Benton Leong, a GTAN angel investor, sat down with Jeffery Potvin to share the mistakes and wins of his first entrepreneurial venture. As an investor, he shares that he is vertical agnostic and that he looks at the idea and the startup team when he makes his investment decisions. As someone who has a background on Computer Science, he shared valuable insights on why many tech companies fail. He stressed the importance on how your product launch should coincide with the readiness of your target market. The discussion also touched on the importance of co-founders, mentorship, and how a Canadian startup can grow to become a global company.
Benton is an angel investor in the Golden Triangle Angel Network (GTAN), located in Waterloo Region. GTAN has provided funding to over 80 early stage companies. Benton has held teaching and research positions in computer science at UC, Berkeley and the University of Waterloo. He co-founded four companies, including Radical Flow and Maplesoft.
Benton has been a mentor for social ventures. More generally, he helps companies with finding the right partners for business development. He also coaches on pitching successfully to investors. He has served as an advisor to OCE, the IAF, CCAA CAMP, and Shenzhen SCI. He is the pitch coach for Team Canada in the Shenzhen Innovation and Entrepreneurship International Competition, where in 2019 Canada beat seven other countries, including U.S., Japan, and Israel, to win both the overall gold prize and the overall silver prize.
Benton holds awards for teaching and for community development in the investment ecosystem. He is a board member for multiple ventures and a volunteer for non-profits.
He is lectures frequently at universities and associations around the world, speaking about effective use of technology in education; entrepreneurship; and startup ecosystems.