• RFI launched The Seed Fund in May 2013, providing up to $80,000 in funding and $30,000 in benefits to successful companies.

  • The first group of early stage technology companies have achieved $4m in follow-on funding by year end.

"The DMZ and Ryerson Futures are helping more and more companies achieve a level where they can compete on a global scale and attract high level investment. When home-grown companies can draw international attention, customers and funding, everyone wins." Alex Baker, Partner, Relay Ventures

Fund investments are typically $50,000 structured as a convertible note plus a founders equity stake which depends on the stage of the business. RFI also attracts other non-dilutive funding sources.

Initial investors are Relay Ventures and other high net worth individuals. The Fund is set up as a corporation owned by the investors. The fund is structured to allow adding additional capital as required.

The fund is managed by an experienced team comprised of multiple-time entrepreneurs who have raised Angel and VC rounds, and exited or taken companies public.

Meet the Team

Matt Saunders
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 tstrategic 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.

Sean Wise

Sean helps emerging and high growth potential organizations jump on the trajectory and turn a profit. He has been involved in venture capital and entrepreneurship professionally for 15 years. First, as a Director of the Venture Capital Advisory Group at Ernst & Young, next, as a partner in Spenser Trask’s seed program, and most recently spending five seasons with CBC’s DRAGONS’ DEN.

Sean is also a popular writer with his Globe and Mail column and book of the same name: Wise Words: Lessons in Entrepreneurship and Venture Capital and a second book, How to be a Business Superhero. He co-authored: STARTUP OPPORTUNITIES, with renowned investor, Brad Feld, released in 2015. A professor of entrepreneurship at the Ted Rogers School of Business at Ryerson, Sean majored in engineering and economics at Carleton University and earned a law degree and MBA from the University of Ottawa. In 2013, Sean received his PhD in Business from the Adam Smith Business School at the University of Glasgow.

Does Your Company Have What it Takes?

Great Founders

Relevant industry and/or technical expertise, with a willingness to build a world- class team who are solely focused on the opportunity.

Demonstrated passion and ability to execute at start up speed.

Complementary skills (business, technical, design).


Mobile and web based technologies that can massively scale, and product cycles with rapid iteration.

Proprietary or first mover advantage, backed by intellectual property that have a competitive edge in the marketplace.

Solutions to expensive problems.


GTA and Southern Ontario.

May or may not be Ryerson led.

Some of our Investments

“RFI has given Volley the support and breathing room to mature into what it is today. We’re excited to have them as our partners moving forward”

-Mike Murchison, Founder at Volley