• RFI accelerates great companies, partners with great clients to deliver innovative, market changing solutions, and invests in high trajectory start-ups.

  • RFI accelerates great companies, partners with great clients to deliver innovative, market changing solutions, and invests in high trajectory start-ups.

  • RFI accelerates great companies, partners with great clients to deliver innovative, market changing solutions, and invests in high trajectory start-ups.

Ryerson Futures helps drive the success of high-potential startups focused on innovate and marketing-changing technology.

RFI is a for-profit entity that supports startups with hands-on strategic and tactical guidance. We help startups with market validation and customer acquisition, provide access to corporate partners, and make seed investments.

RFI is connected to The DMZ at Ryerson University, which has incubated more than 125 companies since its launch in 2010.

Working Together

RFI partners with key industry players to identify, support and deliver innovative technologies and solutions.


Meet the team

Matt Saunders
President & Managing Director
As President of Ryerson Futures, Matt manages a seed stage investment fund and multiple acceleration programs for early-stage technology companies, as well as the Innovation for Hire consulting practice for corporate clients. He has more than 18 years of experience as an entrepreneur and executive with companies in the technology and service sectors. Matt oversees operations in Canada, (Ryerson Futures, Zone Startups Sports + Media in Toronto and Zone Startups Calgary in Alberta), as well as Zone Startups India in Mumbai. Matt has a bachelor of science in business administration and MBA from Northeastern University.

Alan Lysne
Managing Director
Alan manages RFI’s accelerator programs, Innovation for Hire and seed funds in Calgary and India. He works closely with Ryerson Futures’ startups to provide them with strategic and tactical guidance. He has been a co-founder, CEO, CTO and COO of many technology businesses, and been working with startups for more than a decade. Alan was the CEO of a venture-backed mobile company acquired by Grapple Mobile and co-founder and CTO of Davinci Technologies, which was acquired by CSG Systems. Alan has an undergraduate degree in Electrical Engineering from Queen’s University.

Craig Morantz
Entrepreneur in Residence
Craig Morantz is an entrepreneur, startup investor and experienced business executive who is committed to the customer experience. An entrepreneur since he was 15 years old, Craig has started and sold a number of businesses. The most recent was the sale of Aware Marketing Group to Pittsburgh-based Leed’s. Craig is an angel investor who takes active roles in the companies in which he invests. Currently, Craig is CEO at Kira Talent. Follow his blog at gotomarketguy.com

Max Vogrin
Operations & Business Development Manager
Max seeks entrepreneurs globally and helps Ryerson Futures with business development in North America and RFI’s office in Mumbai, India. Max keeps in close contact with the 80+ startups in DMZ’s space to ensure they are progressing towards milestones, overcoming challenges and are getting what they need, including hlep with successful grant applications. Max also works on Innovation for Hire projects, primarily focused on the financial, healthcare and education sectors.

Board of Directors

Nadir Mohamed

Former CEO, Rogers Communications

Jack Cockwell

Group Chairman, Brookfield Asset Management

Sabi Marwah

Former COO, Scotiabank

Mark Cohon

Former Commissioner, Canadian Football League

Mohamed Lachemi

President, Ryerson University

Julia Shin Doi

General Counsel, Ryerson

Executive In Residence

Gerry Frascione

Recognized for his passion for ideas, Gerry has dedicated his career to building high performance teams and cultures that support internationally recognized award-winning creative for clients. As President and CEO of BBDO Canada and North America, Gerry is a strategic advisor to some of the world’s most sought-after brands. Gerry is a board member of BBDO Worldwide, The Ad Club of New York and Drug Free Canada. He supports young people in their professional and personal lives through his work with Students in Free Enterprise, Advancing Canadian Entrepreneurship and the United Way of Toronto.

Latest news

How Shoelace's Founders Jumped Into the Startup Abyss

When working for a startup oozing with potential, it is generally not a good idea to leave soon after the […]

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Canadian Startups Getting Shown the Money

The first-quarter was good times for Canadian startups. According to PitchBook Data, 103 Canadian startups raised a record $880.7-million in […]

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Zone Startups India Launches empoWer Accelerator

Zone Startups India, a joint venture between Ryerson Futures and the Bombay Stock Exchange, has launched a new accelerator program, […]

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Ryerson Futures: A Different Kind of Accelerator

Ryerson Futures is not your typical accelerator. We don’t do cohorts. We don’t do demo days. We focus on helping […]

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Repable Looking to Bring ROI to eSports

As we look to put the spotlight on startups within Ryerson Futures, we will be creating a series of “Welcome” […]

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Successful Startups Are Super-Charged By Strong Teams

What makes for a successful startup? It is an interesting question because startup success is not a science; it is […]

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5 Reasons Why Startups Should Join an Accelerator

The past couple of months has been busy: we launched an accelerator in Toronto focused on sports and media, and […]

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Naheed Nenshi: Calgary Needs New Approach to Startups

One of the highlights of the recent launch of Zone Startups Calgary – a partnership with GE – was remarks by […]

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Pulling the Covers Off Zone Startups Calgary

After months of behind-the-scenes planning, we’re excited about the launch of Zone Startups Calgary, an accelerator that will help drive […]

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Ryerson Futures Startup Spotlight: ClientDesk

For startups, pivots can be difficult and painful. In many cases, it means shifting gears because a product has failed […]

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Follow us @RyersonFutures


Great to host @Kathleen_Wynne with @GE_Canada at Zone Startups Calgary @RyersonDMZ Great pitches all! pic.twitter.com/aUFRTcNV5m

Twitter Media

Our newest blog post looks at how @tryshoelace founders left a red-hot startup without a backup plan ryersonfutures.ca/2016/05/shoela… #startup

ScaleUP Ventures announces Kent Thexton as General Parter - news.sys-con.com/node/3827667

More money flowing into Canadian startups. Here's what it means for investors and startups ryersonfutures.ca/2016/05/good-n…

Soapbox shows large companies operate more like startups betakit.com/soapbox-helps-…

Funded vs Bootstrapped: Comparing the Metrics of 37 SaaS Companies medium.com/point-nine-new…

Five facts about Twitter at 10 years old pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016…

How @getsensibill is helping banks from losing their customers to #fintech startups betakit.com/how-sensibill-…

Six IX mistakes you're probably making...and how to fix them conversionxl.com/common-ux-mist… via @conversionxl

Beginner's guide to startup marketing on a budget - dmz.ryerson.ca/blog/marketing… via @RyersonDMZ

Should startups give perks to employees? medium.com/@markevans/the…

As more money flows into Canadian #startups, here's our take on what it means for entrepreneurs and investors ryersonfutures.ca/2016/05/good-n…

Congrats to @flybits for being selected to the @c100's 48 Hours in the Valley program thec100.org/news/2016/5/9/…

Three fashion startups join The Joe Fresh Centre for Fashion Innovation - newswire.ca/news-releases/…

Canadian startups raised record #VC in Q1 - here's our take on what it means for #startups & investors ryersonfutures.ca/2016/05/good-n…

Good advice on hiring. twitter.com/RyersonDMZ/sta…

Zone Startups India launches empoWer to support female entrepreneurs - ryersonfutures.ca/2016/05/empowe… #startups #entrepreneur

What does Ryerson Futures do? Check out new video ryersonfutures.ca/2016/04/ryerso… #accelerator

The anatomy of a SaaS marketing site: home.profitwell.com/saas-dna-proje… Great insight

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