For those of us who have never taken the plunge into entrepreneurship, it may be hard to imagine what a startup founder goes through during the entrepreneurial journey. That’s exactly why Adam Felesky – founder and former CEO of Horizons Exchange Traded Funds – joined us at iF for April’s Lunch ‘n Learn session to candidly share his startup success story.
Prior to starting Horizons ETFs, Adam Felesky was a graduate of McMaster University’s engineering program. He went on to become a celebrated entrepreneur in the financial investment space, overseeing the rise of his company through the tumultuous 2008 financial crisis. The Horizons ETF group has grown to be one of the largest in the world, managing over $8.6 billion in assets.
Adam used the Lunch ‘n Learn to as an opportunity to speak to his experiences as an entrepreneur and the challenges and hurdles that came with the turf.
He kicked off his discussion by saying that although he managed to make it big in the financial space, he actually got his start in the engineering field, putting his B.Eng to use. After his stint as an engineer, he ended up at CIBC World Markets and then JP Morgan.
Adam and some business partners then launched Horizons ETFs in 2007, and in 2008 some of their ETFs became the most active securities listed on the TSX. By their first year, they hit $1 billion in assets under management.
In addition to his professional journey, Adam’s presentation also covered what he believes are the keys to corporate success. He pointed to innovative and forward-looking product development, personal sales, a flat culture (but a known ultimate decision maker), and a willingness to fail among others.
At each month’s Lunch ‘n Learn we also feature an up-and-coming iF client to share a 5-minute highlight of their business. This month’s Factory 5 was Alan Sawula of Chipsetter, which is a low-cost pick-and-place machine for makers, startups, and everyone else struggling with small batch printed circuit board assembly. Thanks to both Adam and Alan for sharing your stories with us! View photos from the event here.
Our Lunch ‘n Learn events are a great way to get out and network while enjoying a free lunch and learning something new! Make sure to keep checking our event calendar for upcoming Lunch ‘n Learns and other events in the ecosystem.