Sep 8, 2020
Canadian tech investor John Ruffolo paralyzed after cycling accident
John Ruffolo has had 'tremendous impact on Canada's innovation scene': Business partner
Prominent Canadian tech investor John Ruffolo is receiving treatment at Toronto’s Sunnybrook Hospital following a serious cycling accident in Markham, Ont. which has left him paralyzed from the waist down.
“John is recovering from his surgeries and is in some pain but he’s alert, communicating and has been fully aware of what’s happening around him since the accident,” his wife Carryn Ruffolo said in a statement provided to BNN Bloomberg. “We are so grateful that he has not endured any head injuries and that we still have John as John.”
The 54-year old Ruffolo, an avid cyclist, was struck by what he described on LinkedIn as a jackknifing transport truck while riding his bike on Wednesday, Sept. 2.
While Ruffolo did not suffer head trauma, the devastating accident left him with internal trauma, including a broken pelvis and spine.
“He was riding on the side of the road in the wrong place at the wrong time,” friend and business partner Mark Maybank told BNN Bloomberg in a phone interview. “He wasn't doing anything wrong. He was just out for a ride on a nice sunny day.”
York Regional Police continue to investigate the incident.
Ruffolo, known for his passion and resilience, shared a hopeful message in his LinkedIn post.
“Thankfully my head was unaffected, but despite several surgeries, it is unlikely that I will regain the use of my legs,” Ruffolo said in his LinkedIn post. “I am as committed, and as able as always, and will be back in full force as soon as humanly possible.”
WATCH: BNN Bloomberg speaks to Ruffolo's business partner business partner Mark Maybank
The news led to an outpouring of support on social media from business leaders across the country.
“John is a big hearted, very warm individual whose passion is to grow Canada,” Maybank said in a phone interview. “He never turns down a meeting and he has helped so many people over his career. The outpouring is because of his extreme generosity.”
Ruffolo launched OMERS Ventures — the venture capital arm of the large Ontario pension fund — nearly a decade ago. He led early investments in several Canadian startup success stories, including Shopify Inc., before leaving in 2018. He has also championed Canada’s technology industry as a co-founder of the Council of Canadian Innovators, along with former Research in Motion co-CEO Jim Balsillie.
Ruffolo has been preparing for the launch of his next act — Maverix Private Equity, a growth equity fund built around his passion for Canadian innovators and focused on companies in Canada.
Ruffolo’s impressive track record has already attracted top Canadian institutions, pension funds and family offices as investors.
The size of the fund is expected to be several hundred million dollars.
“John is a pillar of Canadian innovation,” Chitra Anand, partner in communication and thought leadership at Maverix, told BNN Bloomberg in a phone interview. “He believes in our country and the opportunity we have.”
According to Mark Maybank, who will serve as managing partner of Maverix, an advisory board of top entrepreneurs will also assist the fund’s portfolio companies with scaling their businesses.
The fund’s launch had already been delayed earlier this year by the COVID-19 pandemic, with its partners now focusing on launching in 2021.
Ruffolo is expected to remain in hospital for several weeks, including for rehabilitation.
“I want to thank all of the hospital staff for my wonderful treatment and care,” he said on LinkedIn.