Venture Okanagan

Monster Money Takes Top Prize at Winter 2016 Forum

IMGP5841Kelowna entrepreneur Chris Danek is in the business of making digital money transfers easier, so he was glad to receive a $5,000 grand prize from title sponsor Grant Thornton at the recently held Venture Okanagan Investors’ Forum.

Danek is the CEO and founder of Monster Money, a person-to-person digital money transfer system. The Venture Okanagan Investors Forum was held Feb. 18 at Okanagan College. It is the largest student-run event of its type in Western Canada.

“This is a great milestone for us,” said Danek. “We’re really excited to launch our product and make sending money cheaper and easier for people.”

Venture Okanagan Project Manager Lauren McKay, a fourth-year Okanagan College Business Administration student, said Danek’s product matches the way people use money today, and makes it even easier.

“Although we’re all familiar with digital payment methods, it’s expensive and time-consuming to send small amounts of money to friends using PayPal or email money transfers. Monster Money bridges the gap between different digital payment methods, making the whole process quick, easy, and inexpensive.”

Danek says his company’s products help people send money to any mobile number or email address using any type of funding account (including other e-wallets) and making the process simple.

“Select from a list of contacts you already have in your phone, and punch in the amount you’d like to send. Done. No hassles around account details and expensive fees, just a simple and clean product to fill a need everyone has,” he says.

Monster Money was one of five startups that presented to an audience of over 100 at the recent Investors’ Forum. Coming in second place was Andrew Greer, founder of Purppl – a business accelerator program for social enterprises. Greer received a $250 runner-up prize from SoLo GI Energy Bars as well as a $100 gift certificate from Small Business BC, awarded to each of the five presenting entrepreneurs.

Also presenting were Mower Brewing, Limitless Potential Technologies, and 3D Currax Solutions.

The February event marked the 10th forum, which is now in its sixth year of operation under Enactus Okanagan College. The judges included representatives from Grant Thornton, City of Kelowna, and select angel investors.

Mark Ziebarth, Enactus faculty advisor and Okanagan College professor, said this event acts as a catalyst for local growth by facilitating connections between entrepreneurs and investors.

“This forum does something that seldom happens in our greater Okanagan community — it brings together local startups, motivated investors, business experts, and students in an interactive setting that encourages strategic opportunities for everyone involved.”

VO Winter 2016 Entrepreneur Sneak Peak!

Our entrepreneurs are confirmed and can’t wait to present their business ideas to you!

The February 18, 2016 Venture Okanagan Investors Forum will showcase a local 3D printing company, a craft brewery/tap room, a P2P multi platform electronic money transfer system, an innovative hydroponics system, and a social enterprise business accelerator program. These five local businesses will pitch to an audience of potential investors, and the top presenter will walk away with $5000 in seed money, courtesy of our title sponsor Grant Thornton LLP.

Venture Okanagan has also recently partnered with some new sponsors! We now look forward to offering refreshments by Mark Anthony Fine Wine Merchants and Big Surf Beer Co. at our upcoming event, with additional prizes being offered by both Small Business BC and local sustainability company (and former VO winner) GreenStep Solutions Inc.

Tickets for the event are available online but are going fast!

Register now to reserve your seat:

For more information about the event, please contact Lauren McKay, Venture Okanagan Project Manager at (250) 575-2808, or visit

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Only 2 Weeks to go!

Only two weeks until the Winter 2016 Venture Okanagan Investors Forum! Come out and witness five local entrepreneurs from a variety of industries appeal to local investors at our Dragon’s Den style pitching event. The top presenter of the night will walk away with $5000 in valuable seed money, provided by our sponsor Grant Thornton LLP.

Don’t miss out! Get your tickets at


On February 18th, 2016 Venture Okanagan will be hosting the 10th Venture Okanagan Entrepreneur Forum at the Okanagan College Kelowna campus. This event is the only program of its kind in the Okanagan region and is one of the largest student-run investor forums in Canada.

Join us and watch entrepreneurs who made the cut pitch their business to potential investors, business leaders, and members of the Venture Okanagan community!

The presentations will be followed by a fully catered networking reception.

Get your tickets now:

2015 Spring Venture Okanagan Forum is on its way!

On April 9th, 2015 Venture Okanagan will be hosting the ninth Investors Forum at the Okanagan College Kelowna campus.  Join us and watch entrepreneurs who made the cut pitch their business to potential investors, business leaders and members of the Venture Okanagan community.  The entrepreneur with the best presentation will be walking away with a $5,000 cash prize. Follow us on our Facebook page to keep up to date when more details are released.

Tickets for the event are available for purchase here:

Two Hat Security Named Finalist in BCIC-New Ventures Competition

Written by Rhys Albretch/Accelerate Okanagan
September 3, 2013

Kelowna-based startup Two Hat Security has been named as a finalist in the BCIC-New Ventures Competition.  Starting with a field of 147 startup technology companies, Two Hat and the other finalists have completed three jury rounds, attended education seminars, and met with business mentors before being named as one of the top 10 entrants in the contest.

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Kelowna-Based Startup MiTaxi Rolls into Colombia

Written by Rhys Albrecht/Accelerate Okanagan
July 22, 2013

Last we checked in with Ivan Gonzalez and Alejandro Valcarcel, they were planning a trip to Colombia, laying the groundwork to launch MiTaxi, an application intended to mitigate the risks of riding in a taxi in Latin America. Alejandro has recently returned to Canada after visiting the cities of Cali, Bogota, Cartagena and Medellin, and sat down us to discuss how the trip went.

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Kelowna Chamber & Venture Okanagan Team Up in 2013

February 12, 2013


Most people dream of being an entrepreneur, others envy the role, but only few decide to actually live it. Individuals are compelled to build their enterprise to be challenged, to have a job, to give back, and countless more reasons. The 2009 B.C. Statistics show B.C. ranked the highest in Canada in terms of small business per capita. The Okanagan Valley alone consists of 28,897 small businesses. Looking at Kelowna’s economic landscape it’s clear that entrepreneurship is fully embraced. The Kelowna Chamber and Venture Okanagan (VO) both aim to foster business initiatives which allow for personal growth and economic development.