Co-Founder and Managing Director, Brightspark Group*
Claim to Fame
Co-founded Delrina — pioneers of the Canadian high-tech industry, who introduced WinFax, which to this day ships 100 million copies a year
Currently residing in
Mark Skapinker is no newcomer to technology innovation. With more than 20 years’ experience in technology, Skapinker has a unique ability to continually thrive in an ever-changing environment, and a proven track record of building companies from ideas to a multi-million-dollar organizations.
Skapinker’s latest venture, Brightspark, which he co-founded in late 1999 with Tony Davis and Rick Nathan, was one of Canada’s first venture-driven Internet incubators. The company is a base from which the founders can incubate six to eight new companies each year, with the goal of building, mentoring and launching globally recognized software firms.
In 1996, Skapinker founded Balisoft Technologies with the vision of allowing companies to answer online shoppers’ questions live over the Internet. He saw the lack of human contact involved with online sales as an opportunity to change the face of e-commerce. In December 2000, after a 1999 merger with ServiceSoft, the company was acquired by KANA, which today sells more than $100 million in eCRM software annually.
Skapinker’s expertise traces back much further. In 1988 he co-founded Delrina, a Canadian Internet pioneer and the creator of WinFax, one of the first PC Fax applications (still shipping more than 100 million copies annually today). As president, Skapkinker grew the company to annual revenues exceeding $150 million, led it through a public offering, and finally oversaw a successful acquisition by Symantec for more than $500 million.
Today Brightspark has over $80 million in capital, primarily from three of Canada’s largest financial institutions, and six portfolio companies. What’s next out of the incubator only they know. But judging by what we have seen from Skapinker so far, it’s going to be big.
This success story brought to you by The Leaf Initiative, a non-profit organization dedicated to championing Canadian success and involvement in the New Economy. Courtney Aziz is an account co-ordinator with public relations firm GCI (www.gcigroup.com).
© 2002 Courtney Aziz