Knockout Entrepreneurs! Canadian GP & LP put-on the Gloves for a great cause on Nov. 18th

28Oct10

By Chris Arsenault, iNovia Capital

Posted on October 28th for nextMontreal.com

Do you remember the last time you got into a heated argument that culminated with your adversary laying down the proverbial gauntlet by issuing those infamous three words – “I dare you!”? Then, without even a shadow of a doubt and before you can even comprehend the seriousness of the situation, you responded with a testosterone-tinged “Sure, I’ll do it – name the time and place!” More often than not, the consequences of such actions end up being more than you wished for.

Now, to be honest, I’ve given more than my share of cocky replies over the last 20 years in the business. That being said, I can also say none of my “quick replies” ever landed me in a prize-fighting ring versus a trained boxer who also happens to be Canada’s largest VC and PE fund investor!

Yes, ladies and gentleman; Jacques Bernier, Managing Partner at Teralys Capital, has dared the VC community to face him in the ring. He wants to go at it, one-on-one and show what he’s made up of.

Personally, stepping into a ring is already something I consider a little crazy. Furthermore, to go out and face one of my future potential investors on a boxing ring is almost suicidal. It’s definitely a lose-lose proposition…Or is it?

François-Charles Sirois, a dynamic young entrepreneur (and also President of Telesystem – one of Canada’s most active entrepreneurial investor through its numerous funds), heard the calling in October 2009. When Jacques threw out his “I dare you” in a friendly meeting, François-Charles rapidly evaluated the odds of winning or losing, the time he needed to train, the muscle-mass he needed to gain to face Jacques, identified Jacques’ main weaknesses, calculated the difference in age and speed, and rapidly (because all of this happened within a micro-second) answered back: “Sure, I’ll fight you. Give me a year to prepare. Oh, and by the way, I care tremendously for a specific foundation that gives support for kids and want to give 100% of my winnings to the Fondation Sainte-Justine.” “My winnings” – talk about a bold statement! Jacques quickly replied: “Perfect – but to be clear, my winnings will go to the Centre of Excellence for Cellular Therapy of Hôpital Mainsonneuve-Rosemont, which is a cause close to my heart”.

Definitely, François-Charles is walking into this adventure with but one objective in mind – to win! While Jacques already knows he has won!

Being a Montrealer and having had the opportunity to be friends with both Jacques & François-Charles, I had the pleasure of hearing, discussing and sharing allot of the buzz this “I dare you” challenge has generated since last year. These guys are knockout entrepreneurs!

In the left corner, wearing purple shorts, you have Jacques Bernier; A self-made entrepreneur with an amazing amount of energy, vision and execution skills. In addition to have been an amazing athlete (race car driver and as a boxer) he is an avid cycler. Jacques usually doesn’t hold any punches, and gets things done once he puts his mind to it. The Billion dollar Teralys Capital fund of funds was his making, hardly a small feat.

In the right corner, wearing red shorts, you have François-Charles Sirois, a younger entrepreneur with nothing less than hundreds of millions under management. Telesystem has direct ownership in a series of companies (Stingray, Plexo, Zone 3…), VC funds under management (ID Capital, Propulsion…) and other funds co-managed (Tandem, Enablis…). Telesystem has been an important player in the Telecom arena and in the Venture Capital industry in Canada and elsewhere in the world. Yet, in a nutshell, Telesystem is about Entrepreneurs. And François-Charles, a solid entrepreneur who fears nothing but himself, makes calculated risks and takes bold moves. I’ve witnessed (and in some cases actively participated with) him launching new businesses and converting wild ideas into sustainable companies. He has the drive and the guts to go for Gold, nothing less.

So on November 18th, after a year of intense training, practice, and preparation, the challenge will be answered via a friendly boxing match organized by Christian Zabbal, Pascal Tremblay, Jacques Bernier and François-Charles Sirois.

This is an “Invitation-Only Event” and all proceeds from this event will support both St-Justine and the Centre of Excellence for Cellular Therapy of Hôpital Mainsonneuve-Rosemont. Because it is a private event, and constraints of the room, only a limited number of guests will have the opportunity of attending this memorable match.

This is going to be a knockout event! And I’ll be there to take the shots (picture-shots that is!).



4 Responses to “Knockout Entrepreneurs! Canadian GP & LP put-on the Gloves for a great cause on Nov. 18th”

  1. Will the winner be a young aggressive and ambitious VC? Or will the Experienced “been there – done that” LP take over and finish it with a Knockout!?

  2. I think that everything said made a great deal of sense.
    However, think on this, what if you wrote a catchier
    title? I mean, I don’t want to tell you how to run your blog, but what if you added something to possibly get a person’s attention?
    I mean Knockout Entrepreneurs! Canadian GP & LP put-on the Gloves for a great cause on Nov.
     18th | Chris Arsenault’s Blog is kinda plain. You should glance at Yahoo’s
    front page and watch how they create post headlines to get viewers interested.
    You might add a video or a pic or two to get people excited about everything’ve got to say. Just my opinion, it might make your posts a little livelier.


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