank hangover effect will mean that overall venture funding on a global basis will be lower, including in Canada — our ICT total will be closer to the $1.6B average levels of 2016, 2017, 2018 versus 2019’s record $2.7B.

Prediction 2. Growth equity (from domestic and U.S. firms) will continue to “like” our…


At the beginning of each year, I try to spend some time looking backwards and forwards at trends shaping the Information, Communications and Technology (ICT) startup sector here in Canada.

One prediction I didn’t have from a year ago was that today I would be four months in to helping to get a new firm, Wittington Ventures, up and running. We focus on venture investments in the commerce, healthcare and food sectors, and we are backed by several of the strongest Canadian corporations in these sectors such as Loblaw and Shoppers Drug Mart. …


Sherlock Reviews My 2019 Predictions

At the beginning of each year, I look backwards and forwards on trends shaping the Canadian technology startup industry. It is mid-year, I have a bit of recharging time before I start my new role at Wittington Investments so I thought I would review how my technology startup predictions from six months ago are shaping up.

Canadian StartUp Financing Environment

As I first reviewed what I wrote six months ago, I noticed that I was significantly wrong on my predictions of exits for 2019; but at least I’m wrong in a good way. I predicted one significant exit for the…


Mario Kart Leaderboard — Koopa Takes The Lead

It is mid-year and I have a bit of recharging time before I start my new role at Wittington Investments, so I thought I’d review how my Canadian technology startup predictions from the beginning of 2019 are shaping up. Well, as I read through what I wrote six months ago, one area in the landscape that I clearly misjudged was the pace and magnitude of exits that we would see in 2019.

First a bit of a review: Actual liquid exits (versus private valuation increases) are important for a thriving and self-sustaining ecosystem. Scott Kupor from Andreesen Horowitz describes the…

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