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SMCS Archangel's Den Alumni Entrepreneur Contest in 2019
Special Events

Archangel’s Den Alumni Entrepreneur Contest

The Archangel’s Den nurtures, develops, and supports the educational journey and entrepreneurial aspirations of young St. Michael’s College School alumni and current students by providing valuable learning, mentorship, and networking opportunities that reflect the school’s mission and values.

St. Michael’s College School is pleased to announce the fifth annual Archangel’s Den Alumni Entrepreneur Contest. Alumni (age 35 and under) from across North America can qualify for this competition! Alumni are invited to submit a pitch or business plan to by Friday, September 23, 2022.

SMCS Archangel's Den logo

Archangel’s Den 2023

Stay tuned for more information about the next St. Michael’s College School Archangel’s Den Alumni Entrepreneur Contest…


Six expert mentors help participants throughout the competition in product development, pitch and presentation skills, business operations, and more.

Project Mentor

Michael Bakaic '07, SMCS Archangel's Den Project Mentor

  • Follow up with the teams weekly and drive priority mapping
  • Reminding teams to celebrate successes
  • Assisting teams in analyzing setbacks

Michael Bakaic '07

"Bakaic is the co-founder of Iceberg Cyber and is on a mission to simplify cybersecurity for small businesses. Iceberg was formed in 2021 out of a call to action to support the 200k Canadian small businesses that fell victim to cybercrime. Parallel to Iceberg, he is the co-founder and CTO of Fibos. Bakaic's journey with Fibos and Iceberg has yielded six years of experience from within the arena where lessons are as valuable as outcomes. Ever in search of a challenge, he is an outspoken evangelist for the STEM diversity startup, Ripple Studios, and volunteers for several international Formula Student competitions. There is no secret to startup success and Bakaic aims to help others climb on his journey up the ladder.

For the past eight years, Bakaic has judged the SMCS VEX Robotics competition and this is his second year as the Project Mentor for the Archangel’s Den Alumni Entrepreneur Contest.

-- Do today what others will not so you can do tomorrow what others can not -- "

Startup mentor

Michael McCarthy '88, SMCS Archangel's Den Startup Mentor
  • Value proposition assessment
  • Product fit
  • Business model assessment
  • Setting goals and managing KPI’s

Michael McCarthy '88
Adjunct Profession, University of Toronto

An executive adviser, board member, and investor, McCarthy works with several innovative entrepreneurial software companies to enhance profitability, develop products, expand markets, optimize operations and refine strategic direction. Michael has worked as a Venture Capitalist and Management Consultant in the technology sector. McCarthy holds B.Sc. (University of Toronto), BA (University of Toronto), MBA (McMaster University & Manchester Business School) and MA (Royal Military College) degrees and has taught leadership, finance, and entrepreneurship at several Canadian universities.

McCarthy is a supporter and partner with the SMCS Community Engagement and Learning programme and this is his third year as an Archangel’s Den team mentor.

Product mentor

Dante Vertolli, SMCS Archangel's Den Product Mentor
  • Market fit
  • Feasibility / viability / desirability
  • Product development strategies

Dante Vertolli '11
Cadillac Fairview, Innovation Delivery Manager

Vertolli is an Innovation Delivery Manager with Cadillac Fairview’s Innovation Group, where he bridges the gap between product strategy and core business objectives. Prior to joining Cadillac Fairview, Vertolli completed his MBA from the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management, focusing on strategy and finance. During his studies, he worked with a number of startups in a variety of industries including advertising, automotive engineering, biomedical devices, social networking, and space exploration. Vertolli sought to complete an MBA after spending numerous years with Apple, having held various leadership positions in sales and operations.

Vertolli has been an Archangel’s Den mentor since its inception, guiding each of his teams to successful first place finishes.

Rowan Comish '12, SMCS Archangel's Den Technology Mentor

Technology mentor

  • Assess and develop technical aspects of product and how the critical features relate to a successful business
  • Assess the need and use of present technology

Rowan Comish '12
RBC, Senior Analytics Platform Manager

Comish recently joined Ground News to assist building product and analytics. While at the University of Toronto, he studied physics math and computer science and played varsity football there for 5 years. Comish also brings experience of going through the U of T hatchery incubator with a team that made it to demo day. He loves startups and everything about them because of the challenges and uncertainty they present.

Business mentor

Robert Bartucci '96, SMCS Archangel's Den Business mentor
  • Finance - funding, tax, reporting
  • Operations - physical product vs service, supply chain management
  • Commerce - revenue modeling, pricing structures, channel management, marketing, trademarks
  • HR - talent acquisition

Robert Bartucci '96
Glen Dimplex Americas, Chief Executive

Bartucci is a performance-driven Senior Executive with 20+ years of success across consumer product CPG, e-commerce, manufacturing, construction, and distribution industries. Leveraging extensive experience in strategic leadership for consumer centric organizations, he is a valuable asset for mid-cap consumer products, ecommerce, manufacturing, or construction companies requiring expert assistance with effective commercialization of ideas, product relevancy in declining markets, new geographical market entry, or supply chain challenges post-manufacturing. His areas of expertise include transitioning brick & mortar products or services into the digital space, ecommerce operations, aggressive sales growth, global sales, new sales channels, profitability optimization, operational excellence, entrepreneurship, team building, and strategic planning.

Bartucci has been an Archangel’s Den mentor since its inception and for the past three years, offered his assistance as a product mentor. He is also a supporter and partner with the SMCS Community Engagement and Learning Programme.

Pitch mentor

  • Coach presentation skills
  • Help communicate the product/idea to a diverse audience
  • Identify the key messages & the desired outcome


On the competition night, Archangel's Den finalists will present their business ideas in front of a panel of judges who will determine the winning pitch.

Christina Blazanin

Christina Blazanin, SMCS Archangel's Den Judge

Director, Medical Excellence for Johnson & Johnson Inc.

Blazanin is the Director of Medical Excellence at Johnson and Johnson Inc. In this role, she leads transformative efforts in several cross-functional Medical Affairs areas, including: Medical Affairs Technology systems, Data and Analytics, Healthcare Professional Value Transfer, Medical and Promotional Material Review, Process Excellence and Research Compliance, and Learning and Development. Blazanin earned her degree from the University of Toronto, Forensic Science Faculty in Chemistry and Osteology and completed postgraduate studies in Operations Management. In 2019, she was the keynote speaker at the SMCS Science and Technology Mentorship Breakfast for senior science students, where she shared her passion for science and innovation. This year, is Blazanin’s third year participating as a judge.

She lives in Toronto with her husband Delko and two sons Delko Matthew ’23 and Ante ’25.

Steven Hellmann '96

Steven Hellmann '96, SMCS Archangel's Den Judge

Founder of The Foodies Group(TM) and Little Birdie Media

Hellmann is the award-winning founder of The Foodies Group(TM) and Little Birdie Media. He is a serial entrepreneur, public speaker, and media expert, having garnered a plethora of international coverage and appearing on shows such as Cityline, Breakfast Television, The Social, and CHCH Morning Live. Hellman has been recognized by top business minds as an innovator in the fields of food, events, tourism, and public relations.

A proponent of collaboration, he loves to create or partner with innovative businesses and bring new ideas to life.

Hellmann has been part of the Archangel's Den since it began and now service as the 1st Vice-President of the Alumni Association.

Matt Gubasta '14

Matt Gubasta '14, SMCS Archangel's Den Judge

Founder and currently the President of RockMass Technologies

Gubasta is a passionate entrepreneur and leader whose contributions continue to shape the future of mining. Leveraging the need for new solutions in the mining industry, Gubasta and his team utilize innovative robotics and artificial intelligence systems to revolutionize the geotechnical data collection process for engineers enabling real-time decision-making; saving time, money, and lives. He has been named in the Forbes 30 under 30 list for 2021 and is a graduate of the Creative Destruction Lab and HAX accelerator programmes.

Gubasta has been involved with judging the Archangel’s Den for the past two years and has been instrumental in helping many of the past participants. We have asked him to co-ordinate the judges as we work through a new format.

Ralph Montemurro '91

Ralph Montemurro '91, SMCS Archangel's Den Judge

Founder of Monte Design

Ralph Montemurro is the founder of Monte Design, a modern home furniture manufacturing company based in Toronto, and their products are sold across North America.

This is Montemurro's fourth year participating as an Archangel's Den judge.

He comes from a long list of family members who have attended SMCS. He is married to Michelle and has four children, including Jack ’18 and Luke ’23.

Davide Viola '97

Davide Viola, SMCS Archangel's Den Judge

CEO at Health First Network & Chairman at

Davide Viola is a Fortune 500 trained expert strategist and executive enabling start-ups to billion-dollar brands to differentiate, compete, grow and scale predictably in any market condition. In his current corporate role, Viola architected a full organizational transformation by re-engineering all aspects of the business, from the brand, product development, services, IT infrastructure and tech stack, supply chain optimization, and even the human resources model. He is skilled in optimizing businesses and implementing an operating system to drive clarity, accountability, momentum, and results.

He has demonstrated his love of entrepreneurship since he was five years old when he sold painted rocks in his neighbourhood to buy candy. In 1999, Viola founded the Schulich York Entrepreneurs Society with his peers. Additionally, he has invested in businesses and real estate over the years. A key failure fueled his insatiable passion for learning and development. In 2020, Viola completed his MBA at a top-ranked global business school, Jack Welch Management Institute. His next entrepreneurial venture is to create a global consulting powerhouse with

Past Events

The Archangel's Den Alumni Entrepreneur Contest began as an annual event for SMCS alumni in 2018.

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