Don Pare
IMPACT INVESTING

Don Pare

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Mentors – Don Pare

“A mentor you seek is someone who has hit a home run in your space”

ABOUT

Mr. Paré’s passion is to launch entrepreneurs towards funding and success. He has a consistent track record that both investors and entrepreneurs have come to rely upon. He has hit multiple home runs, himself, with exits between 700-1700 ROI for the early investors. Mr. Pare is a Keynote Speaker on strategic planning and evolving funding modalities. He speaks from experience not from an academic perspective and is often called to turn companies around or assess them using his proven innovative valuation and pivot strategy models. He can be reached for help at 780-973-3299

Mr. Paré has over 40 years of experience with high technology companies and end-user departments, holding various executive roles including Chairman, CEO, President, V.P. Operations, V.P. Sales and Marketing, General Manager, VP partners and channels, Development and Marketing Manager, Minority Shareholder and Active Director.

From 2001 till present , Mr Pare has helped over 70 companies with their strategy, funding and launches to an outstanding 95% success rate. He is an international speaker on Crowd Funding and an expert with Angel funding. He sits on a number of Boards as a mentor to the executives. He participated in the Launch of an effective and massive program in chile to create almost 1500 new start-ups every year to deliver 100,000s of new jobs. He believes such a program can make a big difference in Alberta during these tough times.

From 1998 to 2001, Mr. Paré was President and CEO at MessagingDirect, where he raised over 18 million dollars in start-up funding and boosted the company to #1 growth firm in Edmonton’s high technology sector. Although the company was 800,000 in the red when Mr. Paré joined, he later merged it with a very large US Banking Firm for over 75 million CDN. Shareholders saw their investments grow by manifold during a time where the market was depressed.

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THE FULL INTERVIEW

Don Pare

The full #OPNAskAnAngel talk

JP: So welcome, everybody to Ask an angel and today we are with Don Pare. And I’m so excited to talk with you because not only are we talking partnership, but working with you guys on a lot of other different sides of business with OPN and the supporters fund. But today, we actually get to learn a lot more about yourself and dive into the great things that make you great. So to start off, Don, thank you very much for joining us today.

DP: Well, I believe you. It really is an appreciation and an honor. The OPN organization came to my attention a while ago, and I think they’re part of what I would call the Nouveau Ecosystem for properly introducing investors to opportunities. This is, I think they’re in a leadership position there for a number of reasons. One, is with their help the investors can better pick who they want, who they’re interested in, and that ability to create fit is what really creates a much better ecosystem. And then I think they’re brilliant on the way they work with some of their venture players and how they help them get themselves organized because that’s often a challenge and you know, yet you’ve got to stop throwing spaghetti at a wall. As I would say, write to JP, and you’ve got to start to say, “Well let’s get focused here and let’s really put together my pitch, so that it’s going to not fall off the wall, but be well appreciated and eaten by the investors.” Not to say that we’re in the food business but yeah it’s an analogy, right?

JP: I love it. It’s a great analogy and you’re right. Things have to change and you have to look at things a little bit different and someone else’s lens usually helps lend that to a different view, and today we get to look in your lens to learn a little bit more about yourself, so maybe to start things off Don, maybe you can share a little bit about your background, where you’ve come from, where you’ve been and where you’re going, and then one thing about you that nobody will know.

DP: Yeah, it’s a very interesting question but often a boring answer. Suffice it to say that I enjoyed my roots of engineering to such an extent that I was really the top of the class and I thought I had an engineering world ahead of me. There you go, you don’t find people like me from totally different –from an engineering background but then I found myself working for Bell Northern Research on a presentation for Northern Telecom on a new switch and they needed someone from the lab who was a techie who could speak English. So people can understand. So anyways there was a little group in Belmont Research called the industrial design and I said, “I got to give a presentation. What the hell am I going to do?” Because most of us at that time and I date my tele-self use the old kind of flappy slides that you put on those overhead projector stuff that you know that black and white sort of thing with the cardboard around it. I forgot what those projectors were they’re sold. So they gave me two slide projectors one was the images and one was the text but inverted in white on a dark blue background. Well, this at that time had never been done. So I walked in to make my presentation and put up the two slide projectors and immediately just blew the buyer right off his chair. But the vice president of marketing was there from Northern he said, “Where did you come from?” Because I had all the technical answers and when they ask, “Well, what does this mean for this?” I had some sort of ability to do that and that’s the beginning of the change of my career as I took on an MBA, and started to work in marketing, and worked myself through and actually became a salesman, ran RND, and ran finances, and administration. Whoo! And some great companies like Cognos which sold the IBM for five billion dollars. Somewhat, I would call the harvards of learning how to start a business because Cognos one when it was very small. In fact, it was called quasar and it was a little consulting shop. Wow, how far they went to that five billion dollar portion. So started to learn there and started to enjoy running my own companies, and seeing them succeed. Now let’s go cut this timing down a little bit and just say that there’s a few examples of where I began to work with new startup players and get them connected to some investors just by accident. And so I started to build on linkedin way back way a record and an invitation, a connection for all these players that I had syndicated with to get investment, and then I took on a company here in Edmonton which is where my parents went, why I came here, and that company was eight hundred thousand dollars in the hole, and they were going to flush it down the toilet. But I looked at it and I thought the first thing I said, “The people are great.” That’s what you need the people did they understand their market very well. That’s the second thing. Do they have some clients validation? Yes. So they had the three kickoffs that you and I use, right? Do they have good people? Do they understand their market? Their customer? So took them over and you know what, in 18 months they were sold for 75 million dollars to the largest banking software company in the states, TSA Inc. Well then, I retired or so I thought, then I took on another company called Shana Forms. This chairman and they were sold to file net, and I began to really like building Superstars and you know, helping to do that, and then I started to Invest, and I invested in a lot of these companies and did very well and some of them. Ah, I ran into one which is a story that very people know about. I was one of the larger investors in Cold FX, I mean like 5 million, 10 million dollars worth. And, but I had a tumor the size of a Kiwi that derailed me in 2008, and that’s when they ran into their US distribution problem. So I’ve also seen the downside of things, especially when you’re not able to get in there and cut your losses. So I’ve seen both sides and the