Dragon | Dragons' Den
Described as "Mick Jagger meets Warren Buffett," Michael Wekerle is a rock star in the world of Canadian finance, known for his shrewd value spotting in the fields of tech, biotech and media.
As Chairman and founder of the merchant bank Difference Capital Financial Inc., he oversees a fund that includes such successful growth companies as Hootsuite, Vision Critical, BuildDirect and Blue Ant Media. He also holds significant real estate assets, including an impressive portfolio of high-tech commercial properties in Waterloo, Ontario, as well as the historic Toronto entertainment venue the El Mocambo. And he is a partner in the Canadian franchise of Wahlburgers--Paul, Donnie and Mark Wahlberg's Boston-based burger chain.
It all started at 18 years old and fresh out of high school, when Michael honed his talents on the Toronto Stock Exchange trading room floor. He rapidly shot to the top of his first firm, First Marathon, where he ran the equity markets desk. By the age of 30 he was a Bay Street pack leader, launching his own investment banking business, GMP Securities. Michael and his partners were early believers and investors in Research in Motion, eventually taking the Blackberry maker public in 1997.
Beware, there's no buttoned-down-businessman in Michael's DNA. He's a heavily tattooed single dad to six children, loves fast cars and rock music and donates millions of dollars to a wide variety of philanthropic interests including UHN, CAMH, SickKids and Holland Bloorview, as well as the youth outreach organization Seeds of Hope and the acclaimed Baroque opera company Opera Atelier., His entrepreneurial spirit, combined with his lavish lifestyle, celebrity friends and joie de vivre, have placed him uniquely at the top of both the society pages and the list of Canada's top power players.