A tribute to Barry Gekiere: a champion & builder of the Canadian startup ecosystem

Letter from our CEO

Photo of Barry Gekiere

Last week our startup community lost Barry Gekiere, a champion of Canadian innovation, an entrepreneurial mentor, and an incredible human being. Flybits was fortunate to know him as he was an early member of our Board of Directors, and was instrumental to me personally when navigating through the early stages of building a startup in University, to positioning the company for rapid growth.

I met Barry for the first time when I was applying for a startup grant from the Ontario Centres of Excellence in 2011. The advice he gave me then was so valuable I continue to share it with my team and my students today. Not only did he believe in our vision and team at Flybits during those early days, but he also became a trusted guide for us at our board through MaRS IAF from 2014 to 2016.

Barry, along with our other board members, helped us tremendously in building a critical foundation that is now empowering the talent and technology ecosystem in Canada and around the world. I spoke to Barry over the phone about a year ago when I was seeking his guidance. I still remember his caring, inspiring, and wise advice. This is what Barry did for many entrepreneurs and helped them to make their challenges less difficult. He was the kind of person that understood value beyond just the numbers and really put his trust in people.

His impact on Flybits and many of our peer companies has been profound, and we will always value his guidance and ability to consistently ask the right questions to get us to a better understanding of where we needed to go. As a friend and mentor, his legacy will never be forgotten and we will be forever grateful to his contribution to the Canadian startup ecosystem.

Rest in Peace Barry Gekiere.

Dr. Hossein Rahnama
Founder and CEO,
Associate Professor, 
Ryerson University

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