FREDERICTON – Real Ventures, one of Canada’s top venture capital firms that invests in and supports early-stage companies, has added former Radian6 CEO Marcel LeBrun as a Venture Partner.
“It’s exciting for me and I think it’s exciting for Atlantic Canada as well,” LeBrun said in an interview with Huddle. “I think Real Ventures has really moved into the top spot of venture firms in Canada and with entrepreneurs, they’re on the top of every list. I think it’s exciting to be part of their continued growth across the country and also to provide some presence here in Atlantic Canada.”
LeBrun said what appeals to him were Real Ventures’ team and vision, which doesn’t focus only on financial return, but also on making a difference in Canada and growing the startup ecosystem. He also found Real Ventures’ collaborative approach attractive.
LeBrun said even though his role is pan-Canadian, his addition to Real Ventures’ team is good for Atlantic Canada.
“I think it’s a reflection of the fact that the quality of startups in the region is growing and that there’s an increasing number of stars coming out…I hope that I can partner with the other firms in the region to make sure that other companies that are here get a good opportunity to be considered regardless of where they are,” he said.
“I’m going to be helping Real Ventures companies grow across Canada so I’m not solely focused on the Maritimes. But as far as entrepreneurs in the region, they can certainly reach out to me and it certainly does provide the Atlantic area with inside contact.”
LeBrun co-founded two successful startups, led a NASDAQ/TSX initial public offering and six acquisitions, including the $326-million sale of Radian6 to Salesforce.com in 2011. He said with this experience, he’s hoping to help Real Ventures’ startups execute ideas and strategies.
“I think a lot of people are focused on, ‘Is this a good idea? Is this a good market?’ But really the difference between the successful companies and the not so successful companies is all about their ability to execute,” he said.
He also wants to bring out companies that may be “below the radar.” Canada has very strong companies that are focused on artificial intelligence and enterprise software, he said.
“There are some awesome things happening in Canada right now, which are really unique in the world, like [artificial intelligence] investments,” he said. “I think there’s going to be some really strong breakout companies in Canada in the next few years,” he said.
LeBrun said the recent appointment of tech industry veteran Jeff White as CEO of the New Brunswick Innovation Foundation is also exciting.
“It’s exciting to see people who’ve been entrepreneurs moving into those roles because they know how to execute,” said LeBrun. “I’m excited about Jeff being there and about partnering with Jeff and others, and really seeing things grow.”
“The addition of Marcel to our team aligns with our mission to serve world-changing entrepreneurs,” Real Ventures founding partner JS Cournoyer said in a press release.
“He is an amazing human being and successful entrepreneur who took a company public, built one of the most successful SaaS (Software as a Service) companies in Canada and then built and ran one of Salesforce’s fastest growing divisions. He has the experience and mindset to guide mission-driven entrepreneurs on their journey to success and we are grateful to have him on board.”
LeBrun will remain based in Fredericton, teaching and mentoring part-time at University of New Brunswick’s Masters of Technology Management and Entrepreneurship program. The former SVP for Marketing Cloud at Salesforce.com will also continue to be active in his family foundation, which works with charities that help impoverished and marginalized populations.