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.
Archangel’s Den 2022
St. Michael’s College School is pleased to announce the fourth Archangel’s Den Alumni Entrepreneur Contest presented by Crunch Media Branding & Communications Inc. and Lyn Group took place virtually on Thursday, February 10, 2022.
The Alumni Association would like to offer congratulations to:
1st Place $10,000 – Jobify
Tony Downey ’16 and Dave Rodrigues of Jobify, an app-based platform that helps connect teens to local job opportunities and equipping them with the necessary tools to secure employment.
2nd Place $3,500 – WutUp
Matthew Travis ’18, founder of WutUp, an app that creates opportunities to hang out with others within their network.
Third Place $1,500 – Olena
Oleksandr Feoktistov ’18, founder, created of an online marketplace for print-on-demand products based on user-submitted designs.
FreshFind is an online marketplace connecting consumers with nearby vendors and farmers’ markets that offer local food and artisanal goods.
Jobify is a platform that helps connect teens to local job opportunities, while equipping youth with necessary tools to secure employment.
Olena is an online marketplace for print-on-demand products based on user-submitted designs.
WutUp is a new platform where users can see and create opportunities to hang out with others within their network.
ZALE Apparel separates itself from other brands in the streetwear industry by adding a personal touch to all collections and individual items. Their style and designs directly correlate with experiences and cultural aspects from their core team.
Six expert mentors help participants throughout the competition in product development, pitch and presentation skills, business operations, and more.
- Follow up with the teams regularly and assist with prioritizing progress
- Reminding teams to celebrate successes
- Assisting teams analyze setbacks
Michael Bakaic ’07
Bakaic is an engineer and co-founder of Fibos; a global leader in industrial fiber optic sensing. His journey with Fibos has yielded five years of experience from within the arena where lessons are as valuable as outcomes. Ever in search of a challenge, Bakaic is an outspoken evangelist for the STEM diversity startup, Ripple Studios, and volunteers for several international Formula Student competitions.
“Do today what others will not, so you can do tomorrow what others can not.”
- Value proposition assessment
- Product fit
- Business model assessment
- Setting goals and managing KPI’s
Michael McCarthy ’88
University of Toronto, Executive in Residence
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 Partnership Programme and last year joined the Archangel’s Den team 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.
- 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.
- 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 two years, offered his assistance as a product mentor. He is also a supporter and partner with the SMCS Community and Learning Partnerships Programme.
- Coach presentation skills
- Help communicate the product/idea to a diverse audience
- Identify the key messages & the desired outcome
Brandon Sousa ’07
Corporate Communications Professional
Sousa is an experienced corporate communications professional who has worked for some of Canada’s largest brands and publicly traded companies. He holds a wealth of industry experience from commercial real estate, mining, aviation, financial services, and media, complemented with international experience in South East Asia. He has proven results advising senior leadership and experience in both matrix and global organizations.
Sousa serves on the Board of Directors for the not-for-profit provincial service organization, Craft Ontario, and has been a director with the St. Michael’s College School Alumni Association since 2011.
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.
Director, Medical Excellence for Jansen Inc.
Blazanin is the Director of Medical Excellence at Janssen, pharmaceutical companies of Johnson and Johnson. 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 second 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
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, Steven loves to create or partner with innovative businesses and bring new ideas to life.
Matt Gubasta ’14
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
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.
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
CEO at Health First Network & Chairman at CEOMasterMind.co
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, Davide 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. Davide 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, Davide 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, Davide 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 CEOMasterMind.co.
The Archangel’s Den Alumni Entrepreneur Contest began as an annual event for SMCS alumni in 2018.
- February 19, 2021