Real Ventures nabs former Silicon Valley Facebook, Mozilla exec

Real Ventures is adding extra muscle to its team of investors.

The Montreal venture capital firm added Silicon Valley’s Mike Shaver as a new Toronto-based general partner, who starts full-time next month.

According to the Globe and Mail’s Sean Silcoff, the 39-year-old Grande Prairie, Alta., native was previously director of engineering at Facebook for five years, where he led the mobile engineering team when Facebook went mobile.

Shaver grew up in Ottawa and worked in Toronto for 10 years before leaving in 2011 to join Facebook. He told the Globe and Mail that he doesn’t know “anything” about finance. Rather, he’ll join Toronto partner Janet Bannister, who created online classifieds site Kijiji during her time as an eBay executive, assisting in finding talent.

“There is a lot of stuff entrepreneurs need help with,” Shaver told the Globe. “Most issues are not around financing but recruiting … and scaling up. That’s all stuff I love to do. What I’ve most enjoyed in my career is helping teams be successful,” he said.

He also took to his Facebook to talk about the move. Mike Shaver

“He recruited, built and led teams that created two of the most-used Internet products, Firefox and Facebook Mobile,” Bannister told the newspaper. “His extensive operating and leadership experience in Silicon Valley will add tremendous value to our portfolio companies.”

Before Facebook, Shaver spent six years at Mozilla Corp. in Toronto as Firefox’s VP of engineering.

According to Wikipedia, he rose from a summer student to chief technical officer at Ingenia Communications Corporation, an Ottawa-area computer consultancy that later dissolved. Shaver eventually left to work at Netscape Communications and later Montreal’s zerøknowledge, Cluster File Systems, and the Oracle Corporation. Beginning as a visiting developer, he quickly rose through the ranks and eventually gained Internet fame by becoming a founding member of the Mozilla Organization in 1998.

Per Silcoff, “Mr. Shaver also gained notoriety in 2007 when he told renowned hacker/security consultant Robert Hansen (aka-RSnake) that he could fix any software bug in 10 days. Mr. Shaver, then director of ecosystem development at Mozilla, made the point on his business card using a profanity that prompted Mozilla to publicly state “this is not our policy. We do not think security is a game, nor do we issue challenges or ultimatums.” Mr. Shaver quickly apologized for being ‘overzealous.'”

Shaver’s motto was “ten f—ing days”. His intent was to show confidence in Mozilla’s ability to quickly address security issues, but it was misunderstood as Mozilla policy.

Real Ventures will soon raise its fourth fund, just a year after raising it’s $89 million Fund III. In 2010 it raised a $50-million fund and in 2007 a $5-million fund. The firm typically invests between $250,000 and $2.5-million in early-stage companies, along with those that take part in its FounderFuel accelerator program.

As Silcoff pointed out, some of Real’s investment highlights include security firm PasswordBox (sold to Intel in 2014), fashion eRetailer Frank & Oak, workspace rental startup Breather and serial entrepreneur Mike Serbinis’ latest venture, health platform League.


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