Stephan Ouaknine is founder and Managing Partner of Inerjys. A proven entrepreneur and investor, Stephan has been a visionary leader across multiple technology sectors, from clean technology to telecommunications. His career has spanned three high-tech ventures, creating significant shareholder value with three successful exits. Stephan founded Inerjys with the insight that new deployment approaches and proven technologies could overcome the challenges of the cleantech sector and power a better tomorrow.
Prior to Inerjys, Stephan founded Blueslice Networks, a leading provider of evolved Subscriber Data Management (eSDM) solutions for telecom carriers. Stephan led Blueslice from its foundation in 2001 until its acquisition in 2010 by Tekelec (NASDAQ: TKLC). At the time of its acquisition, Blueslice was the global leader in cross-platform eSDM solutions deployed in tier 1 accounts in over 25 countries. Stephan’s other successes include Emblaze (LSE: BLZ), a next-generation mobile multimedia company which reached a $6 billion valuation during his tenure, and Airslide Systems, a leader in next generation signalling which merged with Cantata Technology and was acquired by Dialogic (NASDAQ: DLGC).
Stephan is a member of the Clinton Global Initiative, the TED community, and a recipient of the Annual Honoree Award from the Canadian Technion Society. He is frequently invited to share thoughts on entrepreneurship, investing and the clean energy sector at global events.
Jigar Shah is an entrepreneur and visionary committed to leveraging the next economy, or "impact economy," by solving the challenging issues of our time. At Inerjys, Jigar is pioneering a new investment model that provides both growth equity and project finance to clean technology companies. This effort is helping unlock $5 Trillion into the impact economy by 2020.
From 2009 to 2012, Jigar was called on by Sir Richard Branson to serve as CEO of the Carbon War Room. The Carbon War Room seeks to harness the power of entrepreneurship to cause proven climate change solution technologies to be deployed at scale. Jigar’s leadership was instrumental in helping build the organization into one of global importance.
Prior to the Carbon War Room, Jigar was founder and CEO of SunEdison, today the world’s leading solar services company. SunEdison simplified solar as a service through the implementation of the power purchase agreement (PPA) business model. SunEdison’s groundbreaking business model catalyzed the revolution that turned solar PV into a multi-billion dollar industry worldwide.
Jigar sits on the boards of the Coalition for Affordable Solar Energy, SolarNexus, KMR Infrastructure, the Prometheus Institute and Greenpeace USA. He is also author of the upcoming book: "The Impact Economy."
Vincent Martel, a Partner at Inerjys, has 11 years of experience in M&A / Corporate Finance, nine years acting as strategic investor within large international corporations and two years providing advice to clients undertaking strategic investment.
Vincent has a proven track record of generating investment opportunities, developing, negotiating and executing corporate combinations (acquisitions, divestments, JVs) on an international level, most recently with AREVA in Paris where he led acquisitions for AREVA Renewables’ rapid growth in the renewable sector. Most notably, Vincent led the 49% buyback of Multibrid (an offshore wind turbine OEM that became AREVA Wind), the acquisition of PN Rotor (an offshore wind rotor blades manufacturer that integrated AREVA Wind) and the acquisition of Ausra (a solar thermal technology that became AREVA Solar).
Vincent graduated in 2000 from HEC Montreal with honours (“Profil Mercure”) and holds the Chartered Financial Analyst (“CFA”) charter since 2004.
Eric Ouaknine brings to Inerjys over a decade of experience in international sales and a keen understanding of world markets. His unique perspective, having been integrally involved at both the start-up and established stages of company development, gives Eric exceptional business acumen. As a Partner at Inerjys Ventures, he plays an active role in selecting Inerjys’ key portfolio companies including seeking out infrastructure projects and developers.
Prior to joining Inerjys, Eric was a founding member of Blueslice Networks, a telecom leader in subscriber data management. As Blueslice's VP Sales, Eric's dedicated leadership was vital to its seamless expansion into European markets. During this period, Eric successfully managed agreements with over twenty high-profile customers and channel partners including British Telecom, Vimpelcom Russia and Alcatel-Lucent. He also played a central role in Blueslice's acquisition in 2010 by Tekelec (NASDAQ: TKLC).
Eric’s extensive negotiation background and tactical approach serves his conviction that with the right combination of efficient solutions, renewable energy can and will attain grid parity allowing renewables projects to be highly profitable without relying on government subsidies.
As an Associate at Inerjys, David focuses on investor relations and business development. David also identifies and evaluates prospective investment opportunities in clean energy projects and technologies. He manages the firm’s relationships at global events such as the Clinton Global Initiative and Rio+20.
Prior to Inerjys, David completed consulting projects for the New York City Mayor’s Office on renewable energy issues, and for the Environment Defence Fund on financing natural capital. He previously worked at Hart House (University of Toronto) as a Sustainability Coordinator, where he advanced sustainability and renewable energy projects. David also worked as an intern for the Carbon Disclosure Project in New York City.
David holds a MPA from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) and a B.Sc from the University of Toronto in environmental science and human biology.
Max, an Associate at Inerjys, leads a number of the firm’s investor relations and business development efforts. His responsibilities include building and maintaining relationships with investors, as well as forging strategic partnerships with national and international organizations. He is also tasked with identifying and assessing new investment opportunities, as well as marketing and communications for the firm.
Prior to Inerjys, Max co-founded Startupifier, an organization that bridges the gap between students and entrepreneurship. Before Startupifier, Max was a member of the founding teams of several startups in Canada and the United States, focused on sales, marketing, and fundraising. He also consulted for a pulp and paper company trying to enter the wood-composite sector.
Outside of his work experience, Max led fundraising efforts for the Ghetto Shul in Montreal, spoke at the inaugural TEDxMcGill on the value of student entrepreneurship, and was a featured columnist for NextMontreal. He is an enthusiast of chess and poker, and has been described as a compulsive networker.
Max holds a B.Eng. in mechanical engineering from McGill University in Montreal.
Prior to Inerjys, Dominique interned at a renewable energy finance firm in New York, conducting market research on the renewable power industry. Her experience also includes internships at Columbia University’s Earth Institute and the Cape Eleuthera Institute in the Bahamas, where she helped develop a curriculum and taught classes in environmental sustainability. She also did fundraising work for the Audubon Society at their headquarters in New York.
During her undergraduate studies, Dominique completed her thesis on the economic future of algae biofuel. Her past research also includes a microbiological study of green roofs in New York City, and a project analyzing the effects of the palm oil industry on climate change.
Dominique holds a B.A. in biology from Barnard College of Columbia University in New York.
Chairman & President of the Monaco Private Equity and Venture Capital Association (MVCA)
Advisory Board Member
Mr. Lavotha has over 30 years of experience in the global biotech/pharmaceutical industry. His responsibilities have included all business related disciplines, including research and development, marketing and sales, senior executive management, human resources, manufacturing, mergers & acquisitions, IPO’s, and all other business operation matters.
Mr. Lavotha has vast experience from both large corporate environments and start up companies. He spent most of his career at Pfizer and Wyeth Pharmaceuticals (now Pfizer), where he held increasingly senior roles and responsibilities. Most recently he was the Head of Europe/Africa/Middle East for Wyeth Pharmaceuticals with P&L responsibility for the multi-billion dollar revenue generating business, heading all subsidiary operations in the territory, with over 10000 employees, manufacturing operations, planning and execution of several significant acquisitions, including the $10billion+ merger between American Cyanamid and the Wyeth business in above territory. During the past 10 years he was responsible for building two start up companies within the “specialty pharma” sector, and took one of those companies public (OMX-NASDAQ)
Mr. Lavotha is a Hungarian citizen. A former resident of Hungary, Finland, Sweden and the US, he has lived in Monaco since 2003.
Chairman & Principal, G&G Global Solutions
Advisory Board Member
Chairman & Principal, G&G Global Solutions, a firm pursuing business development in the global cleantech sector. Mr. Smitherman is a trailblazing advocate for renewable energy and a noted expert on energy and infrastructure policy. During a 12-year career in politics, Mr. Smitherman has held several key positions in the Ontario government, from Minister of Health to Deputy Premier. His tenure as Ontario Minister of Energy & Infrastructure was distinguished by the seminal Green Energy Act, arguably the most significant renewable energy legislation in Canadian history. Most recently, he was a candidate for the mayoralty of Toronto.
Director, Grand Technion Energy Program
Advisory Board Member
Director, Grand Technion Energy Program, Technion University, Israel. Dr. Grader is pioneering the development of non-carbon fuels and has been engaged in advanced ceramic materials for energy applications. Over a 25 year career in ceramic technology, Dr. Grader has served at Bell Labs, headed the Israeli Institute of Chemical Engineers, and served on numerous international committees and boards. He is also an experienced entrepreneur, with 10 patents to his name, and having founded Cellaris, a firm producing ultralight ceramics for industrial applications.
Scientific Director, IREQ
Advisory Board Member
Scientific Director, IREQ (Institut de recherche d'Hydro-Québec). In his role at IREQ Dr. Lantagne is responsible for the scientific direction of 300 researchers and plays key roles in Hydro-Québec’s energy efficiency and renewable energy research activities. Among other roles, he is currently chair of the Hydro-Québec steering committee on wind energy. Dr. Lantagne is additionally vice-president of the board of directors of C3E, the Centre of Excellence in Energy Efficiency, and a member of the NSERC focus group on energy technology.
Canada Research Chair in Nanotechnology, University of Toronto
Advisory Board Member
Dr. Sargent is a renowned leader in nanotechnology, photonics and solar energy research, having been honored with numerous accolades, most recently the 2012 Clean50 award for research and development. He is also founder and CTO of InVisage, a venture-backed company that is developing the quantum-dot imaging-sensing technology QuantumFilm for high-resolution digital cameras.
Executive Director, Waterloo Institute for Sustainable Energy (WISE)
Advisory Board Member
Dr. Nathwani is the Ontario Research Chair in Public Policy and Sustainable Energy at the University of Waterloo, in the Faculty of Engineering and the Faculty of Environment. He has been a key advisor to the Ontario Power Authority and holds board memberships and directorships in several academic, industry and government organizations involved in energy policy and innovation.
Research Professor, SUNY Albany Atmospheric Sciences Research Center
Advisory Board Member
Dr. Perez is a leading expert in solar energy technology, having published over 200 journal articles, conference papers, technical reports and patents on grid-scale solar energy systems. His research has been recognized by several national and international organizations, such as the Velux Foundation, the AEE, the DOE and ISES. Dr. Perez has served on the boards of the American Solar Energy Society, the George Washington Solar Institute, as well as several conferences and IEA taskforces.
Executive Assistant, Human Resources
Darya joins Inerjys as the executive assistant to Stephan Ouaknine and as the point of contact for Inerjys employees' issues and inquiries.
Prior to Inerjys, Darya was the executive assistant at Tekelec (NASDAQ: TKLC) and Blueslice Networks, Inc. At Tekelec and Blueslice, Darya scheduled, organized and managed both large and small events, involving important representatives from industry and government. In addition to administrative functions, Darya also prepared reports, researched special organizational projects, and performed various bookkeeping and HR duties.
Darya has also assisted in a volunteer capacity at Zustrich, the Quebec Association for Ukrainian Immigrants, where she performed various tasks such as event organization and planning and facilitating newcomers’ integration into Montreal life, as well as Federation CJA’s employment agency, where she helped challenged and at-risk students achieve academic success and acquire career skills.
Darya holds a BA (Hons.) in Psychology from Concordia University in Montreal. Darya is a strong believer in renewable energy and is excited to be a part of the transformative Inerjys vision.