MARKHAM, Ontario--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Today, leading technology hub, ventureLAB, announced that Melissa Chee will step down as its President and CEO, following the successful completion of her current five-year term on June 30, 2023.
Since joining the organization in 2017, Melissa has transformed ventureLAB into an award-winning, pan-Canadian, diverse-led organization attracting founders from across Canada and internationally, thrice recognized as a Great Place to Work and as one of Canada’s Most Admired Corporate Cultures. Melissa was instrumental in elevating Canada’s role in the global semiconductor industry and creating the organization’s blueprint to build a more inclusive tech sector.
Melissa is widely recognized for her visionary leadership in championing the urgency and opportunity for Canada to elevate its leadership in the global semiconductor industry, years before the global chip shortage, to ensure Canada is at the forefront of a global transformation that is reshaping the face of manufacturing and innovation. Her vision led to the creation of ventureLAB’s Hardware Catalyst Initiative, Canada’s only lab and incubator exclusively for founders commercializing IP-rich hardware and semiconductor solutions. Since its launch, over 60 companies have been selected for the Hardware Catalyst Initiative. Its global network of nearly 50 industry partners have committed to re-invest over $55 million back into the Canadian innovation ecosystem, including several of world’s largest semiconductor leaders, creating a new generation and robust pipeline of IP-rich Canadian tech titans.
As a longtime champion for diversity, equity and inclusion, Melissa’s leadership shaped the adoption of inclusivity as one of its five core values of ventureLAB’s performance-based culture. This approach attracted diverse world-class talent and quadrupled the team’s pan-Canadian footprint while achieving the highest net promoter scores in the company’s 12-year history.
“Leading ventureLAB’s transformation has been the opportunity of a lifetime and it has been a privilege to create Canada’s big bet at the intersection of inclusivity and the deep tech sector of semiconductors, two cornerstone pillars that have significant importance to the future of our communities and every Canadian,” said Chee. “Our industry-led, founder-first strategy has resulted in sustainable, long-term economic impact and wealth creation here in Canada and well beyond our borders. I am confident in the exceptional team who has built the organization’s credibility, trust and leadership with founders, partners and government, and it is the right time for a new leader to shape the next exciting chapter of pan-Canadian and global growth.”
Building on her 25-year career scaling global technology multinationals and start-ups in the telecommunications and semiconductor sectors, Melissa is a highly respected thought leader at the strategic intersection of a critical technology sector and the imperative for a more inclusive tech ecosystem. She has played a pivotal role championing the necessity for a bold, long-term national semiconductor strategy that invests in globally competitive Made-in-Canada companies and multinationals that together creates a robust semiconductor supply chain that attracts and retains domestic and global talent, creates highly skilled jobs, and accelerates global investment to Canada.
“On behalf of the Board of Directors, I would like to thank Melissa for her outstanding leadership and contributions to ventureLAB and the Canadian ecosystem that will have positive, sustainable impact for years to come. Most notably, against the unprecedented backdrop of the global pandemic and dynamic economic conditions, Melissa reinvented ventureLAB by envisioning a new bold, strategic vision and created an award-winning performance-based culture,” said Paul Bradley, Chair of ventureLAB’s Board of Directors. “Melissa is an inspirational trailblazer whose steadfast passion for Canada and ability to deliver is reflected in the organization’s success. Under her tenure, ventureLAB has achieved record high net promoter scores, business outcomes, and the highest levels of funding and revenue in its 12-year history. As we launch our search for a new leader, the Board has complete confidence in the exceptional leadership team to guide the organization and focus on the exciting trajectory ahead.”
Effective July 1, 2023, Matt Skynner, ventureLAB’s Chief Operating Officer since 2019, will serve as Interim President and CEO continuing to lead the organization along its successful path. Matt brings a wealth of over 30 years of tech industry and executive experience at global multinationals and start-ups and is well respected by internal and external stakeholders. ventureLAB’s Board of Directors has commenced an external search process for a new President & CEO. At the request of ventureLAB’s Board of Directors, Melissa has agreed to continue as a strategic advisor to the Board to support the transition until a successor is selected.
“Melissa fundamentally transformed ventureLAB’s vision to focus on founders who are Born Global, Inclusive by Design, and Built to Scale,” said Jason Tham, ventureLAB Board Member and co-founder of Nulogy. “As a proud alumnae of the ventureLAB community, Melissa’s relentless leadership on the long-game for building inclusive scaling tech companies is exactly what Canada needs to create the next generation of leaders who are at the forefront of imagining a brighter future for all of us.”
ventureLAB is a leading global founder community for hardware technology and enterprise software companies in Canada. Located at the heart of Ontario’s innovation corridor in York Region, ventureLAB is part of one of the biggest and most diverse tech communities in Canada. Our initiatives focused on raising capital, talent retention, commercializing technology and IP, and customer acquisition have enabled thousands of companies to create over 5,000 jobs and raise more than $340 million in investment capital. At ventureLAB, we grow globally competitive tech titans that build-to-scale in Canada, for global markets.