As an entrepreneur turned angel investor, I'm passionate about solving the inefficiencies that exist throughout the innovation ecosystem's funding continuum to ensure that founders receive the support they need to grow great ideas into sustainable businesses.
I'm 22 years old and reside between Toronto, Ontario and St. Pete Beach, Florida.
Growing up between Toronto, Ontario and Halifax, Nova Scotia, I discovered a love for sailing and a knack for entrepreneurship. At age 10, I taught myself how to code in hopes of sharing my ideas with the world, and by age 15, I had launched my first venture with my high school best friend, landing a deal on Dragons' Den. In 2015, I was the honoured recipient of Startup Canada's Young Entrepreneur of the Year award and have since advised Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on youth entrepreneurship policy. I have dedicated myself to mentoring youth who share my gumption and have thoughtful ideas to create meaningful change.
While studying at the University of British Columbia's Sauder School of Business (Honours, Commerce Scholars Program) as a Dobson Loran Scholar and Canada’s Outstanding CEO of the Year Futures Fund Scholar, I co-founded Simbi to solve global illiteracy after struggling with reading as a youngster. Simbi works by empowering learners to read for good by narrating books so others can read along, improving their own reading fluency. I currently have an active research project exploring this form of altruistic motivation in the classroom setting. Today, I am the Chief Operating Officer at Simbi and we’ve made our platform available to more than 197,000 learners across 87 countries – including 37,000 remote and refugee learners in partnership with Simbi Foundation and the United Nations.
Since graduating university (virtually during the COVID-19 pandemic) in May 2020, I invested in SkyHi, an innovative flat-rate flight travel membership app, as my travel bug eagerly awaits a vaccinated world. In early 2021, I invested in Gumroad and Canadian-based HardBacon, two ventures that are led by founders who truly embody the values of entrepreneurship.
Having experience being both an entrepreneur and investor, I joined the National Angel Capital Organization (NACO) to bring a youthful entrepreneurial perspective to the changing face of angel investing. At NACO, I advise on a variety of digital curriculum, analytical, and policy-based projects including the annual Angel Activity Report, that culminate to active more than $1 billion of investment capital into the Canadian innovation economy.
In my free time, I enjoy sailing, skiing, discovering new cocktails and quality conversation with both new and familiar faces – reach out anytime:
firstname.lastname@example.org / @alexgillis