Relay Ventures, an early stage venture capital fund focused exclusively on mobile innovation with offices in Toronto and Silicon Valley, has appointed Norman Winarsky its first Executive-in-Residence, acting as an advisor to its portfolio companies and assisting the firm’s investment team with the due diligence process.
Relay Ventures is the only Canadian venture capital fund with a permanent presence in the San Francisco Bay area.
Winarsky is the former president of SRI Ventures, which is part of SRI International, an independent, nonprofit research center which resulted in the development of more than 60 ventures worth over $25 billion, including Nuance, Intuitive Surgical and Siri, and was also co-founder and board member of Siri, the virtual assistant that was eventually sold to Apple in April 2010.
His specialty as a tech entrepreneur has been in developing both ventures and licensing opportunities from concept through market development and fundraising through to launch, fostering companies in the areas of artificial intelligence, natural language processing, medical devices, robotics and nanotechnology.
A lecturer at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, Winarsky is one of few venture capitalists to have won an Emmy, which he and his team won in the year 2000 from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for outstanding achievement in technological advancement “for a unique technology to predict how viewers will perceive the quality of digitally processed TV images or still pictures.”
His book “If You Really Want to Change the World: A Guide to Creating, Building, and Sustaining Breakthrough Ventures”, co-authored with Henry Kressel and published by Harvard Business Review Press, outlines for entrepreneurs how to identify high-potential market opportunities, how to build a team, create a business plan, find investors and advisors, and manage the transition from start-up company to larger company, while continuing to drive innovation.
Winarsky will work out of Relay Ventures’ Menlo Park office.
Originally founded in 2008 as Blackberry Partners Fund, Relay Ventures has raised several funds, all with a focus on investment opportunities in the information and communication technologies sector.
On Wednesday, May 11, Relay Ventures will be staging its invite-only mobile technology conference in San Francisco, Strictly Mobile.