Innovation Cluster

Meet the Panel: Investment During COVID-19: A Q&A with Angel Investors


At the Innovation Cluster as the region’s lead organization supporting innovation and technology startups, we are lucky to work closely with the Peterborough Region Angel Network (PRAN). The network brings together individual investors from Peterborough and the Kawartha Lakes. The angels in this network combine their wealth of knowledge and experience to collaborate and invest in early stage growth companies.
This angel network focuses on specific areas of investment including (but not limited to) information and communication technology (ICT), media technology, green technology (clean tech), biotechnology and life-sciences.
We have brought four investors of PRAN together to share their expertise during this time. Meet the panel, and REGISTER FOR THE EVENT.

MICHAEL SKINNER
Michael is not only the CEO of the Innovation Cluster, but is also a Serial Entrepreneur and Angel Investor. Michael’s background in entrepreneurship helps the Innovation Cluster’s clients gain connections and knowledge as they grow.
Michael is also the CEO of RainMaker World Wide Inc., was a 2017 inductee into the Junior Achievement Peterborough’s Business Hall of Fame and has served on several boards and committees.
Previously, Michael founded Operitel Corporation, a learning software development company that he expanded worldwide until he had a successful exit with its acquisition by OpenText Corporation in 2011.
His background as a successful entrepreneur makes him the perfect person to lead a team that works directly with startups every day. His experience working in a technology startup and as an Angel Investor has proven to be the perfect combination as he works to grow and expand the innovation and technology hub in Peterborough & the Kawarthas.

JOHN GILLIS
John has an extensive background that has led him to become President of the Innovation Cluster.
As an Electrical Engineering graduate, John started his career with a multi national corporation but soon decided he needed to go out and start his own business. John created a business in process instrumentation and automation which quickly grew into a multi-million dollar company. He then partnered with two young entrepreneurs and two local successful business people to start up a technology company in the water and waste market.
After several years of business, John has come to the Innovation Cluster so that he may use his time and knowledge to give back to the community and help and inspire young entrepreneurs start their journey.
He began at the Cluster in 2017 as a Clean Tech Innovation Specialist, taking on all clients in the sector of Clean Tech and mentoring them as they start and grow their business. Now, John is the President of the Innovation Cluster, bringing the organization to new heights.

YVES LAFORTUNE
Yves’ corporate career spanned 20+ years in various marketing and executive positions, most notably New Business Development and as Country Manager responsible for the introduction and growth of Gatorade Thirst Quencher.
Yves is now Executive Director of the Peterborough Region Angel Network, and has invested in many companies throughout the region, as well as supporting startups through mentorship. Yves has supported the Innovation Cluster over the years as its main angel investor contact through PRAN, and has participated in multiple funding forum panels for the organization.
In his spare time, Yves enjoys golf, skiing and cottage life.

FRANK AUDINO
Frank has over thirty-five years in Business Development producing top Sales with a career track record in delivering breakthrough revenue growth in Canadian, U.S. and international markets.
Though he’s worked with high-profile corporations such as TC Transcontinental, Rupert Murdoch News Corporation, the Jim Pattison Group of Companies, and was a partner in a Rogers Media firm, it is the start-ups, SME’s and businesses that are looking for growth and require funding that he revels in assisting.
He is an active angel investor with 7 Angel groups including the Peterborough Region Angel Network. He was a 2019 NACO award recipient, is a York Angel Investors Board Member, 2018 York Angel Investor Angel of the year, mentor at the Regional Innovation Zone Spark Centre and Ryerson University, co-chair of the membership and marketing committee with Angel Investors Ontario (AIO) and on the membership and marketing committees with the National Angel Capital Organization (NACO).